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Ruminant Feedlot Meat Production

Feedlot fattening of ruminants is the intensive fattening or finishing of ruminants from landbased pastoral or mixed farming systems. These are generally cattle, but in the Middle-East also feedlot fattening of sheep takes place. Feedlot fattening develops in areas where cheap concentrates are available and consumers are prepared to pay substantially more for quality beef than for chicken or pork. Feedlot cattle are generally fed on a high-energy  concentrates ration with a low proportion roughage. A minimum quantity of fibrous material is required to support the functioning of the rumen.  The feed conversion of concentrates to liveweight gains is substantially less efficient for ruminants than it is for monogastrics, particularly chicken.

Beef cattle in feedlots do not require shelter for cold weather but in hot areas shade has to be provided. Livestock in feedlots are frequently kept on concrete floors, or in dry areas, on an unpaved area.

The large volumes of waste can cause soil, water and air pollution. Most effects are caused by emissions from manure in the form of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and various heavy metals (?). Emissions from manure in the stables, during storage, after application on soils or when manure is simply disposed of. Losses depend on the system of housing and manure management. Generally in ruminant feedlot meat production systems the manure is left to dry in the yard and urine is not collected, this results in losses of N through evaporation and leakage.
There is a potential danger of genetic erosion of the local breeds as a result of systematic sales of the best bulls to the feedlot or as a result of replacement of local cattle by imported beef breeds.

The following matrix indicates the most common Industrial risks associated with Ruminant feedlot meat production

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