Beef cattle are strong, resistant animals that can convert otherwise unusable plants and plant by-products into high-quality meat. In reality, however, they’re fed high grain diets with high energy content to achieve fast growth and high meat quality, with improved feed conversion rates (FCR). Feeding high concentrate diets to beef cattle reduces the required quantity of feed per kg bodyweight gained.
Whatever feeding system is used by the feedlot, the most crucial factor is feed efficiency across all growing and finishing systems. Good feed efficiency is achieved by good adaptation from high fibre diets to high energy rations, and good rumen health.
1. Farmers must know their breed and its specifications, for proper management and nutrition.
2. Receive well-weaned animals into the feedlot at a proper bodyweight. Light calves are more predisposed to sickness and are more difficult to transition onto finishing diets.
3. Manage good transition to the feedlot diet to ensure proper rumen adaptation. To adapt from high fibre to high grain diets, the rumen requires 2-4 weeks on average. During this period, we need to ensure a gradual diet transition, with concentrates introduced at slow incremental rates.
4. Prevent ruminal acidosis across the entire finishing period. Animals with ruminal acidosis have significantly lower feed conversion rates and may often go off their feed.
Supplementing feedlot beef cattle with the yeast probiotic, Actisaf®, for the entire finishing period, will ensure better transition to the feedlot diet. It will help prevent ruminal acidosis and will improve FCR by stabilising the ruminal environment for optimal bacterial fermentation.
Supplementing Actisaf® at 5g/h/d throughout the entire finishing period increases average daily gain (ADG), total gain and carcass gain, with an estimated ROI of 5:1.