Finishing Cattle For The Freezer

Help Support CattleToday:

mudfork

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Virginia
My experience is not as extensive as that of most of you folks, so I throw this out for your debate and my education.

We started last year setting up a system for finishing a few steers for the freezer for myself and friends. We started in May with 3 on a neighbor's field that faces south and starts greening early. We moved them around the first of August to my field that faces north to take advantage of it's cooler temperatures and better grass growth. The field has good grass and clover growth, but still has weeds and multifloral rose. In August we got them going on about 5lbs each a day of cracked corn and protein. We also cut and fed alot of garden sweet corn stalks as gardening started to wind down, some with milky ears still attached. They LOVED the corn stalks. We butchered the first of October with on the hoof weights around 900 or so pounds, and the meat is yummy.

The main question I have is if the corn stalk feeding is a good practice. They sure loved them, and it kept them on their bellies chewing cud. However, what I don't want is them over filled on the stalks when they would be finishing better on grass, clover, and grain. I wondered what was driving their love of the corn stalks, so I cut a piece of stalk off and tried it myself. It was sweet as a candy bar.

So what do yall think of the corn stalk feeding? I gave some other details of my fledgling operation so you guys can critique it as well. Fire away.
 

jkwilson

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
1,232
Reaction score
16
Location
Southern Indiana
Without knowing the breed or the age, it's hard to tell. 900 lbs is pretty light to butcher. My Hereford steers are usually 1200-1320lbs or so when they go to the locker. Lightest I've ever butchered was 1180, and he had a leg that he was favoring.

At 900lbs, most folks would be feeding them about 18-23lbs per day of 12% protein finishing ration split into two feedings.

Corn stalks are good. Cattle can bloat on green stalks, so introduce them gradually and keep an eye on them. Dried stalks are fine free choice.

I don't see your animals getting enough protein, and my first inclination is that you either need to leave them on the ration you have them on longer or up the amount of feed. Normally they'd get 2-3lbs per day of protein, but your ration shows only about a half pound.
 

TexasBred

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
30,642
Reaction score
174
Location
Heart of Texas
A lot of folks in my area butcher their own beef and many will kill when the animal is in the 800-900 lb. range. Just their preference I suppose. Smaller cuts of meat and less overall meet.

Nothing wrong with the mix you're feeding although I agree you probably would get more of a daily gain with more of the grain/protein mix, to complement the green corn stalks.....however, high-roughage, low-energy diets can be a low-cost alternative when compared to high-energy diets.
 

kscowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Messages
217
Reaction score
0
Location
Lawrence , KS
did you ever up the feed from the 6 lbs you started them on ? If not you can increase that next time around in the last 90 days and probably get a better end weight. 900 is low. My mongrel herd finish up at 1150 around 15 months old. I end up at approx 12-14 lbs of corn per day per head plus good pasture / minerals and good hay in the winter. Some on here recommend more and add in medications to take care of stomach issues. Do a search and you'll find a bunch of threads.
 

mnmtranching

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
5,061
Reaction score
0
Location
MN
I would increase the grain. Cattle love green corn. Green corn is almost all water, won't stay with them long and contributes little to their nutrient requirements. In order for the corn to be a factor you would need to feed at least 40 pounds a day and continue for long periods of time. I can't imagine a garden producing enough to benefit much. Unless you have access to a commercial operation. It's just as you said, "a treat for them" and it won't hurt.
 
OP
M

mudfork

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Virginia
Thanks to you all. I love these boards.

A follow up question. What is the difference between the nutritional value of corn with milky kernels and corn kernels that have dried?
 

kscowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Messages
217
Reaction score
0
Location
Lawrence , KS
cracked corn is a bit over 9% crude protein , found an article on green corn fodder / chop that rates it at 6.4 % , but couldn't find anything on just green corn without rest of the plant included. Probably alot more efficient to just feed cracked corn , it's alot of work , although fun , for the cattle to eat all those ears , plus they keep bitching about more butter and salt.
 
