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Estimating cattle rate-of-gain

If your cattle aren't gaining weight, they're losing value. Calculate their daily rate of gain to be sure they're eating properly, and your production goals are being met.

Weight = value

Radio interview source: Dr. Dan Loy, Extension Beef Specialist, Iowa State University

Click here to listen: Estimating cattle rate-of-gain

Whether you're raising a small herd of cattle to sell or to use as beef for your own table, it's important the animals grow at an economical rate.

Extension beef specialist Dan Loy at Iowa State University says if growing cattle aren't gaining weight, they're not adding value. Feed is 60%-to-70% of the cost of production so the faster cattle grow, the more likely the producer will see a profit when they go to market. The expected daily rate of gain depends on what you're feeding and what your goals are.

"If they're primarily on forage, 1 to 2 pounds a day for grazing and stocker cattle would be typical," says Loy. "If you're feeding corn silage or kind of a moderate energy growing ration, 2 pounds a day would be typical. Cattle that are fed on concentrates such as a finishing or feedlot ration, most of those are going to be gaining over 3 pounds a day."

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