Agriculture and Environment: Beef
Better Management Practices: Improve Feed Assimilation
There are at least two ways to address this issue. One way is to identify microorganisms that break down feed more completely into amino acids and other nutrients that are more easily digested and utilised by cattle.Another way is to use breeding programs to create animals that have an improved capacity to assimilate feed, or plants that are more easily digested and assimilated by the animals. With better assimilation of feed, less land would be needed for the production of grains and for pastures.
Use microorganisms to ferment feed
Growth hormones that are injected in animals directly or put into feeds to stimulate rapid growth cause the animals to convert feed fats to proteins and therefore grow faster.
They do not, however, reduce total feed used. Another, perhaps more effective, strategy would be to use microorganisms to ferment the feed prior to feeding so that it can be utilised better by animals.
This could potentially result in the same weight gain without the use of growth hormones. The fact that many markets are rejecting beef produced with hormones could be an added incentive to adopt better practices. In addition to a savings on feed from greater assimilation and a reduction in grain production areas, this system could result in a reduction in polluting wastes and the elimination of growth hormones.