Effects of winter growing programs on subsequent feedlot performance, carcass characteristics, body composition, and energy requirements of beef steers.J Anim Sci 2010; 88(4):1564-76JA
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of winter growing program on subsequent finishing performance, carcass merit, and body composition of beef steers. Four steers were slaughtered to determine initial body composition. Remaining steers (n = 256) were blocked by BW and randomly allotted to 1 of 4 treatment groups: 1) ad libitum fed a high-concentrate diet (CF), 2) grazed on wheat pasture (WP), 3) fed a sorghum silage-based diet (SF), or 4) program fed a high-concentrate diet (PF). Steers in the WP, SF, and PF groups were managed to achieve approximately equal rates of BW gain. After the growing phase (112 d), 6 steers were randomly selected from the WP, SF, and PF treatments for determination of body composition. Remaining steers were adapted to a high-concentrate diet for finishing and slaughtered at 1.27 cm of 12th-rib fat. Six steers from each treatment were used to determine carcass, offal, and empty body composition. During the growing phase, WP, SF, and PF steers gained 1.15, 1.10, and 1.18 kg/d, respectively, and ME intake did not differ (P = 0.50) among treatments. Program-fed and SF steers had greater (P < 0.05) offal and empty body fat content than WP steers. Gain in offal and empty body fat was greatest (P < 0.05) for PF steers, intermediate for SF steers, and least for WP steers. During the finishing phase (123, 104, 104, 196 d for WP, SF, PF, and CF, respectively) DMI was greater (P < 0.01) for SF steers (10.9 kg/d) than for PF steers (10.1 kg/d); WP steers were intermediate (10.4 kg/d). Daily BW gain was greatest (P < 0.05) for SF steers (2.02 kg/d), intermediate for PF steers (1.85 kg/d), and least for WP and CF steers (1.64 and 1.63 kg/d, respectively). Accretion (kg/d) of carcass and empty body mass was less (P < 0.05) for WP and CF steers compared with PF and SF steers. Calf-fed steers had greater (P < 0.05) fat content of offal than SF and PF steers; WP steers were intermediate. Gain in empty body and carcass energy (Mcal/d) was greater (P < 0.05) for PF steers than CF steers with SF and WP steers being intermediate. At slaughter, SF steers had reduced (P < 0.01) yield grades and greater marbling scores compared with CF and WP steers; PF steers were intermediate. In conclusion, growing programs that increase fat composition of feeder calves did not negatively affect subsequent finishing performance. Finishing steers as calves may reduce retained energy of carcass tissues and increase internal fat during high-grain feeding compared with steers that previously underwent a growing program.