How you graze and supplement cattle during dry spells can have long-lasting economic and ecological effects on your ranch.
Both can prosper with the right management. Here’s what to consider.
In the article “Nutrient Synchrony: Protein and Energy Working Together,” we discussed how protein and energy act synergistically in the rumen to booster animal performance: Each requires the other for peak function. We also mentioned how winter supplementation often consists of a protein supplement but that protein is not always the limiting nutrient. In this article, we will talk about both protein and energy supplementation and how to know which is the limiting nutrient and when to feed it.
As a ruminant nutritionist and livestock consultant, I spend the vast majority of my time discussing the nutrient requirements of beef cattle. More specifically, discussing the “king” and “queen” of the beef nutrition world: protein and energy. Whether a producer is backgrounding calves, developing heifers or getting through the winter, these are the two nutrients that dominate conversation, concern and price tag. However, these nutrients are far too often considered separate entities. You usually know if you’re deficient in one or the other, or maybe both, but it’s rarely considered that these two work in synchrony as complements.
Properly designed and thought-out facilities will be safe for the producer and animal and will allow for cattle to be easily worked in a timely fashion.
It is important to properly develop heifers before the breeding season and to continue managing them during and after the calving season.
Proper off-season management of bulls can ensure longevity within the herd and a subsequent successful breeding season.
For most cattle producers, culling cows is not an easy task. However, some culling needs to be done each year to maintain optimal productivity.
The rumen microbiome is very complex, and the diversity of ruminal microorganisms can be affected by diet composition, genetics and environmental factors.
A replacement heifer represents the most costly improvement in a herd’s genetics. Some of the more important influencers that are critical to retaining these genetics over time include development, conceiving early in the breeding season, calving ease and maintaining good body condition prior to breeding, especially between 2 and 5 years of age when the heifer is still growing. For this article, I want to focus on development and conceiving early in the breeding season.