The length of test required to measure liveweight change when testing for feed efficiency in cattle.

G Kearney, B.W. Knee, J.F. Graham, Stephanie Knott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Measuring differences in the efficiency of converting feed to liveweight gains of beef cattle depends on assessments of feed intake and animal growth over a specified period. Previous studies have shown that feed intake can be measured with sufficient precision after 35 days, however, to assess growth rate with acceptable precision, a feeding period of 70 days is required when the cattle are weighed fortnightly. In order to test if more frequent weighing could improve the precision of estimates of liveweight, or reduce the duration of tests, animals were tested in units where an automatic weighing system recorded the liveweight of an animal every time it entered a feeder. Eight groups of beef bulls (171 animals in total) were tested. A random coefficient regression model including a cubic spline for time was used to estimate average daily gain. Evaluation of the residual variance, slope (average daily gain), and its standard error from the models showed that through the use of automated liveweight measurement, the duration of tests could be decreased to 56 days without reducing the precision of estimates of liveweight change. Depending on the precision required, further decreases in testing time could be accommodated
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-414
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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