Backgrounding

 
      
 
 
 Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers

Knowledge Nuggets

  • Recognize the need for different types of backgrounding systems, since cattle type, available feed resources and marketing opportunities vary.
  • All choices must ultimately answer to the beef grading system and the allowances for carcass size at slaughter.
  • Preconditioning is a term used to describe a 30 to 45 day backgrounding program which prepares calves to enter a feedlot at another location. Preconditioning programs serve to identify calves that receive a recognized vaccination and weaning program to prepare the calves for the feedlot industry.
  • Wintering calves consists of backgrounding which involves using forage to grow calves slowly (0.5 to 1.5 lbs ADG) through the winter. In many cases, this system is used to prepare calves for pasture the following summer as yearlings.
  • Growing calves is a system of backgrounding which generally involves a mixture of grains and forages to achieve growth rates between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds per day. In many cases the producer's goal is to utilize relatively inexpensive feeds.
  • Fast-track systems strive to push the cattle as fast as possible with typical finishing rations. Gains should be 3 pounds per day or more. This system works best with large-framed exotic or exotic cross cattle which, if placed in a program where gains were lower, would finish at a weight too large for industry standards.
  • Small framed cattle are best grown out over a long time as their finishing time is relatively short. Once they have grown the appropriate amount, the cattle can then be put on full feed to acquire the necessary finish for harvest standards.
  • Moderate framed exotic and British breed cattle benefit from a faster rate of growth to accomplish the necessary frame before finishing. Because of their larger frame size they can tolerate higher levels of grain in their ration without becoming to fat to soon.
  • Large framed cattle must be fed on a fast-track program to get enough finish to achieve suitable grades. Long feeding periods result in cattle that become too large and are discounted because of overweight carcasses.
  • Replacement heifers are placed on a growing ration to obtain growth rates of 1.5 to 1.75 pounds per day depending on their genetics. Growth rates higher than this can reduce milk production capability and possibly cause feet problems when they get older.
Fact Sheets

Backgrounding Calves on Annual Forages - available in PDF format only

Backgrounding Calves on Golden German Millet Swaths - available in PDF format only

Backgrounding Calves on Swathed Corn and Barley - available in PDF format only

Backgrounding - Feeder Cattle Nutrition - available in PDF format only

Backgrounding Steers on Fall Rye Pasture - available in PDF format only

Backgrounding with Manitoba Forage - available in PDF format only

Feeding Management for Backgrounders - available in PDF format only

How to Estimate the Value of Supplementing Grazing Stocker Cattle - available in PDF format only

Nutritional Suggestions For Handling Purchased Stocker Cattle

Stocker Cattle Management and Nutrition - available in PDF format only

Systems for Backgrounding Beef Cattle - available in PDF format only

Research Papers

Economics of backgrounding calves on Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) pastures in the Aspen Parkland - available in PDF format only

Effects of feeding time on behaviour, thermoregulation and growth of steers in winter - available in PDF format only

Effects of feeding time on thermoregulation of beef heifers in winter - available in PDF format only

Feeding strategies for improving productivity of growing steers fed grass silage - available in PDF format only

Nutrient digestibility, fecal output and eating behaviour for different cattle backgrounding feeding strategies - available in PDF format only

The effects of limit feeding a high-energy barley based ration in backgrounding cattle in Western Canada - available in PDF format only

Time of feeding and growth promotant effects on the winter growth performance and carcass traits of steers - available in PDF format only

Let us know of more good research papers for this topic.
 
 
 
  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This document is maintained by Linda Hunt.
This information published to the web on October 20, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on May 3, 2016.
 

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