Preconditioning questions

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Midtenn

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How much feed per day should calves be fed during the 60 days post-weaning period to get the most return on inputs? I've fed varying amounts 5-10 pounds, always on grass and/or grass hay as well. Pretty sure I've never gotten over 2.5 ADG. This last group was fed 5# of 16% pellets and though I didn't weigh at weaning I'd say they only gained 1.5 per day.
 

kenny thomas

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I try to feed about 2% of the body weight or whatever they clean up good in 30 minutes or so. I would feel great with 2.5 per day in the first 60 days.
 
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Midtenn

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kenny thomas":2usolokz said:
I try to feed about 2% of the body weight or whatever they clean up good in 30 minutes or so. I would feel great with 2.5 per day in the first 60 days.

Thanks. I guess I was only feeding about 1% this year. I doubt Ive ever gotten 2.5. I don't think this year even got over 1.5.
 

dun

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We feed about 1 1/2% of their weight. We start at about 1/2%. We weight them weekly so we know how much to keep increasing the feed
 
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Midtenn

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dun":1c1zrqhb said:
We feed about 1 1/2% of their weight. We start at about 1/2%. We weight them weekly so we know how much to keep increasing the feed

Thanks. I always start light making them clean it up maybe 2 or 3 pounds the first week or two. Last year after the first week I was feeding 8 pounds but this year only 4 or 5. My WDA was down this year an average of .21.
Weights were actually higher this year at sale time but they were a month older at weaning than last year.
 

Stocker Steve

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Midtenn":40r7shzg said:
How much feed per day should calves be fed during the 60 days post-weaning period to get the most return on inputs? I've fed varying amounts 5-10 pounds, always on grass and/or grass hay as well.

Depends on the type of feed, and size of the calf, and your goal.
Hard to make any money on medium to low ADG. Would need a seasonal increase in price to make it worth while.
What is your goal?
 
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Midtenn

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Stocker Steve":1c2zdunv said:
Midtenn":1c2zdunv said:
How much feed per day should calves be fed during the 60 days post-weaning period to get the most return on inputs? I've fed varying amounts 5-10 pounds, always on grass and/or grass hay as well.

Depends on the type of feed, and size of the calf, and your goal.
Hard to make any money on medium to low ADG. Would need a seasonal increase in price to make it worth while.
What is your goal?

Good points and understood. Goal is to make money. If market is good I might sell at weaning. Only precondition depending on market at weaning time, grass situation, etc. I agree if the market stays the same I'm probably only clearing $30 -$40 per head on 150# of gain. My time doesn't really matter since I'm almost always weaning replacements and a few registered bulls at the same time that have to be worked and fed so what's it to do 20 more?
 
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Midtenn

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Stocker Steve":34ztdxqg said:
Midtenn":34ztdxqg said:
How much feed per day should calves be fed during the 60 days post-weaning period to get the most return on inputs? I've fed varying amounts 5-10 pounds, always on grass and/or grass hay as well.

Depends on the type of feed, and size of the calf, and your goal.
Hard to make any money on medium to low ADG. Would need a seasonal increase in price to make it worth while.
What is your goal?

You've got me thinking now. What about a high ADG? Is there money to be made there? What ration do they feed in the bull tests to get 4.5 and could you get those kind of gains in a 70 day post weaning period? I doubt it and if you did wouldn't they dock you heavy at the sale?
 

Stocker Steve

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Midtenn":14d5p08y said:
You've got me thinking now. What about a high ADG? Is there money to be made there? What ration do they feed in the bull tests to get 4.5 and could you get those kind of gains in a 70 day post weaning period?

> 2.5 lbs./day
Yes, because "fixed costs" like yardage do not go up when ADG goes up.
Don't know, but my guess there is a lot of corn in it. Highly unlikely - - because it will take time to ramp up to a hot ration.
 

