In this post I am going to focus primarily on grain-finished beef, primarily corn. If we look at all the beef produced in the United States 90% of it will stay in our domestic market, leaving only 10% to be exported. It will take until the steer or the cow reaches between 1300 and 1400 pounds to go to the packing plant. Before I get to far ahead of myself let us look at the feedlots and what goes on there.
A feedlot is the last place a steer or cow goes prior to the packing plant. The animals will be there between 3 and 5 months. The purpose of the feedlot is to add more muscle and intramuscular fat, marbling, in a short amount time. The most predominant breeds of cattle that you will find are the Angus, Black or Red, or the Polled Hereford. Feed at the feedlots focus on high starch diets. Corn is the predominant grain used, followed by oats, barley, sorghum, distillers or brewers grain, and by-products from grain and fiber milling processes. These make up the bulk of the ration. It will also be supplemented with Corn or Wheat sillage, accounting for the forage portion of the feed. The cows or steers will be fed 2 to 3 times a day.
The cattle are fed a very regimented diet. They are not fed more than 3 times. Once the fed is gone for the day that is it. If they are given more food than necessary, they will just continue to eat. Costing the employer more money on feed than it is necessary. The cattle are also provided with fresh water and mineral licks whenever they want them.
Let me know if you have got any question or if there is something here that you can add to or need more clarification on.
Feedlots. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/feedlots
Feedlot Operation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://beefcareers.weebly.com/feedlot-operation.html
Goodman, R. (2012, October 08). Ask A Farmer: What do feedlot cattle eat? Retrieved April 12, 2017, from https://agricultureproud.com/2012/10/09/ask-a-farmer-what-do-feedlot-cattle-eat/