Suther's Perspective

Saving Forage During Drought

With forage availability low and the lack of moisture leaving wheat pastures high and dry looking for ways to conserve on the amount of forage that we need to feed to maintain our herds is becoming paramount.  Typically during this time of year we are concerned about providing adequate amounts of protein to increase the digestion of our senescent forages.  However, this years plan may be a little different.  Taking a different approach to maximizing use while using minimal resources considering substitution effects may provide some relief.

When I say substitution, I am referring to supplementing with low levels of cereal grains ( approximately 2 lb./d).  By doing so we are able  reduce intake of forages, but at the same time we reduce their digestibility.  However, if we include Rumensin (150 – 240 mg/hd/d depending upon feeding method), a feed additive that is very effective at altering digestion and intake in ruminants, we can alleviate the negative consequences of substitution and achieve the desired result.

By combining Rumensin and corn together we can reduce the intake of a 1300 lb. cow from 42 lb/d to close to 26 lb per day and still meet the nutritional requirements of the animal.  However, if any areas have received a little rain and have gotten any growth of cool season forages this approach may increase intakes due to the increase plant protein and the effects energy has on forage digestion when protein is not limiting.

For more information about ration formulation or Rumensin contact your local Suther’s field representative.  Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

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