The finishing of cattle is what the name implies, the laying on of fat.  Additionally, there is an increase in the total amount of red meat.  The ultimate aim of the finishing process is to produce beef that will best answer the requirements and desires of the consumer.  This is accomplished through an improvement in the flavor, tenderness, and quality of the lean beef which results from marbling.

In general, there are two methods of finishing cattle for market:  1) cattle feedlots, and 2) pasture finishing.

The major nutritional requirements of finishing cattle are energy, protein, minerals, vitamins, and water.  The greatest need is for energy.  Net profit depends on how much of that energy can be converted to pounds of gain and how efficiently.