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Hello everyone, I am still in cattle university here. I have completed finishing of cattle for the last 3 years. This year I apparently had three heifer calves birth via immaculate conception according to the guy who sold them to me. So I have now completed calving, pulling calves, and bottle raising calves as the 1.5 year old mother abandoned her calf. Unfortunately the one we pulled did not make it. One heifer did a great job at raising her calf. And the abandoned calf, after everyone told me he wouldn't survive... he is live and well now at about 5 months old. My original plan was to simply buy calves every year and finish them for my customers. But after calving and now having 3 of my own, I went down a new plan. I bought some pairs and now have 8 mama cows and 8 calves. All calves are in the 5-7 month old range and I am about to start weaning. We created a new pen so we could separate and keep separate until finish of the calves. I am familiar with the weaning process. my question was more about the next phase, growing them until slaughter.

So first off I do not have the best pastures as of yet. So I am currently feeding hay all year round and letting them eat whatever grass is there. The finishing pen is a 1.5 acre strip that is longer then wide( 500' x 150') . I realize many finish in smaller areas, but that's another conversation and I am happy with the larger area for my needs. My plan is to grow them until next September where they would go for slaughter. I have a good finishing program that has served me well for the last 3 years. Basically in the last 90 days working them up from 5-20lbs of grain per day. My question though is there any benefit to feeding them 5lbs per day from weaning right until 90 days out. Then stepping it up until finish? Will the 5lbs actually help them grow and build muscle? especially since they will mainly be eating 90% hay and 10% fresh grass. Or is this just a waste of money? I figure 8 months of 5lbs before I get into the finishing is going to cost me about 1/2 ton of grain per head. Would this 1/2ton help me see an extra 100lbs in body mass? 200? or maybe no different then hay alone? I try to find research on the subject and all the data discusses during finishing and not during growing. Also is there a particular grain that would help grow more muscle over just fatten?

Thank you
 

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Greetings,
Different breeds respond differently to feed regimes so you may need to conduct a little experimentation with grain feed rates on your own herd. Climate may also have an effect on whether the extra energy from grain goes to fat or muscle. In my experience with highland/angus cross in an extremely cold climate extra energy goes to fat production, which my customers love, by the way! I supply my cattle free-choice spent grain from the local brewery, all they can eat, in addition to hay in winter, pasture grass in summer. Check out spent grain if you have a source reasonably close by. In our area whole grain runs about $0.30/lb, processed grain is at least $0.70/lb, spent grain is free. Good luck!
 
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