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Tips for Stockers and Replacements Heifer Development

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Around the middle of July forage quality generally declines. When this happens, the performance (average daily gains) of stocker cattle and/or developing heifers grazing those forages will also decline. One pound per head per day of a high protein (38%+) feed (OSU Oklahoma Gold) containing an inophore can be fed to offset a portion of this seasonal decline in animal performance.

Feeding trials have shown that feeding one pound of this feed will give a daily .32 pound one-time protein response + .09 pound feed response + .20 pound inophore response. A total added average daily gain increase of .6 pound per day above grass gain can be expected from the supplementation of 1 pound per head per day of feed. For this program to work the grass quantity must be adequate and the cattle's overall diet must be protein deficient.

Do not forget to re-implant your stockers according to label recommendations. The effects of feeding programs and implants are additive. For instance, if cattle on grass are gaining 1.5 pounds per head per day with one pound of supplemental feed, an additional 10% - 12% improvement in gain could be expected from an implant.

Another basic management tool available to insure economical gains for stockers or replacement females grazing summer forages is horn fly control. Studies have shown an increase of .1 pound average daily gain and up to a 9% increase in feed efficiency on non-infested animals as compared to animals with large fly populations.

Russ Gentry, a Noble Research Institute Farm Manager, has developed (and has been using for the last two seasons) a combination mineral feeder and fly wipe. The unique thing about Russ's fly wipe is that he used a chain and insecticide impregnated ear tags.

A conventional back rub would normally require periodic treatment with diesel oil and insecticide whereas Russ's does not. One potential limitation to this method of fly control is that flies may develop resistance to the insecticide in the tags just as they do when the tags are on the animal.

This chain and 20 insecticide ear tag fly wipe gave fly control from May 1 to August 1 with moderate control until frost on 63 mature cows. The following is a diagram with measurements of Gentry's fly wipe.

The above mentioned management tools should help you achieve higher economical weight gain on your cattle grazing warm season pastures this summer.

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