NCCC206: Nutrition and Management of Feedlot Cattle to Optimize Performance, Carcass Value and Environmental Compatibility (NCT192)

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Inactive/Terminating

NCCC206: Nutrition and Management of Feedlot Cattle to Optimize Performance, Carcass Value and Environmental Compatibility (NCT192)

Duration: 10/01/2003 to 09/30/2008

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Statement of Issues and Justification

An NCR committee dedicated to nutritional and pre-harvest management issues of cattle feeding will focus research efforts and disseminate information in service to a key component of the beef cattle industry. Cattle feeding in the North Central Region contributes significantly to the agricultural economy in the U.S. The states represented by this committee account for 60% of cattle on feed and 45% of feeder cattle in the U.S. (1). The revenues from the sale of cattle in these states represent a billion dollar industry, and in many cases is the major agricultural commodity in the state. This committee is unique among NC and NCR committees in directing research interests toward beef cattle nutrition issues facing the U.S. cattle feeding industry. The major focus of this committee will be the development of nutritional and management strategies that address current issues facing the cattle feeding industry, such as environmental compatibility, beef quality and safety, and economic sustainability. This focus clearly distinguishes the research efforts of this group from other NC or NCR committees in which scientists are focused on dairy production, utilization of animal manure and organic residues, grazing systems, cow-calf management, and molecular mechanisms regulating growth of muscle and adipose tissue. The research goals of this committee are supportive of all five research goals of CSREES. The committee has and will continue to work diligently to discover, disseminate, and implement technology that improves efficiency of producing beef as well as enhancing the quality of beef. A purpose of this committee will be to promote scientific exchange, stimulate cooperation and collaboration among scientists at different institutions, and to minimize duplication of research effort. A major focus will be the development of management strategies that facilitate production of beef in an environmentally sustainable manner. One approach will be to improve the utilization of by-product feeds in diets for feeder cattle in order to allow a potential waste product to be recovered in edible, high quality protein foods. The feedlot industry is the major utilizer of byproducts from the food and grain processing industries, which are abundant in the North Central region. Optimizing capture of the nutrients from the byproducts of these industries has important environmental and economic implications(2,3). This is particularly true in light of the proliferation of ethanol production facilities in this region. The second approach in this realm will be to conduct beef cattle nutrition and management research to limit N and P losses to the environment(4,5). New EPA regulations and societal concerns regarding the impact of confinement of livestock on the environment provide ample justification of our research thrust in this area. Coordinated research also will be planned to investigate effects of nutrition and pre-harvest management on the quality and safety of beef. Maintenance of a safe and wholesome food supply continues to be a major challenge in the U.S. The presence of E. coli 0157:H7 in feedlot cattle and on beef carcasses continues to contribute to safety concerns(6). Alternative feeding programs will be evaluated as a means of controlling pathogenic microorganisms, like E. Coli 0157:H7. Other food safety issues such as the use of genetically modified grains by beef cattle will be investigated. Likewise, research will target enhancement of important beef quality issues such as tenderness and marbling(7). This committee will plan and conduct beef cattle nutrition and management research to enhance cattle health, well-being, performance and carcass value. These issues are critical to profitability as the industry moves to a value-based marketing system and the formation of alliances within the industry(8,9). The beef industry continues to rely on the expertise of this committee to discover, develop and evaluate new technology prior to its adoption by the feedlot industry. In order to accomplish this task, it is critical that committee members meet annually to identify strengths and weaknesses of our knowledge of cattle feeding. Collaboration among members has and continues to develop new feeding programs to improve production efficiency, reduce the impact of confinement beef production on the environment, and to enhance beef quality and safety. The interaction of these committee members is crucial in conducting unbiased research projects for the benefits of the beef industry and consuming public.


  1. To discover and develop management strategies that facilitate feedlot cattle production in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner.
  2. To enhance the quality and safety of beef through development and application of emerging technologies.
  3. To investigate alternative feeding programs and management strategies to enhance cattle health, well-being, performance, and carcass value.

