Finishing Cattle

Asked July 28, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT

I have a black angus and a black angus/beefmaster, both heifers on pasture in Sisters, OR. How much wet COB or other feed should I give them and for how long to finish them? Both were 850 lbs the first of June. I'm not sure what they weigh now. Thanks!

Deschutes County Oregon

3 Responses

Good morning!

First let me start off by saying that finishing cattle off with grain, grass or combinations of grain and grass are really a personal preference. In answering this question, I am assuming that these heifers will have access to pasture during the entire feeding duration. If different, let me know.

Finish weights on cattle are generally in the 1100 to 1250 lb. range. Breed and body size will add some variation to this. But as a rule of thumb, these are good target weights. Additionally, they will have the capacity to gain 2 to 3 lbs. per day on average. If they were weighing 850 June 1st, and using a 2 lb per day rate of gain, they would reach a target weight of 1150 in 150 days or around November 1st. At a 3 lb. per day gain, 100 days or mid-September would be the target date.

Starting them on grain should be done carefully. We don't want to cause any digestive problems which could result in them "going off feed". Feeding grain is best done by dividing the total daily fed into a morning and evening feeding program. I would start with 6 lbs. per head per day (3 lbs. per head per feeding) adding 2 lbs. per head each day in 1 week intervals:

Week 1
6 lbs./head/day

week 2
8 lbs./head/day

week 3
10 lbs./head/day


With access to green pasture, the goal would be getting them to 10 lbs./head/feeding (20 lbs./day/head) till the end of the feeding period.

My personal preference is a minimum 90 day grain feeding program with a maximum of 120 days. Within this period, the heifers should easily fall within the target finish weight.

Cues for when they are finished besides just weight are visual. Ribs should not be obvious, tailhead will have fat deposits around it, and backbone (if you can put a hand on them) will feel dull and rounded rather than sharp and prominent.

I hope this helps answer your question. If you have any other questions or need some clarification, feel free to call me.

I am in the Crook County Extension Office here in Prineville. 541-447-6228

Thanks for your question,


Thanks for the advice. I'm following it exactly and the heifers look great! One more question, though. Again, one is a Black Angus and the other is from a Beefmaster cow/Black Angus Bull. Which would have more marbling/taste better?

Good morning!

I don't think you will notice any difference as a result of the breeds. Both animals have angus in them and Angus marble very well. The beefmaster is a breed created out of crossing Herefords, Shorthorn and Brahman cattle. Two of the 3 breeds are English breeds. English breeds, including Angus, marble well. All other things being equal, the beefmaster might be a little leaner as a result of the Brahman influence but I don't think you would know if you compared a steak from each, side by side.

Something that could influence taste and tenderness is disposition (their attitude). If one of them seems to always be tense, head high, not at ease when you are around them, these can result in what is called a "Dark Cutter" and may affect flavor.

I hope this helps!