Ideal beef cattle feeding systems were the focus of a recent conference organized by Norel Animal Nutrition.
Fernando Bacha, Nacoop technical director, discussed the link among feeding and management systems, final carcass quality and the state of the market. Today, the most popular feeding system is based on concentrate with straw as the only forage, but more and more farmers are switching to a full ration system incorporating corn silage and other by-products, according to Bacha. Also, there is still small-scale production based on grazing.
Bacha also discussed different additives are used to improve carcass quality, increase the average daily gain and solve the main problem observed in feedlots: acidosis. Sodium bicarbonate, live yeast and malic acid salts are the most commonly used additives, said Bacha. Malic acid salts, besides increasing the pH and reducing the risk of acidosis, improve average daily gain, reducing the duration of the production cycle. Other additives, such as vitamin E, can be used in the final stage to improve the shelf life of the meat.
Bacha concluded by saying that some additives can help to reduce problems in the feedlot and could be an interesting tool to improve zootechnical indexes.