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WLJ Bull Buyer Survey 2014
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LIMOUSIN FEED CONVERSION…MORE THAN JUST WORDS

 

Over 460 bulls entered the annual sale at Midland Bull Test in Columbus, Montana from their second feeding group for 2008-2009.  There were over 100 bulls that were also tested during the same period but did not enter into the sale.  The information on the non-sale bulls is not included in this evaluation.  Every bull was efficiency tested on the GrowSafe system.  Ten breeds were represented in the second test group.  Several of the breeds also included hybrid bulls.  The data for those bulls are still included in the breed averages (for example the Gelbvieh-Angus cross bulls are included in the Gelbvieh averages).

 

The GrowSafe efficiency test runs for 70 days and during that period feed data is obtained on each individual animal.  This is real individual data, not pen averages.  The bulls are weighed before starting the GrowSafe test and are weighed upon completion of the test.  So for that 70 day period the data that is collected is about as accurate as can be gathered.

 

What did that data show?  It showed that Limousin was the #1 breed for feed conversion (converting pounds of Dry Matter Intake (DMI) to pounds of gain).  Understand this is not factoring in the actual weights of the bulls.  The weights of the bulls are factored into the RFI value, but the RFI data cannot be compared across breeds.  The 365 day average weights of the different breeds ranged from 1113 pounds to 1258 pounds with Limousin averaging 1185 pounds (this includes Group 1 and Group 2 sale bulls).  So the maintenance requirements for the larger bulls would require more feed intake than lighter bulls.  Resources state that bulls at these weights with these average daily gains utilize about 50% of their feed input for maintenance. 

 

Without any adjustments made based on actual weights, Limousin were 0.67 pounds more efficient at converting than the average of the ten breeds.  To put that into perspective, it means that for the 70 day period the bulls were on test, the Limousin bulls cost $22.43 less to feed than the average of all the breeds.  The Limousin breed was a whopping $46.16 cheaper to feed than Simmental, $36.02 cheaper to feed than Gelbvieh, $24.83 cheaper than Charolais, and $33.26 cheaper than Angus.

 

Clearly, feed efficiency alone doesn’t mean much.  An efficient bull that doesn’t gain doesn’t have much to offer any program.  So while the Limousin were not the leading average daily gainers, they were slightly above the ten breed average.  The Limousin breed has now shown it can convert very efficiently while maintaining a respectable average daily gain.

 

Based on this data, we can shed some light on what we might expect from these bulls’ counterparts in a feedlot situation.  First, we will assume that the feeder cattle would need to gain 500 pounds to reach an optimum finishing weight.  Since each breed gains at a different rate, we must evaluate the cost of feeding them based on the total days it would take that breed to gain 500 pounds.  While Limousin did not have the highest average daily gains, their superior efficiency adds more dollars to the bottom line.  In fact, it would cost $529.20 to put 500 lbs of gain on Limousin calves versus $589.05 for the 10 breed average.  That is a $59.85 per head savings in feed costs.  In recent times, this could mean the difference between profit and loss for most cattle feeders. 

 

It is understood this is a small sample.  This is also not a detailed statistical analysis, but rather a ballpark look at the issue.  It is one data point in a broader set of data that demonstrates the inherent efficiency of Limousin genetics.  While many breeds may claim efficiency, the data will tell the ultimate story.  The data in this case shows the Limousin breed IS the breed of feed conversion efficiency.

 

 

DATA FROM MIDLAND BULL TEST 2008-2009 TEST GROUP #2 SALE BULLS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breed

Head

Efficiency

Cost

Cost

ADG

Days

Feed Cost

 

 

lb feed/lb gain

per day

feed for RFI test

during RFI test

to gain 500lb

for 500 lb gain

Angus

245

6.45

     3.58

                250.58

3.70

162.2

             580.50

Red Angus

52

6.83

     3.60

                251.72

3.51

170.9

614.70

South Devon

40

6.02

     3.24

                226.92

3.59

167.1

             541.80

Saler

70

6.49

     3.28

                229.65

3.37

178.0

             584.10

Murray Grey

14

7.38

     3.30

                230.92

2.98

201.3

             664.20

Charolais

12

6.25

     3.46

                242.16

3.69

162.6

             562.50

Limousin

12

5.88

     3.10

                217.32

3.52

170.5

             529.20

Simmental

14

6.99

     3.76

                263.49

3.59

167.1

             629.10

Maine Anjou

2

6.76

     3.31

                231.39

3.26

184.0

             608.40

Gelbvieh

6

6.40

     3.62

                253.34

3.77

159.2

             576.00

 

Averages

6.55

     3.43

                239.75

3.50

172.3

             589.05

 

Assumptions:

 

$0.15/lb feed cost

 

500 lb of gain needed in feedyard

 

Cost per day=Efficiency X $0.15 Feed Cost X ADG

 

Cost for RFI test assumes 70 days

 

 

 

 

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