Steve Boyles, Ohio State University (OSU) Extension specialist, recently compared pasture weaning to drylot weaning in an OSU Beef Cattle newsletter. Boyles looked at a recent study that compared three weaning methods for calves averaging 180 days old:
- drylot weaning + complete visual and auditory separation from dams
- pasture weaning + fence-line contact with dams
- pasture weaning + fence-line contact with dams + supplemental feed delivered in a bunk
Source: Beef, August 31, 2016.
Boyles summarizes the results of the study, writing, “Body weight of drylot calves was greater than that of pasture weaning or pasture weaning plus supplement at the conclusion of the 28-day weaning period. This was expected since the diet for the drylot calves was formulated for higher gains. Providing supplement to pasture fed calves was intended to accustom pasture-weaned calves to eating out of a bunk rather than to promote gains that were competitive with drylot calves.”
INSIGHTS: Studies like this offer sales representatives and veterinary teams a different entry point for discussions with beef producers. Plus, asking about weaning methods may lead into discussions about preventative therapies associated at this time of calves’ and cows’ lives.