Ease of marbling vs. age

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As I understand it, the USDA budget for Choice beef is to start with a 600 lb steer and feed milo (grain sorghum)/corn for 180 days, gaining 2.8lbs/day, with a feed to gain conversion of 8.4:1 and slaughter at 1100 lbs. (ie. a 500lb gain) I have started some calves on feed at 400 lbs with a planned finish weight of 800 lbs and also hoping for a choice type grade target. However, I have not been able to find any research that compares ease of marbling to age. Does anyone have any experiance or an opinion on this.

P.S. I think the USDA starting weight of 600 lbs is mainly an economic thing. That is, if 2 calves were given the same amount of feed over a given period but one was started at an earlier age (and hence lower weight) than the other then the older and larger calf would have produced more salable beef for the same feed cost. However, the younger calf would likely be more tender (at least according to my butcher). What are ya'lls experiances.


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