Research is showing cattle grazed in many traditional forage-based programs can marble as well as their genetically same counterparts fed high-starch diets from suckling stage onward.
This 2010 study showed cattle on dormant winter range could catch up to their counterparts grazed on wheat pasture in the feeding phase, provided they were fed to a common level of fat cover. To view the report click on the link below.
Other studies that lead up to and support these findings are: Effects of starch- versus fiber-based supplements during winter grazing on growth rate of stocker cattle and final carcass characteristics, 2009 - www.ansi.okstate.edu/research/research-reports-1/2009/Sharman_Research%20Report%202009%20.pdf
Performance and Economic Analysis of Calf-Fed and Yearling Systems for Fall-Born Calves, 2007 - www.ansi.okstate.edu/research/research-reports-1/2007/hudson_015.pdf
Influence of high-starch vs high-fiber energy supplements on performance of stocker cattle grazing wheat pasture and subsequent feedlot performance, 1995 -jas.fass.org/cgi/reprint/73/1/45?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Horn&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT