At a Glance

Raising fed cattle begins with the arrival of a feeder calf (calf fed on pasture) in a feedlot. It is typically 7 to 10 months old and weighs 500 to 900 lb (227 to 408 kg).

Some producers specialize in the “backgrounding” phase, which ends at around 800 to 950 lb (364 to 430 kg). The feeder calves are then ready to begin the “finishing” phase.

The feeder calf will remain in a feedlot for 8 to 10 months, until it reaches a weight of approximately 1475 lbs (670 kg), or 700 to 950 lb carcass weight (318 to 430 kg carcass basis). It is fed primarily grain corn, forage corn, minerals and vitamins.

Cereals (corn, barley) fed to steers increase the tenderness and marbling of the meat. The cattle have continuous access to food and fresh water.

The rations served are balanced, high quality and have high energy content. This diet allows the cattle to gain over 3 lb (1.3 kg) per day. When they reach maturity, fed cattle are sold to the slaughter plant, where they will be processed into many cuts of beef.

Did you know?

In Quebec, about 109,900 fed cattle are produced annually, for a farm value of approximately $249 million.

  • A 1,450 lb (658 kg) steer yields an average of 850 lb (385 kg) of meat.
  • 300 fed cattle and backgrounding farms are located mainly in the central regions of Quebec.
  • The typical specialized farm produces about 2,203 head of fed cattle per year.

Beef production

Beef production