MKC Blog > November 2020 > Feeding the Cow-Calf Herd This Fall

Feeding the Cow-Calf Herd This Fall

November 12, 2020
The calendar says that fall is here, and it is essential to keep the cow herd's nutritional needs top-of-mind. Fall is a significant season for a cow-calf operation, as numerous activities are happening.

If cows are calving, they are at their highest level of nutritional needs. If they calved in the spring, they would be recovering from the recently weaned calf and be halfway through gestation. Both instances need to be appropriately managed to care for most effective and profit from your cow herd. The largest contributors to nutritional deficiencies include vitamins and minerals, and protein. The feed division at MKC offers a variety of solutions to address dietary concerns and our team of experts is available to tailor a solution to each individual operation.

Vitamins and Minerals
When we discuss vitamin and mineral deficiencies, there are a couple of methods we can use to alleviate the problem. One solution to address vitamin and mineral deficiency is by offering free-choice mineral. Like in summer pasture, you can provide vitamins and minerals as a free choice supplement but getting the exact consumption can be problematic. The most convenient, but often the most expensive way, would be to use cooked molasses tubs.

Many of the tubs offered by our partners at Purina have an additive that helps control consumption, allowing the animal to get the exact amount of vitamin and mineral nutrients they need to successfully raise a calf and rebreed when forage quality is dwindling. Another solution is to add the necessary vitamins and minerals to a mixed ration. This works well for producers who are feeding a mixed ration in a bunk already, where they can control the cows' intake. For example, if the feed was offered free choice, the cows might consume 15 pounds per head, but the producer can choose to feed 10 pounds per head.

As mentioned earlier, the second problem producers face in the fall is protein supplementation. A mixed ration can often be the most cost-effective method for protein supplementation, but the producer must be able to feed it in a way that the amount of waste doesn't cost the producer more than they are saving. If they dump a ground feed on the ground without a bunk, the cattle will trample the feed and leave waste. Range cubes are an excellent alternative for customers who are feeding on top of rolled hay or straight on the ground. The cube's size allows the cows to pick each one up and there is very little waste. It is also still relatively cost-efficient. Like mineral tubs, Purina also offers protein tubs specifically formulated to fulfill these cows' requirements at this point in the year. Some examples of Purina's quality protein tubs include the Accuration tubs, which come with a 10% fat content and 5% fat. The extra energy from this fat gives cows the boost they need. Other standards protein tubs MKC offers are the Purina Rangeland 30-13 and Rangeland 25.

The final solution for supplemental protein we will discuss today is our liquid protein program. This is the most cost-effective option on a cost per pound of protein. Liquid protein is also the quickest and most affordable way to get cows in poor condition back up to proper conditions. Many producers think that cows on this program consume large amounts, but that is only because they need the extra nutrients. All three protein options work great in conjunction with fall forages such as corn stubble or a cover crop.

Fall Forage Evaluation
Our forages' protein level is drastically falling as the temperatures get colder and fall and winter seasons come. Many producers with MKC use fall forages such as cool-season grasses, cover crops, stubble from the crop they recently harvested, or a combination of the three. These provide great alternative forage options for hay and often can be cheaper. At MKC, we offer collaborative staff who can help our producers get the forage products that best fit their operation.

With the fall season being the peak time of year for a cow's nutritional needs, MKC offers many solutions that can be custom-fit to each operation. Depending on the infrastructure and goals of each producer, our feed team would gladly put together a mixed ration, work with the agronomy team to find a forage to plant, or order products such as protein and mineral tubs to most efficiently and cost-effectively get your cattle the appropriate nutrients to make your operation successful.

For more information, contact an MKC animal nutrition specailist or your nearest MKC location.
Posted: 11/12/2020 9:07:03 PM by Nichole Gouldie | with 0 comments
Filed under: cattle, feed, livestock, mineral, protein, Purina

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