K-State Study Shows Cattle Temperment Impacts Feedlot ManagementTue, 10 Jun 2014 15:11:54 CDT
A new study release from Kansas State University has shown how the temperment of feedlot cattle has a big impact on the health and finished beef product. Through the study, K-State Associate Professor / Extension Specialist Dr. Bob Weaber found that cattle temperament can effect susceptibility to Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) and the carcass quality and merit from those animals.
"This typically found our measurements of behavorior or temperment we heritabile, there is a genetic component to that," Weaber said. "We found in our data, animals that are more tempermental typically have slightly heavier carcass weights, but slightly worse marbling scores, slightly a larger ribeye areas and numerically lower more favorable yield grades."
"Those weren't large corroloations they typically below .2, so from a stand point something we typically we wouldn't worry about very much, but as you look at the cortisol and ionate
data, it was a little stronger relationship," Weaber said.
The cortisol and ionate data was collected at placement in the feedyard.
"We found animals with elevated cortisol on arrival to the feedyard had lighter carcass weights at the end of the feeding period, so as a indicator they didn't perform quite as well, they had slightly lower marbling scores, they had smaller rib eye areas from a genetics perspective," he said.
Dr. Weaber says the research seems to suggest a good active immune system relates directly back to improved carcass weights.
"If we look at the ionate data, elevated levels of ionate, typically is associated with a more active or functional system, so you want stronger levels of ionate," Weaber said. "We found that is positively associated with hot carcass weight, marbling score, basically no relationship with ribeye area, had a slight positive association with yield grade, primarily those cattle were a little bit fatter, but when we go and look at actual animals classified on BRD whether they are pulled or treated had a positive association."
It appears that a good strong immune system is responsible for supplying enough energy to fight off infections in our cattle.
"When an animal has BRD, we may not want to actually select for animals that maybe don't get sick or have a stronger resistance to disease," Weaber said. "What we're maybe more concerned about is an animal's immune function and response to that disease."
"If a animal mounts a very strong immune response that costs a lot of energy," he said. "It's a very energy dependent, high cellular function sort of response, those animals generate fevers and all kinds of negative associations."
"A animal that gets sick and actually manages the disease in a more moderate way and actually tolerates the infection versus maybe has this huge immune response, actually performs better," Weaber said.
Through this findings, Weaber suggest that temperament is a variable to consider in feedlot cattle management
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