Effect of rate of body weight gain of steers during the stocker phase. II. Visceral organ mass and body composition of growing-finishing beef cattle
Sharman, E.D.; Lancaster, P.A.; McMurphy, C.P.; Mafi, G.G.; Starkey, J.D.; Krehbiel, C.R.; Horn, G.W.
Journal of Animal Science 91(5): 2355-2366
Two experiments were conducted to examine the effect of rate of BW gain during the stocker phase on visceral organ mass and body composition of growing-finishing cattle that had grazed dormant native range (DNR) or winter wheat pasture (WP). In each experiment, fall-weaned steers were allotted randomly to 1 of these stocker production programs: 1) control, 1.02 kg · steer(-1) · d(-1) of a 40% CP cottonseed meal-based supplement during grazing of DNR (CON); 2) corn/soybean meal-based supplement fed at 1% of BW during grazing of DNR (CORN); 3) grazing WP at a high stocking rate to achieve a reduced rate of BW gain (LGWP); and 4) grazing WP at a low stocking rate to achieve an increased rate of BW gain (HGWP). In Exp. 1, 3 steers per treatment were harvested after winter grazing (138 d). The remaining WP steers were transitioned into a finishing phase and DNR steers were allowed to graze the same pastures for another 115 d before entering a feedyard. In Exp. 2, steers grazed respective pastures until each treatment reached an estimated HCW of 200 kg (262, 180, 142, and 74 d, respectively, for CON, CORN, LGWP, and HGWP treatments), at which time 4 steers per treatment were randomly selected for intermediate harvest before finishing. At the end of the finishing period, 4 additional steers from each treatment were randomly selected for final carcass measurements. All steers were fed to a common 12th rib fat thickness of 1.27 cm. After winter grazing in Exp. 1, HGWP steers had the greatest (P < 0.01) mesenteric/omental fat, total viscera, total splanchnic tissue mass, and carcass and empty body fat, compared with the other treatments. In Exp. 2 at intermediate harvest, WP steers had greater (P < 0.03) mesenteric/omental fat, total viscera, and total splanchnic tissue mass, compared with CORN steers, with CON steers being intermediate. Also, the WP steers had greater (P < 0.02) carcass and empty body fat, compared with CORN steers, with CON steers being intermediate. At final harvest in Exp. 2, LGWP steers had the least total viscera and total splanchnic tissue mass, compared with the other treatments. However, there were no differences (P > 0.53) among treatments for carcass or empty body fat. Stocker systems using WP or DNR result in cattle with differences in body fat and visceral organ mass before finishing; this may influence feedlot efficiency, even though there were no differences in body fat and visceral organ mass at the end of the finishing period.