Most steers are typically between 15 and 21 months old when they are shown for exhibition. Generally, larger steers need to be nutritionally pushed so that they can gain weight quickly and be presented at a younger age, or else they may be too heavy when well-fed. Steers are usually purchased when they are 6 to 9 months old and weigh between 500 and 700 pounds, costing between 1,100 and 1,300 pounds at showtime. The duration of time it takes for a steer to finish depends on the breed, body size, and handling of the animal.
When selecting a calf, it is essential to factor in enough time to increase the daily weight adequately to meet the requirements of the show. The steer is finished (ready to be butchered) when it has completely filled its breast (fatty area between the front legs seen from the front) and has thick rolls of fat in its tail. Full-fed steers (everything they can eat cereal with hay) will be ready for slaughter between 14 and 18 months of age, while grass-fed steers will take 26 to 28 months. In general, a steer with a large frame will take longer to finish than one with a smaller frame. The thick rolls of fat in the tail indicate when the steer is finished, just like a full brisket.
Dairy market steers must be more than 12 months old and less than 24 months old before July 1 of the current year and have been shown as feeder oxen the previous year. When raising a steer for exhibition, it is important to provide them with proper nutrition and care. Feeding them high-quality feed that is rich in protein and energy will help them gain weight quickly. Additionally, providing them with plenty of exercise will help them develop muscle mass and reach their full potential. Finally, it is important to monitor their health closely and provide them with any necessary medical care.