LiGAPS-Beef, a mechanistic model to explore potential and feed-limited beef production 3: model evaluation

A. van der Linden*, G.W.J. van de Ven, S.J. Oosting, M.K. van Ittersum, I.J.M. de Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


LiGAPS-Beef (Livestock simulator for Generic analysis of Animal Production Systems – Beef cattle) is a generic, mechanistic model designed to quantify potential and feed-limited growth, which provides insight in the biophysical scope to increase beef production (i.e. yield gap). Furthermore, it enables identification of the bio-physical factors that define and limit growth, which provides insight in management strategies to mitigate yield gaps. The aim of this paper, third in a series of three, is to evaluate the performance of LiGAPS-Beef with independent experimental data. After model calibration, independent data were used from six experiments in Australia, one in Uruguay and one in the Netherlands. Experiments represented three cattle breeds, and a wide range of climates, feeding strategies and cattle growth rates. The mean difference between simulated and measured average daily gains (ADGs) was 137 g/day across all experiments, which equals 20.1% of the measured ADGs. The root mean square error was 170 g/day, which equals 25.0% of the measured ADGs. LiGAPS-Beef successfully simulated the factors that defined and limited growth during the experiments on a daily basis (genotype, heat stress, digestion capacity, energy deficiency and protein deficiency). The simulated factors complied well to the reported occurrence of heat stress, energy deficiency and protein deficiency at specific periods during the experiments. We conclude that the level of accuracy of LiGAPS-Beef is acceptable, and provides a good basis for acquiring insight in the potential and feed-limited production of cattle in different beef production systems across the world. Furthermore, its capacity to identify factors that define or limit growth and production provides scope to use the model for yield gap analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-878
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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