OP
M

mudfork

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Virginia
Another question. Let's say I buy some 600 pound steers for freezer finishing at $1 a pound. How much should I sell them for after they've been finished and heading for slaughter? We're not talking about a bunch of steers here, just a handful for myself and friends.
 

kscowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Messages
217
Reaction score
0
Location
Lawrence , KS
Some sell for market price on the hoof weight i.e. 1100 lbs x 1.25 + processing cost
Some sell by hanging weight i.e. 600 lbs 2- 2.75 per lb + processing cost . I sell to friends and family for 2.00 and to folks I don't know for 2.50 plus the processing costs. Some in our area are advertising at 3.00 and up but that gets pretty steep to fill a freezer with todays economy

Processing in most areas runs 38-45 cents per pound plus a kill fee approx 50 bucks a head

As with anything it's what you can get price wise , check your local papers , craigslist , or do a search on these boards and you'll get an idea what beef is selling for.

In most states you must sell a 1/4 , 1/2 or whole , not individual packages or you can be considered a retailer and need USDA approval to do so , most custom processors are state inspected. get references on your processor , some are good , some not. Also around here you have to get your slaughter dates 3-4 months in advance so keep that in mind also.
 
OP
M

mudfork

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Virginia
I deliver the live cow to the butcher and from there it's between the butcher and the eater. I'm out of the deal at that point. Works well.

So do I understand kscowboy right in that $1.25 per pound is a fair price for a finished steer on the hoof for black angus?
 

kscowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Messages
217
Reaction score
0
Location
Lawrence , KS
Current market price in your area , around here they are anywhere from mid 80's up to 1.25 depending on buyers moods and needs at the moment and it could change tomorrow. I've just settled in that I want to get 1200 dollars out of each steer , call me simple minded but seems to work. i'm not getting rich by any means and if you added up all the labor I'm probably taking a bath in it but we raise mostly for family and friends , about 15 head a year and everyone appreciates the quality of the beef .
 
OP
M

mudfork

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Virginia
Would a finished steer, ready for the freezer be worth more per pound than an animal off a pasture at a livestock market?
 

kscowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Messages
217
Reaction score
0
Location
Lawrence , KS
buddy got 1.28 about 4 weeks ago in North eastern Kansas for a group of 15 angus 800 pounders but youre right it is rare , just trying to illustrate the range for the guy. I'd also state that my buyers aren't ones who are looking at market prices anyway. just like anything else you try to be in the right range and be fair to folks then they come back for more next year without hesitation. There are ones around here that are trying to get 3.00 plus a pound for butcher beef , they have websites , and pretty intensive marketing but seems that all adds a lost of cost and time to the sale for small scale operations.

Talked to an old neighbor yesterday that has a beautiful herd , about 150 head , said he'll sell some this spring and ought to sell em all but doesn't know what he'd do all day , he's 80 , Said " It would be a very long day for me if I didn't have the cows to take care of" In it for the love of it.
 

Douglas

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
885
Reaction score
4
Location
Central North Carolina
Since we are on this subject, what about heifers?. I have had the situation where i had a replacement heifer that did not breed and being about 800lbs were perfect to finish for my freezer. How would the beef compare to a steer?
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
2
Location
MO Ozarks
Douglas":2v6w9l8s said:
Since we are on this subject, what about heifers?. I have had the situation where i had a replacement heifer that did not breed and being about 800lbs were perfect to finish for my freezer. How would the beef compare to a steer?
The only thing we've noticed with them is they aren;t as tender as would be expected. But years ago we used to butcher 3 year old holstein heifers that didn;t breed and they were as good eating as any steer. The main difference is they had been on grain their entire lives and didn;t have to subsist on pasture/hay then get finished.
 
OP
M

mudfork

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Virginia
I'll throw out my question again while you guys are rolling.

Would a finished steer, ready for the freezer, be worth more per pound than an animal off a pasture at a livestock market? Thanks for your response kscowboy.
 

Angus Cowman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
7,157
Reaction score
0
Location
the Great State of Mental Distress ( Florida)
mudfork":3ppvfjxw said:
I'll throw out my question again while you guys are rolling.

Would a finished steer, ready for the freezer, be worth more per pound than an animal off a pasture at a livestock market? Thanks for your response kscowboy.
yes they are worth more because you have more labor and investment in them

I also sell my finished beef at $1.25 pr lb live weight and I have more customers than I want to serve
you can look at my post under the topic "Hanging weight what do you charge" for a break down on my cost and returns
 
Top