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Performance and economics of backgrounding yearling beef steers on smooth bromegrass pastures

      ABSTRACT

      Objective

      This experiment was conducted to evaluate performance (using 5 yr of data reported here, and the additional 5 yr of results previously) and economic return (10 yr) of steers grazing smooth bromegrass pastures over 10 consecutive years to determine profitability and pasture longevity under 3 management strategies.

      Materials and Methods

      Treatments consisted of cattle (n = 450; 45/yr) grazing smooth bromegrass pastures (n = 9/yr) fertilized with 90 kg of N/ha (FERT), unfertilized pastures stocked with cattle that received distillers grains plus solubles (DGS) daily at 0.6% of BW (SUPP), and unfertilized pastures stocked with cattle that received no supplement (control, CON). A randomized complete block design was used each year with 3 treatments present in each of 3 pasture blocks and treatments maintained in the same areas for all 10 yr.

      Results and Discussion

      Cattle supplemented daily with DGS had greater ADG (1.19 kg/d; P < 0.01) than those on the CON and FERT treatments (0.83 and 0.86 kg/d, respectively; P = 0.44). Stocking rates for SUPP [10.95 animal unit months (AUM)/ha] and FERT (10.73 AUM/ha) cattle were similar to one another (P = 0.75) and greater than those for CON (6.72 AUM/ha; P < 0.01). Net returns were greatest (P < 0.01) for SUPP cattle ($146.56), with FERT ($130.04) and CON ($127.17) cattle being similar (P = 0.62). In the current analysis, SUPP was the most profitable treatment in 7 of the 10 yr, with FERT being the most profitable 2 yr and CON 1 yr.

      Implications and Applications

      Fluctuating market conditions and changes of input costs affect the overall profitability of treatments and relative differences. In this scenario, holding all prices constant except DGS, price of DGS would have to increase by 20% (increase of $43.29/908 kg) in order for applying N fertilizer to pastures (FERT) or increasing stocking rate (CON) to be more profitable than supplementing cattle with distillers grains (SUPP).

      Key words

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