Feed into beef


Beef & Lamb
Project code:
01 March 2018 - 31 March 2023
AHDB Beef & Lamb
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL)

About this project

The Problem:

Nutrient requirements of beef cattle have not been revised since the publication of the AFRC book in 1993.

Since that time the genetic base of the English cattle population has changed as have the feeds commonly used by farmers.

An update of these nutrition models is overdue.



Aims and Objectives

This project aims to deliver new guidelines for predicting beef cattle performance and feed requirements.

  1. Engage with industry to clearly define needs and priorities
  2. To develop new equations providing improved predictions of feed intake for main types of animals and
    diets according to animal and diet characteristics
  3. To develop new models for predicting growth and composition of modern beef genotypes (both dairy-
    and beef-origin) according to category of animal
  4. To update models for the energy requirements of growing and finishing beef cattle (by category) and suckler cows
  5. To revise models for rumen microbial protein synthesis and metabolisable protein requirements
  6. To revise feed values for major feed categories fed to beef cattle in the UK – particularly filling gaps in
    information about new feed types
  7. Model the effects of feed interactions on feed values
  8. To develop prediction models for methane emissions of beef cattle (suckler cows, growing and finishing

Towards the end of the project there will be a campaign of knowledge exchange to disseminate the outputs of the project and encourage implementation of the new models.


Work Package (WP) WP lead
1 Modelling feed intake AFBI
2 Modelling growth and carcass composition SRUC
3 Modelling energy requirements AFBI
4 Modelling protein requirements AFBI
5 Updating and adding feed values and feed interactions SRUC
6 Incorporating on-farm information alongside models SRUC
7 Integration and testing of models ALL
8 Knowledge Exchange AHDB


Industry engagement is critically important to the success of this project.  

An Industry Advisory Group has been established to help steer the development of the nutritional models and ensure they are fit for purpose for UK beef systems. This group will also have access to the models at an early stage to test and implement them in their own systems.  

Anyone interested in participating in the project should contact Dr Mark Young at CIEL on 01904 567716 or mark.young@cielivestock.co.uk.