Early weaning of beef calves

Queensland Government - Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

We are unsure when this was published and if this advice is still best practice.

This DAF webpage outlines what and when to wean, feeding tips, ration and management.

The key takeaways are as follows:

  • In a good season, wean calves over 80 kg in April/May.
  • In a drought, wean calves over 80 kg in November/December and February/March.
  • Calves less than 80 kg should only be weaned in extreme drought conditions.

For 80-100kg calves:

  • Unlimited pasture or good quality grass hay plus one of the following:
    • vegetable protein meal containing a minimum of 15% protein (daily intake up to 1 kg/hd/day)
    • 0.5 kg/hd/day grain mix (3 parts crushed grain/1 part vegetable protein meal)
    • proprietary calf pellets and mixes (feed according to manufacturers recommendations)
  • Do not feed molasses or lucerne hay to this group as they may cause scouring.

For 100-150kg calves:

  • Unlimited pasture or good quality grass hay plus one of the following rations:
    • free access to molasses plus 12-15% vegetable protein meal (daily intake 1-1.5 kg/hd/day)
    • 1 kg/hd/day grain mix (3 parts crushed grain/1 part vegetable protein meal)
    • 0.5 kg/hd/day vegetable protein meal
    • 0.5 kg/hd/day whole cottonseed
    • proprietary calf pellets and mixes (feed according to manufacturers recommendations)

Over 100kg: treat as normal weaners

Australia - Queensland Government - Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
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