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Backgrounding beef cattle

What’s important during this life stage?

  • Establishing calf health (managing high-risk calves and getting them back on track prior to feedlot entry)
  • Efficient calf growth at minimal cost
  • Reducing calf stress prior to feedlot entry

Common challenges

  • Bloat: Self-fed beef cattle can easily fall victim to bloat if proper precautions aren’t taken.
  • Respiratory disease: Commingling of large groups of animals increases the risk of a novel pathogen being introduced to the herd.

Tips for maximizing health and performance

  • Provide proper nutrition.
    • Make sure that the trace mineral requirements of animals are being met, especially since most backgrounding systems are forage-based with limited supplementation in order to keep costs down.
  • Minimize animal stress.
    • Utilize a transition period, which will spread the animals’ exposure to stressors out over a longer, more manageable period.
  • Establish gut health.
    • Provide supplementation through use of a mannan-oligosaccharide product like Bio-Mos® 2 as cattle transition from weaning to backgrounding.
  • Introduce grains slowly.
    • This will allow the rumen to adapt to a higher starch content.
    • Doing this also helps prevent bloat and ruminal acidosis.