Date of this Version
2019 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report
Calf performance was measured in a 3-yr study with a 2 × 2 factorial treatment design: 1) cow-calf production system (dry lot feeding or grazing corn residue) and 2) directly finishing calves or growing prior to finishing. Calves wintered on cornstalks were lighter at weaning than calves wintered in the dry-lot. However, following the finishing period, there were no effects of pre-weaning production system on final body weight or hot carcass weight. Calves directly adapted to a finishing diet had greater gain and improved efficiency compared to calves fed a grower diet prior to finishing. However, calves that were grown first produced 51 lb greater hot carcass weight. Directly finishing calves resulted in greater net profit as the extra hot carcass weight did not offset the cost of the additional 49 days in the feedlot. Wintering cows with calves on cornstalks instead of in a dry-lot resulted in lighter calves, but calves compensated in the feedlot.