Date of this Version
Mracek, J. M. 2014. Use of Distiller Grains in Alternative Beef Heifer Systems. MS Thesis. University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Every year, producers select replacement heifers with the intention that these heifers are the future of their cow herd. Producers normally select replacement heifers at weaning based on weight and structure. When selecting heifers at weaning, producers risk not selecting heifers that would be productive cows based on their criteria. By delaying the selection of replacements, it will allow producers to increase the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate replacement prospects. The corn dry-milling industry produces byproducts that can be economical supplements to growing cattle on forage. An experiment evaluated an alternative heifer system utilizing distiller grains as an energy source to heifers. A distiller grain supplement was fed ad-libitum to heifers on pasture to maximize gain. Heifers consuming the distiller grain supplement were able to increase their BW while increasing the stocking rate in the pasture. Supplemented heifers were able to reach their targeted harvest point before nonsupplemented heifers. This alternative production system could provide a viable option for marketing heifers in a yearling or cow/calf enterprise.
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