Photo Location: Hould Bull Development Center
- Picture by Caitlin Anderson
Backgrounding is the term used when feeding calves after weaning to allow growth, improve animal health until they enter the feedlot for finishing. Backgrounding aims for a controlled rate of growth, trying to maximize frame size before the animal starts accumulating fat.
Usually, backgrounding is done during the cold winter months and does not incorporate grazing. In our operation we send our calves to a facility outside of our ranch for this slow growth process. A backgrounding system can be built into a cow/calf operation or be part of a finishing program. Some backgrounders buy and sell throughout the year.
Our objective is focused on herd genetics that have an emphasis on muscle development and skeletal size, for the best potential growth. This year's marketing plan has incorporated raising our calves at the ranch and shipping them out this past fall at weaning. They were shipped to a facility where they will be backgrounding them through the winter, followed by grazing the next summer. We will then sell them at a target weight of 900 - 1000 pounds this coming fall.
Sewell, H. (1993, October). Backgrounding Calves Part 1: Assessing the Opportunity. Extension University of Missouri. Retrieved December 28, 2021, from https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g2095
Backgrounding Calves. (2021, June 25). American Cattlemen. https://americancattlemen.com/articles/backgrounding-calves