Farmer's Weekly

Backgrounding beef animals for higher profit

The backgrounding of beef animals takes place after they have been weaned and before they are placed in a feedlot. During this period, the animals are usually left to graze and, as a result, their daily growth is slower than if they were intensively feedlotted on a concentrate ration for maximised growth.

One of the main reasons for backgrounding is to allow weaners time to build their skeletal frames and muscling, instead of the fat that they would be putting on in a feedlot. Backgrounding cattle on forage is also far cheaper than giving them feedlot concentrate. Chéri-Lynn Steyn, a master’s student in agricultural economics at the University of the Free State, highlights yet another advantage of backgrounding: during the process, weaners can be managed for health preconditioning before going to a feedlot. This is only necessary, however, where beef calves have not been

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