Recent slowdowns and temporary closures of meat packers acr­oss the Midwest because of the COVID-19 crisis have forced  livestock farmers to make tough decisions on what to do with their market-ready animals. 

For cattle, options include slowing growth and/or holding the animals past their ideal weight. 

“In times of depressed markets, many cattle feeders lean towards the ‘hold and hope’ method of selling fed cattle, where they retain their cattle longer than is ideal with the hope of waiting out the downturn,” noted recently published information from Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach and University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-M) Ex­­tension, available online at

One major issue to monitor when limiting growth of cattle that are nearing their normal sales weight is that if the animal’s diet isn't...