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Doug Steele, Vice Provost & Director
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> Department > Home > Beef > Beef/Cattle > BQA
Beef/Cattle Extension Program

Montana Beef Network Update: 2003 Fall Weaning Weights

"Over 11,000 calves and 7,000 cows were tagged with an electronic identification tag."

By by Lisa Duffey, Travis Choat, Brian Rainey, Kim Skinner, Travis Standley, Kelsey Rolfe, Jennifer Olson, Matt Vogel and John Paterson

The Montana Beef Network has finished tagging the 2003 calf crop. Over 11,000 calves and 7,000 cows were tagged with an electronic identification tag. Students from MSU went around the state with a hydraulic squeeze chute fitted with an electronic scale. The cost of this service was $2/head for the electronic ear tag while the MBN paid for data analysis from the ranch through the feedlot and packing plant ($6/ head).

Calves will be tracked through to the feedlot and into the packing plant in an attempt to collect carcass information and rates of gain from weaning until harvest. Most producers enrolled in the program already have received information about their calves because a summary and analysis of their weaning weights has been provided. One of the comments that students heard from producers fall was that their calves appeared to be lighter this year than weaning weights for steers for this year averaged 553 lbs, while for heifers averaged 519 lbs. Interestingly, weaning weights for this calves appear to be similar to the average weights for the 2002. Last year the steers averaged 552 lbs and the heifers averaged 521

Weaning weights for 2002 vs. 2003 calves
 
2002 Calves
2003 Calves
 
--------- lbs----------
Steers

552 (average)
206 (minimum)
918 (maximum)

553 (average)
120 (minimum)
900 (maximum)
Heifers
521 (average)
206 (minimum)
806 (maximum)
519 (average)
214 (minimum)
926 (maximum)

Feeder calf backgrounding gains

MSU research conducted on three ranches this fall has allowed to determine weight gains during a 45-day backgrounding period. of the calves were weaned and placed on a nutritional feeding including the MSU-developed weaning pellet (4 lbs/day) or liquid supplement (1 lb/day). Ranch 1 experienced considerable sickness their calves (dust pneumonia) which limited the calves' ability to weight. The average daily gains show that it is possible for newly calves to consistently gain more than 1.5 lbs/day if there is limited sickness.

Backgounding gains for calves from three ranches which are part of MSU research projects

Number of calves
Weaning weight, lbs
Days on feed at the ranch
Average daily gain
Comment

Ranch 1

Steers
Heifers

 

239
242

 

539
502

 

40

 

0.49
1.41

 

12% Sickness

Ranch 2

Steers Heifers

 

280
2 84

 

505
479

 

33

 

1.96
1.87

Grass hay + 4 lbs pellets

Ranch 3

Steers

 

270

 

581

 

43

 

2.63

Fed 4-6 lbs of grain

 

Beef: Questions & Answers is a joint project between MSU Extension and the Montana Beef Council. This column informs producers about current consumer education, promotion and research projects funded through the $1 per head checkoff. For more information, contact the Montana Beef Council at (406) 442-5111 or at beefcncl@mt.net

View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 08/14/2009
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