Individual and Additive Value of Conventional and Non-conventional Technologies in Beef Steers Housed in Small Research Pens
A. R. Harding1, G. K. Jim2, C. W. Booker2, E. J. Behlke2, S. L. Parr2, S. J. Hannon2, T. M. Greer2, Z. D. Paddock2, M. L. May2, L. O. Burciaga-Robles2, and C. R. Krehbiel1; Oklahoma State University1, Feedlot Health Management Services, Ltd., Okotoks, AB, Canada2
This trial was conducted at a research feedlot in Alberta, Canada to evaluate the effects of conventional and non-conventional production technologies identified from previous research in feedlot steers. The study utilized 960 steers stratified by BW and randomly allocated to one of four treatments: rumensin/tylan/growth-promotant free (RT), Oleo/growth-promotant free (O), negative control (NC), or conventional (CON). The RT cattle received Rumensin® and Tylan® (Elanco Animal Health), and did not receive an implant or beta-agonist. The O cattle were fed 1 g/animal/day of Oleobiotec® Ruminant (Oleo; Laboratoires Phodé, Terssac, France), and did not receive an implant or beta-agonist. The NC cattle received a non-medicated supplement of vitamins and minerals and did not receive an implant or beta-agonist. Cattle in the CON group received a hormonal implant (Revalor®-200; Merck Animal Health, Intervet Canada Corp., Kirkland, Québec), Rumensin, Tylan and Optaflexx (Elanco Animal Health) at the end of the feeding period. All study animals received a barley-based finishing diet and were housed by treatment in 48 research pens. Data were analyzed using the GLIMMIX procedure (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, North Carolina). Final BW and HCW were lower for the RT, O, and NC (P < 0.001) cattle relative to the CON cattle. In addition, RT, O, and NC cattle had decreased ADG and poorer G:F on both a live and carcass adjusted basis (P < 0.001) relative to the CON cattle. The RT cattle had improved G:F compared to the O and NC cattle on a live weight basis (P < 0.001). The RT cattle also had better G:F compared to the NC cattle on a carcass adjusted basis (P < 0.001). Cattle in the O group tended (P = 0.051) to have improved G:F compared to NC cattle on a carcass weight basis. No differences in carcass quality or animal health were detected between experimental groups. These results indicate that animal performance can be improved with conventional (implant, beta-agonist, ionophore, and antimicrobial) or non-conventional (Oleobiotec) production technologies relative to a negative control.