Comparison Performance and Economics of a Long Yearling and Calf-Fed System

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Professional Animal Scientist





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Performance and economics of calf feeding and feeding long-yearlings was compared from University of Nebraska research conducted from 1996 to 2004. All calves in these studies were spring born and purchased the subsequent fall. The heaviest calves (292 ± 5 kg) were placed into the feedlot and fed an average of 168 d (calf-feds), whereas the lighter calves (239 ± 5 kg) were placed into a long-yearling system consisting of corn residue grazing followed by summer grazing before entering the feedlot for finishing. Long-yearlings were fed in the feedlot for an average of 90 d. At the beginning of the finishing period, long-yearlings were 143 kg heavier than calf-feds (P < 0.01). Although daily DMI was greater for long-yearlings (P < 0.01), calffeds consumed more total DM during finishing (P < 0.01). Long-yearlings had greater ADG compared with calf-feds during finishing (P < 0.01); however, calffeds were 18.7% more efficient (P < 0.01). Long-yearlings were 38 kg heavier (P < 0.01) than calf-feds and had 24 kg heavier hot carcass weight (P < 0.01). Quality grade was not affected by production system (P > 0.10); however, calffeds had 0.15 cm greater fat thickness (P < 0.01). Long-yearlings were more profitable than calf-feds (P < 0.01) due to lower feed cost (P < 0.01), yardage (P < 0.01), and initial animal cost (P < 0.01). However, long-yearlings had higher interest cost (P < 0.01) and total cost (P = 0.02). Long-yearlings produced greater final BW leading to an improvement in profitability compared with calffeds.

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