Calculating Growth Curves Using Partial Body Weights
Technology provides snapshots in time, collecting partial body weights to estimate full body weights every time an animal comes to water.
“With our GrowSafe Beef in-pen weighing system, we can collect partial body weights of individual animals multiple times per day, every day,” GrowSafe Systems Director of Industry Relations Mark Nelson, explaining that partial body weights are automatically converted to live body weights for each animal.
What if beef cattle feeding trials could be completed in less total time, at less cost and with less animal stress? The technology exists to accomplish that very thing, according to GrowSafe Systems Director of Industry Relations Mark Nelson and GrowSafe Data Analyst Kevin Garossino. The pair discussed the cattle-monitoring technology during the 2020 Beef Improvement Federation Symposium Online hosted June 8-12.
Nelson reminded the audience how the GrowSafe Beef in-pen weighing system can measure changes in animal weight continuously over time. The system captures and records partial body weights of individual animals, wearing electronic identification tags, each time an animal steps on the system scale installed at a watering site.
“With our GrowSafe Beef in-pen weighing system, we can collect partial body weights of individual animals multiple times per day, every day,” said Nelson, explaining that partial body weights are automatically converted to live body weights for each animal.
“We can follow each animal’s growth curve and determine an accurate average daily gain,” added Garossino. He said the resulting daily gain calculation can be accomplished more accurately and in less time than when using in-weights and out-weights taken with conventional feeding trials.
Garossino said the GrowSafe system addresses the uncertainties associated with periodic weights measured by chute scale. Calling them “snapshots in time,” he noted how chute weights are subject to variance due to time of day, rumen fill and chute scale calibration issues.
Garossino said GrowSafe’s continuous weight collection also shortens the time necessary to calculate each animal’s growth curve. Average daily gain can be accurately determined in 49 days, compared to 70 days for conventional feeding trials.
“This provides the opportunity to run more trials per year at reduced cost, with reduced animal stress and less labor,” added Nelson.
Pointing to likely future uses for the technology, Nelson said seedstock breeders and breed associations could capture 205-day and 365-day calf weights, on the actual dates, without need for adjustment. Additionally, there is opportunity to record cow weights. This could even be done while animals are on pasture, since the systems are portable and can be installed at watering sites or feed supplement sources.
To access the archived presentation slides and webinar session, click here. For more information about this year’s symposium, including additional award winners and coverage of meeting, visit the Awards and Newsroom pages of BIFconference.com. For more information about BIF, visit BeefImprovement.org.
Editor’s Note: This summary was written under contract or by staff of ANGUS MEDIASM. To request reprint permission, please contact Shauna Rose Hermel, Angus Beef Bulletin editor, at 816-383-5270, or Julie Mais, Angus Journal editor, at 816-383-5271. PowerPoints are posted with permission of the presenter and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the presenter. We welcome educational venues and cattlemen to link to this site as a service to their audience.
BIFconference.com is a meeting coverage site provided by Angus Media. Coverage is made possible through the generous contributions of our site sponsors, including American Angus Association, AngusLinkSM, Albrecht Ranch, Branch View Angus Ranch, CattleVisions, Connealy Angus, Deer Valley Farm, Express Ranches, Fink Beef Genetics, Genex, Krebs Ranch, Nichols Farms, Penz Angus Ranch, Pollard Farms, Select Sires, Spur Ranch, Sydenstricker Genetics, and Yon Family Farms. For questions about this site, or to notify us of broken links, click here.