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4 Actions for Optimising the Performance of Cattle Fattening

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In beef livestock fattening farms (See: cattle fattening business plan pdf), techno-economic efficiency optimisation is imperative for reaching success, whether in farrow-to-finish or fattening farms. The useful application of this objective needs a 4-step approach: factor to consider of the wanted last outputs, analysis of the existing circumstance, personalized dietary program and last recognition the services carried out.

Consideration of the target audience

Whether in farrow-to-finish farms or fattening ones, farmers need to take into consideration the kind of products needed by their target markets to set up their productions objectives: weanlings, calves aged less than 12 months, young calves aged 14 to 16 months … Prior knowledge of the industrial targets allows for the determination of objectives worrying weight, typical everyday gain (ADG), fat cover, color of meat, and so on. This will help them to decide the kind of diet plan to carry out (dry diet plan, semi-dry diet, wet diet plan), the dietary levels needed and the most suitable feeding program to use.

Analysis of the present scenario

Attaining these objectives requires a good introduction and a comprehensive understanding of the present farming systems in use. At this moment, undertaking an useful audit of the farm will assist to determine the areas for improvement from a technical and financial viewpoint. In addition, performance modellings permitted by management tools are typically used in farrow to end up farms, and the teachings of market information (purchase rate for calves, selling cost of young bulls, the feeding program cost, etc.) will permit to identify earnings margins.

Elaboration of a customised dietary program

A specific dietary program based on the farm’s technical and economic optimum can then be established. This program needs to consist of the following:

  • optimisation of livestock resources: forages, feeds, additive minerals, raw materials and co-products available;
  • factor to consider of animals’ growth potential: ADG (Average Daily Gain) prospective, growth curve
    turn-over of young calves’ margin targets.

All these objectives are created to select the most appropriate routes from a techno-economic viewpoint. Data associated with the wanted goals and the uniqueness of each farm can then be entered into an economic optimization software application. This software will then allow to compute the required nutritional requirements thereby recommending the most appropriate feeding program.

How can one discover the best-fitting program? An overall understanding of the nutritional worths of the resources kept in the farm (forages, basic material …) and factor to consider of production targets will assist to figure out the extent to which these resources can be utilized in the diet plan, as well as the most suitable feed supplements to utilize. These feed supplements will help compensate for the diet plan’s determined shortages and restrictions in terms of energy profiles, nitrogen, fibrous mineral of the basic diet).
Upon developing the diet plan, the consideration of particular requirements will contribute to a more accurate management of the respective fattening phases: adjustment/ begin/ growth/ ending up. The other advantage of such preventative measures is that digestive upsets that are most likely to take place at this phase will be more controlled and thus much better prevented.

An unsuitable feeding program might result in underperformances and gastrointestinal disorders (acidosis, enterotoxemia …), with typically heavy effects: inefficient utilization of diets, lower everyday weight gain for beef cattle, reduced performance, lameness, death … Furthermore, the incorporation of additive solutions in the diet can enhance the advantages of nutrients so they can be presumed to their full capacity. To this end, some additive options can ensure a protected optimisation of young calves’ development. The action mode of these options includes orientating ruminal fermentations to produce propionic acid; propionic acid has a beneficial impact on muscle growth. Considering that they likewise add to include methane emissions, these solutions also limit energy waste.

Last: application of solutions implemented

A last contrast in between the diet plan that has really been fed and their occurring weight gain will provide an accurate techno-economic examination of the recently executed program. This evaluation will assist to identify areas for enhancement with regard to rearing conditions and the proper feeding approaches to apply.