The Project

USDA Feed Efficiency Research Project Update

Cattlemen to Cattlemen segment aired on February 10, 2016


2016 BIF Research Symposium and Convention

June 14-17, 2016 in Manhattan, Kansas featuring a break-out session on the USDA Feed Efficiency project on Wednesday afternoon.


New Factsheets

View our new factsheets.


Updated RFI Calculator

RFI Calculator

The Feed Efficiency Calculator Tool is an Excel based application that allows Bull or Heifer Developers to calculate the Raw Feed to Gain, Adjusted Feed to Gain, Residual Feed Efficiency, Residual Gain and Feed Efficiency Index on tested contemporary groups.  Remove the sample data that is loaded on the tool with your data and values will be calculated automatically.

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68004-30214 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • Multiyear USDA funded project
  • Develop selection tools and better understanding of feed efficiency in beef production
  • Identify genetic markers associated with feed intake across multiple breeds
  • Genomic DNA tests, feed intake, and end product quality of 8,000 animals across 8 breeds:
    -- Angus
    -- Red Angus
    -- Hereford
    -- Simmental
    -- Charolais
    -- Gelbvieh
    -- Wagyu
    -- Limousin
  • Cooperate with selected seed stock producers in multiple breeds to help them:
    • Understand genetic marker technology
    • Implement genetic marker technology within their selection goals
    • Utilize marker tests for selection of feed intake in their selection strategies

The Research

  • Gene expression analysis of various tissues in animals with differences in feed efficiency.
  • Determine microbial population variation associated differences in feed efficiency.
  • Evaluate mitochondrial (cell power houses) differences in animals with differences in feed efficiency.
  • Conduct digestibility trials using animals with differences in feed efficiency.
  • Evaluate forage vs. concentrate level impacts on observed feed efficiency during different production phases (backgrounding and finishing).
  • Determine consistency of genetic marker tests across diets.
  • Engage undergraduate students in the research of feed efficiency in beef cattle.

Long-Term Goals

  • Reduce feed resources required to produce beef via the rapid development and deployment of novel nutritional, genomic, and genetic improvement technologies.
  • Strengthen international competitiveness of US agriculture
  • Enable increased food production by:
    • Diversion of animal to human food or energy crops by increasing production of animal protein without additional feed inputs
    • Reduce greenhouse gas footprint of beef production systems