U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Beef Research Program Progress Report, No. 4, Part 2 (May 1993)


The National Institute of Health Consensus Development Conference in 1985 recommended that Americans eat a diet with no more that 30% of the calories coming from fat, to reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Beef with a low-fat content could compose a greater portion of this recommended diet than beef with a high-fat content. There is a large base of experimental results on the effects of various factors such as genetics, feeding level, sex condition, exogenous biological growth stimulants, time on feed, and postweaning management on growth, composition and palatability of beef carcasses. Systems analysis through the use of computer models is an excellent means of integrating this existing knowledge. Computer models can be used to help identify feeding systems to produce leaner beef, provided these models are general enough to predict body composition with reasonable accuracy. Results from previous research have shown that some differences in' body composition of cattle of the same breed and body weight may be predicted by rate of gain. Our objective was to develop and evaluate a dynamic computer simulation model that uses rate of gain to predict differences in body fat caused by plane of nutrition and to identify the model's range of applicability.