Feeding Holstein steer is done in stages. They need a certain amount and type of food when they are a certain weight. When the weight reaches a certain point, the type and amount of food changes. Also, if you add grain, the Holstein steer gains weight faster, if too much grain is fed. Frame size must also be taken into consideration when feeding, so as not to have too much fat instead of lean meat.
Ways to Feed Holsteins
There are three methods of feeding Holstein steers. The method you use depends on your location, the amount of pasture available and the cost of the feeding program.
Continuous-all or high-grain feeding allows Holstein steers to grade out at Choice between 1,050 to 1,200 pounds. It is one of the most profitable ways to feed steers when there is a problem with the availability of forage and other roughage. It can also saves some money when good silo crops are harvested, if you have enough grain storage capacity. The requirement for labor and equipment is less and it takes less time to get the steers to slaughter weight.
The two-phase feeding system is common in the Midwest, where the grazing season is shorter. Steers are fed one percent of their body weight until they reach 700 pounds. Their feed includes grain, corn, pasture grasses and hay. During the second phase, from 701 pounds to slaughter weight, the steers are free-fed hay and shelled corn with a protein supplement.
The continuous-high-corn silage feeding method is similar to the two-phase feeding system in that it free-feeds corn silage and protein supplements. Unlike the two-phase feeding system, it feeds the Holstein steers free-fed corn throughout their lives. Depending on your location, this method may or may not be profitable.
When choosing a feeding method, it's important to remember that getting the right weight is only part of the equation. The value of your steers depends on the meat quality and the ratio of fat to lean meat. Packing on weight generally won't bring you the best price at market, so keep a careful eye on your feeding program to keep fat at a minimum.
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