Backgrounding rates of gain effect carcass characteristics

By : Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

People are currently investigating methods to control rate of gain. Anna R. Taylor  and Robbi H. Pritchard, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD; and Kelly W. Bruns , University of Nebraska-Linclon, West Central Research & Extension Center, North Platte, NE, looked at backgrounding rate of gain on carcass characteristics.  Steer calves weighing an average of 690 pounds were backgrounded until they weighed an average of 880 pounds. The 3 rates of gain were compared.  Calves were fed a corn silage based diet and the targeted average daily gain (ADG) was achieved by limiting feed intake.  At the end of each backgrounding treatment, calves were fed the same finishing ration and harvested at a common backfat thickness.

Calves with a lower backgrounding rate of gain were fed for more days to reach the common backfat thickness. Calves had increased ADG during the finishing period when the backgrounding ADG was lower.  Hot carcass weights were also heavier when backgrounding ADG was lower.  However, the researchers commented that marbling appears to be best when calves are not grown to slow or too fast and this data set identified 2.5 pounds ADG had better marbling scores.

A related article on backgrounding is in a previous OSU newsletter and may be found here:

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