The 2021 study at Haskell was the second year of a project studying the impacts of pasture fertilization and feed supplementation on cattle gains. The cattle were broken into three treatment groups: 1) no supplement control, 2) Fertilized pasture and fed 2.75 lbs. per head per day, and 3) Unfertilized pasture and fed 5.9 lbs. per head per day.
As expected, the fed cattle outperformed unfed cattle with Group 2 gaining an average of 2.44 lbs. over the 1.89 lb. average of the control. Group 3 at the higher supplementation rate average 2.66 lbs. Both Group 2 and 3 gained over 3 lbs. for the first half of the season.
After all input costs, not including pasture fertilization, cost of gain was $0.48, $0.62, and $0.83 respectively for Groups 1, 2 and 3. Breakeven prices per pound came to $1.30, $1.32 and $1.39. These values indicate a point of diminishing return when feeding at rates above 2-3 lbs. per head.
Early feedlot data from this trial are very interesting at they pertain to the widely accepted theory that feeding cattle before sending them to the feedyard negatively impacts feedyard performance. As in the Bessie trial, fed cattle weighed more going in and will take fewer days on feed to finish.
At 90 days on feed, control group cattle were gaining 3.86 lbs., while low supplement cattle were at 3.93 and high supplement cattle were gaining 4.38. Fed cattle had better dry matter conversion and a lower cost of gain than the control group.