Ask any mother, new or expecting, and she’ll tell you that she only wants the best for her child’s health, development and future. Cattlemen feel the same way about their herd and they just want to make smart, practical decisions for every calf production. These management practices in question often cover topics such as breed, calving season, nutrition, health protocol and husbandry techniques.
Several professors at Oklahoma State University, including Paul Beck, associate professor and specialist in cattle nutrition extension, and David Lalman, professor and specialist in beef cattle extension, decided to put these questions to the test in a four-year study conducted by OSU’s Department of Animals. and food science. They set out to compare the effects of calving season on the performance of feedlot steers in carcass characteristics. The study began in 2016 and Angus cows were randomly assigned to be mated to Angus and Hereford bulls through artificial insemination. Next, Angus and Charolais cleaning bulls were brought out for natural breeding on the open cows. Spring-born calves were weaned in early October, fed native pasture, hay and 3 pounds of DDGS supplement daily for 60 days, then grazed on wheat pasture until the spring before to be shipped to a commercial feedlot. Calves born in the fall were weaned between May and June, grazed on the range for 70 to 90 days, reared in a dry pen in late summer for 30 days, then shipped to a commercial feedlot in August or September.