Effect of age at feedlot entry on performance and carcass characteristics of bulls and steers

J. P. Schoonmaker, S. C. Loerch, F. L. Fluharty, H. N. Zerby, T. B. Turner

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Abstract

Seventy Angus x Simmental calves (BW = 166.3 ± 4.2 kg) were used in a 3 x 2 factorial arrangement to determine the effect of age at feedlot entry and castration on growth, performance, and carcass characteristics. At 82 d of age, steers were castrated. Calves were placed in the feedlot at 111 (early-weaned), 202, or 371 (yearling) d of age. Steers were implanted with Synovex-S followed 93 d later with Revalor-S. Calves were harvested on an individual basis when fat thickness was estimated to be 1.27 cm. During the feedlot phase, yearlings gained faster (P < 0.01) than calves placed in the feedlot at 202 or 111 d of age (1.88, 1.68, and 1.62 kg/d, respectively); however, from 111 d of age until harvest, ADG was greatest for early-weaned calves, intermediate for cattle placed in the feedlot at 202 d of age, and lowest for yearlings (1.62, 1.47, and 1.21 kg/d, respectively; P < 0.01). Early-weaned calves spent the most days in the feedlot, followed by calves placed in the feedlot at 202 d of age; yearlings spent the fewest days in the feedlot (221, 190, and 163 d, respectively; P < 0.01). Total DMI when in the feedlot was similar (P = 0.22) among age groups; however, daily DMI was lowest for early-weaned calves, intermediate for calves placed in the feedlot at 202 d of age, and the highest for yearlings (7.1, 8.1, 10.5 kg/ d, respectively; P < 0.01). Early-weaned calves were the most efficient, followed by calves placed in the feedlot at 202 d of age; yearlings were the least efficient (227, 207, 180 g gain/kg feed, respectively; P < 0.01). Weight at harvest (682, 582, 517 kg, respectively; P < 0.01) and hot carcass weight (413, 358, 314 kg, respectively; P < 0.01) were greatest for yearlings, intermediate for cattle placed in the feedlot at 202 d of age, and lowest for early-weaned calves. Early-weaned calves had the smallest longissimus area, followed by calves placed in the feedlot at 202 d of age; yearlings had the largest longissimus area (77, 86, 88 cm2, respectively; P < 0.01). Calves placed in the feedlot at 111 and 202 d of age had lower yield grades (3.2, 3.1, 3.5, respectively; P < 0.04), and produced fewer select carcasses than yearlings (25, 13, 48%, respectively; P < 0.01). Bulls and implanted steers both had an ADG of 1.7 kg/d when in the feedlot; however, bulls had a greater (P < 0.09) hot carcass weight (370 vs 354 kg) and a larger (P < 0.01) longissimus area (85.8 vs 81.3 cm2) than steers. Earlier feedlot placement resulted in greater quality grades but lower carcass weights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2247-2254
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume80
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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