Evaluation of the effect of alternative measurements of body weight gain and dry matter intake for the calculation of residual feed intake in growing purebred Charolais and Red Angus cattle

W Kayser, JB Glaze, CM Welch, M Kerley, RA Hill

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The objective of this study was to determine the effects of alternative-measurements of body weight and DMI used to evaluate residual feed intake (RFI). Weaning weight (WW), ADG, and DMI were recorded on 970 growing purebred Charolais bulls (n = 519) and heifers (n = 451) and 153 Red Angus growing steers (n = 69) and heifers (n = 84) using a GrowSafe (GrowSafe, Airdrie, Alberta, Canada) system. Averages of individual DMI were calculated in 10-d increments and compared to the overall DMI to identify the magnitude of the errors associated with measuring DMI. These incremental measurements were also used in calculation of RFI, computed from the linear regression of DMI on ADG and midtest body weight(0.75) (MMWT). RFI_Regress was calculated using ADG_Regress (ADG calculated as the response of BW gain and DOF) and MMWT_PWG (metabolic midweight calculated throughout the postweaning gain test), considered the control in Red Angus. A similar calculation served as control for Charolais; RFI was calculated using 2-d consecutive start and finish weights (RFI_Calc). The RFI weaning weight (RFI_WW) was calculated using ADG_WW (ADG from weaning till the final out weight of the postweaning gain test) and MMWT_WW, calculated similarly. Overall average estimated DMI was highly correlated to the measurements derived over shorter periods, with 10 d being the least correlated and 60 d being the most correlated. The ADG_Calc (calculated using 2-d consecutive start and finish weight/DOF) and ADG_WW were highly correlated in Charolais. The ADG_Regress and ADG_Calc were highly correlated, and ADG_Regress and ADG_WW were moderately correlated in Red Angus. The control measures of RFI were highly correlated with the RFI_WW in Charolais and Red Angus. The outcomes of including abbreviated period DMI in the model with the weaning weight gain measurements showed that the model using 10 d of intake (RFI WW_10) was the least correlated with the control measures. The model with 60 d of intake had the largest correlation with the control measures. The fewest measured intake days coupled with the weaning weight values providing acceptable predictive value was RFI_WW_40, being highly correlated with the control measures. As established in the literature, at least 70 d is required to accurately measure ADG. However, we conclude that a shorter period, possibly as few as 40 d is needed to accurately estimate DMI for a reliable calculation of RFI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3675-3681
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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