Date of this Version



© 1994, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide discusses feeding and management practices and possible feeding rations for summer grazing programs or for calves that are weaned and backgrounded before entering a feedlot for finishing.

Reasons for Backgrounding Calves

Backgrounding programs allow calves to grow and develop bone and muscle without becoming fleshy. Reasons for backgrounding weaned calves include:

Calves can be retained rather than sold at weaning when prices are typically low.

Developing replacement heifers.

Allows producers to use inexpensive home-grown feeds, crop residues, and/or pasture to put weight on calves economically.

Can add weight on small to medium framed calves or lightweight calves born late in the calving season before selling.

Put minimal weight on calves during the winter before they graze on pasture the following spring and summer.