There are limitations to compensatory gains, for example, an animal that has been on a low quality diet for an extended period of time may never reach its?۪ genetic potential for weight. These ?stunted?۪ animals may have a smaller mature size or final production weight. While there are limitations associated with compensatory gain, it is important to take these possible gains into account when valuing your livestock. An example of compensatory growth is demonstrated in the figure below:
In this figure, we see that cattle who have experienced a period of deficiency followed by a nutrient influx tend to catch up to cattle who have been supplemented or on a good pasture all along. This is not a re-assurance that cattle who experience a compensatory growth deficiency will have the same reproductive capacity or level of digestive tract health as a non-deficient animal. So while compensatory growth is a bonus following a dry period, it's not guaranteed and the overall health of the animal must be considered before willingly making livestock lower their bodily functions to survival mode.