Ask any new or expectant mother and they will tell you that they only want the best for their child’s health, development and future. Cattle producers feel the same way about their cattle, and they just want to make sound, practical decisions for each calf crop. The management practices in question often focus on topics such as breed, calving season, nutrition, health protocol, and breeding techniques.
Several Oklahoma State University professors, including associate professor and beef nutritionist Paul Beck and professor and Extension beef specialist David Lalman, decided to test these questions in a four-year study conducted through OSU’s Department of Animal Science. and Food Science. They set out to compare the effect of calving season on steer feedlot performance in carcass traits. The study began in 2016, and Angus cows were randomly assigned to be bred to Angus and Hereford bulls by artificial insemination. Then Angus and Charoleis purebred bulls were released for natural service on open cows. Spring-born calves were weaned in early October, fed local field, hay and 3 pounds of DDGS supplement per day for 60 days, then grazed on wheat pasture until spring before being sent to a commercial feedlot. Fall-born calves were weaned between May and June, grazed in a local field for 70-90 days, kept dry for 30 days in late summer, and then sent to a commercial feedlot in August or September.