The influence of animal traits on feedlot profitability of Santa Gertrudis cattle in South Africa
Published: 19 June 2018
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Approximately 75 per cent of South Africa’s beef is finished by feedlots. The profitability of the beef industry remains under pressure due to various external factors. Previous research has shown that many factors influence feedlot performance and profitability. It is, however, very difficult to judge an animal’s inherit feedlot performance before it enters the feedlot. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between the animal traits of Santa Gertrudis bulls and the feedlot profitability of these bulls. Analysed traits included the sheath score, capacity score and build score as high scores for these traits are believed to be associated with better feedlot performance. The data for this study was collected from 48 Santa Gertrudis bull calves. The profitability of feeding cattle was expressed as the Total Margin (TM) and Feed Margin (FM). Given the nature of the dependant variables, Ordinary Least Squared regressions were used for the analyses with TM and FM as dependent variables. Results show that although both models were significant, the sheath score was the only individual trait that proved to be significantly correlated with both TM and FM. Sheath score proved to be negatively correlated with TM and FM while it was expected, through popular belief, to be positively correlated. This implies that animals with lower sheath scores, thus with sheaths closer to their bodies, perform better in the feedlot and may affect the TM and FM positively. The magnitude of this trait still remains under question and further research is required.