Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identifying Cows That Gain More While Eating Less

Date:
October 11, 2009
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Cows might be able to gain more weight while consuming less, potentially saving farmers up to 40 percent of feed costs.

Cows eat at a special bunk, or trough, that records how much they eat and how long they stand at the bunk. MU Researcher Monty Kerley says that if farmers can selectively breed cattle, they could cut their feed costs by as much as 40 percent.
Credit: University of Missouri

With more than 2 million cows on 68,000 farms, Missouri is the third-largest beef producer in the nation. Due to rising feed prices, farmers are struggling to provide feed for the cows that contribute more than $1 billion to Missouri's economy. University of Missouri researcher Monty Kerley, professor of animal nutrition in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is studying how cows might be able to gain more weight while consuming less, potentially saving farmers up to 40 percent of feed costs.

Two years ago, MU researchers started studying which biological processes could make cows feed-efficient. They examined the basic compound that cells use for energy, commonly known as ATP, using previous research that demonstrated how DNA influences weight gain in cows. Some animals can synthesize ATP faster than others, helping them to use energy more efficiently and, thus, gain more weight with less food. Kerley hopes that farmers will use this research to breed more feed-efficient cattle.

"We would love to go to the rancher and say, 'you can reduce your feed cost 40 percent with the same weight gain,'" Kerley said.

Kerley and his team are using a feed and weighing system that records individual intake and body weight of cattle daily. This research is being done at the Beef Research and Teaching Farm facility in MU's South Farm Agricultural Experiment Station. Whenever an animal steps to the bunk, or a trough, a computer notes the cows' arrival and departure times and how much they eat. When they drink, they stand on scales that keep track of their weights. If a beef producer just selected the top one-third of their most efficient cows, forage intake would be reduced by 20 percent, Kerley said.

Kerley said that when feed intake is reduced, methane emissions and manure production also decrease.

"If 'cap and trade' regulations, in some form, become part of America, it is likely that cattle producers will have to defend themselves against claims of methane emission by ruminants," Kerley said. "If a farmer can demonstrate reduced carbon production, then he or she might be able to 'sell' production credits on an exchange. That could provide the farmer with an additional income stream."

Beef producers are using this research to make genetic selections in their beef herds. Missouri was one of the first states to have a private bull testing facility that tests for efficiency. The Division of Animal Sciences also has a research emphasis to study genetic control of feed efficiency and methods to predict animal efficiency.

Kerley's research has been published in a variety of scientific journals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Identifying Cows That Gain More While Eating Less." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001101352.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2009, October 11). Identifying Cows That Gain More While Eating Less. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001101352.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Identifying Cows That Gain More While Eating Less." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001101352.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins