Residual feed intake (RFI) is a measure of Feed Efficiency, and is defined as the difference between an animal’s actual feed intake and its expected feed intake, based on its size and growth.
After trial EBVs for Net Feed had been published in August last year, an evaluation process was conducted at the Australian AGBU (Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit) to determine the validity of the information, and see if it can be successfully used in an analysis.
Towards the end of February 2020, the process was completed, and the first Net Feed EBVs have been published in March 2020.
RFI (or phase C) tests will also contribute towards the reference population. Breeding values for Net Feed Intake NFI-p (post-weaning) are published in South Africa, and NFI-f (finishing) are published in Namibia.
For animals with an observation (self/progeny), minimum accuracy for reporting is 25%. For all others, a minimum of 50% will be used. The SIRE SUMMARY report has both EBVs now included and the sire listing in the individual herd reports has both NFI EBVs listed. While the EBVs are reported for all animals on ILR2, in EBV extracts and on Internet Solutions, they have not been included in the dam, bull, heifer and steer reports in the herd reports – there are not enough animals with EBVs reporting at this point. Likewise, herd trends or herd vs breed trends for NFI have not been included in the herd reports.
Why is Net Feed important?
In short – Net Feed identifies economic animals. Which means they “save” money (they eat less food to produce more meat). If Brahman select animals with a negative Net Feed value, there could soon be a whole generation of more economic animals.
By definition Animal Breeding is the process of selective mating of animals with desirable genetic traits to maintain/enhance these traits in future generations.
Our Service Provider BREEDPLAN
As an updated version of the BREEDPLAN DRIVER software was provided recently, it now means NFI-p and NFI-f can be included as two separate though correlated traits for Brahman. This will accommodate differences between South Africa and Namibia in terms of test protocols used (and therefore, the trait measured).
BREEDPLAN is used in 11 countries world-wide by more than 190 breed societies, registering more than 40 million cattle.
NB – use the tools available to produce a better product more efficiently. Weigh, measure and test your animals and select those that will bring you the best results as breeding stock.