Meat cattle research aims to raise more cows on less land
A new University of Illinois study shows that beef production in the Midwest can work well in a year-round dry lot or in an isolation setting when grazing is limited or unavailable.
Lead researcher Dan Shike says Brownfield, with more acres being converted to farmland, is increasingly difficult to graze, and many beef producers are looking for alternatives to expand their herds. Their two-year study compared the performance and behavior of cows / calves in a grazing scenario with dry land with feed rations.
“It’s hard to beat the rotating pasture and let the cows harvest on their own, but if you want to expand your beef herd and you don’t have access to pasture, I think we have options. Especially here, where we have access to a lot of different feeds. ”
He says dry cows have had good results, maintaining body weight, condition and reproduction rates and even increasing milk production. Dry calves also showed increased performance throughout the pre-weaning phase, with a higher gain rate.
He says the only notable drop in the dry land scenario was an increase in foot problems.
“I treated a little more leg rot and digital dermatitis in those dry cows, but I think it’s something that can be managed. We need to work harder and pay more attention to that. ”
Shike says they have not done an economic analysis, but it is important to note that an isolation system will require more labor and fodder, which will have to assess each individual operation.
Undergraduate students in a USDA-funded training program called I-BELIEF also helped with the study, which was funded by the Iowa Beef Industry Council.
https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/beef-cattle-research-looks-at-raising-more-cows-on-less-land/ Meat cattle research aims to raise more cows on less land