Effects of Residual Feed Intake Classification on Feed Efficiency, Feeding Behavior, Carcass Traits, and Net Revenue in Angus-Based Composite Steers



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The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of residual feed intake (RFI) classification on performance, feed efficiency, feeding behavior and carcass traits, and to determine the relative importance of individual performance and carcass measurements on between-animal variation in net revenue of feedlot steers. Performance, feed intake and feeding behavior traits were measured in 508 Angus-based composite steers, using the GrowSafe feed-intake measurement system, while fed a high-grain diet for 70 days. Residual feed intake (RFI) was computed as actual minus expected dry matter intake (DMI) derived from regression of DMI on average daily gain (ADG) and mid-test BW0.75, and steers classified into low (n = 150), medium (n = 200) and high (n = 158) RFI groups. Following the feed-intake measurement periods, steers were fed the same diet in group pens and harvested at an average backfat thickness of 1.14 cm. Net revenue (NR) was calculated as carcass value minus feeder calf, yardage, and feed costs using 3-year average prices. Feed cost was based on actual feed consumed during the feed-intake measurement periods, and model-predicted intake adjusted for RFI during the group-feeding periods. Steers with low RFI had $48/hd lower (P < 0.0001) feed cost, $16/hd numerically higher (P = 0.29) carcass value, and $62/hd more favorable (P < 0.0001) net revenue compared to their high-RFI counterparts. Net revenue was correlated with carcass weight, marbling score, yield grade, DMI, ADG, RFI and G:F ratio where animals that consumed more feed, had higher rates of gain and were more efficient had more favorable net returns. Models predicting net revenue from performance, carcass quality, and feed efficiency traits accounted for 77% of the between-animal variation in NR. In the base model, that included all traits performance, carcass quality and feed efficiency traits explained 28, 14 and 35%, respectively, of the variation in NR. Results from this study indicate that between-animal variation in net revenue was impacted to a great extent by performance and feed efficiency, rather than carcass quality traits, in Angus-based composite steers based on average 3-year pricing scenarios.