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2011-088 Developing indices for early selection of profitable beef cow herds

Researcher: Bart Lardner

Funding: $45,000

Residual Feed Intake (RFI), which is the difference between actual feed intake and the expected feed requirements, has been proposed as an accurate measure of feed utilization as it accounts for differences in body size and growth rate.

This project will explore factors which influence RFI so that it can be used as a tool to select breeding stock.


This project sought to find an easier way to determine whether a beef animal had lower residual feed intake. That is, could temperature be a predictor of lower feed intake but similar or higher weight gain than other animals? The researchers in this project used eye and cheek temperatures on sixty bulls for 14-16 days in the two years of the study.

Average temperatures did not differ much across the low, medium, and high residual feed intake categories these bulls were placed in.

However, the ambient temperature and the health of the animals could have affected these results.
Results from similar projects, such as a 2015 project evaluating Bos Indicus cattle, did not a correlation between internal temperature and RFI.

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