Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



2018 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report. University of Nebraska Extension MP105. Lincoln, NE.


© 2017 The Board Regents of the University of Nebraska.


This study evaluated the effects of cow-calf production system and post-weaning management on finishing performance and carcass characteristics of steer and heifer calves. Calves that were wintered on cornstalks prior to weaning had lighter initial BW compared to calves that were wintered in the dry-lot; however, final BW and carcass weight were similar between treatments. Post-weaning management was either adapting calves to a finishing diet following weaning or feeding a grower diet prior to the finishing phase. When harvested at similar back fat, calves that were fed a grower diet for 76 days prior to the finishing phase had 71 pounds more final BW and 45 lb. greater carcass weight compared to calves that were directly adapted to a finishing diet. Cow-calf production system appears to have minimal impact on feedlot performance due to compensatory gain during the post-weaning phase; however, post-weaning practices can be used to manipulate finishing performance and carcass characteristics.