On the Ground
In this six year study fall calving cows grazing annual grassland in the Sacramento Valley of California weaned heavier calves than their cohorts fed hay in the mountains.
The heavier weaned calves wintered on annual grasslands continued to be heavier than their cohorts wintered on hay in the mountains through the yearling phase.
Winter grazing annual grasslands was economically favorable when compared to feeding hay in the mountains.
The timing and amount of precipitation influence annual grassland forage production tremendously. There may be years when cattle fed hay in the mountains perform better than their cohorts grazing annual grassland.