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Low on Forage? Early Weaning is a Good Option.

By   /  September 18, 2017  /  2 Comments

Here’s something to think about this winter as you’re planning for next year’s weaning. Who knew that early weaned steers gain better?! That’s just one of the things ARS scientists found when they looked at early weaning as an alternative when forage is limited.

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This article comes to us from the August 2103 issue of Agricultural Research, a publication of the
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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.


  1. Gene Schriefer says:

    Effects of Calf Age at Weaning on Cow and Calf Performance
    and Feed Utilization in an Intensive Production System


    Summary: “The effects of calf weaning age on cow and calf performance, reproduction, and feed utilization were investigated in a two-year study. Early weaning increased cow BW in January. Pregnancyrates were not impacted by calf age at weaning. Dry matter intake (DMI) was similar between normal-weaned
    cow-calf pairs and early-weaned cows and calves. Feed requirements and utilization were comparable between
    early- and normal-weaned pairs when fed high energy diets, implying weaning decisions should be made on the basis of
    management rather than feed efficiency.”

    • Kathy Voth says:

      Hi Gene,
      Thanks for the link to the paper. It’s on my “to read” list. Until then, for everyone reading, could you help us understand how this relates to the farmer/rancher facing drought and reduced forage? The title says it’s about feed utilization in an intensive production system, so I’m interested in making sure we’re comparing apples and apples.

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