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Optimum duration of performance testing for growth, feed intake, and feed efficiency in growing Boer bucks

Hu, W., T. A. Gipson, S. P. Hart, L. J. Dawson, T. Sahlu, and A. L. Goetsch

Small Ruminant Research 104:114-121. 2012

Central performance testing of meat goats has increased in popularity recently, but minimum test duration has not been ascertained to ascertain accurately performance traits.. This study was conducted to determine the minimum length of time required for accurate evaluation of growing Boer bucks for ADG, DMI, DMI/BW0.75, and feed efficiency as assessed by ADG:feed intake and residual feed intake. Data were collected from 425 bucks in Langston University tests lasting 84 d from 2000 to 2009. Bucks averaged 111 25 d of age and 27 8 kg BW at the beginning of the test, consumed a pelletized 50% concentrate diet ad libitum, and were weighed weekly. Daily feed intake was determined with Calan gates (American Calan, Inc., Northwood, NH) or automated MK3 FIRE (Feed Intake Recording Equipment, Osborne Industries Inc., Osborne, KS). Weekly data of five performance traits were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS with a repeated-measures model. Residual variance relative to that at 84 d (%) for the goats fed with Calan gates was 358, 293, 235, 193, 153, 127, 116, and 107% for ADG, 184, 173, 161, 149, 136, 123, 113, and 106% for DMI, 374, 317, 256, 203, 161, 137, 118, and 107% for DMI/BW0.75, 445, 320, 225, 162, 135, 124, 111, and 105% for ADG:feed intake, and 174, 154, 143, 128, 113, 107, 103, and 102% for residual feed intake at 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, 63, 70, and 77 d, respectively. Residual variance relative to that at 84 d (%) for the goats fed with FIRE was 286, 221, 192, 174, 154, 134, 125, and 110% for ADG, 111, 113, 111, 112, 111, 107, 106, and 105% for DMI, 176, 155, 144, 130, 120, 110, 110, and 110% for DMI/BW0.75, 373, 258, 216, 171, 134, 119, 114, and 106% for ADG:feed intake, and 114, 101, 103, 95, 94, 92, 98, and 103% for residual feed intake at 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, 63, 70, and 77 d, respectively. Under either Calan gates or FIRE feeding conditions, the duration of Boer buck performance tests could be decreased from the standard 84 to 63 d with little loss in accuracy.


 

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