A Study by UQ in Cost Effective means of Supplementation with the use of Protein Meals.Stuart R. McLennon and Dennis P. PoppiQueensland Department Primary Industries & Fisheries, Yeerongpilly, Qld 4105Schools of Animal Studies and Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072
Supplements provide one option for cattle producers to increase growth rate of their cattle and target desired market opportunities but both the costs of feeding and risks are high. Although urea—based supplements are the most widely used throughout northern Australia, they are not formulated to achieve high growth rates required to increase weight for age of cattle. In this paper the emphasis is on production feeding of male cattle. The successful implementation of a cost—effective feeding programme can be achieved with attention to several strategies, viz., choosing the most appropriate supplement type, feeding supplements under appropriate pasture conditions, optimising use of the pasture base and timing the use of supplements and the marketing of cattle to optimise growth responses and minimises erosion of responses through compensatory growth. These aspects are discussed in the context of contributions from our own research findings. Where the feeding standards and their derived decision support models have been assessed, they have not been successful in predicting growth performance of cattle grazing tropical pastures due to their poor predictions of intake but not through inadequacies in the equations describing energy utilisation, which were sound.