Feeding Out Holstein Bull Calves to Finish for Extra Profit

The calves produced on a dairy theoretically should be half heifers and half bulls.  The heifers are potential herd replacements and the bull calves will more than likely end up in the meat industry.  The question is who will raise this animal to finish weight? At this time there is the potential to double the profit per animal by finishing these bull calves out.  Current markets have 100 pound Holstein bull calves priced at about $250.00.   There is some extra risk in feeding these animals out as opposed to selling them shortly after birth due to death losses and market fluctuations.  However, if done correctly the farm can realize about an extra $250.00 profit above just selling the calf.  On a 100 cow dairy (assuming a 50% bull calf crop) there could be 50 head to raise.  This could return an approximate profit of $25,000.00 to the operation. These bull calves should be banded or castrated and then can be raised much the same as the heifer calves.  Once they reach 350-400 pounds they can be put on a higher energy growing ration. This ration will increase in energy and decrease in protein percent as the animal grows to its finish weight.  It will take about 13-14 months from birth to finish with quality feed stuffs.   A typical steer ration would consist of either dry or high moisture corn, corn silage, haylage or dry hay, a protein source, and a mineral mix.  To attain the maximum rate of gain one should use an ionophore and implants.   The quicker a steer is finished usually has a more profitable outcome due...