If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to get involved in our unique reader contest underway. BEEF magazine is teaming up with Texas A&M University, with sponsorship by Merial, on the 2014 BEEF Efficiency & Profit Contest. Up for grabs is a total of $7,000 in prizes to be awarded in three categories, but the online learning experience offers every entrant a better understanding of the factors that drive beef carcass quality and profitability.
Two beef animals can produce identical high-quality carcasses, but one may do it much more efficiently than the other by producing that quality on less feed. That means that the more-efficient, or low residual feed intake (RFI), animal produces the desired meat yield and quality on less feed (thus at less cost) than the less-efficient animal (high RFI).
Producing that highly desirable level of meat yield and quality on less feed (thus at less cost) is the Holy Grail of beef cattle performance, particularly in these days of higher-cost inputs. The contest is designed to help cattle producers better understand the relationship between cattle efficiency and profitability, and an important facet of the exercise will deal with the role of RFI.
Led by Dan Hale, TAMU professor and Extension meat specialist, and Gordon Carstens, TAMU professor of animal nutrition, the contest presents six steers with a high RFI (inefficient) and six steers with a low RFI (efficient) for readers’ evaluation. Photos, videos and data of these 12 steers are available for viewing in a gallery on beefmagazine.com.
Also on the website are several instructional videos:
The Basics Of Residual Feed Intake In Beef Cattle,
How To Determine Beef Yield Grade,
How To Determine A Beef Quality Grade,
- How Tenderness Is Measured In A Beef Carcass.
The 12 steers in the contest are all of similar genetics from the same operation. All were fed and handled alike, performance monitored, and all were processed at the same facility. Gain, carcass and tenderness data were collected on each animal.
The aim of this 12-steer exercise is to demonstrate the importance of feed efficiency on the profitability of a cattle enterprise, and the role of other economically relevant traits such as performance and carcass quality on profitability. In addition, readers will learn about the importance of obtaining data on their cattle to help them make genetic and management changes in their herd and improve their bottom line.
Up for grabs is a total of $7,000 in prizes in three categories – youth, adult and feedyard team. Just go to the entry form at beefmagazine.com; read the overview; study the photos, video and data on each steer; do your calculations and fill out the entry form on the website. All entries are electronic and will be accepted until midnight on Oct. 20.
We’ll present the actual results in the November issue and reveal the winners in our December issue.