Procedures and Activities

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • The development of technology and evaluation of feeding programs that improve efficiency and adds value to the finished product will strengthen this viable and important sector of agriculture. Since this committee uniquely represents the cattle feeding sector in the North Central Region, its members have a key role to play in developing feeding programs and new technology for the 21st century. Members of this committee have been and continue to be committed to addressing challenges facing the cattle feeding sector. In the past 20 years, the research stations represented by this committee have collectively made a commitment to discover, develop, and evaluate new technology utilized by the beef cattle industry. Past objectives contributing to important breakthroughs for the industry include optimal utilization of agricultural byproducts, alternative feeding programs that improve cattle health and meat quality, and development of new hormone implant strategies. Each of these management programs (and many other discoveries) has impacted the efficiency of producing beef and/or added value to the meat for the consumer. These efforts have and will continue to be achieved through the coordinated research planning and collaborations among members of this regional committee. Progress in accomplishing project objectives will be documented in committee minutes and reports and on our web page. Areas of assessment will be participation in committee meetings, quantity of collaborative research projects among committee members, quantity and impact of publications (particularly those resulting from collaborative efforts), and presentations of regional research findings at beef industry meetings. Coordinated and collaborative research projects will be conducted to achieve all three objectives of this committee. Discoveries will be documented in NCR Station Reports and other publications. Assessment of progress will be based on impact of research discoveries that: 1) reduce contribution of feedlots to N and P accumulation in soil water and air, 2)reduce food borne pathogens in beef through preharvest intervention and increase carcass value by manipulation growth processes to improve intramuscular fat accretion and retail yield, and 3) improve cattle health, reduce the need for antibiotics, enhance carcass value, and improve production efficiency and profitability. Stakeholders are beef producers, allied industry, and the scientific community.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

Members of the committee will have close working relationships with stakeholders in the commercial feed and feedlot industries through extension meetings, research publications, departmental reports, and our existing NCR Feedlot Cattle website. Our membership is very active in regional and national education activities. Half of our members have official extension appointments and all of our members are active in beef extension activities. The NCR Feedlot Cattle website provides public availability of our discoveries. Electronic exchange via our List Serve allows rapid response to industry problems through sharing of resources and expertise among committee members. We share our expertise and research findings in multi-state meetings, symposia, and short-courses. Through our relationships as members of this NCR committee, we have generated a significant track record of inter-state presentation of our research to universities, producers, and allied industry personnel. This effort will continue and will be documented.


The recommended Standard Governance for multistate research activities include the election of a Chair, a Chair-elect, and a Secretary. All officers are to be elected for at least two-year terms to provide continuity. Administrative guidance will be provided by an assigned Administrative Advisor and a CSREES Representative.

Literature Cited

1. USDA Cattle inventory report. Cattle-Fax, June, 2000. 2. Al-Suwaiegh, S. K. C. Fanning, R. J. Grant, C. T. Milton, and T. J. Klopfenstein. 2002. Utilization of distillers grains from the fermentation of sorghum or corn in diets for finishing beef and lactating cows. J. Anim. Sci. 80:1105-1111. 3. Hussein, H. S. and L. L. Berger. 1995. Effects of feed intake and dietary level of wet corn gluten feed on feedlot performance, digestibility of nutrients, and carcass characteristics of growing-finishing beef heifers. J. Anim. Sci. 73:3246-3252. 4. Galyean, M. L. 2000. Environmental stewardship in the future: Nutrient management issues and options for beef cattle feeding operations. Available at: 5. Klopfenstein, T. J. and G. E. Erickson. 2002. Effects of manipulating protein and phosphorus nutrition of feedlot cattle on nutrient management and the environment. J. Anim. Sci. 80(E Suppl. 2):E106-114. 6. Hancock, D. D., T. E. Besser, and D. H. Rice. 1998. Ecology of E. coli 0157:H7 in cattle and impact of management practices. In: J. B. Kaper and A. D. OBrien(ed.) Escherica coli 0157-H7 and other shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains. P. 85. Am. Soc. Microbiol. Press, Washington, DC. 7. Montgomery, T. H., P. F. Dew, and M. S. Brown. 2001. Optimizing carcass value and the use of anabolic implants in beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 79:E296-306. 8. Mader, T. L. and K. F. Lechtenberg. 2000. Growth promoting systems for heifer calves and yearlings finished in the feedlot. J. Anim. Sci. 78:2485-2496. 9. Loerch, S. C. and F. L. Fluharty. 1999. Physiological changes and digestive capabilities of newly received feedlot cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 77:1113-1119.


Land Grant Participating States/Institutions


Non Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

Texas Tech University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
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