Production systems comparing early weaning to normal weaning with or without creep feeding for beef steers

S. E. Myers, D. B. Faulkner, F. A. Ireland, L. L. Berger, D. F. Parrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

A 2-yr study was conducted to determine the effects of three weaning management systems on cow and steer performance. Cow-calf pairs were randomly assigned to one of three treatments, in which the steer calves were 1) early-weaned (yr 1, 177 ± 9 d; yr 2, 158 ± 21 d of age) and placed on a finishing diet (EW), 2) supplemented with grain for 55 d on pasture (yr 1, 177 to 231 d; yr 2, 158 to 213 d of age) while nursing their dams and then placed on a finishing diet (NWC), and 3) on pasture for 55 d while nursing their dams (yr 1, 177 to 231 d; yr 2, 158 to 213 d of age) and then placed on a finishing diet (NW). In yr 2, potential breed differences were evaluated using steers of three breed types: 1) Angus × Hereford (BRI); 2) Angus × Simmental (CON); and 3) Angus × Wagyu (WAG). In yr 1, EW steers gained 100% faster (P = .0001) than the average of NWC and NW steers, and NWC steers gained 32% faster (P = .02) than NW steers before weaning. In the feedlot, EW steers had lower intakes (7.70 vs 8.16 kg/d, P = .008) and better feed conversions (.170 vs .153, P = .002) than the average of NWC and NW steers. Marbling score was improved for EW steers compared with the average of NWC and NW steers (P = .003). In yr 2, EW steers had higher gains (P = .0006) during the entire study than the average of NWC and NW steers, and NWC steers had higher gains (P = .003) than NW steers. The EW steers had lower intakes (7.29 vs 7.68 kg/d, P = .0008) and better feed conversions (.160 vs .141, P = .0001) than the average of NWC and NW steers. The CON steers were heavier at slaughter than BRI steers (P = .01), and BRI steers were heavier than WAG steers (P =.0004). Early weaning improved the percentage of steers grading Average Choice or higher by 40%. The percentage of BRI steers grading Choice or greater was 21% higher and percentage of steers grading Average Choice or greater was 33% higher than CON. Cows with EW steers had higher ADG than cows with NW steers (.38 vs -.17 kg/d, P = .0001) before weaning. Cows with EW steers gained in body condition score (.23 vs .00, P = .04), and cows with NW steers did not change. Early weaning improved feed efficiency and quality grades of beef steers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-310
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume77
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1999

Keywords

  • Meat quality
  • Systems
  • Weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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