With most of our spring cow herds nearing the end of gestation, it is now a pivotal time in our management strategy to put weight on cattle. However, the drought of 2012 has forced many of us to become more resourceful in how we are managing our cow herds this winter. With the limited availability of good quality forage coupled with their high price tags; many of us have turned to alternative feeding strategies to get us through this winter.
Knowing that many of these “poorer” quality forages vary greatly in their nutrient composition, it is strongly recommended to have these feedstuffs tested. Especially when the price of these feeds and everything else carry a economic ramifications that can affect our bottom lines.
Feeding the cow herd can lead us to believe that we must feed all the cow will consume to maintain body weight or even gain. When in reality we can effectively limit intakes feeding a more nutrient dense ration to conserve our resources. Moreover, the price of corn when compared to forages is easier to pencil into rations, since we are paying less per unit of TDN in corn than we are with forages. Using this knowledge we can effectively formulate rations that will utilize a by-product of sorts to meet the protein requirements of our cows, coupled with an ample amount of corn, followed by a complimentary amount of forage to maximize efficiency and save on our feed stores (if limited). It is also recommended that an ionophore (Rumensin) be added to the diet to capture all the efficiency that we can.
If you have any questions or would like to know more, please contact your Suther’s representative and we will gladly assist you.