Beef Finishing, NIS Trials
Following successful trials in dairy cows and young stock, Sundown Products supported some research work at Harper Adams University.
This involved evaluations of the total replacement of barley and wheat with diets containing NIS in the performance of intensively finished bulls.
First Beef Finishing, NIS Trial
This trial started in July 2015 using a randomised block design with 34, 6-7 month old Beef x Holstein or Holstein bulls. The trial diet used NIS to replace the fibre from Soya Hulls and some of the barley in the control diet with NIS, both diets were formulated to contain 404g starch/kg DM (34.9% as fed). All feed was fed ad libitum, with the amount weighed and recorded to calculate intake levels and FCR. Straw was available ad libitum to each treatment.
Main Numerical Findings
- The bulls fed the trial ration were finished 6 days earlier than the control
- There was a numerical in dlwg, although this was not statistically significant
- Based on the prices prevailing at the time, there was an increase in margin of £12 per animal
- A sensitivity analysis would show a financial benefit for NIS if barley prices rise in relation to wheat
- Feed intake (and therefore dlwg) may have been reduced due to a build-up of muck limiting access to feed
On occasion it was noted that the animals rejected the NIS, it was assumed that this was because the rumen was not under pressure from acidosis. It was therefore concluded that increasing the starch levels may be possible
Second Beef Finishing, NIS Trial
The first trial suggested that the inclusion of NIS in the diet could enable the levels of starch to be increased without causing health issues, so a second trial was conducted.
The trial started in May 2016 using 34, 7 month old Belgium Blue x Holstein Bulls. In the trial diet, all the rolled barley was replaced by rolled wheat. This increased the starch levels (43.3% – 45.6% of dry matter) and reduced the fibre levels (19.9% – 18.4% NDF). All feed was fed ad libitum, with the amount weighed and recorded to calculate intake levels and FCR. Straw was available ad libitum to each treatment.
The animals on the ‘no barley, trial’ diet
- recorded lower fat classifications, which resulted in a lower carcass price/ kg
- had better liver scores. In fact, all the animals fed the ‘no barley, trial’ diet had perfect livers (this was surprising due to the increased starch levels)
- recorded better Feed Conversion Ratios
Points for discussion
- Including NIS in beef finishing diets will enable barley to be replaced by wheat as the sole cereal
- The trial ration in this experiment was £1.00/t more than the control ration, any reduction in the price of wheat against barley will show a financial benefit