I as well was not trying to be testy Hoof Hearted, not at all. Here is my analogy of the calf deal -- it may make more sense this way.
First off, when we are trying to feed a FAT steer, we are asking him to put condition on an already MATURE frame. Keep that point in mind, the steer is already at 90% or more of his max frame and we are asking for fat deposits, not frame or bone growth.
That little baby in there is fusing bone, making tissues, growing lungs -- everything that does not matter in a fat steer. Bone mass and internal organs take a long time to grow, and they do more of it at the end of gestation than they do early -- early on they are just sending cells to this organ or that -- in fact when we transfer an embryo -- you could take ONE cell out of that embryo at that stage and make a completely new one from that cell -- they have not differentiated as yet -- so every one has the complete genetic package in tact. Later on they fuse into their respective organs, bone, skin etc.
That calf in there is growing exponentialy late in term, to get ready for birth, and even early on in life, a good cow with a good genetics calf will yield an ADG of about 3 pounds per day -- at least early on -- say the first 4 months.
Putting everything in perspective -- it makes sense that nature has programmed for rapid growth right before birth to make sure it has as much chance as possible to live. Sure -- there would be a wide range of actual calf gain from one package to the next, but the bottom line is -- the closer to term the calf is the faster it grows -- more cells to divide into more cells to divide into more cells to divide - etc etc.
Again, that fat steer is making FAT, not body mass for the most part -- although there is some muscle growth -- most of the bone mass and internal organs are mature and will not contribute to the end product.
Any way - I think we all get the point -- just don't push your cows the last 35 days -- if they are thin then -- it is TOOOOO late!
Take care all -- Terry