Season of arrival and geographic region of origin affect feedlot performance, health, and carcass traits of Angus steers



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Kansas State University


Angus steers (n = 17,919) fed at a single feedlot in southwestern Kansas between 1997 and 2007 were used to evaluate the effects of various demographic and phenotypic characteristics (season of arrival, geographic origin, health status, rate of gain, quality grade, and yield grade) on feedlot health, performance, and carcass traits. Cattle were not commingled and were predominantly preconditioned and backgrounded prior to shipment to the feedlot. Season of arrival was categorized as winter (December, January, and February), spring (March, April, and May), summer (June, July, and August), or fall (September, October, and November). Regions were: SC = Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico; C = Colorado and Kansas; NC = Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming; and SE = Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Steers that originated in SC had the poorest ADG (P < 0.01) and those originating in C had the greatest ADG, HCW, and quality grade (P < 0.01). Steers that arrived during fall had the lowest ADG and those arriving during the summer had the greatest morbidity (P < 0.01). Morbidity decreased and performance increased with increasing initial BW; quality grade was only minimally related to arrival BW in steers which were not treated for disease. After accounting for yield grade differences, the association between morbidity and carcass quality and between quality grade and heavier final BW and HCW were diminished, although ungraded cattle had lower ADG, final BW, and HCW (P < 0.01). Increasing yield grade from 1 and 2 to yield grade 3 increased percentage Choice by 12.1 points (P < 0.01); there was no additional gain in quality grade moving to yield grade 4 and 5. More rapidly gaining steers were heavier and fatter at marketing; this translated to greater quality grade in all but steers with initial BW > 375 kg. Performance was very similar among cattle which graded Prime, Choice, and Select, suggesting that producers do not need to choose between performance and quality grade; instead, much of the difference in quality grade can be explained by differences in yield grade.



Carcass, Feedlot, Morbidity, Quality grade, Season

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Master of Science


Department of Animal Sciences and Industry

Major Professor

Christopher D. Reinhardt