Where store cattle have recently changed over to an intensive finishing diet for the final 80 to 100 days prior to slaughter, make sure these animals are not overstocked in pens.

If cattle are stocked too tightly, liveweight gains will suffer. As finishing animals will be eating higher levels of concentrate, they will not be covering their daily feed costs.

Take a group of eight 620kg steers, each gaining 1kg/day. Every week, the group gains 56kg of liveweight.

After 11 weeks of feeding, the weight gained by the group is the equivalent of adding one extra animal to the pen.


Finishing cattle should have a minimum space allocation of 2.5m² on a slatted floor, increasing to at least 4m² on a straw bedded court.

When it comes to housing space for finishing cattle, the focus is usually on ensuring all cattle can access the feed barrier at the same time.

Lying activity

However, all finishing cattle should also be able to lie comfortably at the same time in the pen, so keep an eye to the finishing pens at various times during the day.

If there is usually animals standing every time you check on finishing cattle, this is a good indication the pen is overstocked. Providing additional lying space will have a positive effect on weight gain.

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