Vet’s Voice: Supplementation may be necessary | TSLN.com

Vet’s Voice: Supplementation may be necessary

Dave Barz, DVM

For the October 23, 2010 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

The harvest is progressing rapidly and some cows are moving to corn stalk pastures in the area.

Over the past few years, the cost of running a cow has really increased. It used to be a “rule of thumb” that we could run a cow for about a dollar a day, or $350-$400 a year. As pasture rent and hay prices rose, many producers are seeing costs of over $600 per cow, per year. Thankfully calf prices are high enough this year to compensate for these additional costs, but the more costs decrease, the more profit is retained in your operation.

This summer we had more rain than I can remember. It made it almost impossible to put up good quality hay. The only good thing about it was that in a few short weeks you got another chance to try, but this attempt was usually rained on, too. Most of the hay we have seen tested is lower in proteins and feed value. Feeding this hay alone will require extra feed and supplement to balance these rations and get enough energy in these cows.

As we see the increase in the ethanol industry, we have many more byproducts available for supplementation. In the past several years researchers have experimented with co-products and different forage types.

DDGS (dried distillers grain with solubles) can be mixed in a complete ration with ground forage and bunk fed with a mixer wagon; fed as a supplement concentrate mixed with a carrier (mineral pack and a small amount of forage) while the animals graze cornstalks and are fed baled hay; or fed with a bucket or loader every several days while the cows consume free-choice hay or graze. The routes and usage of DDGS are as broad as your imagination.

Many of you have the ability to purchase wet distillers grains. They are usually less expensive, but keep in mind you are also purchasing water. Storage has been a problem with this product, but research has shown that when covered with black plastic (to avoid excessive oxygen contact), the product stores well. Many producers mix the product with silage when forming a pile or mix with hay at grinding. Prices fluctuate with the grain market and time of the year, so shop before you buy.

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Hopefully this winter will be mild and we won’t need to use much winter feed, but it’s best to have a backup plan, just in case. Visit with your nutritionist or extension specialist to understand the limitations of feeding ethanol byproducts.

By using feed samples from your winter forages, you can formulate rations to keep your cows healthy through all phases of a Dakota winter. Every dollar you save on feed is one more dollar of profit for your operation.

The harvest is progressing rapidly and some cows are moving to corn stalk pastures in the area.

Over the past few years, the cost of running a cow has really increased. It used to be a “rule of thumb” that we could run a cow for about a dollar a day, or $350-$400 a year. As pasture rent and hay prices rose, many producers are seeing costs of over $600 per cow, per year. Thankfully calf prices are high enough this year to compensate for these additional costs, but the more costs decrease, the more profit is retained in your operation.

This summer we had more rain than I can remember. It made it almost impossible to put up good quality hay. The only good thing about it was that in a few short weeks you got another chance to try, but this attempt was usually rained on, too. Most of the hay we have seen tested is lower in proteins and feed value. Feeding this hay alone will require extra feed and supplement to balance these rations and get enough energy in these cows.

As we see the increase in the ethanol industry, we have many more byproducts available for supplementation. In the past several years researchers have experimented with co-products and different forage types.

DDGS (dried distillers grain with solubles) can be mixed in a complete ration with ground forage and bunk fed with a mixer wagon; fed as a supplement concentrate mixed with a carrier (mineral pack and a small amount of forage) while the animals graze cornstalks and are fed baled hay; or fed with a bucket or loader every several days while the cows consume free-choice hay or graze. The routes and usage of DDGS are as broad as your imagination.

Many of you have the ability to purchase wet distillers grains. They are usually less expensive, but keep in mind you are also purchasing water. Storage has been a problem with this product, but research has shown that when covered with black plastic (to avoid excessive oxygen contact), the product stores well. Many producers mix the product with silage when forming a pile or mix with hay at grinding. Prices fluctuate with the grain market and time of the year, so shop before you buy.

Hopefully this winter will be mild and we won’t need to use much winter feed, but it’s best to have a backup plan, just in case. Visit with your nutritionist or extension specialist to understand the limitations of feeding ethanol byproducts.

By using feed samples from your winter forages, you can formulate rations to keep your cows healthy through all phases of a Dakota winter. Every dollar you save on feed is one more dollar of profit for your operation.

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