If you are a cattle farmer, feeding your cattle the right kinds of food can be challenging. During the times when your pasture drops in nutrition or when availability becomes limited, you may need supplements. Not supplementing sufficiently could have an impact on your cattle farm production.
If your pastures fall short on minerals and nutrients, you need to consider an alternative feeding program for your cattle herd. Some of the cattle ranchers may get the wrong idea that supplementing cattle may increase feeding costs, and it’s not all that profitable. However, latest studies and research reveals that supplementing cows plays an important role in fetus development.
Rick Funston, a University of Nebraska reproductive physiologist in North Platte, says that he has done research with cows, looking at early weaning with and without supplements. He found out that although the pregnancy rates were almost about the same in both the systems, cows receiving a higher plane of nutrition weaned more live calves.
“But the heifer calves kept for replacement, born to dams supplemented during the last trimester of pregnancy, showed a distinct advantage. If you look at the percentage of heifers calving in the first 21 days and overall pregnancy rate, we decreased fertility in these heifers before they were ever born by how we managed the dams,”- Rick Funston
And similar results were found with steer calves. By not supplementing cows for longer terms, it was found that they gave birth to calves that grew weaker and lighter than those born from supplemented cows. Long term supplementation also increased the fertility rates of cows. “So we not only impacted carcass weight and heifer fertility, we now impacted quality grade before these calves were ever born,” – Rick says.
So clearly, supplementing your cattle could increase fertility in cows and could influence reproduction rate of your cattle herd. So, naturally, it is critical to feed your cattle well enough to meet nutritional requirements.
Tips for Cattle Nutrition & supplementation
- Balance cattle nutrition: Your cattle feed should contain proper balance and ratios of all 14 essential cattle minerals. Those are calcium, cobalt, copper, iodine, magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, molybdenum, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, zinc and sulfur.
- Proper preservation of supplements: If your cattle feed is not preserved properly, rain and weather can damage it and wash away the nutrients. If you choose to buy minerals as supplements, make sure they are weather resistant. Your cattle may not eat damaged food, or they may get sick.
- Organic sources of minerals: Another important aspect of supplement and mineral sources is to make sure that they are from organic and bioavailable mineral sources. If not, your cattle will not be able to absorb them easily into their body.
Make sure you supply fresh and organic minerals and supplements to your cattle in addition to their regular feed. A good feeding and supplementation program can improve your herd health and increase cattle production.
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Source: Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
Related articles and resources:
- Organic Livestock Nutrition – Feeding, Health & Nutrition of Organic Farms | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
- 5 Ways to Cut your Cattle Feed Cost | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
- Fetal Programming Studies Show Supplementation Pays | Cattle Supplements content from BEEF Magazine
- Animal Nutrition Information | Purina Mills