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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Divergent genotypes for fatness or residual feed intake in Angus cattle. 7. Low-fat and low-RFI cows produce more liveweight and better gross margins than do high-fat and high-RFI cows when managed under the same conditions

L. Anderton B N , J. M. Accioly C I , K. J. Copping D J , M. P. B. Deland D K , M. L. Hebart E , R. M. Herd F , F. M. Jones C L , M. Laurence G , S. J. Lee E , E. J. Speijers H M , B. J. Walmsley F and W. S. Pitchford E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Cooperative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies.

B Department of Agriculture and Food, Albany, WA 6330, Australia.

C Department of Agriculture and Food, Bunbury, WA 6230, Australia.

D South Australian Research and Development Institute, Struan Agricultural Centre, Naracoorte, SA 5271, Australia.

E School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, SA 5371, Australia.

F NSW Department of Primary Industries, University of New England, NSW 2351, Australia.

G College of Veterinary Medicine, Murdoch University, WA 6150, Australia.

H Department of Agriculture and Food, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia.

I Present address: Accioly Livestock Industry Services, Bunbury, WA 6230, Australia.

J Present address: Walteela, Lucindale, SA 5272, Australia.

K Present address: 204 Gordon Street, Naracoorte, SA 5271, Australia.

L Present address: 14 Kalang Way, Millbridge, WA 6232, Australia.

M Present address: 11A Swanbourne Street, Fremantle, WA 6160, Australia.

N Corresponding author. Email: lucybanderton13@gmail.com

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN15636
Submitted: 21 September 2015  Accepted: 15 March 2016   Published online: 7 September 2016

Abstract

The present paper focuses on the economic evaluation of the observed differences in maternal productivity of different genetic lines in Angus cattle that were managed under contrasting nutritional regimes typical of southern Australia. Five hundred Angus cows were managed concurrently at two locations in southern Australia. On each site, the cows were managed under the following two different nutritional treatments: High and Low, to simulate different stocking rates. Cows selected for a divergence in either carcass rib-fat depth or residual feed intake based on mid-parent estimated breeding values for those traits, were allocated in replicate groups to either High- or Low-nutrition treatments. By design, the supplementary feeding regime was the same for the High and Low genetic lines to ensure genetic differences were not confounded with management differences. Animal productivity results from the experiment were used as input data to evaluate the economic performance of the four genetic lines under the two nutritional treatments. Two methods were used; the first was a gross-margin calculation of income minus variable costs as AU$ per breeding cow for a 1000-cow herd; the second was a whole-farm linear programming model maximising the gross margin. Stocking rates were optimised by matching the energy requirements for the whole herd with the energy available from pasture and supplementary feed on a representative 700-ha farm. Using the two methods of calculating gross margin (per cow and optimised per hectare), including examination of sensitivity to changes in prices of cattle and supplementary feed, the present study demonstrated that genetically leaner cows due to selection of low fat or low residual feed intake, had gross margins superior to those of genetically fatter cows. They generated more income by selling more liveweight due to heavier weights and higher stocking rates. The results are affected by the management system utilised and some confounding with growth (leaner genetic lines had higher growth estimated breeding values), but will assist producers to make more informed decisions about how to manage animal breeding and nutritional interactions.

Additional keywords: beef, economic, modelling.


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