The steps in the life of Beef Cattle
The first step in raising cattle for beef products is cow-calf operation. When a calf is born it ways 60-100 pounds, it will live of its mothers milk for the next few months.
The second step in this process is weaning, beef calves are weaned at six to 10 months old.
The next step is stocker and backgrounder, after weaning, cattle continue to grow and thrive by grazing during the stocker and backgrounder phase.
After weaning and/or during the stocker and backgrounder phase, cows are sold at livestock auction markets. About 1/3 of cows stay on the farm for breeding purposes.
The next step in beef production is when mature calves are moved to feedyards (also called feedlots). Here, they typically spend four to six months, during which time they have constant access to water, room to move around, and are free to graze at feed bunks containing a carefully balanced diet. Veterinarians, nutritionists and cattlemen work together to look after each animal.
Once cattle reach market weight (typically 1,200 to 1,400 pounds and 18 to 22 months of age), they are sent to a processing facility. USDA inspectors are stationed in all federally inspected packing plants and oversee the implementation of safety, animal welfare, and quality standards from the time animals enter the plant until the final beef products are shipped to grocery stores and restaurants establishments
The final step in beef production is when beef is shipped and sold in the United States and abroad. In the retail and food service channels, operators take steps to provide consumers with the most safe, wholesome and nutritious products possible.