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A trial was conducted at a commercial Nebraska ranch to evaluate the effectiveness of a bred heifer development program that minimized the use of harvested feed. Two management systems were imposed on 505 March-calving bred heifers during the winter before the calving season, one including the use of hay (CON), and one relying solely on winter range and supplementation (TRT). During the winter period, heifers in the TRT system lost less condition and had similar weight gains to CON. Two-year-old pregnancy rates did not differ between systems. A partial budget analysis of the two development programs indicated that the TRT system could decrease costs relative to the CON system.