Beef-cattle production functions in forage utilization
Little information has existed on substitution rates between pasture forages and corn in a beef-fattening enterprise. Without this knowledge it is difficult to determine which combinations of pasture forage and com would maximize profits. Profits in feeding depend not only on the cost of feed but also on the time of marketing. The pasture forage-corn ration that minimizes costs may not necessarily be the ration that maximizes profits, since profits are affected by the time of marketing. Both the quality and the price of beef are subject to change during the beef-fattening period. Consequently, the beef-cattle feeder is confronted with the problem of selecting (a) the least-cost pasture forage-corn ration (b) that will place the beef cattle on the market finished to a grade (c) at the time when the expected market price will maximize profits.
A beef-feeding experiment was designed to determine the feed relationships between soilage (fresh-chopped pasture forage) and com. It was conducted at two locations over a period of 3 years -1957, 1958 and 1959. Six different soilage-corn rations, ranging from all soilage to 2 parts soilage and 1 part corn, were fed to different lots of feeder steers at each location. The rations at each location were also fortified with a feed supplement. Stilbestrol was included in the rations at one of the locations. The results of this feeding experiment are based on the performance of 336 head of good-to-choice feeder steers.