The Problem with… Testing Bulls for Feed Efficiency
More and more seedstock producers are using GrowSafe equipment to measure and compare feed efficiency in the bulls they sell. On the surface, this seems like a very simple and accurate way to test and compare animals for feed efficiency. There is one very important fact, however, that most people totally ignore.
FACT: Producing a pound of Fat requires 2.5 times MORE feed than producing a pound of Muscle or Bone.
As a result of this fact… all feed efficiency tests will heavily favor tall, lean, late-maturing animals that lack the propensity for fat deposition and fleshing ability. They perform best in a test like this because they are gaining pounds of muscle and bone – instead of fat.
In contrast, moderate-sized, early-maturing, easy-fleshing animals will appear to perform poorly in a test like this because they stop growing up and start storing up energy in the form of fat at a much younger age.
Terminal or Maternal… Testing bulls for feed efficiency makes sense if you have a terminal program in which ALL of your calves are sent to the feedlot – and no heifers are kept as replacements. However, if you produce your own replacement females, buying bulls that performed well in a feed efficiency test will do more harm than good.