PR - A DECISION SUPPORT MODEL TO ASSIST CATTLE FEEDLOTS IN DETERMINING THE PROFIT MAXIMIZING FEEDING PERIOD FOR DIFFERENT BREED TYPES
The main objective of a cattle feedlot is to maximize profit, to ensure a consistent supply and future sustainability. The feedlot industry produces nearly 70% of the total beef consumed in South Africa (BFAP, 2013). The industry has a significant contribution to the economy, export market and social resource utility. One of the factors which influence profitability is the feeding period of cattle in a feedlot. Different beef breeds have different growth curves due to their frame size, origin and genetic potential to grow and adept. Therefor specific feeding periods should be allocated to each breed type to utilize the breed type’s genetic potential in order to generate maximum profit. The aim of this study is to develop and apply a Decision Support Model to inform feedlots regarding the profit maximizing feeding period (PMFP) for different breed types. These breed types differ in terms of weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio. The model is based on each breed type’s unique weekly weight gain and feed intake. Economic values are incorporated to determine the PMFP to ensure a financially sustainable feedlot industry in South Africa. The results showed that breed type, feed price, carcass price and dressing percentage have an influence on the PMFP. This influence, suggest that cattle have to be classified according to breed type and that feed price, carcass price and dressing percentage changes have to be included when the PMFP is determined.
Keywords: Cattle breeds; feedlot; feeding period; profitability