UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The results of the eight-month demonstration of calf-fed Holsteins reared for beef are now analyzed and available, and Pennsylvania producers can get the detailed, printed information to gain an understanding of the management and nutrition of calf-fed Holsteins in a feedlot setting.
The project was coordinated by the PA Beef Producers Working Group, a collaboration of the PA Beef Council, Penn State Extension, Center for Beef Excellence and the Pennsylvania Cattlemen’s Association with support from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Tours of the project, conducted at the PDA Livestock Evaluation Center, were offered during Ag Progress Days.
“There was a lot of interest in seeing the results of the demonstration, and now that the results are available, we hope many producers will find them helpful as they consider marketing strategies and techniques for raising Holstein steer calves,” said Tara Felix, Ph.D., Penn State Beef Extension Specialist.
She said the calves at the LEC were born in August 2015, grown by Cold Spring Farms, Manchester, Pa., and received at LEC in April 2016.
There were 44 head of Holsteins in the study, all sourced from Cold Springs Farms, LLC, and placed on feed at the LEC on April 21. The calves weighed 546 ± 85 lbs. and were nine months old at that time.
Felix said a large part of the success of the demonstration can be attributed to the health of the calves, which had been well started and arrived with no health issues. Management was also key to the performance of the calves: the staff ensured that the calves always had fresh feed in from of them — every day for 209 days. The calves were all implanted, to help sustain average daily gains throughout the period of the demonstration.
She said that while these calves outperformed the expectations, they were unable to outperform the markets. Because of the timing of the purchasing and selling, they were sold at a loss. However, she pointed out that forward contracting would have absorbed some of the risk of the high priced calves and would have helped improved profitability by reducing the end losses.
Overall, Felix said the PA Beef Producers Working Group was pleased with the results which will be helpful for producers.
For specifics of the demonstration and to obtain a brochure, contact Felix at email@example.com, or 814-865-0065.
Calf Fed Holstein Beef Meetings will be held throughout the state:
- Feb. 23: Westmoreland County Extension Office
- Feb. 28: New Columbia’s Bonanza
- March 2: Lancaster Farm and Home Center
- March 3: Susquehanna Ag Day – Education Segments
Information at the meetings will include calf health, nutrition and economics from birth to harvest. These events are free of charge, but registration is requested as lunch will be provided.
For details and to register, visit extension.psu.edu or call Cheryl Fairbairn at 610-696-3500.
— Penn State Extension