Date of Award
Master of Science
Charles S. Hobbs, Sumner A. Griffin
A two-year study, involving 213 steers and heifers, was conducted at the Highland Rim Experiment Station, Springfield, Tennessee.
This study was conducted to (1) compare the performance of cattle finished for slaughter in an open concrete lot with the performance of cattle in a similar lot with access to individual resting stalls, (2) determine the effects of individual resting stalls of different lengths on the performance of cattle of various weights and sexes, and (3) compare the labor requirements for these various feed-lot designs.
The cattle fed in the lots with loafing stalls were significantly cleaner (P<.05) than the cattle in open lots. Although there was a positive significant correlation between average daily gain and cleanliness scores in the two periods, only 4.8 percent of the variation in gain was explained during the entire experiment and 10.9 percent during the high-silage phase. Average daily gain for the entire finishing period was 2.11 and 2.14 pounds per head per day for the cattle fed in lots with stalls and those fed in open lots, respectively.
The cattle in lots with stalls were observed resting 14 percent more than those in open lots. However, this additional resting time did not increase gains. The cattle tended to use the free-stalls more during the winter than in the summer.
A maximum of 75 percent of the cattle were observed in the stalls at any time. Therefore, if free-stalls are provided, the maximum need would be about T stalls for each 10 animals.
Nine minutes more labor per day or 0.4 hours per head for entire finishing period were required to clean the lots with stalls compared to cleaning the open lots. In addition to the extra labor, there was a bedding cost of $1.00 per animal per trial for the free-stall housed cattle.
The light steers gained faster (P<.05) than the heavy steers and heifers; however, condition grades and carcass traits were not significantly different (P<.05) among the various types of cattle.
A larger percent of the light steers (68 percent) were observed resting than either the heavy steers (63 percent) or heifers (60 percent),
Feed cost for the light steers was one dollar less per hundred pounds of gain than for either heavy steers or heifers. The light steers and heifers returned $30.00 per head more above feed and initial costs than the heavy steers. This reflects the difference in purchase price. The light steers and heifers were fed with about $1.00 positive margin and the heavy steers were fed at a negative margin.
Animal performance was not significantly affected by the various stall lengths in this study (44, 48, and 52 inches).
Allen, John Albert, "Effect of free-stall housing on the performance of beef cattle being finished for slaughter. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1968.