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Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2014 Feb;2:535-54. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-022513-114239.

The modern feedlot for finishing cattle.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523; email: ,


The modern beef feedlot has evolved into a complex system that is very dependent upon technology. Modern feedlots are organized into departments, often including the office, cattle, yard, feed milling, and feed departments, that allow for improvements in production efficiency through the specialization of management and labor. Regardless of size, feedlots must succeed at the following tasks: cattle procurement, cattle receiving, cattle processing, daily cattle observations, health treatments, cattle marketing, feed procurement, feed commodity receiving, feed commodity storage, diet formulation, diet delivery, bunk management, and environmental management. Apart from cattle ownership, feedlots create most of their gross income from feed sales, yardage, inventory gain on flaked grain, and combinations of these sources. The future of the industry is filled with economic and political challenges, including high grain prices owing to competition from the ethanol industry, environmental regulations, excess feedlot capacity, and a diminishing labor pool owing to declining rural populations.


economics; environment; management; marketing; nutrition

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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