The phenotypic relationship between residual intake and gain and other feed efficiency traits in Nellore cattle


This study aimed to compare feed efficiency measures of Nellore beef cattle on different residual intake and gain (RIG) classes. We used data from 610 animals weighing on average 236.33 kg and average of 283 days of age from feedlot performance tests carried out between 2005 and 2012. Animals were grouped based on RIG into three different classes: high RIG (> mean + 0.5 standard deviation (SD), most efficient; n = 193), medium RIG (mean ± 0.5 SD; n = 235), and low RIG (< mean – 0.5 SD, least efficient; n = 182). Residual feed intake (RFI), residual gain (RG), feed conversion ratio (FCR), feed efficiency (FE), relative growth rate (RGR), and Kleiber ratio (KR) of animals in each RIG class were compared by Tukey test at 1% of probability. Phenotypic correlations between variables were evaluated as well. Animals on high RIG class showed lower dry matter intake (P < 0.01) and higher average daily gain (P < 0.01) than low RIG animals. Consequently, high RIG animals had lower FCR (P < 0.01) and higher FE (P < 0.01) than those animals in low RIG class. The most efficient animals based on RIG were also the most efficient animals based on RG and RFI. RIG was negatively correlated to dry matter intake (P < 0.01) and FCR (P < 0.01), and a positive correlation was found between RIG and FE (P < 0.01). Therefore, RIG appears to be a good parameter to select animals with reduced dry matter intake and high productive performance.

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This work was financially supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), and a scholarship was granted to Pedro R. Rocha and Gabriel M. Dallago by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES).

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Correspondence to Darcilene Maria de Figueiredo.

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de Figueiredo, D.M., Mercadante, M.E.Z., Pires, A.V. et al. The phenotypic relationship between residual intake and gain and other feed efficiency traits in Nellore cattle. Trop Anim Health Prod 51, 449–456 (2019).

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  • Animal performance
  • Beef production
  • Feed efficiency
  • Genetic improvement