Genetic Technology Solutions (GenTecSol) has opened the first ever Net – Feed Intake (NFI) station in Southern Africa worth N$2 million last month on the farm Okawatuta in Gobabis district.
The NFI station measures feed efficiency in cattle, which is of particular importance in beef production systems since feed is one of the main cost drivers and this newly installed NFI station is fully automated, The Villager learnt.
“Feed efficiency in livestock is one of the main drivers of profitability in the livestock sector. Hugh differences still exists within every breed as virtually no selection was made for it as no effective technology was available. There is a factor of 100% difference and we want to identify those genetic attributes in cattle that are more efficient,” spokesperson of the GenTecSol, Mecki Schneiders said.
He added, that this has implications of acquiring less feed on rangeland as well as more efficient cattle in feedlots, where feed is the hugh cost factor.
The station has been built by a Canadian company known as Growsafe (GS) that specialist in setting stations all over the universe.
This fully automated NFI station acquires data on a real time basis, every second and transfers data to Calgary in Canada where the GS NFI system headquarters are and processed in seconds in seconds, The Villager understands.
According to Schneider’s, Residual Feed Intake (RFI) is a preferred measure of feed efficiency and is defined as the difference between a individuals intake and its predicted feed intake for a given testes period.
“The predicted feed intake is the function of both animals’ requirements for its maintenance related body weight as well as growth. RFI is therefore a phenotypically independent of both body weight and average body weight RFI,” Schneider said.
He added that an improve fed efficiency in cows for instance is a particular importance since as much as 65% of feed is used to meet mature cow maintenance requirements.
RFI measurements forms part of the Beef Genomics Program (BGP) to which various breeders have committed themselves. The ultimate aim is to obtain estimates breeding values for RFI for bulls, The Villager understands.
RFI Bull Test has allowed more producers to participate in RFI testing to identify efficient sires and learn about the potential of this new technology in breeding programs to improve production efficiency and competitiveness.
Improving RFI is expected to reduce methane and manure emissions from cattle by 15 to 20 per cent, which, in turn, may result in new agriculture investment due to greenhouse gas credits
The first 85 Brahman bull studs are in the first test phase. Four test runs per annum are envisaged and stud breeders are encourage to contact GenTecSol if they are interested in RFI test for their bulls.