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Title: ANIMAL PERFORMANCE AND CARCASS QUALITY OF STOCKER CALVES ON GRASS PASTURE WITH AD LIBITUM ACCESS TO A HIGH ENERGY DIET

Author
item PHILLIPS, WILLIAM
item BROWN, MICHAEL
item MAYEUX JR, HERMAN
item HOLLOWAY, J - TEX AGRIC. EXP. STATION

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/21/2002
Publication Date: 7/21/2002
Citation: PHILLIPS, W.A., BROWN, M.A., MAYEUX JR, H.S., HOLLOWAY, J.W. ANIMAL PERFORMANCE AND CARCASS QUALITY OF STOCKER CALVES FINISHED ON GRASS PASTURE WITH AD LIBITUM ACCESS TO A HIGH ENERGY DIET. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE. 2002. v. 80(Suppl.1): Abstact p. 228.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: With improved cattle genetics and stocker management, stocker calves are heavier at the end of the production cycle and are sometimes discounted when sold in the spring as feeders. The objective of this experiment was to compare animal performance of stocker calves finished on pasture to a conventional confinement feeding system. Beef calves (N=278) were born in the spring, weaned in the fall, and transported from Booneville, AR or Uvalde, TX to El Reno, OK to graze winter wheat and/or dormant native prairie during the winter and wheat pasture in the spring. In June of each year, calves were blocked by breed, source and any previous treatments. They were then randomly assigned within block to; 1) a conventional total confinement finishing system (FEEDLOT) or 2) a new system (GRAIN-ON-GRASS) where calves grazed warm season grass pastures at a stocking rate of 9.9 calves/ha with ad libitum access to a high grain diet. Average final BW (526 kg) and overall ADG (1.16 kg) were similar across finishing system. Calves in the GRAIN-ON-GRASS group were on feed for 10 d less (P < 0.01) than the calves in the FEEDLOT (137 vs 147) and consumed less (P < 0.05) feed (1087 vs 1312 kg). Calves in the GRAIN-ON-GRASS group had similar hot carcass weights (320 vs 326 kg), less (P < 0.04) carcass fat thickness (10.6 vs 11.1 mm), lower quality grade (10.6 vs 11.1; choice = 13.0), and lower yield grade (2.55 vs 2.86) than calves finished under the FEEDLOT system. We conclude that heavy stocker calves can be finished on grass pastures with less feed inputs as compared to a conventional feedlot system.