Early weaning in Northern Great Plains beef cattle production systems

III. Steer weaning, finishing and carcass characteristics

R. C. Waterman, T. W. Geary, J. A. Paterson, R. J. Lipsey, W. R. Shafer, L. L. Berger, Dan B Faulkner, J. W. Homm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of early weaning steer calves on BW gain, feedlot performance, and carcass characteristics in two herds located in the Northern Great Plains, USA. Steer calves from predominantly Angus×Hereford dams were stratified within dam age and calving date (Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory (LARRL), Miles City, MT, USA; n=354) and randomly assigned to one of three weaning treatments. In addition, steer calves from Angus and Angus×Simmental dams (n=200; Judith Gap (JG), MT, USA) were stratified within breed group by age, calving date, and AI sire. Steer calves either remained with their dams until normal weaning (NW) at approximately 213-d of age or were early weaned at approximately 80-d of age onto one of two early weaning (EW) diets. Steer calves assigned to EW treatments received one of the following diets: (1) 17.5% CP (69% RDP and 7.53. MJ/kg NEm); or (2) 17.5% CP (57% RDP and 7.69. MJ/kg NEm). At time of normal weaning all LARRL steers were gathered and brought into pens at LARRL and held for 22 (2005) or 28-d (2006) before being sold to a commercial feedlot. Sire-identified steers from JG were sent to the University of Illinois for a finishing trial following a 28-d holding period. Steers that were EW were heavier (P<0.01) at time of normal weaning and entered the finishing phase in greater BW (P<0.01) than NW steers in both LARRL and JG studies. Age at harvest was similar for all LARRL steers (P=0.79) regardless of weaning treatment whereas sire-identified JG steers that received EW treatment were harvested at a younger age (P<0.01) than NW steers. Sire-identified steers from JG that received EW treatments received better USDA quality grades (P=0.05; upper 2/3 choice or better) than NW treated steers (P<0.01; lower 1/3 choice). Results from the present studies strongly support the concept that early-weaned steers reach maturity sooner during the finishing phase. However, if early-weaned steers are not identified prior to entrance into the feed yard and harvested at the same time as normal weaned calves of similar genetics and age, then early-weaned steers may be subject to undesirable USDA yield grades (4 or greater).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-290
Number of pages9
JournalLivestock Science
Volume148
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

early weaning
cattle production
Weaning
carcass characteristics
beef cattle
finishing
weaning
production technology
Livestock
calves
dams (mothers)
livestock
sires
United States Department of Agriculture
feedlots
Research
USDA
calving
Diet
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Beef steer
  • Carcass characteristics
  • Early weaning
  • Serum metabolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

Cite this

Waterman, R. C., Geary, T. W., Paterson, J. A., Lipsey, R. J., Shafer, W. R., Berger, L. L., ... Homm, J. W. (2012). Early weaning in Northern Great Plains beef cattle production systems: III. Steer weaning, finishing and carcass characteristics. Livestock Science, 148(3), 282-290. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2012.06.024

Early weaning in Northern Great Plains beef cattle production systems : III. Steer weaning, finishing and carcass characteristics. / Waterman, R. C.; Geary, T. W.; Paterson, J. A.; Lipsey, R. J.; Shafer, W. R.; Berger, L. L.; Faulkner, Dan B; Homm, J. W.

In: Livestock Science, Vol. 148, No. 3, 10.2012, p. 282-290.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Waterman, R. C. ; Geary, T. W. ; Paterson, J. A. ; Lipsey, R. J. ; Shafer, W. R. ; Berger, L. L. ; Faulkner, Dan B ; Homm, J. W. / Early weaning in Northern Great Plains beef cattle production systems : III. Steer weaning, finishing and carcass characteristics. In: Livestock Science. 2012 ; Vol. 148, No. 3. pp. 282-290.
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