Winter feeding programs for livestock

By Alice McFarlane / CJVR
November 16, 2018 - 9:47am

Every year beef producers face the challenge of managing their cows to get them through the winter in good shape to calve, produce milk, and rebreed in a timely manner. 

The challenge becomes even more important in years where feed is in short supply. 

Beef Cattle Research Council science director, Reynold Bergen, says that there are some clear steps to take when developing your winter-feeding program.

"Find out what you have available, the second step is to test it and the third is to work with a nutritionist to match your feeds together so that the animal requirements are met," Bergen said. "At the same time that nutritionist can help you identify where there is gaps in terms of energy or protein or specific minerals and vitamins that may need to be supplemented."

Bergen said the producer needs to consider when to provide a supplement and decide which animals to feed it to.

"If you've got a big variation in feed quality reserve it’s the best for the thinner, older and younger animals that need the best groceries and your middle aged cows can get by as usual, on a little bit tougher diet."

Bergen warned offering the cheapest feed can be more costly over the long term especially if you're going to end up with thin cows.

"If they don't rebreed that will have implications on your bottom line."



The longhorns are back in town

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