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How will this beef finish compared to a more traditional finishing method

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NonTypicalCPA

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I have a very small herd of belted galloway, two cows along with their newborns and one year olds for six months of the year - so 6 animals. The other six months of the year I have my bull back on the farm. Everyone runs together. I start creep feeding the newborns as soon as they will take it, which is around 2-3 months. The remaining 2 cows, 2 yearlings, and the bull get a 5 gallon pail daily of a corn/pellet mix from the local feed mill. That should work out to 5-6 pounds per head daily. At 1 year of age my yearlings are eating just as much as the cows/bull. The yearlings will get butchered at 24 months. I'm curious what I should expect out of the beef under this feeding program. I started the herd selling breeding stock calves but switched to beef production and downsized after several years, and this year will be my first calves butchered. To keep things simple I like to run everyone together, so a heavy 3 month traditional finishing won't work as I don't want to separate the slaughter animals. I'm curious what others think on how my animals will finish?
 

Ky hills

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I agree with ssterry, I don’t think that they will have optimum marbling that way. I don’t know how to advise for grass finishing. For finishing on grain I would recommend feeding out the calves intended for butcher separate from the others and built up to full feed for a few months before slaughter. They would probably be ready to process sooner that way as well.
 

Ky hills

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For traditional finishing when they are on full feed do you also give them free choice hay or grass?
When I finish them I keep them in small lot that is pretty much bare after a while so I give them hay, usually keep a roll out for them in addition to the full feed. I build them up slowly to the full feed. Ideally for me if I can get them to shelled corn that what I like to finish them on. Sometimes they won’t eat it too good if they aren’t used to it so will mix it with some mixed feed that they are used to. I keep mineral out for them too during this time.
 

Hpacres440p

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Is your goal grass fed or grain finished? I finished 1 bull, and 2 steers and a 2 year old open heifer this year in about the fashion you described. I eventually separated them from the big pregs, because they are so much bigger and pudgier than the steers. Anyway, bull was FB Aberdeen, our steers and heifer were Aberdeen cross, butchered between 18-24mo, depending on processor availability. They were all very tender, the oldest was almost “too fat” for our taste, but regardless of marbling level, tenderness and flavor were outstanding.
It all depends what you want as a product.
 

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ClinchValley86

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We been doing just corn/hay/grass the last 150 days. Start them low, and end up about 20 pounds per head per day of the corn. The meat is awesome and sells itself.

They need excess energy. Not protein. I stay away from gluten on the beeves.
 

shaz

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We been doing just corn/hay/grass the last 150 days. Start them low, and end up about 20 pounds per head per day of the corn. The meat is awesome and sells itself.

They need excess energy. Not protein. I stay away from gluten on the beeves.

Why do you avoid gluten?
 

Ky hills

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I have read that gluten, when finishing, will give the meat an off-taste.
That was our experience. It was a part of the ration that we fed the first 2 of our beefs. It wasn’t too noticeable on the first calf, just a hint of a different taste. On the second calf the ration had changed to where the corn gluten amount was increased, and that time it was more noticeable. The last two we finished were mostly fed shelled corn and just a little of a 3 way mix so just a small amount of gluten and there wasn’t any hint of an off taste then.
 
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NonTypicalCPA

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Good info folks. I'll have to check on my mix and see if it has corn gluten in it. I've been rethinking my plan not to separate the beef animals. I'll have to run another water line/electric to a different pen which isn't bad. Separating them will also solve my problem of having to butcher my heifers earlier than I would prefer because the bull will breed them in my current plan.
 

Stickney94

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For traditional finishing when they are on full feed do you also give them free choice hay or grass?
Yes. All the hay/roughage they can eat.

As others noted -- if you separate the animals meant for slaughter you can feed them a different ration and 'possibly' finish them earlier than 24 months. I say possibly because Wagyu animals/crosses do tend to grow slower (and I don't know much about Galloway cattle).

In my experience a Wagyu X Angus cross from a growy cow can finish in the 16-18 month window (not pushed crazy on feed). But I've had Wagyu crosses from smaller/slower growth cows that do simply take longer to finish. I've got 2 right now that will head to slaughter at 20 and 22 months.
 
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NonTypicalCPA

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My current feed is a 14.5% protein steer feed, no gluten. I understand straight shelled corn is 8% protein. So finishing the last 3-5 months on just corn is ok? Is is ok to give the cows the corn as well daily instead of the current 14.5% mix they currently are getting?
 

Stickney94

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My current feed is a 14.5% protein steer feed, no gluten. I understand straight shelled corn is 8% protein. So finishing the last 3-5 months on just corn is ok? Is is ok to give the cows the corn as well daily instead of the current 14.5% mix they currently are getting?

Many an animal has been fattened on a shelled corn and hay ration.

These complex mixed feed rations make a lot of sense for large feedlots trying to maximize efficiency, reduce costs, and maintain herd health (and running big TMRs). But if you are fattening a handful of fat cattle -- corn and hay will work just fine.

As far as cows -- if you are feeding shelled corn (not ground or rolled) the only potential issue I'd see with feeding to cows is potential for older cows with poor teeth to have an issue. My assumption is the cows swallow the corn and get it fairly soft in their rumen before really chewing it later, but that's mostly speculation.

Others on here (and myself if tied up) feed shelled corn to fattening cattle with no issues (Some soak it in water or water mixture).
 

Silver

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So for you guys down south, are you forced to fatten cattle on corn or is it a choice? Is barley not an economical option for you?
 

Stickney94

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So for you guys down south, are you forced to fatten cattle on corn or is it a choice? Is barley not an economical option for you?
I can't tell you the last time I've seen a field of Barley. I grew up harvesting barley and oats but barley seems almost extinct in large sections of the upper midwest US.
 

Warren Allison

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Question for those answering this post....just curious. Why shelled corn instead of cracked corn? Down here, cracked corn will be 50 cents to $1 higher per hundred, but is there any other reason? It has been decades since my family fed a steer top butcher, My granddaddy said he'd prefer to sell them and just buy whatever steaks he wanted, but we always fed cracked corn to cattle and chickens, whole corn to hogs and horses. When i was a small boy, he had told me feed cracked corn to cows, because they didn't have teeth on the bottom, and I guess I just never thought any more about it.
 

Stickney94

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Question for those answering this post....just curious. Why shelled corn instead of cracked corn? Down here, cracked corn will be 50 cents to $1 higher per hundred, but is there any other reason? It has been decades since my family fed a steer top butcher, My granddaddy said he'd prefer to sell them and just buy whatever steaks he wanted, but we always fed cracked corn to cattle and chickens, whole corn to hogs and horses. When i was a small boy, he had told me feed cracked corn to cows, because they didn't have teeth on the bottom, and I guess I just never thought any more about it.

If you can't mill/crack it yourself (equipment) or have access to a miller/feed mill it may be the simplest option to just feed shelled corn.

There are many studies debating the merits of different processing of corn (ground/cracked/rolled) as well as what the size of grinding should be (small/large).

Processing of corn really allows for "mixes" with everything to adding simple minerals to more complex brews with ionosphores, fiber, cheaper ingredients.
 

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