Advances in Animal Biosciences
Application Differences in dairy cow feeding behaviour detected by sensors may offer a method of predicting lameness on farms. Application A configuration that allows automatic weighing of livestock at a water trough. Integrated with electronic identification this could provide a valuable management tool for monitoring growing and finishing cattle, and provide a platform for complimentary technologies. Introduction Growth rate is an important measure in assessing individual beef animal
... performance, and is a key variable in assessing feed efficiency, an economically important trait of beef cattle (Nkrumah et al., 2007). Average daily gain (ADG) systems are available that integrate at feed points (e.g. Growsafe Beef Feedlot), or as walkover systems (e.g. Fullwood WS). This embodiment validates the watering point position, in combination with individual electronic identification (EID). The objectives were to develop and test a passive recording system (in the form of an open endedcrate construct) designed for use by multiple animals, at a common watering point. Material and methods 78 steers of various breeds were split into two adjoining pens (n=39) and offered ad libitum one of two contrasting finishing diets: (i) forage-based diet (Mixed, 500 g concentrate / kg DM), or a high concentrate diet (Conc, 920 g concentrate / kg DM). Within each pen a BeefMonitor (BM) weight recording station was positioned at a water trough to automatically weigh each animal at every drinking event, using EID tags to identify the animal. Once per week the steers were also removed from their pens prior to receiving fresh feed and weighed using a calibrated weighing platform (Tepari Cattlemaster "Titan"). The steers remained on the trial for a minimum of 5 weeks, after which time they were sent for slaughter in 4 groups over a period of 8 weeks. Daily BM weights were calculated by averaging the individual animal BM weights collected over a 24 hour period. ADG (kg/day) for both the BM and crush weights were calculated by regressing weight against days on trial. ADGs for both weigh stations were analysed using general linear models with fixed effects of diet and weigh station.