A beef herd model for simulating feed intake, animal performance, and manure excretion in farm systems

C. A. Rotz, D. R. Buckmaster, J. W. Comerford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


A beef herd submodel was created for integration with other farm components to form a whole-farm model capable of simulating a wide range of beef production systems. This herd submodel determined the best available feed or feed mix to meet the fiber, energy, and protein requirements for each of up to six animal groups on the farm. The groups comprised any combination of cows, nursing calves, young heifers, yearling heifers, stockers, and finishing cattle. Protein, energy, and mineral requirements were determined for each group using the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System, Level 1. Diets were formulated to meet these requirements with available feeds, and the resulting feed intake, growth, and manure DM and nutrient (N, P, and K) excretions were predicted. Required feed characteristics included CP, ruminally degradable protein, acid detergent insoluble protein, NDF, P, and K concentrations. Feed intake was predicted by considering energy intake, potentially limited by fill, and exceeding a minimum roughage requirement. Fill and roughage limits were functions of feed NDF concentrations adjusted to consider particle size distribution and the relative rate of ruminal digestibility or the physical effectiveness of the fiber. The herd submodel was verified to predict feed intakes, nutrient requirements, diets, and manure excretions similar to those recommended or measured for beef animals. Incorporation of the beef herd submodel with other farm components, including crop growth (alfalfa, grass, corn, small grain, and soybean), harvest, storage, feeding, grazing, and manure handling, provided the Integrated Farm System Model. This comprehensive farm-simulation model is a useful research and teaching tool for evaluating and comparing the long-term performance, economics, and environmental impact of beef, dairy, and crop production systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'A beef herd model for simulating feed intake, animal performance, and manure excretion in farm systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this