They’re weaned! But it’s not over yet. Now you have calves to feed, keep healthy, and get the most growth and grade to sell to the next person in line.
There’s a critical window from weaning to 65% of their mature weight where final marbling and yield grade are still being set.
Precondition like a pro
When is your magic number 45? When you’re preconditioning, that’s when. Research shows 45 days or more is ideal to maximize post-weaning performance.
Target gains of 2 to 2.5 lb. per day during this period where the main goals are:
- Acclimate calves to eating from a bunk and drinking from a waterer
- Provide time for complete vaccination and booster program
- Allow calves to re-gain lost weight due to weaning stress
Less sickness=less labor. It’s better for the next person in line, too. Be sure to discuss a complete vaccination protocol with your veterinarian.
Match growth-promotants to goals
Growth promoting technologies just fill in for a lack of DNA, says one industry expert. Using implants in an animal with high growth potential will give you a “nitro-burning car that flames out.” But there are times when cattle need that extra boost.
Translated: make sure your calves need an implant before you give them one. Then, match nutrition and to implant potency. Work with a nutritionist, because using an aggressive implant when nutrition isn’t able to support the increased growth may increase gain, but grade will suffer long term.
More than two-thirds of the U.S. calf crop will enter a backgrounding program. As the puzzle piece that connects rancher to feeder, we know it’s significant.
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