Author(s): Fitzsimons C, Kenny DA, McGee M
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Abstract This study examined the relationship of residual feed intake (RFI) with digestion, body composition, carcass traits and visceral organ weights in beef bulls offered a high concentrate diet. Individual dry matter (DM) intake (DMI) and growth were measured in a total of 67 Simmental bulls (mean initial BW 431 kg (s.d.=63.7)) over 3 years. Bulls were offered concentrates (860 g/kg rolled barley, 60 g/kg soya bean meal, 60 g/kg molasses and 20 g/kg minerals per vitamins) ad libitum plus 0.8 kg grass silage DM daily for 105 days pre-slaughter. Ultrasonic muscle and fat depth, body condition score (BCS), muscularity score, skeletal measurements, blood metabolites, rumen fermentation and total tract digestibility (indigestible marker) were determined. After slaughter, carcasses and perinephric and retroperitoneal fat were weighed, carcasses were graded for conformation and fat score and weight of non-carcass organs, liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, gall bladder, spleen, reticulo-rumen full and empty and intestines full, were determined. The residuals of the regression of DMI on average daily gain (ADG), mid-test metabolic BW (BW0.75) and the fixed effect of year, using all animals, were used to compute individual RFI coefficients. Animals were ranked on RFI and assigned to high (inefficient), medium or low groupings. Overall mean ADG and daily DMI were 1.6 kg (s.d.=0.36) and 9.4 kg (s.d.=1.16), respectively. High RFI bulls consumed 7 and 14\% more DM than medium and low RFI bulls, respectively (P<0.001). No differences between high and low RFI bulls were detected (P>0.05) for ADG, BW, BCS, skeletal measurements, muscularity scores, ultrasonic measurements, carcass weight, perinephric and retroperitoneal fat weight, kill-out proportion and carcass conformation and fat score. However, regression analysis indicated that a 1 kg DM/day increase in RFI was associated with a decrease in kill-out proportion of 20 g/kg (P<0.05) and a decrease in carcass conformation of 0.74 units (P<0.05). Weight of non-carcass organs did not differ (P>0.05) between RFI groups except for the empty weight of reticulo-rumen, which was 8\% lighter (P=0.05) in low RFI compared with high RFI bulls. Regression analysis indicated that a 1 kg DM/day increase in RFI was associated with a 1 kg increase in reticulo-rumen empty weight (P<0.05). Of the visceral organs measured, the reticulo-rumen may be a biologically significant contributory factor to variation in RFI in beef bulls finished on a high concentrate diet.
This article was published in Animal
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology