Forage Utilization

Integration of Pasturing Systems for Cattle Finishing Programs

Authors
  • Hayati Koknaroglu (Iowa State University)
  • M. Peter Hoffman (Iowa State University)

Abstract

A 3-year study, using 84 fall-born and 28 spring-born calves of similar genotypes, was conducted to integrate pasturing systems with drylot feeding systems. Calves were started on test following weaning in May and October. Seven treatments were imposed: 1) fall-born calves directly into feedlot; 2 and 3) fall-born calves put on pasture with or without ionophore and moved to the feedlot at the end of July; 4 and 5) fall-born calves put on pasture with or without ionophore and moved to the feedlot at the end of October; 6 and 7) spring-born calves put on pasture with or without ionophore and moved to the feedlot at the end of October. A bromegrass pasture consisting of 16 paddocks, each 1.7 acre in size, was available. Each treatment group had access to 1 paddock at a time and was rotated at approximately 3-day intervals. In the feedlot, steers were provided an 82% concentrate diet containing whole-shelled corn, ground alfalfa hay, and a protein, vitamin and mineral supplement containing ionophore and molasses. As pens of cattle reached about 1150 lb. average live weight, they were processed and carcass traits were evaluated. Pasture daily gains were highest for cattle on pasture for the longest duration (P < .03), and overall daily gains were highest for drylot cattle (P < .01) and decreased with increased time spent on pasture. Although differences among treatments existed in numerical scores for yield and quality grades (P < .05 and P < .03, respectively), all treatments provided average yield grade scores of 2 and quality grades of low Choice or higher. Use of four production costs and pricing scenarios revealed that fall-born calves placed on pasture for varying lengths of time were the most profitable (P < .04) among the treatments. Furthermore, employing a 5% price sensitivity analysis, indicated that fed-cattle selling price had great impact on profit potential and was followed in importance by feeder purchase price and corn grain price. Overall, these findings should provide significant production alternatives for some segments of the cattle feeding industry and also lend substantial credence to the concept of sustainable agriculture.

Keywords: ASL R1779

How to Cite:

Koknaroglu, H. & Hoffman, M. P., (2003) “Integration of Pasturing Systems for Cattle Finishing Programs”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2003
Peer Reviewed