Research that will be reported tomorrow at Kansas State’s 100th Annual Cattlemen’s Day in Manhattan suggests that despite studies showing pasture weaning that leaves calves in fenceline contact with cows may reduce stress and improve the performance of those calves while on the ranch, any advantage disappears after they reach the feedyard.
The study weaned 460 5-weight calves to either a drylot off the ranch, to a pasture on the ranch with fenceline contact with the cow for a week, or to a pasture with fenceline contact and access to feedbunk space. (The rations for the drylotted calves and pasture-weaned calves were different; the former optimized to improve gain, the latter formulated simply to acclimate them to the bunk.) All were held in their respective preconditioning regimines for a 28-day preconditioning, and then they were shipped four hours to feedlot.
During the receiving period, the calves from drylot gained faster through day 60 and weighed more than either pasture-weaned treatment. The reason: Average daily feed intake was higher. Giving pasture-weaned calves access to supplement in a bunk was apparently not enough acclimation to improve daily gain once they reached the feedlot, a fact underscored by the relative difference in the amount of time each treatment spent at the bunk after arrival.
The bottom line: In this study, at least, you get better results by getting calves to the lot and learning to eat from the bunk than you get by reducing stress caused by taking them abruptly from the dam.
|Drylot||Pasture + Supplement||Pasture|
|Weight at receiving||518||485||481|
|Weight by 30 days||584||549||534|
|Weight by 60 days||697||655||644|
|ADG to 30 days||2.47||2.40||1.96|
|ADG entire period||3.13||2.93||2.82|
Cells with different colors within the same row are significantly different.Source: Bailey AE, Jaeger JR, Waggoner JW, et al. Calf Health and Performance During Receiving Is Not Changed by Fence-Line Preconditioning on Flint Hills Range vs. Drylot Preconditioning. Cattlemen's Day 2013 Beef Cattle Research SRP 1083. Manhattan, KS: 2013. pp. 40-45.
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