Lessons Learnt from 25 Years of Feed Efficiency Research in Australia

Monday, August 18, 2014: 4:30 PM
Stanley Park Ballroom (The Westin Bayshore)
Paul F. Arthur , NSW Department of Primary Industries, Narellan, NSW, Australia
Jennie E. Pryce , Biosciences Research Division, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia
Robert M Herd , NSW Department of Primary Industries, Armidale, Australia
Abstract Text: Since the early 1990s, there has been sustained research in Australia on genetic improvement of feed efficiency in beef and dairy cattle. This paper describes the research findings, highlights lessons learnt and outlines challenges for the future. Residual feed intake (RFI) was chosen as the preferred trait in growing cattle, and it represents the amount of feed consumed net of the animal’s feed requirements for maintenance and production. It is moderately heritable, highly correlated with feed intake, weakly correlated with fatness, and not correlated with other growth traits, thus indicating that progeny of low RFI cattle will consume less feed and produce less methane for the same level of performance with slightly lower carcass fat. There is paucity of information on its relationship with reproduction, milk production and cow traits. The challenge is to develop cost-effective programs to efficiently exploit this genetic variation.



residual feed intake