Hays Beef Development Centre and Werner Family Angus are both operated by the Werner family in Iowa. The BDC is where indiviaul feed intake data is being collected and that data is being utilised by the American Angus Association for use in improving the residual adjusted daily gain (RADG) EPD. The feeders are set up so that only one animal is allowed in at a time to eat. As they put their head through the divider to eat, there is an electronic tag reader which identifies the animal and measures how much they consume. All this data and sent to a computer where they are able to see which calves are eating the least or most and performing the best. The test that they are currently undertaking for feed efficiency and daily gain is a standardized 70 day test plus a 20 day warm up period to get animals on to and used to the feed ration.
Custom data collection is being undertaken for individual clients and the data being collected on these cattle is more meaningful if they are in sire and/or contemporary groups. At any one time there are facilities available to house 400 head of cattle (200 per shed). 300 head can be on feed efficiency tests and another 100 on bunk feeders, which can’t have data collected, but is used to fatten cattle.
After looking at the feed intake research centre, we had brief stop to have at look at some of the Werner family’s cow herd. They run around 500 Black Angus cows with no other cattle introduced into the herd, with the exception of semen. They undertake a 60%/40% spring/autumn calving and sell 150 bulls annually by private treaty.