Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2592



Summary and Implications

Over a two year period (2007 and 2008), 162 head of beef steers were finished with self-fed byproducts on cool season grass pastures. Yearling steers were continuously grazed at the Neely-Kinyon Farm in southwest Iowa on cool season grasses that were predominantly fescue at a stocking density of 2.25 head/acre. Half of the cattle were implanted (with Synovex®-S) or half were not. Cattle received a diet of either soyhulls-dried distillers grain with solubles (DDGS) or ground corn-dried distillers grains with solubles that was offered through self-feeders. The rations were mixed at a 1:1 ratio with a mineral balancer added which included Rumensin®.

Live cattle performance and carcass traits were not affected by diet. Implanted cattle outgained non-implanted over the entire finishing period (3.52 lbs/d vs. 3.17 lbs/d). This led to implanted cattle coming off test heavier (1324 lbs vs. 1277 lbs) and railing with heavier carcasses (826 lbs vs. 800 lbs). Ribeye areas were greater (13.1 in2 vs. 12.7 in2) for implanted cattle; which was probably due to the heavier carcass weights. Non-implanted cattle had superior quality grades (55% vs. 40%) of low choice or better. Fatty acid profiles from the first year were analyzed and showed that raw beef samples from cattle on the soyhulls diet had significantly higher C18:2

In conclusion, pasture rearing cattle, when given access to self-fed by-products, provides for excellent performance on both live performance and carcass traits. Some considerations should be made by the feeder in regards to time of year when marketing cattle and the cattle’s genetics. This system is an alternative to high-grain conventional beef finishing production in feedlots.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University