When's a steer ready for the freezer?

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CalumetFarms
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When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby CalumetFarms » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:24 pm

Hello all, I run an Angus cow/calve operation.
I rarely finish out cattle. Generally, I sell my calf crop in the spring just prior to calving season. And the cycle goes on...
But recently in the last few years, I've held back a steer, usually the smallest one of the spring group. To finish out in late summer/fall, and put beef in some friends freezers.

Last year I held him back until January, on TONS of feed but in a terribly cold winter.
Finally, after all that input, hanging weight was 560. I thought, what a waste? It seemed like the feed wasn't stacking up weight on him, but rather just maintaining what he had. Due to the cold weather. I swore I would take him before winter next year. So here I am, in the same position, but trying to improve my efficiency at this.

My question is what weight is ideal?
I competed (many years ago) in stockmanship, and I'm capable of judging body score. And finish condition.
But what age, weight should one aim for before shipment?

Current steer in question is 3/4 black Angus 1/4 Hereford. 18 months old.
Been grained for a couple months.
He's around 800lbs to my eye.
I've got him on schedule to ride late this week, but can push it back if needed.

Thoughts? Advise?

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wbvs58
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby wbvs58 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:05 pm

He looks like he has a way to go yet. If you are going to invest money in feed you might be best off selecting one of your best calves to feed rather than the poorest doer.

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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby customcattle » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:55 pm

Ideal market or finish weight is 1250-1300 lbs. Average dressing percentage on beef cattle is 60-65%. As far as feed goes calves should be on a diet to grow frame and muscle (30% corn or other concentrate, 70% roughage) when they are on the lighter side. Once they get closer to finish weight (900-1000) switch the ration to 70% corn-30% roughage. You can adjust the ration as they grow. The thing to remember is that when they are growing the frame and muscle need to be developed. Other wise they get too fat with not enough product.
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Son of Butch
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby Son of Butch » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:48 am

CalumetFarms wrote:Current steer in question is 3/4 black Angus 1/4 Hereford.
Been grained for a couple months.
I've got him on schedule to ride late this week, but can push it back if needed.

Thoughts?

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IMO
Cancel his ride. He won't really be ready until after Ground Hogs Day (104 days away) another 120 days on grain will do
him a lot of good... he could be a sweet :heart: by Valentine's Day.
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby ddd75 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:27 am

just took in a 28 month old steer.. weighed 1300 lbs.

all grass.. but insanely high quality finishing grass..


just had a steak last night from him... wow.. one of the best i've ever had. grass fed would have a whole new meaning if everyone finished them like this...!

I'd cancel your date and feed him through winter. Has he been wormed?
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby Farm Fence Solutions » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:36 am

Age and weight would be relative to breed, feed program, and conditions. A simple rule for a small operation would be to ease him up to 20+ pounds of corn a day, and keep him there for a hundred days. Also never hurts to have a pen of them, as they seem to do better in a crowd. I would not butcher that calf yet, unless I was really hungry. I agree that Ballentymes day would be a nice target, but that might even be too soon.
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CalumetFarms
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby CalumetFarms » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:39 am

Got it, I will reschedule for end of February.
I guess I have to remember that finishing them out is a pretty long haul endeavor.

In my mind, once they're yearlings they're on borrowed time.
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby ddd75 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:59 am

CalumetFarms wrote:Got it, I will reschedule for end of February.
I guess I have to remember that finishing them out is a pretty long haul endeavor.

In my mind, once they're yearlings they're on borrowed time.


most cattle wouldn't be slaughtered until at least 18 months with heavy feeding.
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby BC » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:10 am

You need to remember that most calves go to the feed yard weighing 750 to 900 lbs and are fed 150+ days until they weigh 1300 to 1400 lbs. Calf feds (calves weighing 500 to 600) going straight to the yards off the cow are typically fed well over 200 days.

You mentioned understanding BCS. You want a yearling to be in a BCS of 5 to 6 to be ready to eat.
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby holm25 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:37 pm

What exactly are you feeding? We fed out a set of runty twins and they were 1200lbs at 18 months. That steer you shared with us has a long ways to go. Go to your local feed mill and tell em your finishing s steer and they’ll get you a good mix.
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby Son of Butch » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:45 pm

21 months (635 days) is slow finish = 1.95 lbs day
We've finished plenty by 15-17 months of age and a few as early as 13 months, depends on how hard you push 'em
and genetics, we range 1050-1400 lbs live weight finished.

13 months = 395 days
15 months x 30 = 455 days
17 x 30 = 515
18 x 30 = 545

target 800 lb carcass in 15 months = live weight 1310 lbs - 70 lb bw = 1240 lbs div by 455 = 2.73 lbs per day

21 months = 1.95 lbs day
18 months = 2.28
17 months = 2.40
16m = 2.56
15m = 2.73
13m = 3.14
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:37 am

I just had 3 calves "harvested" last week. Two steers & a heifer. 12-13 months of age.
On 10-15-18 weighed on 10-16 Carcass Wt Dressing %
Z74E 1225# 782# 64%
ZC9E 1160# 720# 62%
3S3E 1140# 726# 64%
they were weaned in May and put on whole shell corn, with a little 30% protein pellets. They were up to about 15#/day last few months. By the looks of them, they should easily go Choice, YG 2
Pick up meat next week.
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby sstterry » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:15 pm

Is 800# small for an 18-month-old calf? I sent a 10-month-old to the market yesterday and he was 875# (albeit he was a bull calf).
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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby Chocolate Cow2 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:45 pm

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Re: When's a steer ready for the freezer?

Postby kenny thomas » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:09 pm

sstterry wrote:Is 800# small for an 18-month-old calf? I sent a 10-month-old to the market yesterday and he was 875# (albeit he was a bull calf).

Yes it is.
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