Considering cow nutrient requirements during and after calving | TSLN.com

Considering cow nutrient requirements during and after calving

Steve Paisley

Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, University of Wyoming

As many ranches are either in the middle of calving, or considering it in the near future, adequate nutrition is critical. From pre-calving through breeding, the cow’s nutrient requirements (esp. energy and protein) are at their highest, while cold weather and wind only add to their energy demand. Maintaining cattle in good nutrition through calving is critical for good breeding success in the spring. The following list describes the factors that have a definite impact on the cows’ overall requirements.

1. Cow size, or weight. As hay and grain prices remain high, range-based operations will continue to look for ways of reducing ranch feed expenses. One of the first items that many operations consider is actual cow size. As Table 1 describes, cow requirements obviously increase as cow weight increases. While the cows’ total feed requirement can be reduced by decreasing frame size and mature weight, there are also potential sacrifices in feedlot ADG and final carcass weight for those who retain ownership.

2. Stage of production. As Table 1 and Figure 1 illustrate, cow requirements change dramatically depending on what stage of production the cow is in. Energy requirements, as illustrated in Figure 1 by the red line, increase by approximately 30 percent as the cows transition into late gestation, and then by an additional 30 to 35 percent during early lactation. Although there are many factors to consider, many range-based operations have either studied or adopted a later calving season, to better match their cow’s requirements with the quality and availability of forage that naturally occur in late spring. Regardless of operation or calving season, recognizing and adjusting the nutrition program to match requirements during calving is critical.

As many ranches are either in the middle of calving, or considering it in the near future, adequate nutrition is critical. From pre-calving through breeding, the cow’s nutrient requirements (esp. energy and protein) are at their highest, while cold weather and wind only add to their energy demand. Maintaining cattle in good nutrition through calving is critical for good breeding success in the spring. The following list describes the factors that have a definite impact on the cows’ overall requirements.

1. Cow size, or weight. As hay and grain prices remain high, range-based operations will continue to look for ways of reducing ranch feed expenses. One of the first items that many operations consider is actual cow size. As Table 1 describes, cow requirements obviously increase as cow weight increases. While the cows’ total feed requirement can be reduced by decreasing frame size and mature weight, there are also potential sacrifices in feedlot ADG and final carcass weight for those who retain ownership.

2. Stage of production. As Table 1 and Figure 1 illustrate, cow requirements change dramatically depending on what stage of production the cow is in. Energy requirements, as illustrated in Figure 1 by the red line, increase by approximately 30 percent as the cows transition into late gestation, and then by an additional 30 to 35 percent during early lactation. Although there are many factors to consider, many range-based operations have either studied or adopted a later calving season, to better match their cow’s requirements with the quality and availability of forage that naturally occur in late spring. Regardless of operation or calving season, recognizing and adjusting the nutrition program to match requirements during calving is critical.

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As many ranches are either in the middle of calving, or considering it in the near future, adequate nutrition is critical. From pre-calving through breeding, the cow’s nutrient requirements (esp. energy and protein) are at their highest, while cold weather and wind only add to their energy demand. Maintaining cattle in good nutrition through calving is critical for good breeding success in the spring. The following list describes the factors that have a definite impact on the cows’ overall requirements.

1. Cow size, or weight. As hay and grain prices remain high, range-based operations will continue to look for ways of reducing ranch feed expenses. One of the first items that many operations consider is actual cow size. As Table 1 describes, cow requirements obviously increase as cow weight increases. While the cows’ total feed requirement can be reduced by decreasing frame size and mature weight, there are also potential sacrifices in feedlot ADG and final carcass weight for those who retain ownership.

2. Stage of production. As Table 1 and Figure 1 illustrate, cow requirements change dramatically depending on what stage of production the cow is in. Energy requirements, as illustrated in Figure 1 by the red line, increase by approximately 30 percent as the cows transition into late gestation, and then by an additional 30 to 35 percent during early lactation. Although there are many factors to consider, many range-based operations have either studied or adopted a later calving season, to better match their cow’s requirements with the quality and availability of forage that naturally occur in late spring. Regardless of operation or calving season, recognizing and adjusting the nutrition program to match requirements during calving is critical.

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