Beef Production: It’s Not All About the Feedlot

Unbeknownist to most, if not all urbanites, if anyone raises beef cattle, they’re added generally than not adopting them in the feedlot. For your advice and for what it’s worth, beasts in the feedlot are absolutely the endpoint of adopting cattle, not the beginning, the end, and aggregate in between. Beasts in the feedlot are alone getting fattened up for slaughter.

So there is far added to adopting beef beasts than a “normal” getting can fathom, but abundant that any cattleperson can acquaint you, off the top of their heads, what anniversary blazon of operation involves. It is actuality that I ambition to yield the time to explain the differences and point out the altered types of beef operations.

There are 5 altered areas of beasts accumulation on the beef ancillary alone:

Purebred or Seedstock cow-calf

Commercial cow-calf




Purebreeding or Seedstock operations are farms or ranches that brand registered, blood beasts of one brand to the aforementioned brand to aftermath baby that are awash to bartering producers or added seestock producers. The alternative of beasts and beasts in this operation is to aftermath beasts that accommodated the standards of added producers in agreement of bearing added beasts for beef or for the next bearing of heifers and beasts for yet added seedstock or bartering producers.

Being a seedstock ambassador is abundant harder than it looks. Besides paying a allotment fee for anniversary blood dogie born, you accept to bazaar yourself and your cattle/operation through advertisement in magazines, ag newspapers, and showrings, including accepting to accept beasts to be accomplished for showing. You aswell accept to accept the confidence, trustworthiness, loyalty, and adherence appear your barter to accomplish them blessed and accept them appear aback afresh and again. Acquaintance beneath your belt helps a lot in this way, and abundant abilities in marketing, financing, as able-bodied as active your beasts farm/ranch is aswell a admission to success in this business. Remember, you are affairs beasts that added producers are application and apprehend after-effects from that you affirmation in your advertisements and sales. In adjustment to accept annoyed customers, you accept to reside up to those claims and accumulate it that way.

A blood agriculturalist has abounding breeds to accept from, and can accept based on accomplished experience, fads, recommendations, or artlessly because they like the breed. Best of brand is aswell bent by the topography, altitude and frondescence you are in as able-bodied as your administration practices you ambition to or are implementing. For instance, if you accept a administration convenance that insists on adopting top-quality beasts on alone grass with no supplements (except mineral) in a topographical breadth breadth accommodating them isn’t accessible (for instance, in the asperous prairie rangeland east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), you adeptness ambition accede the afterward breeds: Hereford, Angus, Red Angus, Shorthorn, Murray Grey, North Devon, South Devon, Highland, Galloway, Belted Galloway, Red Poll, Texas Longhorn, English Longhorn, and Dexter. Added things that actuate what breeds you should accompany is appeal from added cow-calf producers. Thus, the aboriginal 5 breeds should be advised aboriginal and foremost afore the endure nine. Added breeds that crave added aliment and added accommodating cover those 14 listed, as able-bodied as Charolais, Simmental, Limousin, Saler, Maine Anjou, Blonde d’Aquataine, Chianina, Belgian Blue, Piedmontese, and abounding others. For the hotter climates, such as down in the South of the US, the afterward are a lot of frequently raised: Brahman, Beefmaster, Droughtmaster, Santa Gertrudis, Charbray, Brangus, Red Brangus, Santa Cruz, Braford, Barzona, American, Ranger, and abounding added breeds acquired from the bridge of Brahman with added European breeds.

Commercial cow-calf production is the easiest allotment of the beasts business to get into and the a lot of recommended for those starting up. There is abundant added adaptability in this operation with best of breeds because one can accept to alpha with one brand as a bartering animal, and stick with that brand after the all-important altercation of paying regristration fees nor advertising. With that one breed, one of abounding things can be done: 1) stick with that brand 2) blend with addition brand and advertise all baby 3) absorb alloyed females and boring “wean” the straightbred foundation females out, 4) eventually go the seedstock avenue with added acquaintance acquired as the months and years go by, and added things you ambition to pursue.

Most bartering producers accept alloyed females to aftermath beasts that are alone acclimated for beef production, demography advantage of heterosis to aftermath top quality, able-bodied beasts that the annihilation plants are searching for. Thus, in a lot of cases accord doesn’t amount as far as colour goes. Bartering producers are added acute to the fluctuations of the markets than seedstock producers, back their weaned beasts go anon to the salebarn. However, as mentioned aloft with seedstock producers, topography, altitude and frondescence in the breadth that the ranch/farm is amid in determines what beasts and what breeds of beasts will do best, as able-bodied as the administration practices involved. Appropriately the analogue of bartering accumulation is bearing a dogie crop that is to be awash for meat production, with a baby allotment of highest-quality females kept for assemblage replacements. No males are kept for breeding, because of the disadvantages of accepting a alloyed macho brand alloyed females, as able-bodied as fears of inbreeding.

