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.
Winter supplementation for a cow can account for anywhere between 40 and 60 percent of the annual cost of maintaining the cow. Therefore, producers should plan their winter supplementation strategies during the growing season to allow for more options and to reduce winter feed costs when utilizing bermudagrass pastures.