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© 1988, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


When cattle are put in feedlots, they change diets and environments. This NebGuide discusses ways to minimize possible losses caused by those changes. Cattle are a vital link in the human food chain in the United States. The utilized agricultural area in this country is about 1.06 million acres, of which 64 percent is range (government and private). Grazing is the only practical method of harvesting these valuable resources. Ruminants convert forage produced by the soil nutrients, water and solar energy to a high quality protein source for humans. The feedlot phase of cattle feeding follows the utilization of roughages that provide for the animal's growth and development stages. When cattle are put in the feedlot, they are required to change from range conditions to confinement, from roughage to concentrated diets and from limited disease exposure to great exposure to disease. Allowing the animal time to adapt to these conditions helps maximize efficiency.