calf weening, calf feedlot, livestock production
A two-year study of early vs. normal weaning of steer calves was conducted in the western Dakotas in 2003-04. Economic and statistical analysis of calf feedlot performance and carcass quality was conducted. The analysis concludes that early weaning improves feedlot production efficiency, and reduces per day and per pound feedlot production costs. However, early weaned steers are lighter at slaughter; therefore, early weaning lowers carcass revenue relative to normal weaning. The early weaning effect on the profitability of retaining calves through the feedlot stage was not statistically significant. However, statistical analysis indicates that early weaning does have a positive effect on cow health, pasture utilization rates, and therefore it has the potential to be an effective drought management tool for grazing cattle during periods of inadequate precipitation.
Department of Economics, South Dakota State University
Number of Pages
Fausti, Scott; Landblom, Douglas; Johnson, Patricia; Beutler, Martin; Gates, Roger N.; Salverson, Robin R.; Patterson, Hubert H.; and Paisley, Staeve I., "The Effect of Early vs Normal Calf Weaning on Feedlot Performance and Herd Management: A Northern Plains Case Study" (2006). Economics Staff Paper Series. 187.