Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



The Professional Animal Scientist 24 (2008):411–419


Copyright 2008 American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists


A 2-yr study (200 steers/yr) was conducted to evaluate effects of grazing management and sorting by BW at feedlot entry on performance and economics of yearling steers. At receiving, steers (247 ± 21 kg) were randomly allotted to 1 of 2 treatments: low (0.75 kg/d, NORM) or high (0.90 kg/d, INT) gains during backgrounding. After wintering, NORM and INT grazed native range for 128 and 78 d, respectively. At feedlot entry, steers were randomly allotted to 1 of 2 treatments: sorted by BW (25% heavy, 50% medium, or 25% light; SORT) or unsorted (UNSORT). Heavy, medium, light, and UNSORT steers were fed for 78, 100, 115, and 92 d, respectively. At feedlot entry, NORM was 10 kg heavier than INT (P < 0.01); however, final BW was not different (P = 0.52). Compared with INT, NORM had increased (P < 0.01) marbling scores; however, NORM had smaller LM area (P < 0.01). At the end of the winter period (P < 0.01) and at harvest (P < 0.01), NORM was more profitable. However, INT was more profitable at the end of summer grazing (P < 0.01). Sorting increased final BW (P = 0.02) due to increased days fed (P < 0.01). Sorting reduced overweight carcasses by 8.1 percentage units (P < 0.01). Sorting produced no significant difference in profitability (P = 0.13). In this study, management of steers before feedlot entry affected subsequent performance and profitability. Additionally, SORT increased final BW and reduced overweight carcasses but did not change profitability.