Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
The objective was to determine how forage quality during the winter influenced subsequent growth and carcass quality. Forty eight steers were randomly assigned within four sire breeds to two winter treatments and three slaughter groups for a serial slaughter experiment. The treatments were winter wheat or dormant native range pastures from December 12 to March 10 after which all steers grazed wheat pastures until May 27. Steers on native range received 1 kg/d 20% protein cubes. Following wheat pasture, 1/3 of the steers were slaughtered and the remainder finished for 45 or 90 days on a typical feedlot diet. Steers which were wintered on native range gained only - .03 kg/d whereas those which grazed wheat gained .71 kg/d (P < .01). During grazeout those wintered on native range made compensatory gains as compared to those wintered on wheat (1.02 vs .94 kg/d, respectively, P < .05), but did not fully recover the weight differential. Gains during finishing were not statistically different, but steers wintered on native pastures continued to gain 10% faster than those on wheat (1.49 vs 1.34 kg/d, respectively). Wheat pasture steers were heavier (P < .05) at slaughter and had higher marbling and carcass quality scores (P < .05) than those wintered on native. Angus were lighter (P < .05) than Charolais, Gelbvieh, or Red Poll at the end of wheat, but were similar (P > .05) to Gelbvieh at slaughter. Though not statistically significant, Angus steers gained less on forage but more in the feedlot than the continental breeds.