Canada's Forage Resources
Compensatory Gain on Pasture
There are times when the actual animal weight gain is greater than normal. This situation is known as compensatory gain, which usually occurs following an extended period of slow growth or weight loss due to a low plane of nutrition.
Enhanced intake is often cited as the reason for compensatory gain.
Severity and duration of a feed restriction influences the ability of the animal to compensate. Response can be variable.
If animals that gain slower over the winter as a result of lower inputs can compensate during summer grazing, breakevens might be favorable.
Summer grazing produces excellent gains and gives opportunity for compensatory growth.
Maximizing pasture gains while the cost of gain is low reduces the overall breakeven costs of forage based grazing systems.
Compensatory gain can be economically advantageous in times of high feed costs if it is followed by times of low feed costs such as feeding backgrounding calves on a high cost winter diet followed by low cost summer pasture.
Compensatory growth has limits; rarely it is adequate to bring animals back to the same weight potential after having been on a slow growth-feeding program.
Although price premiums are often paid for calves held back nutritionally, the premium is rarely adequate to cover the increased cost of lowered performance.
Paying a premium when purchasing calves that have been nutritionally restricted may be appropriate in light of possible compensatory gain.
Grass Performance Beats Compensatory Gain
Compensatory Growth and Slaughter Breakevens of Yearling Cattle
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Effects of Rate of Gain During Periods of Restricted Intake on Performance and Carcass Characteristics in Steers Fed to Achieve Step-Wise Increases in Rate of Gain
Effects of receiving and growing diets on compensatory gains of stressed calves.
Predicting Amount of Compensatory Gain
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