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Performance of lot-fed Bos indicus steers exposed to aspects of a feedlot environment before lot-feeding

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Petherick, J.C., Holroyd, R.G. and Swain, A.J. (2003) Performance of lot-fed Bos indicus steers exposed to aspects of a feedlot environment before lot-feeding. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 43 (10). pp. 1181-1191.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA02118

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au


Fifty Bos indicus steers, 2–3 years old, were exposed to aspects of a feedlot environment on their home property for 9 days (pre-exposed). A further 50 steers were placed in a holding paddock for the 9 days (naïve). Twenty steers in each group became 'focal animals' for periodic blood sampling and behaviour observations. The cattle were transported for 15 h (950 km) to an experimental feedlot where they were lot-fed for 100 days, with productivity (liveweight, body condition and feed intakes) and flight speeds recorded at intervals. A subjective fear of humans test was conducted on the pre-exposed group during the 9 days in the yards on the home property and carcass traits were measured on all cattle.

Both groups lost substantial weight on the property and during transportation. On the property, the pre-exposed steers lost about 12% of their original liveweight and the naïve about 9%. Transit losses were a further 5 and 4% of pre-transport liveweights, respectively. The steers did not reach their initial liveweights until day 41 of feedlotting.

The pre-exposure treatment did not affect final liveweight, but feed intakes were lower for the pre-exposed animals than the naïve ones during the first 16 days of feedlotting, and the pre-exposed steers had superior average daily gains and feed conversion efficiencies. These effects were probably due to a combination of compensation and improved feed digestibility, as a result of the pre-exposed animals being under-fed on the property, but receiving concentrated grain supplement. There was no effect of focal status on productivity.

Flight speed and the subjective fear of humans test were significantly correlated. Neither treatment nor focal status affected flight speeds, but flight speeds decreased in the latter part of feedlotting, were highly correlated between days and negatively correlated with average daily gain and intakes.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version may be available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:Digestibility; Feed conversion; Feed intake; Feeding behaviour; Feedlots; Liveweight gain; Steers
Subjects:Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:07 May 2004
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:47

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