Title

Effects of Creep Feeding on Pre- and Post-Weaning Performance of Beef Calves in Northeast Texas

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Ag Science and Natural Resources

Date of Award

Fall 2022

Abstract

The cow-calf sector of the cattle industry accounts for a substantial portion of the Texas cattle industry; in 2019 calf crop in Texas exceeded 4.5 million head. In order to maximize profits, cow-calf producers should market the heaviest calves possible. Increased weaning and market weights will result in greater profits when calves are sold on a per pound basis. Creep feeding is one strategy that can be employed to reach optimum gains. In this study, 21 calves were limit fed a commercially available creep feed at 1% body weight for 90 days prior to weaning and compared to 20 calves without access to creep feed. Average daily gain (ADG), gain per day of age, and body condition score (BCS) were monitored and compared between creep and non-creep calves to determine the efficacy of creep feeding as a tool to help cow-calf producers achieve maximum gains in young beef calves. To determine the economic feasibility of creep feeding, inputs such as feed and labor costs were compiled and compared between creep and non-creep fed calves. The sale weights and prices of all calves were collected to measure the economic gains brought by heavier calves when they are marketed and determine if the increased gains were sufficient to offset the additional cost of creep feeding. Weaning weights of supplemented calves were greater (CON=238.18 ± 2.09 Kg, TRT=246.97 ± 1.77 Kg). Supplemented calves also had increased Adjusted 205 day weaning weights (CON=246.97±2.70 Kg, TRT=283.84 ± 1.25 Kg), and were heavier based on weaning weight ratio (CON=96.93±0.98, TRT 102.71±0.45). When marketed, supplemented calves generated increased income (CON=$1037.40±22.61, TRT=$1083.95±20.85) however, this amount was insufficient to offset the additional feed and labor cost associated with creep feeding ($88.23).

Advisor

Brooke Clemmons

Subject Categories

Agriculture | Life Sciences

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