Integration of Pasturing Systems for Cattle Finishing Programs: A Progress Report
A three-year study was conducted to integrate pasturing systems with drylot feeding systems. Each year 84 fall-born and 28 spring-born calves of similar genotypes were used. Fall-born calves were started on test in May, and spring-born calves were started in October. Seven treatments were imposed: 1) fall-born calves directly into the feedlot (28 steers); 2 and 3) fall-born calves put on pasture with or without an ionophore and moved to the feedlot at the end of July (14 steers in each treatment); 4 and 5) fall-born calves put on pasture with or without an ionophore and moved to the feedlot at the end of October (14 steers in each treatment); and 6 and 7) spring-born calves put on pasture with or without an ionophore and moved to the feedlot at the end of October (14 steers in each treatment). Cattle on pasture receiving an ionophore gained faster (P=.009), but lost this advantage in drylot (P>.10). Overall, cattle started directly in the feedlot had higher gains (P<.001). Cattle receiving an ionophore on pasture had lower KPH than those that did not receive an ionophore (P<.01). Treatment influenced yield grade (P<0.001), although all treatments were YG 2. The percentage of cattle grading Prime and Choice was 75 % or higher for all treatment groups. The results show that using an ionophore improved pasture gains and that pasture treatments did not adversely influence yield and quality grades.