Creep feeding calves in a high cost and high price environment | TSLN.com

Creep feeding calves in a high cost and high price environment

Loretta Sorenson

Creep feeding has traditionally been profitable during cycles when calf prices were high and feed costs were low. University of Lincoln-Nebraska extension beef specialist Rick Rasby says the current scenario – high calf prices and high feed costs – is one beef producers haven’t previously encountered.

“At weaning time, creep-fed calves always weigh more than non-creep fed calves,” Rasby says. “However, even with the current high prices, producers need to pencil out the cost of feed to ensure the economics of that scenario are still favorable. When considering those costs, producers need to include any equipment and labor costs involved with creep feeding, too.”

The primary objective of creep feeding is to put weight – not fat – on calves before they’re weaned, especially if the calves are sold at weaning. The most common creep feeds are high in energy, containing about 16 percent crude protein. Research suggests that high energy creep feed rations result in the greatest weight gain compared to high protein creeps. Research also suggests that pounds consumed daily will differ based on calf weight and palatability of the ration. Conversion of pounds of creep feed per pound of gain varies, but energy creep feed rations will average about eight pounds of creep per pound of gain.

“Some creep diets are over 30 percent crude protein,” Rasby says. “That type of formulation in the past has been mostly soybean meal or a combination of soybean and cottonseed meal. Today these creeps may include ethanol byproducts like distillers grains. Intake is controlled by including salt when using high protein creeps. Daily consumption of this type of feed is lower compared to the high-energy creeps. Pounds of creep feed per pound of calf gain is in the range of 4:1.”

For producers desiring to combine their own creep feeding ration, Rasby recommends consulting local Extension staff to formulate a beneficial ration mix. Commercial creep feeds are also available.

“Again, it’s important to weigh the cost considerations and equipment needs related to that creep feed ration,” Rasby says.

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Creep feeding has traditionally been profitable during cycles when calf prices were high and feed costs were low. University of Lincoln-Nebraska extension beef specialist Rick Rasby says the current scenario – high calf prices and high feed costs – is one beef producers haven’t previously encountered.

“At weaning time, creep-fed calves always weigh more than non-creep fed calves,” Rasby says. “However, even with the current high prices, producers need to pencil out the cost of feed to ensure the economics of that scenario are still favorable. When considering those costs, producers need to include any equipment and labor costs involved with creep feeding, too.”

The primary objective of creep feeding is to put weight – not fat – on calves before they’re weaned, especially if the calves are sold at weaning. The most common creep feeds are high in energy, containing about 16 percent crude protein. Research suggests that high energy creep feed rations result in the greatest weight gain compared to high protein creeps. Research also suggests that pounds consumed daily will differ based on calf weight and palatability of the ration. Conversion of pounds of creep feed per pound of gain varies, but energy creep feed rations will average about eight pounds of creep per pound of gain.

“Some creep diets are over 30 percent crude protein,” Rasby says. “That type of formulation in the past has been mostly soybean meal or a combination of soybean and cottonseed meal. Today these creeps may include ethanol byproducts like distillers grains. Intake is controlled by including salt when using high protein creeps. Daily consumption of this type of feed is lower compared to the high-energy creeps. Pounds of creep feed per pound of calf gain is in the range of 4:1.”

For producers desiring to combine their own creep feeding ration, Rasby recommends consulting local Extension staff to formulate a beneficial ration mix. Commercial creep feeds are also available.

“Again, it’s important to weigh the cost considerations and equipment needs related to that creep feed ration,” Rasby says.

Creep feeding has traditionally been profitable during cycles when calf prices were high and feed costs were low. University of Lincoln-Nebraska extension beef specialist Rick Rasby says the current scenario – high calf prices and high feed costs – is one beef producers haven’t previously encountered.

“At weaning time, creep-fed calves always weigh more than non-creep fed calves,” Rasby says. “However, even with the current high prices, producers need to pencil out the cost of feed to ensure the economics of that scenario are still favorable. When considering those costs, producers need to include any equipment and labor costs involved with creep feeding, too.”

The primary objective of creep feeding is to put weight – not fat – on calves before they’re weaned, especially if the calves are sold at weaning. The most common creep feeds are high in energy, containing about 16 percent crude protein. Research suggests that high energy creep feed rations result in the greatest weight gain compared to high protein creeps. Research also suggests that pounds consumed daily will differ based on calf weight and palatability of the ration. Conversion of pounds of creep feed per pound of gain varies, but energy creep feed rations will average about eight pounds of creep per pound of gain.

“Some creep diets are over 30 percent crude protein,” Rasby says. “That type of formulation in the past has been mostly soybean meal or a combination of soybean and cottonseed meal. Today these creeps may include ethanol byproducts like distillers grains. Intake is controlled by including salt when using high protein creeps. Daily consumption of this type of feed is lower compared to the high-energy creeps. Pounds of creep feed per pound of calf gain is in the range of 4:1.”

For producers desiring to combine their own creep feeding ration, Rasby recommends consulting local Extension staff to formulate a beneficial ration mix. Commercial creep feeds are also available.

“Again, it’s important to weigh the cost considerations and equipment needs related to that creep feed ration,” Rasby says.

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