Nutrition and management of the beef unit for production of slaughter animals on range and improved pastures in southeastern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sn00b125w

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  • Studies were conducted over a two year period to evaluate alternative finishing methods for spring and fall-born beef cattle. Management alternatives from birth to slaughter included season of calving, lactating cow nutrition, preweaning calf nutrition, weaning age, calf and yearling winter nutrition, range and irrigated pasture supplementation, grazing practice, range or irrigated pasture finishing with limited grain and feedlot finishing. Increased levels of energy supplementation for spring-born calves wintered on alfalfa hay or bluegrass straw increased (P<.05) daily gains resulting in heavier (P<.05) calves by spring turnout. However, winter gain was inversely related to subsequent spring and summer gains on range. A grazing practice designed to remove the top 30% of available forage in a pasture and then moving to a fresh pasture compared to season long (continuous) grazing increased (P<.05) summer gains of steers on creasted wheatgrass range. Summer gains for yearling steers grazing irrigated pasture were increased (P.05) on clover-orchardgrass compared to clover-fescue pasture mixes. Following the grazing season on either crested wheatgrass range or irrigated pastures, steers were either worked up to a full feed of grain on their respective pasture or finished in a feedlot. Feedlot finishing increased (P<.05) daily gains compared to range finishing and produced slaughter animals with fewer (P<.05) days on feed. Although daily grain intake was reduced on range, range finished steers consumed an average of 105 kg more grain to reach slaughter weight. Feedlot finishing increased (PC.05) quality grades compared to range finishing. No differences were found in taste panel acceptability. Irrigated pasture vs feedlot finishing comparisons were affected by breed differences between trials. Late maturing Hereford- Simmental steers in trial 1 required longer finishing periods in the feedlot to reach desired USDA good grades. The irrigated pasture steers were finished to a desired weight and graded standard. This resulted in a depression of daily gains in the feedlot and doubled the grain consumption. Early mature Heteford-Angus steers and heifers in trial 2 had increased (P<.05) gains in the feedlot. Feedlot animals finished in fewer days on feed but consumed equal amounts of grain due to higher daily grain intakes. Taste panel acceptability was similar for treatments in trial 1 even-though quality grades were different. All beef in both trials was considered acceptable to consumers. Fall-born calf gain was increased (P<.05) during the winter by increased levels of energy supplementation (5% increase of NRC requirement). However, the gain advantage was lost on subsequent summer range. Winter creep feeding of fall-born calves increased (P<.05) winter gains and resulted in heavier (P<.05) weaning weights. Early weaning calves in April onto irrigated pasture vs weaning in August off range resulted in lower (P<.05) daily gains. However, gains on irrigated pasture were maintained at a satisfactory level. Following the August weaning date steer calves were either placed in a feedlot for growing and finishing or grown on forage, wintered at two energy levels and subsequently finished on range with limited grain. Winter yearling gains on alfalfa hay were increased (P<.05) by 1.4 kg supplemental barley in trial 1 but not trial 2. The difference between trials was attributed to restricted hay intake in trial 1 and differences between trials in previous nutrition. Finishing gains on range were increased (P<.05) by increasing daily grain supplementation from 1.4 to 2.3 kg for both trials. No differences in carcass quality or beef acceptability were found between range finishing treatments. Feedlot finishing increased (P<.05) daily gains and produced slaughter animals in 5 to 6 months less time. Although range finished steers carried less finish, no difference was found in quality grades and the range finished steers consumed 21 to 37% less grain. Feedlot finishing increased taste panel scores for aroma, tenderness, juiciness, flavor and overall desirability.
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