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Research is revealing how important fetal programming is to the productivity of the calf. Researchers are learning that the nutritional level of the cow during the third trimester of pregnancy has significant influence on the animal’s ability to gain efficiency and reach the Choice grade if it’s a fed steer, or produce calves that meet the ranch’s production goals if it’s a replacement heifer. Rick Funston, reproductive physiologist with the University of Nebraska, based at the university’s research facility in North Platte, discusses why fetal programming is important to commercial cow-calf producers.