With today’s high input and feed costs every producer must maximize their return on investments. For over 20 years, the pork and poultry industry have been selecting breeding stock with high feed efficiency values. Now you can too!
For over four years Southern Cattle Company has been working closely with the University of Florida to identify sires and dams that consistently produce offspring that simply put, ‘Produce more red meat on less feed.’
We have done this by enrolling over 2500 head of calves in the GrowSafe feed system at the University of Florida, where every ounce of feed consumed is weighed and recorded every time an animal eats at the bunk. Calves are weighed every two weeks and data is compiled over a 90 day test period, to give us hard, factual data to compare feed efficiency within herd mates and contemporaries.
Since we send a large number of ET calves to the test, there are many full-sibs as well as maternal and paternal sibs being tested at once. This helps us quickly identify sires and dams that are more feed efficient. Imagine an animal that eats 10% to 20% less, but actually outgains it's contemporaries by 50 to 200 pounds. We are talking about an overall cost of production that could be reduced by $100 per head per year.
Heritability of feed efficiency is estimated to be the same as carcass traits in cattle, which is between .30 and .40. Therefore it is highly heritable.
Southern Cattle Company has combined efforts with Leachman Cattle of Colorado, BIO, and the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada to gather individual feeding records on over 9000 head of cattle. This data has been used to assign every Angus bull in this year’s sale with a feed conversion EPD, which is the highest accuracy predictor for true feed conversion to date.
Now you have the facts. Call us today and let us help you save some of your hard earned money!
Important Facts to Consider:
• All bulls that go through test are fed a high forage ration, not high corn.
• The bulls sold last October were tested May - September. Hot time of the year and still had great gains.
• High consumption on test was 32.91 pounds, average consumption was 24.5#, and low consumption was 17.51#.
• Consuming 7 pounds or less to gain 1 pound (F:G) is doing something.
• The Lot 1 bull in last years sale consumed 4.5 pounds less than average and still had an ADG of 3.06 pounds, giving a F:G of 6.77 pounds. Over a 90 day period, that saves 405 pounds of feed versus the average consumption.
F:G EPD - A Tool to Help You Increase Your Profits
The F:G EPD number is an Expected Progeny Difference (EPD) for the amount of feed an animal must consume in order to achieve a pound of gain, and is abbreviated F:G. This new EPD has been derived from data collected on over 9000 head of cattle that have been put through actual feed efficiency testing. The more data collected the more accurate the EPD becomes. An average benchmark for testing of this kind would be 3000 to 4000 head. As you can see we have over 9000 head in our database, thus giving a high degree of accuracy. As we continue to add numbers to the database the accuracy will continue to increase.
The actual F:G EPD is derived from the following three things: 1) an animals individual Average Daily Gain, 2) the actual Average Daily Feed Consumed, and 3) the actual conversion of that feed to gain one pound of weight, known as Feed to Gain Ratio. The test is conducted over a 90 day period where every ounce of feed that the animal consumes is weighed daily, and the individual animals are weighed every 14 days. The data is then processed by official research collectors such as the University of Florida and BIO of Ontario, Canada where it is analyzed and processed to calculate F:G EPDs.
The easiest way to understand the F:G EPD is to realize that an EPD of 0 would be the average, or base EPD. The lower the negative number the more feed efficient the animal will be. The greater the positive number the less feed efficient the animal will be.
Example: -0.50 = Very Feed Efficient
0 = Average Feed Efficiency
+0.50 = Less Feed Efficient
You will notice that the Angus are the only bulls with F:G EPDs. The reason for this is simple. Not enough Brangus and Charolais have been tested to allow us to accurately assign a F:G EPD. However, Southern Cattle Company is diligently collecting data on both of these breeds, and once more data is collected we will be able to assign accurate F:G EPDs for all of our bulls.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. We will help in any way we can!
Lamont Ennis, General Manager 334/685-7286 or Kyle Devoll, Marketing 979/820-8362