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Depends on what your paying per ton. We pour the feed to ours. If feed is 225 a ton. They eat 20 pounds a day but gain 3-3.5 pounds at 1.40 a pound your making money. Hypothetical speaking
 

Allenw

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Midtenn":b92tdg53 said:
You've got me thinking now. What about a high ADG? Is there money to be made there? What ration do they feed in the bull tests to get 4.5 and could you get those kind of gains in a 70 day post weaning period? I doubt it and if you did wouldn't they dock you heavy at the sale?

What weight sells best in your area? That should play a big part in your decision.
 
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Midtenn

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You all are helpful and Since I don't know how to reply quote to three people...
....SS....sounds like I need to aim for around 3 ADG. I agree in thinking 4.5 in unreachable in 70 days but maybe 3 or 3.5 is.

hog timing......we are currently feeding 16% co-op pellets dleivered at $205 a ton..16% protein, 3%fat, 20% fiber. Simply because we can feed the same feed to our replacements, growing bulls, and also our cows in winter months in place of protein tubs. I realize its not the perfect ration for any of those situations but I think it's acceptable for all.

Allen......up until 2 weeks ago 650-700 were bringing well $1.35-$1.40 compared to 500# bringing $1.45- $1.50. Been that way for a year or so. The market shifted after the new year and for some reason the buyers here are wanting smaller cattle and giving $1.50-$1.55 compared to heavier cattle dropped to $1.20- $1.30.
Last fall the market stayed the same from the time I weaned until i sold and I cleared $112 per head for those 70 days(fed 8-10 pounds)
This year (fed 5-6 pounds) I held them too long and the market shifted I covered my expense but cleared exactly $0 for my time.
 

dun

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Preconditioning is preparing them to go on full feed as in to finish them. Feeders don;t want over conditioned calves. Seems that going over 2 1/2% a day of deed and ADG of 4 may take some of the bloom off the rose for the feeders to buy.
 

TexasBred

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dun":1s6aeo1x said:
Preconditioning is preparing them to go on full feed as in to finish them. Feeders don;t want over conditioned calves. Seems that going over 2 1/2% a day of deed and ADG of 4 may take some of the bloom off the rose for the feeders to buy.
Took the words right out of my mouth. Keep in mine we are "preconditioning". Preparing a calf to be pushed to the maximum.
 
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Midtenn

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dun":2yolwlv9 said:
Preconditioning is preparing them to go on full feed as in to finish them. Feeders don;t want over conditioned calves. Seems that going over 2 1/2% a day of deed and ADG of 4 may take some of the bloom off the rose for the feeders to buy.
2 1/2 % is still quite a bit more than I've done in the past? If I've been feeding 1 1/2% (8#) and getting 2 pounds ADG , would it be possible to get 3 pounds ADG by feeding 2 1/2 % without creating enough flesh to get docked? That extra 70 pounds would be worth $90 right now at a cost of about $40 for the extra 5.5# of feed per day. If so , and if my math is right, my profit would increase by $50 per head if there's not a dock for high flesh. Please confirm or not ??
 

tnwalkingred

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MidTenn,

I've been feeding my own weaned calves for a while now but am going to begin purchasing calves to feed out as well. I never truly "tracked" the feed cost and gain as I wasn't trying to make money by making a certain ADG. I feed the steers so they can be sold as weaned and on feed and I feed the heifers in order to give them a better start before we AI them. I know what I spend on feed each year but those costs went directly into the cow/calf operation budget as a whole since I 'm normally supplementing some lactating cows as well. I've been feeding my calves an average of 3-5 pounds a day with free choice forage (hay or pasture). I'm feeding the Co-Op 94176 feed. I believe it's around $220/ton.

I've been inputting various sets of data in the calve feeding business model and what I've learned is the way to maximize $/hd is to figure out what your "cost of gain" is with different feed scenarios and then try to see what best fits the local market and demand. The points made here by Dun and Texasbred are very interesting to me about calves becoming too fleshy and in turn being docked. I think there's a case to be made for a higher ADG of say 3.5 and also one to be made for 2-2.5

The rule of thumb I've always been told to go by is the 4:1 rule. For every 4 pounds of feed you get 1 pound of gain. There is some university research that backs that up as well. I know personally we are going to try some small groups (20-25) at first and track the inputs very closely. We will most likely try a few different feeds and see where we wind up with ADG and cost of gain. These should be pretty easy to figure out. Now knowing what the market wants in an "ideal" calf is something I think we are going to have to figure out with lots of experience.
 
