What’s your feed tag worth?
Recently, a beef feed trial was conducted comparing two CFC-produced feeds and a competitor’s feed. CFC extends their gratitude to Clover Hill East in Madison County for working with CFC to conduct this trial.
A trial was conducted with 117 head of commercial steers purchased from a sale barn, averaging 593 pounds, to investigate performance and cost per pound of gain. Of particular interest was the performance of the cattle on fescue pasture during the hot, humid, summer months in Virginia and handling of stress associated with co-mingling sale barn cattle.
The 117 head were purchased from several sale barns in the same region and included some farm-raised calves as well. Calves were vaccinated, dewormed and co-mingled for 7 days prior to starting the trial. Calves had access to free-choice dry mixed grass hay and fescue pasture and were provided the same free-choice mineral during the trial.
Calves were randomly assigned to one of three feed groups. The cattle were then weighed on certified scales to determine average starting weight. The average starting weights of the groups were: Group A, 592 pounds; Group B, 617 pounds; and Group C, 569 pounds. Each group received one of three feeds: Group A, CFC A-Plus MSG; Group B, CFC Steady Grow; and Group C, a competitor’s 14% protein commodity feed with rice hulls. Each group was on fescue pasture and hand-fed six pounds per head of the assigned feed once daily. All three groups had the same free choice custom mineral available. Cattle were weighed on d67 and d87 of the trial.
Average daily gain across all three groups were relatively similar on days 67 and 87. Table 1 summarizes the weights and cost per pound of gain during the feed trial. CFC A-Plus MSG was the top-performing feed with an average daily gain of 3.09 pounds per head per day, followed by CFC Steady Grow at 2.11 pounds per head per day and the competitor’s 14% protein commodity feed with rice hulls at 1.65 pounds per head per day over the 87-day period.
Table 2 shows the cost per pound of gain using the average price over the time of the trial. CFC A-Plus MSG had the lowest cost per pound of gain, followed by CFC Steady Grow and finally the competitor’s 14% protein commodity feed with rice hulls.
Steers on CFC A-Plus MSG fed 6 pounds per head per day resulted in an average daily gain of 3.1 pounds at a cost of $0.35 per pound of gain. Steers fed 6 pounds per head per day of CFC Steady Grow had an average daily gain of 2.09 pounds at a cost of $0.48 per pound of gain. Finally, steers fed 6 pounds per head per day of the competitor’s 14% protein commodity feed with rice hulls gained an average of 1.65 pounds per day at a cost of $0.52 per pound of gain. These costs per pound of gain were calculated based on the price of a 50-pound bag of each feed.
In conclusion, animals fed CFC A-Plus MSG resulted in higher gains on the same amount of input, at a lower cost per pound of gain, all other variables remaining constant. There is a lot more to a feed than what is on the tag. Next time you buy a bag of feed, ask yourself: what are you really paying for?