Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Beef cattle commercial production

Cattle farming involves rearing and management of two types of animals one group for food requirements like milk and another for labor purposes like ploughing, irrigation, etc.

Beef farming systems are remarkably diverse, ranging from suckler herds where home-bred calves are reared to sell as finished beef, to herds where cattle are purchased at any age from a week old, to be sold at any age from a few weeks to slaughter weight.

There are three main types of commercial beef cattle production systems:
* Cow-Calf Phase (Feeder Calf Production): the cow calf segment which produces weaned feeder calves for further grazing and/or feeding. Establishing a breeding herd takes time. It also requires more land.
* Backgrounding Phase: the backgrounding or stocker phase of production in which body weight is added to recently weaned calves, resulting in feedlot ready yearlings. A backgrounding or stocker operation typically pastures or feeds purchased weaned calves until they reach 750 to 800 pounds. Then they are sold to a feedlot for finishing.
* Finishing/Feedlot Phase: the finishing phase of production in which cattle are fattened for slaughter.

Factors that should be considered in choosing a suitable system include:
• The capacity of the land to support growth of grass, forage and cereals for cattle feed.
• Land area available.
• Winter housing available.
• Labor.
• Availability of cheap straw bedding.
• Other enterprises such as sheep-rearing and arable cropping.

The period of transition from the ranch to the feedlot is one of the most challenging times in a beef animal’s life from a welfare perspective. This is related to the multiple stressors that newly received calves and yearlings are exposed to prior to coming to the feedlot such as weaning (separation), castration and dehorning, branding, vaccination, handling, transport, potential mixing at an auction market, exposure to a new diet and a novel environment including pens, waterers, and feed bunks.

Feeds for cattle
Generally, cattle are fed a mixture of these feedstuffs in amount according to body size, physiological stage and purpose of feeding. Feedstuffs are categorized as concentrates or roughages. Concentrates are feedstuffs high in digestible nutrients, like grains and protein supplements. Roughages are feedstuffs that usually have a lower nutrient density and more fiber. Examples of roughages include hay, pasture, and silage. As a general rule, beef cattle consume up to 3 percent of bodyweight of good-quality feed (on a dry matter basis) per day.
Beef cattle commercial production

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