The decision to pasture finish depends on target market specifications and environmental factors that influence feed supply.
Every market for livestock has different specifications. Some markets require animals to be finished on grain or lotfed, while other markets eg grassfed beef, natural meat and organic markets, require pasture finishing.
When selecting a target market, it is important to consider the nutrition required by the animal to achieve a particular specification in the particular production environment. Central to feed quality are attributes such as protein, energy and digestibility and these change depending on the growth phase of the pasture.
Genetics is also important in determining whether a particular animal will be able to be finished to meet market specifications. Producers should also be mindful of animal health considerations when pasture finishing.
When pasture finishing livestock, feeding supplements can play an important role in helping livestock meet production requirements as defined by market specifications.
Supplements are usually provided in a finishing system to:
- Overcome nutritional deficiencies.
- Improve pasture utilisation.
- Increase production.