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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #379274

Research Project: Sustainable Small Farm and Organic Grass and Forage Production Systems for Livestock and Agroforestry

Location: Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

Title: Developing criteria for forage finished beef in the Southeastern U.S.

item ACHARYA, MOHAN - University Of Arkansas
item Burke, Joan
item Wood, Erin
item YANCEY, JANELL - University Of Arkansas

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2019
Publication Date: 11/28/2020
Citation: Acharya, M., Burke, J.M., Wood, E.L., Yancey, J.W. 2020. Developing criteria for forage finished beef in the Southeastern U.S.. Journal of Animal Science. 98:30-31.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Demand for forage finished meats continues to increase and creates a market for small farmers in the southeastern U.S. Little is known about production efficiency and quality. The objective was to examine breed type and dam age on growth and finishing traits of forage finished steers. Calves were born in February and March in 2014 (n = 47), 2015 (n = 59) and 2016 (n = 42), castrated at birth and weaned in October. Breeds were Angus with Brahman or Romosinuano influence (1/4 to 1/8). Dams were 2 to 13 yr of age at calving. After weaning, steers grazed tall fescue (fall, winter, spring), wheat/rye (spring), or bermudagrass (summer). BW and ultrasound measures were determined every 30-60 d to finishing target of 8.4 mm back fat. Data were analyzed using homogeneity of regression (BW or REA over day of age) or Proc mixed and included age of dam, breed type, and yr in the model, and age as a covariate. After weaning, BW and REA of steers from younger dams were lighter or smaller and nearly caught up with steers from 3- and 4-yr old dams within 12 mo (dam age x day of age, P < 0.001). ADG (weaning to 12 m later) during 2014, 2015, and 2016 were 0.571, 0.602, and 0.860 kg/d, respectively, and were 0.941, 1.192, and 0.860 kg/d, respectively, during spring months. There was no effect of breed or dam age on ADG in 2014 and 2015, and subtle effects of Romosinuano breed type in 2016. Breed affected number of days to reach target finishing only in 2015 (P = 0.005), but not in 2014 and 2016. In 2015 Brahman-influenced steers reached target earlier than others. Shear force of steaks was not influenced by breed or dam (2014, 4.86 ± 0.4 kg; 2015, 5.46 ± 1.2 kg). Cattle genetics appropriate for grass finishing should be considered and calves from 2-yr old dams may be less suitable for grass finishing systems.