Relative efficiency of calves, yearlings and two-year-old steers for the producer
1. Steer calves purchased in the fall and full-fed in dry lot until finished for market proved in three different years to be more profitable for the producer than yearlings or two-year-old steers. A longer time was required to fatten the calves, but they required less feed for the hundredweight of gain, sold on a higher market and returned a greater margin over feed costs.
2. The yearling steers proved to be more profitable than the two-year-olds altho the margin was close in each of the three years.
3. The two-year-old steers made greater gains during the finishing period than the calves and slightly greater gains than the yearlings during two of the three comparisons. However, the two-year-olds required more feed for the hundredweight of gain, sold for a lower price than the calves in all three years and lower than the yearlings in two of the years and returned less margin over feed cost than the calves or yearlings.
4. In determining the age of cattle to purchase for the feed lot, one must consider many factors and remember that when the relative prices of the cattle and feeds change that new profit and loss alignments are inevitable.