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Midtenn

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tnwalkingred":1rfvhcpv said:
MidTenn,

I've been feeding my own weaned calves for a while now but am going to begin purchasing calves to feed out as well. I never truly "tracked" the feed cost and gain as I wasn't trying to make money by making a certain ADG. I feed the steers so they can be sold as weaned and on feed and I feed the heifers in order to give them a better start before we AI them. I know what I spend on feed each year but those costs went directly into the cow/calf operation budget as a whole since I 'm normally supplementing some lactating cows as well. I've been feeding my calves an average of 3-5 pounds a day with free choice forage (hay or pasture). I'm feeding the Co-Op 94176 feed. I believe it's around $220/ton.

I've been inputting various sets of data in the calve feeding business model and what I've learned is the way to maximize $/hd is to figure out what your "cost of gain" is with different feed scenarios and then try to see what best fits the local market and demand. The points made here by Dun and Texasbred are very interesting to me about calves becoming too fleshy and in turn being docked. I think there's a case to be made for a higher ADG of say 3.5 and also one to be made for 2-2.5

The rule of thumb I've always been told to go by is the 4:1 rule. For every 4 pounds of feed you get 1 pound of gain. There is some university research that backs that up as well. I know personally we are going to try some small groups (20-25) at first and track the inputs very closely. We will most likely try a few different feeds and see where we wind up with ADG and cost of gain. These should be pretty easy to figure out. Now knowing what the market wants in an "ideal" calf is something I think we are going to have to figure out with lots of experience.

Sounds like your and my scenarios are pretty close. Like you I keep them mainly so I can sell as weaned and vac'd, and not really ever tried for alot of gain. It's a little disheartening when you wean in order to give them what the market wants and then 60 days later the market suddenly wants 500 pound calves right off the cow. I can't figure for the life of me why, considering the way the weather is here right now.
 

kenny thomas

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Midtenn":213ua3ef said:
tnwalkingred":213ua3ef said:
MidTenn,

I've been feeding my own weaned calves for a while now but am going to begin purchasing calves to feed out as well. I never truly "tracked" the feed cost and gain as I wasn't trying to make money by making a certain ADG. I feed the steers so they can be sold as weaned and on feed and I feed the heifers in order to give them a better start before we AI them. I know what I spend on feed each year but those costs went directly into the cow/calf operation budget as a whole since I 'm normally supplementing some lactating cows as well. I've been feeding my calves an average of 3-5 pounds a day with free choice forage (hay or pasture). I'm feeding the Co-Op 94176 feed. I believe it's around $220/ton.

I've been inputting various sets of data in the calve feeding business model and what I've learned is the way to maximize $/hd is to figure out what your "cost of gain" is with different feed scenarios and then try to see what best fits the local market and demand. The points made here by Dun and Texasbred are very interesting to me about calves becoming too fleshy and in turn being docked. I think there's a case to be made for a higher ADG of say 3.5 and also one to be made for 2-2.5

The rule of thumb I've always been told to go by is the 4:1 rule. For every 4 pounds of feed you get 1 pound of gain. There is some university research that backs that up as well. I know personally we are going to try some small groups (20-25) at first and track the inputs very closely. We will most likely try a few different feeds and see where we wind up with ADG and cost of gain. These should be pretty easy to figure out. Now knowing what the market wants in an "ideal" calf is something I think we are going to have to figure out with lots of experience.

Sounds like your and my scenarios are pretty close. Like you I keep them mainly so I can sell as weaned and vac'd, and not really ever tried for alot of gain. It's a little disheartening when you wean in order to give them what the market wants and then 60 days later the market suddenly wants 500 pound calves right off the cow. I can't figure for the life of me why, considering the way the weather is here right now.
The market may want 500 lb calves but they always want the preconditioned calves more if they find them the right size.
 

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