Experts agree that a 45-day preconditioning period puts cattle on the path to feedyard success. Research from New Mexico State University found that calves that were weaned for 41 to 60 days gained faster, had fewer days on feed and the highest subsequent carcass values. It also decreases sickness.
It’s not just about the number of days, though. Starch-based diets, like corn, seem to be key in marbling development, and target gains (2 to 3 lb./day) during weaning should be maintained in this phase.
Setting calves up during this critical phase will ensure gains and grade on down the line.