Thin cull cows may benefit from an additional 30 days on feed before slaughter.

According to a study in the May Journal of Dairy Science, market cows gained an average of 3 pounds per head per day when fed for an extra 30 days before slaughter. In contrast, cull cows fed for an additional 60 days gained about 2 pounds per head per day — probably because they were less efficient at gaining weight after the first 30 days. However, additional feeding did not influence carcass traits, like marbling, in either group.

An additional 30 days on feed before slaughter may be cost prohibitive from a feed-cost standpoint. However, it could spare you the headache of a drug-residue violation at slaughter (Please see the related article at right.).

USDA data indicates drug-residue violations occur three times more often in dairy-cow carcasses than beef-cow carcasses.