Derris Burnet is an assistant professor of muscle and meat biology at Mississippi State University recently spoke on the subject of fetal programming and how it can impact a producer's herd. "muscle and fat development actually begins in utero prior to the animal calving so it is important to understand how and when to feed our mama cows in order to maximize the growth and composition of their offspring." Burnett says when a producer is caring for a pregnant cow they are also caring for the unborn calf. "for producers I always like to end with the fact that you are basically feeding the fibers and fat cells post natally so muscle fiber number is established prior to birth in beef animals, so no matter what you do, once the animal is born, you cannot increase the total number of fibers. Therefore, it is important for us to maximize the number of muscle fibers that are developed during uterus growth and after that we can feed those fibers with whatever nutritional regimen that we feel are the most efficient." Burnett says genetics is a factor for fetal programming, but that's not all of it.