Cattle Nutrition in the Winter Months
Taking shortcuts on your cattle nutrition during the winter months can lead to an effect of long-term profitability. It can risk next year’s calf crop, this year’s weaning weights, and the long-term viability of your herd.
Feeding programs are dependent on variables such as:
2.Cost and availability of winter supplements.
3.Animal type (mature cows, replacement heifers or back-grounded calves).
4.Body condition of your cattle.
5. Calving date, if applicable.
Winter feeding can be accomplished with harvested forages such as hay and silage. If you do not harvest your own hay or silage, we stock quality hay for your herd.
Grazing crops such as ryegrass can also be utilized.
Depending on the quality of forage, supplementation may be needed by cows. When nutrient demands are not met by the basic diet the cow is offered producers must consider supplementation. Once the first frost hits and grass dies cattle can’t meet their nutritional requirements with grass alone. Both molasses tubs and liquid feed have non-protein nitrogen in them. This helps substitute for what they would get in green grass.
Evaluate Cow Performance
Regardless of whether you feed stored forages or graze crop residues, the cow’s diet must be sufficient to uphold a body condition score (BCS). It should be a 5 at weaning, a 6 at calving, and no less than a 5.5 score at breeding. At this level of condition, a cow is able to maintain its body weight and support production functions. Maintaining adequate body condition in pregnant cattle is crucial in the two to three months prior to calving.
You Can Count on Smith Farm Supply
Smith Farm Supply has made it easy for you to maintain your production level by stocking quality products to help economically manage your herd’s nutrition needs in all life stages.
Also, we stock Purina’s Wind and Rain® mineral supplements that have been specifically designed to meet mineral deficiencies based on forage quality and cattle nutritional requirements. These minerals are weather resistant and are proven to enhance consistent consumption.
Cattle Nutrition is very important during the winter months. We carry several forms of supplements to help keep the cattle in good condition: range cubes, liquid feed, and supplement tubs. Contact us with questions and how we can help you get started with this program.
Additionally, the Purina specialist is available to evaluate your specific needs and make a recommendation for your herds winter feeding program.