Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Selection for residual feed intake affects appetite and body composition rather than energetic efficiency

D. S. Lines A B D E , W. S. Pitchford A B , C. D. K. Bottema A B , R. M. Herd A C and V. H. Oddy A C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Cooperative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies.

B School of Animal and Veterinary sciences, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia.

C New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Beef Industry Centre, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

D Present address: Australian Pork Farms Group, Stirling, SA 5152, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: dlines@austporkfarms.com.au

Animal Production Science 58(1) 175-184 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN13321
Submitted: 29 July 2013  Accepted: 30 January 2014   Published: 5 May 2014

Abstract

Residual feed intake (RFI) is the difference between an animal’s actual feed intake and that which would be expected based on production. This experiment was to test the hypothesis that part of the variation in RFI may be due to differences in energetic efficiency through changes in heat production, these being in part due to differences in protein metabolism. Following three generations of divergent selection for RFI, eight High and eight Low-RFI heifers were fed at both 105% and 180% of predicted maintenance feed requirements. Between-RFI line and feeding-level differences were assessed for energy intake, protein metabolism, heat production, body composition, energy and nitrogen balance and digestibility. The RFI lines did not differ in protein metabolism or heat production. The High-RFI heifers deposited 51% and 56% more subcutaneous fat at the P8 rump and 12/13th rib sites, respectively, with no difference in eye muscle area gain or average daily weight gain. The greater fat deposition of High-RFI heifers was due to a larger ad libitum feed consumption compared with the Low-RFI heifers. Energy and nitrogen balance did not differ between the RFI lines. The energy transactions indicated no difference in the efficiency of energy use on 105% maintenance, although when fed 180% of maintenance the differences in feed intake suggest variation in appetite as the mechanism contributing to RFI. All of the extra energy consumed by High-RFI heifers above maintenance and deposition of protein was associated with additional energy retained as fat. This study suggests that selection for RFI may not lead to improved efficiency of energy use.


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