Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Animal Science

First Advisor

Amanda Blair


The overall goal of this thesis project was to better understand the influence of preharvest management strategies at critical growth and development periods on beef performance and meat quality. This was accomplished through two primary objectives: 1) to investigate the effects of maternal prepartum dietary energy source during mid- and late-gestation on growth performance, carcass composition, and meat quality of offspring and 2) to compare the influence of two low stress weaning methods with conventional weaning on post-weaning performance and carcass characteristics of steers. For objective 1, Angus-based cows from two sources (n = 129 from South Dakota State University, Experiment 1 and n = 70 from North Dakota State University, Experiment 2) were stratified by body weight (BW) and age and placed into two treatment groups: Concentrate (fed a concentrate-based diet) or Forage (fed a forage-based diet) during mid- and late-gestation. In both Experiment 1 and 2, maternal prepartum dietary energy source during mid and late gestation did not significantly alter offspring performance, carcass merit or meat quality (P > 0.10). For objective 2, steer calves (n = 90) from a single source were stratified by BW and dam age into three groups: ABRUPT (calves isolated from dams on the day of weaning), FENCE (calves separated from dams via a fence for 7 days prior to completely weaning), and NOSE (nose-flap inserted and calves remained with dams for 7 days prior to completely weaning). Weaning method influenced (P < 0.10) growth performance during and shortly after the weaning event but differences did not persist into the finishing period. Weaning methods did not influence (P > 0.01) haptoglobin concentrations or carcass measurements. Maternal dietary energy source and weaning method had limited impacts on long-term offspring performance and carcass merit. Collectively these results indicate cow/calf producers have flexibility in the dietary sources and weaning strategies they utilize.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Beef cattle -- Feeding and feeds.
Beef cattle -- Fetuses -- Nutrition.
Beef cattle -- Growth.
Calves -- Growth.
Calves -- Weaning.
Beef cattle -- Carcasses -- Composition.
Beef -- Quality.
Meat -- Quality.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University

Included in

Beef Science Commons



Rights Statement

In Copyright