Beef production from exotic and crossbred cattle on different feeding planes in a tropical environment

P.B. O’Donovan, M.C. Chen, R.S. Gillingham


A series of trials was conducted with Holstein (H), H X Sindhi (S), Santa Gertrudis X Native Yellow (SG X NY) and SG X NY X S crossbred males. They received either (a) a high plane of nutrition in confinement until slaughtered or (b) a high medium or low plane in confinement during the winter dry season and grazed on Pangola grass pastures during the subsequent summer. Average daily liveweight gain and feed consumption for individually fed steers under (a) were: 0·87 and 7·0 kg (H); 0·79 and 6·0 kg (H X S), and 0·62 and 4·5 kg (the lowest gaining steer omitted) for the SG X NY. The low feed intake was the primary limiting factor to higher gains among crossbreds. Group-fed SG crossbreds gained 0·6 to 0·7 kg/day on a high plane of nutrition. SG X NY crossbreds fed on high, medium and low planes of nutrition during the dry season gained 0·64, 0·50 and 0·0 kg/day respectively; corresponding gains on pasture were 0·29, 0·32 and 0·79 kg/day, indicating a compensatory growth response. Group of H and SG X NY crossbreds gained about 0·5 kg/day during winter on a medium plane of nutrition; the crossbreds gained weight significantly faster (0·3l kg/day) on Pangola grass pasture than the Holsteins (0·20 kg/day). The low daily gains of Holsteins were probably the result of direct or indirect effects of heat and humidity stresses.

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