The Effect of Glucose Utilization and Feed Efficiency on Beef Cattle Production
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Feed efficiency and metabolism affect profitability of the various components of the beef industry by modulating distribution and use of nutrients within cattle. Separate studies were conducted to determine the 1) repeatability of feed efficiency measurements over time as beef heifers mature into cows, and 2) whether the production and regulation of glucose in heifers is affected by temperament. The influence of temperament on glucoregulatory hormones was studied in Angus crossbred heifers and Brahman heifers whose temperament was determined at weaning. The 6 most calm and 6 most temperamental heifers of each breed were fitted with jugular cannulas. Blood was collected at cannulation and then via the cannula during a 90-min rest period. Following 90 min, dextrose was infused (0.5 mg/kg BW) and blood samples were collected at specific intervals for 3 h total. In the crossbred heifers cortisol (P = 0.0560) and glucose (P = 0.0485) concentrations during the challenge were higher in temperamental relative to calm crossbred heifers. Insulin concentrations tended (P = 0.0737) to be higher in temperamental crossbred heifers. Cortisol (P = 0.0282) and glucose (P = 0.0011) concentrations were significantly higher in temperamental Brahman heifers. Insulin concentrations tended (P = 0.0793) to be greater for calm Brahman heifers. Temperamental cattle had a greater HPA axis response, which led to greater concentrations of cortisol and glucose, possibly because the glucose was being utilized differently by the temperamental cattle. Mature Brahman cow feed efficiency data was collected over two years, on two different cohorts of cows that had previous residual feed intake data as post-weaning heifers. In 2009 and 2010, 37 and 41 cows, respectively, in their first trimester of gestation were evaluated for RFI via the Calan gate system. Cows were fed 2.6% BW for 70 d with BW recorded weekly. Cows were classified according to their RFI values as either efficient or inefficient. Heifer RFI was not correlated to mature cow RFI based on assessment of the Pearson‟s correlation coefficient (r = -0.06, P = 0.57). This study indicates that establishment of RFI in heifers may not accurately predict their feed efficiency as mature cows.
Bradbury, Brook (2011). The Effect of Glucose Utilization and Feed Efficiency on Beef Cattle Production. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from