By Justin Waggoner, beef systems specialist, Garden City, KS
Under normal production circumstances calves are typically weaned at 180-220 days of age, however under circumstances where forage supply is limited or cow body condition is lacking weaning calves at 180 days of age or less may be one of the easiest ways to reduce cow nutrient requirements and improve cow body condition. Many cattle producers express concerns over the thought of weaning 350-450 lb calves during the heat of the summer and believe that early-weaned calves will not perform well in a dry lot environment. In a recent study (Bailey et al. 2013) conducted at the K-State Agriculture Research Center-Hays, 243 spring-born calves were weaned at 113 ± 17 days of age and were limit-fed a common diet to achieve target average daily gains of 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 lbs per day during an 84 day receiving period.