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Good gains on grass

Grazing stockers or yearlings on pasture can cut cost of gain. But there's no formula for success. Good gains hinge on an interplay between management, genetics and weather.

"You just have to try to stack the deck in your favor," says David Davis, agronomist and head of the University of Missouri's Forage Systems Research Center. "Here in Missouri, we can get wet, cold weather in spring that depresses gain."

A typical rate of gain for the Center's nonimplanted Red Angus-cross cattle is 2 to 2.5 pounds per head per day. "But some years the quality of the grass is poor or the weather is bad, and it can drop to 1.5 pounds or less," says Davis.

Grazing stockers or yearlings on pasture can cut cost of gain. But there's no formula for success. Good gains hinge on an interplay between management, genetics and weather.

  1. Start with healthy calves with good genetics
    "You can get some calves that won't perform at all, while others will just flourish," says Dale Blasi, Kansas State University Extension beef specialist.

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