Feedlot Nutrition and Growth and Management

Evaluation of Condition Scoring of Feeder Calves as a Tool for Management and Nutrition

  • Dan Loy (Iowa State University)
  • Scott Greiner (Iowa State University)
  • Gene Rouse (Iowa State University)
  • Dennis Maxwell (Iowa State University)


Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of body condition scores of beef calves on performance efficiency and carcass characteristics. In Experiment 1, 111 steer calves were stratified by breed and condition score (CS) and randomly allotted to 14 pens. The study was analyzed as a 2 x 3 factorial design, with two breeds (Angus and Simmental) and three initial CS (4.4, 5.1, and 5.6). In Experiment 2, 76 steer calves were allotted to six pens by CS. The resultant pens averaged 3.9, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.1, and 5.6 in CS. Calves in both studies were fed a corn-based finishing diet formulated to 13.5% crude protein. All calves were implanted with Synovex- SÒ initially and reimplanted with Revalor-SÒ. In Experiment 1, 29-day dry matter intake (lb/day) increased with CS (17.9, 18.1, and 19.1 for 4.4, 5.1, and 5.6, respectively; p < .04). Daily gain (29 days) tended to decrease with increasing CS (4.19, 3.71, and 3.26; p < .13). Days on feed decreased with increasing CS (185, 180, and 178d; p < .07). In Experiment 2, daily gains also increased with decreasing initial CS for the first 114 days (p < .05) and tended to increase overall (p < .20). In Experiment 1, calves with lower initial CS had less external fat at slaughter (.48, .53, and .61 in. for CS 4.4, 5.1, and 5.6, respectively; p < .05). This effect was also noted at slaughter (p < .10), as well as at 57 days (p < .06) and at 148 days (p < .06) as measured by real-time ultrasound. Measurements of intramuscular fat and marbling were not different in either study. These data suggest that CS of feeder calves may be a useful tool for adjusting energy requirements of calves based on body condition. Also, feeder cattle may be sorted into outcome or management groups earlier than currently practiced using body condition and/or real-time ultrasound.

Keywords: ASL R1538

How to Cite:

Loy, D., Greiner, S., Rouse, G. & Maxwell, D., (1999) “Evaluation of Condition Scoring of Feeder Calves as a Tool for Management and Nutrition”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 1999
Peer Reviewed