Cattlemen's Day, 2005; Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station contribution; no. 05-144-S; Report of progress (Kansas State University. Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service); 943; Beef; Early weaning; Feedlot performance; Bulls; Steers
Crossbred Hereford x Angus calves (n = 103) were used to determine the effects of early weaning on feedlot performance of bulls and steers. Treatments were: 1) early-weaned (117 days of age) bulls, 2) early-weaned steers, 3) normal-weaned (220 days of age) bulls, and 4) normal-weaned steers. Early-weaned calves were placed on a grower ration at an average age of 134 days and on a finishing ration at 182 days of age. Normal-weaned calves were placed on a finishing ration at 242 days of age. Weight, feed intake, and ultrasound measurements were recorded during the feeding period. Three early-weaned cattle were removed due to chronic bloat, and four early-weaned cattle died in the feedlot. The feedlot period was terminated at either 358 or 387 days of age. Early-weaned cattle had greater average daily gains early in the feedlot period, but normal-weaned cattle had greater gains later in the feedlot period. Excluding the initial weight at 117 days of age, early-weaned cattle maintained heavier weights throughout the feeding period. Bulls had greater average daily gains until feedlot entry of normal-weaned calves, but steers had greater average daily gains later in the feedlot period, resulting in similar final weights. For early-maturing British-type cattle, early weaning resulted in heavier final weights, but it may not be the most viable management strategy because of disadvantages in animal health. Overall, there was no growth-performance advantage for leaving males intact, suggesting that the implant regimen used for these steers was sufficient to compensate for the expected loss in performance when bulls are castrated.
Schlickau, E.K.; Marston, T.T.; Brethour, J.; Dikeman, Michael E.; and Unruh, John A.
"Effects of early weaning on feedlot performance of bulls and steers,"
Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station Research Reports: