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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Performance of Steer Calves Born in the Northern Great Plains in Three Seasons of Calving and Used As Stocker Cattle on Winter Wheat Pasture in the Southern Great Plains

Authors
item Grings, Elaine
item Phillips, William
item Short, R - RETIRED ARS
item Mayeux Jr, Herman
item Heitschmidt, Rodney

Submitted to: Research Update for Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2002
Publication Date: January 15, 2003
Repository URL: http://www.larrl.ars.usda.gov
Citation: GRINGS, E.E., PHILLIPS, W.A., SHORT, R.E., MAYEUX JR, H.S., HEITSCHMIDT, R.K. PERFORMANCE OF STEER CALVES BORN IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS IN THREE SEASONS OF CALVING AND USED AS STOCKER CATTLE ON WINTER WHEAT PASTURE IN THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS. RESEARCH UPDATE FOR FORT KEOGH LIVESTOCK AND RANGE RESEARCH LABORATORY. p. 32. 2003.

Interpretive Summary: Fifty-three steers calves from USDA-ARS, Fort Keogh LARRL were born in February, April or June and weaned in October, creating calves of different ages and body weights. Following a preconditioning period, steers from were shipped 1140 miles to USDA-ARS, Grazinglands Research Laboratory, El Reno, Oklahoma on November 14, 2000. Because winter wheat was limited due to drought conditions, all steers were placed in a dormant warm-season grass pasture. The steers had ad libitum access to hay and a mixed diet in a self-feeder. The amount of winter wheat gain decreased as the initial body weight and age at weaning decreased. During the spring grazing period, the younger, lighter calves gained weight more rapidly than the older heavier calves. By the beginning of the spring grazing period, the older February born calves weighed over 800 lbs, while the younger June calves weighed just over 640 lbs. The June calves probably had to expend less energy for maintenance, so they could gain more rapidly. Because the value of gain is greater for lighter calves than for heavier calves, owning the June-born calves would probably be more profitable than being paid for gain as a subcontractor. The opposite would be true for the February-born calves. Because the February-born calves were heavier at arrival and gained more weight during the winter than the younger calves, being paid for gain would be more economical.

Technical Abstract: Fifty-three steers calves from USDA-ARS, Fort Keogh LARRL were born in February, April or June and weaned in October, creating calves of different ages and body weights. Following a preconditioning period, steers from were shipped 1140 miles to USDA-ARS, Grazinglands Research Laboratory, El Reno, Oklahoma on November 14, 2000. Because winter wheat was limited due to drought conditions, all steers were placed in a dormant warm-season grass pasture. The steers had ad libitum access to hay and a mixed diet in a self-feeder. The amount of winter wheat gain decreased as the initial body weight and age at weaning decreased. During the spring grazing period, the younger, lighter calves gained weight more rapidly than the older heavier calves. By the beginning of the spring grazing period, the older February born calves weighed over 800 lbs, while the younger June calves weighed just over 640 lbs. The June calves probably had to expend less energy for maintenance, so they could gain more rapidly. Because the value of gain is greater for lighter calves than for heavier calves, owning the June-born calves would probably be more profitable than being paid for gain as a subcontractor. The opposite would be true for the February-born calves. Because the February-born calves were heavier at arrival and gained more weight during the winter than the younger calves, being paid for gain would be more economical.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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