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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Lexington, Kentucky » Forage-animal Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #282365

Title: Stocker growth on rye and ryegrass pastures affects subsequent feedlot gains and carcass traits

item CLEERE, J - Texas A&M University
item ROUQUETTE, F - Texas A&M University
item HERRING, A - Texas A&M University
item HOLLOWAY, J - Texas A&M University
item WARRINGTON, B - Texas A&M University
item LONG, C - Texas A&M University
item POND, K - Texas Tech University
item MILLER, M - Texas Tech University
item Aiken, Glen

Submitted to: Forage and Grazinglands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/26/2012
Publication Date: 5/24/2012
Citation: Cleere, J.J., Rouquette, F.M., Herring, A.D., Holloway, J.W., Warrington, B.G., Long, C.R., Pond, K.R., Miller, M.F., Aiken, G.E. 2012. Stocker growth on rye and ryegrass pastures affects subsequent feedlot gains and carcass traits. Forage and Grazinglands. doi:10.1094/FG-2012-0524-01-RS.

Interpretive Summary: Stocker and/or feeder operators preferentially purchase animals with visually-apparent reduced gains and body condition in anticipation of accelerated, compensatory gains during the next phase of their operation. With increasing prices and demand for stocker and feeder cattle, economic implications dictate pasture management strategies of either optimum gain per animal or gain per ha. For those who rely on stocker and/or feeder operations, they must project gain per animal and related cost of gain for sale versus ownership decisions. Those who have a vertically-integrated strategy with continuous ownership through the feedlot can rely upon data sets such as this which show that animals with low gains during the grazing backgrounding phase may not fully compensate during the finishing phase. In addition, reduced gains on pasture during the stocker phase can result in reduced carcass weights with smaller ribeye areas. The increasing energy demands and resultant increased costs of fertilizer and feed grains has had industry-changing directions toward enhanced gain on pastures for heavier weight of cattle entering the feedlot and shorter duration of feedlot residence. Therefore, this research will have implications on cattle producers who are retaining ownership from pasture to feedlot. Detailed databases on stocker growth on pasture and expected gains in feedlot will continue to expand in importance for management with evolving factors such as feed costs and animal inventory affecting economy of scale of the beef industry.

Technical Abstract: Stocker calves were stocked on annual rye (Secale cereale L.) and ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) pastures using stocking strategies (STK) to create graded levels of gain to assess subsequent growth rates, feedlot performance, and carcass traits. During two consecutive years, yearling Angus, Hereford, and Brahman crossbred steers (n = 109) and heifers (n = 67) were exposed to different STK on rye plus ryegrass pastures in a humid environment at Overton (OVT); and Angus steers (n = 92) were stocked on ryegrass at different STK in a semi-arid environment at Uvalde (UVL). Animals exposed to STK were partitioned into pasture gain groups (Low, Medium, High) based on one-half of one standard deviation from the mean. Feedlot gain of OVT heifers and UVL steers were not affected by previous pasture ADG. The OVT steers with Medium and Low pasture gain had higher feedlot ADG than High gain steers (P < 0.05). Final feedlot weights for Low gain animals from both OVT and UVL were lower than the High pasture gain animals (P < 0.05). Hot carcass weight was positively related to weight gain on pasture across OVT and UVL groups. Other carcass traits for OVT steers and heifers were only marginally affected by growth rate on pasture. Stocker gain on winter pasture was the most significant component of lifetime performance and full compensatory gains were not made in feedlot.