The focus of most research on beef weaning programs is to evaluate effects of age and diet on calf performance with a particular interest on preconditioned health program to maximize BW gain. In support of the forage-based production system, research needs to be conducted to evaluate the potential of different forages to facilitate weaning and continuation into forage-based development programs. In each of 2 yr, 48 weaned beef steers were used to evaluate performance when grazing monocultures of endophytefree tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire = Festuca arundinacea Schreb.; TF] and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.; ALF) and the effect of these stocker treatments on subsequent performance and carcass characteristics. Forages were not limiting in terms of mass produced and nutritive value. The greater nutritive value of ALF resulted in greater performance and pounds of beef produced per hectare compared with steers grazing TF. Steers grazing ALF tended to be heavier at the beginning of the feedlot phase, and the difference resulted in heavier (P < 0.05) carcasses, greater back-fat thickness, and greater LM area than the TF steers. Overall, more animals were treated for respiratory problems in yr 1, which may explain the lower gain efficiency of steers in the feedlot, than in yr 2. In the present experiment, greater ADG of steers in the stocker phase grazing ALF resulted in a better performance and end product quality compared with steers grazing TF.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Professional Animal Scientist|
|State||Published - Apr 1 2013|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was possible because of to the support of the Virginia Ag ricultural Council (Project # 457), the J. L. Pratt Foundation, and the regional initiative Pasture-Based Beef Systems for Appalachia, funded in part by USDA Agricultural Research Service. The authors also thank those who were graduate students at the time and helped with data collection: A. N. Lillie, R. L. Stewart Jr., and C. Pickworth.
© 2013 American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology