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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Feeding and Marketing Cull Cows

Authors
item Funston, Richard - MONTANA STATE UNIV
item Paterson, John - MONTANA STATE UNIV
item Williams, K - MONTANA STATE UNIV
item ROBERTS, ANDREW

Submitted to: Montana Nutrition Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2002
Publication Date: May 1, 2002
Citation: FUNSTON, R.N., PATERSON, J.A., WILLIAMS, K.E., ROBERTS, A.J. FEEDING AND MARKETING CULL COWS. MONTANA NUTRITION CONFERENCE. 2002. p. 18-23.

Interpretive Summary: Sale of cull beef cows accounts for 15-25% of yearly gross revenues of cow-calf operations in the United States. Beef from market cows is widely used in the retail and food service sector in a variety of product forms, not all of which is ground. Therefore, producers should identify opportunities to add value to market cows. Research indicates that feeding cull cows an energy dense diet for approximately 90 days can increase carcass fat content, lean meat yield, marbling, produce whiter external fat, and thereby potentially improve cooked meat palatability. Furthermore, implanting cull cows with steroid implants resulted in 65 lb heaver final weight, .48 lb greater ADG, 56 lb heavier carcass weight, 1.4 in larger ribeye, and 25 units less marbling. Initial weight and body condition score at the time animals were placed in the feedlot also influenced feedlot performance and carcass characteristics of cull cows. Feeding cull cows an energy dense diet provides ranchers with an opportunity to add value to their market cows.

Technical Abstract: Sale of cull beef cows accounts for 15-25% of yearly gross revenues of cow-calf operations in the United States. Beef from market cows is widely used in the retail and food service sector in a variety of product forms, not all of which is ground. Producers should identify opportunities to add value to market cows. Feeding cull cows an energy dense diet can increase carcass fat content, lean meat yield, marbling, produce whiter external fat, and improve cooked meat palatability. Furthermore, gain, feed efficiency, carcass traits, and overall eating quality can be improved by implanting cull cows with steroid implants. In many previous studies, cows were fed for 56 d or less, however it may be necessary to feed most cows for 60 to 100 days to improve one USDA slaughter grade. Therefore, objectives of this study were to determine effects of implant, initial body weight, and body condition score on feedlot performance and final live animal and carcass characteristics of cull cows fed a high concentrate diet for approximately 90 d. At the beginning of the study, 136 cows were weighed (initial body weight) and visually appraised for body condition. One-half of cows were allotted to implant treatment (Synovex-Plus®, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Overland Park, KS) by initial weight and body condition score. Cows were fed a warm-up diet (50-60% concentrate, DM basis) for 7 d, and then fed a finishing (80-85% concentrate, DM basis) feedlot ration for the remainder of the study. For every pound difference in initial weight, final weight increased by 1.05 lbs; hot carcass weight, backfat, ribeye area, marbling score, and yield grade were also positively affected by initial weight. A change of one initial body condition score resulted in 60 lb heavier final weight, 48 more pounds of hot carcass weight, .07 in backfat, .85 in ribeye area, and 16 units of marbling score but had no effect on average daily gain. Implant influenced both feedlot and carcass characteristics. Implanted cattle had 65 lb heaver final weight, .48 lb greater ADG, 56 lb heavier carcass weight, 1.4 in larger ribeye, and 25 units less marbling. Initial weight, body condition score, and implanting can influence feedlot performance and carcass characteristics of cull cows.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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