Raising livestock, regardless of the head count, can be both a profitable and costly venture. Your farming methods, preparations, and regular regiments make the ultimate difference for your bottom line and overall profitability. For beef cattle, this is especially true. The beef cattle industry is an extremely profitable industry and has a solid customer base, both at home and abroad. One of the biggest concerns for proper beef cattle rearing is making sure your stock have the proper food choices and cattle panels at the right times in their growth cycles. Of course, there is never only one method. Depending on your location and cattle type, you may choose different feeding options. Still, there are some fundamental rules to consider and adhere to, as they apply to your cattle.
The difference in age, weight, and anticipated length of time before slaughter are often reflected in the types of wholesale livestock you purchase and raise. Most commercial beef cattle fall in one of the following ranges.
These are cattle put to pasture between weaning and going to a feedlot. Backgrounding allows cattle to forage, as well as receive feed from the farm. There are various reasons for employing this method, including cost, available space, and the condition of cattle entering feedlot.
These cattle have been weaned, usually lived as stockers, and are between approximately 600-800 lbs. Feeder cattle go to feedlots to be fed a diet rich in corn, legumes, and other grains to encourage fat retention and start the finishing process.
Live cattle have reached maturity and are ready for slaughter. At this stage, the cattle may be fed additional high grain diets to improve finishing and overall market value, or other diets to alter flavor or texture of the meat.
Feedlot and Live cattle are eating mixes of grains and hay from metal, wood, or concrete structures, Stocker cattle will visit feeders intermittently, but regularly. These areas must withstand heavy traffic. Many farms also use concrete slabs or dig to clay or hardpan to minimize mud and effluent runoff.
As mentioned prior, feedlot cattle are fed a diet high in corn, other grains, and protein and mineral supplements to increase weight and fat production. Backgrounding uses more hay to supplement diets, as they’re grazing, as well. Grazing, hay, and legume ingestion helps cattle to develop the good bacteria in their extra stomach chambers, which allow these same
It’s often necessary to supply your herd salt/mineral licks and clean, fresh water. Both supplements and water are necessary to keep your cattle in optimal conditions.
Stocker cattle are left to graze, partially, in order to develop stronger immune systems and overall physique. They must also be regularly checked for parasites, infections, and vaccinated, when appropriate.
Providing both your feeders and your cattle shelter from rain and the elements will improve the condition and viability of both.
Creating a partnership with your supply vendors can also aid in maintaining a profitable herd. Numerous vendors specialize offering feeder equipment and supplies.