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RESEARCH ON THE RECORD – for Sep. 7, 2009

HIGH-STARCH CREEP FEEDING AND EARLY WEANING IMPROVED CARCASS QUALITY

Research at the Univ. of Illinois by Dan Faulkner and associates has revealed that management strategies early in the life of a calf can improve carcass quality by increasing the deposition of intramuscular fat (marbling). They have evaluated two different strategies: creep-feeding and early-weaning.

Calves creep-fed with a high-starch corn-based diet had considerably higher quality grades than those fed a soyhull-based diet, even though daily gains were similar. The data showed that calves need to be on creep feed for about 80 days to increase quality grade.

The Illinois research also indicated that early weaning calves at 150 days of age improved quality grade dramatically and also improved feed efficiency in the feedlot. There was a 30 per cent increase in calves that graded USDA Choice or higher as a result of weaning at 150 days.

Comparing early weaning with creep feeding, early-weaned steers had higher marbling scores than creep-fed steers. Consequently, early-weaned steers had a greater percentage of Mid-Choice or higher carcasses. Nevertheless, by industry standards, all treatments graded well, with between 73 and 90 per cent Choice carcasses (Source: Barb Baylor Anderson, Angus Journal).

IMPLANT PROGRAMS IN COMBINATION WITH A BETA-AGONIST

The objective of this 208-day finishing trial by Bos-Technica Research Services, Inc. was to determine the effects of implants in the presence or absence of a beta-agonist on performance, health, and carcass traits. A total of 1,434 crossbred steers (615 lb.) were assigned to four different treatments: 1) initial implant (Revalor-S) with a beta-agonist (IBA); 2) initial implant (Revalor-IS) and reimplant (Revalor-S; RI); and 3) initial implant (Revalor-IS) and reimplant (Revalor-S) along with beta-agonist (RIBA). Steers were fed a 95 per cent concentrate diet providing 33 grams of monensin/ton. The beta-agonist (ractopamine hydrochloride) was fed during the last 28 days of the trial at the rate of 200 mg/head/day.

There were no significant differences among treatments in morbidity, mortality, avg. daily gain, dry matter intake, gain/feed, hot carcass wt., marbling score, 12th rib fat thickness, USDA yield grade, or liver abcesses. Percentage of USDA Choice carcasses was greatest (P<0.05) for IBA steers. Ribeye area was largest (P<0.05) for RIBA steers. The authors concluded that a system using a single implant combined with a beta-agonist 28 days prior to slaughter provided similar performance, health, and improved carcass quality when compared to reimplant programs with or without a beta-agonist (VanderPol et al. 2008. Midwest Section Abstract 120).

DIETARY CHOLESTEROL HAS MINIMAL EFFECT ON BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVELS

Human nutritionist, Dr. Donald McNamara, recently conducted a thorough review of research concerning the effect of dietary cholesterol intake on blood serum cholesterol levels. As early as 1965, Ancel Keys and associates conducted a study in which physically healthy men followed four diets that differed greatly but were similar in caloric content. They found there were no significant differences in serum cholesterol among these four groups. Since then, numerous other studies have reported similar results. The bottom line appears to be that dietary cholesterol has little, if any, effect on serum cholesterol levels (Source: Nutrition Close-Up. 2008. Volume 25, Number 1).

The authors are animal scientists at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A.

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