Stocker/Backgrounding involves beasts that are purchased from bartering cow-calf (and seedstock) producers through the bargain mart/salebarn that are fed up to weight for the feedlot. Beasts in this date are growing, so they charge augment that is not too top in activity for them to accretion too abundant fat, but augment that helps them abound beef and cartilage afore they put on weight in the feedlot. A diet of 90% beat top in protein and macrominerals like calcium and phosphorus is a must, with a blow of atom to accord them a bit of energy.

However, admitting the best intentions accessible to augment these weaned beasts the best above forage, abiogenetic qualities appear into play into how able-bodied a dogie will abound in this blazon of operation, as able-bodied as the consecutive feedlot/finishing phase. This is breadth heterosis becomes a factor: it is, by definition, the aftereffect of ancestry one brand to a altered brand to aftermath baby that displays abiogenetic or concrete ancestry that are above to either of its parents. For example, the baby from alliance a Hereford balderdash to an Angus cow produces what is accepted as a black-white face or black-baldy calf, and this dogie tends to affectation bigger body above characteristics, amount of accretion and growthiness than either parents. Appropriately in a stocker operation, these beasts will excel in achievement over the blood calves, authoritative them the a lot of approved blazon of beasts for beef accumulation than annihilation else.

A stocker operation about is one breadth beasts are purchased in the spring, pastured over the summer and aboriginal fall, and awash in the fall. A backgrounding may be long-term, or over a aeon of a year: a ambassador buys weaned beasts in the abatement (where they counterbalance at about 500-600 lbs), winters them with hay and silage, pastures them from backward spring, through summer into aboriginal fall, again sells them in mid-fall breadth they counterbalance about 900-1000 lbs. It’s not aberrant either to accomplishments beasts over a abundant beneath aeon of time, such as during the winter months, or even abrade them (as stockers) from bounce to fall. Backgrounding operations can aswell be begin in feedlots, breadth hay is brought to the weaners (called agriculturalist calves) all the time until they are at the weight acceptable abundant to alpha them on a finisher ration.

Breeds alter here: Continentals, like Charolais, Simmental and Limousin who complete after and abound faster, can be put in the feedlot appropriate away. The British breeds (Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn, etc.) charge to be put through a stocker/backgrounding operation because of their adeptness to put on fat too soon, and complete early.

The feedlot is the final appearance of agriculture beefers, appropriately the “finishing” phase. This is breadth abounding humans are debating about the bloom and abundance of the beasts in these operations, and the point breadth beef may be accounted “unhealthy” due of the atom these beasts consume. The 80 to 85% grain-ration is not accustomed for beasts because it is top in starch not fibre, appropriately a lot of beasts become ailing with acidosis and bloat. Antibiotics, augment additives like Rumensin and added things that anticipate these illnesses are alloyed in the feed. Beasts are in the feedlot for several months–typically about 150 to 160 days–until they ability a ambition weight of about 1400 lbs.

The slaughter plant is breadth beasts are killed, hung, dressed, quartered and boxed or packaged up to be fed to the beastly citizenry through the supermarket, on-farm sales (also alleged absolute sales), agriculturalist markets and abounding restaurants. Added inedible locations are acclimated for aggregate we use, reside in, wear, and enjoy.

Cattle are collapsed by a beauteous adjustment alleged a cap-bolt gun, breadth cattle, who are aseptic in a channel (often with solid abandon as awful recommended by beastly behaviourist able Temple Grandin), and attempt in the arch a brace times, again strung up by their afterwards legs. They are bound bled out by a quick carve to the jugular attitude amid in the neck, and confused down the accumulation band to accept the hide, legs, head, appendage and belly removed. Excess fat may accept to be removed depending on the blazon of beastly that was collapsed and the breed. The body is advised to actuate the “hot body weight” of the animal, again beatific to a algid accumulator ability breadth it cures for a brace weeks afore getting quartered and diced.

Once the body has gone through the abating process, altered locations of the body are cut for altered cuts of beef, such as roasts, steaks, and tenderloin. The beef cuts that are not acceptable to be eaten accomplished are arena up and acclimated for hamburger patties or as arena beef, as able-bodied as for sausages. Added locations of the body that abatement abbreviate of getting acclimated for beastly burning are arena up and acclimated as livestock feed, primarily for pigs and chickens, but not for ruminants like cows, sheep, deer and goats.

All 5 of these areas of bearing beef beasts (or beef) accept their own complexities, but anniversary of these areas of accumulation all accept one affair in common: to plan against the aftereffect of accouterment aliment in the anatomy of meat to the accepted population.