|MMM 370||August 7, 1998|
In drought conditions, when pasture quality is poor, you need
to develop a plan of action to care for your cattle. First estimate
the amount of feed you have on hand. Figure the daily requirements
you need to carry your cattle. If you are going to run out before
next year, start stretching your supplies and looking for alternative
Consider using extenders such as equal parts of corn, soybean
hulls and cottonseed hulls. The analysis of such a feed mix is
about 8.6% crude protein, 30% fiber and 42% TDN. This feed is
equivalent to an average quality hay. Feeding a 1,000 lb. cow
up to 25 lbs. of this feed should serve as the maximum amount
offered per day. This amount should obviously be lower if some
hay or forage is available. A second formulation of equal parts
corn and cottonseed hulls can be used as a limited supplement.
A feeding rate of 8 to 10 lbs. per cow is suggested to help extend
the life of available pastures and hay supply.
There are other by-product feeds that can be used as well.
A list includes, but is not limited to the following: corn gluten,
hominy, wheat midds, citrus pulp, peanut hulls, soybean hulls,
stale bread & cookies from a bakery thrift store, and brewers
grains. A note to consider on brewers grain, brewers grain is
delivered by brewery companies (or contract haulers) in bulk dump
trailers and contain a high moisture content (75-78% water). Handling
of brewers grain requires advanced planning and usually blending
with other feedstuffs to improve palatability. Consult your County
Extension office for more information on by-product feeds and
remember to do cost/analysis comparisons before you buy to make
sure you're paying a reasonable price for emergency feedstuffs.
It is important to provide minerals and salt to the cattle
at all times of the year and especially during a drought. During
drought, phosphorus supplementation is even more critical. Try
using a mixture of equal parts salt and dicalcium phosphate free
choice to the cow herd.
Vitamin A (carotene) is deficient in forages growing under
drought conditions or hay made from drought affected forages.
The younger the animal the quicker the deficiency will show up.
Give cows a Vitamin A & D booster within a month of calving.
Also give the newborn calves a booster.
Drought dormant pasture also may be deficient in protein. Reduced
pregnancy rates can occur at this time. Give dry cows 0.5 to .75
pounds of crude protein while nursing cows will need 0.9 to 1.2
pounds. Sunflower meal, safflower meal, as well as other protein
meals may be used
Energy may be the most limiting nutrient during a drought.
Grain, hay, and by-products can be used to provide the energy.
A general rule of thumb is not to feed more than 2.5% body weight
as supplemental grain. More than this will affect forage digestibility.
Hay, pasture, and traditional supplements during a drought
are often expensive. Using alternative feeds can reduce your feed
cost. Whether you use commodities or complete feed, you will be
better able to compete if you buy in bulk to avoid the handling
charges of bags. A fully loaded truck will be 45,000 to 50,000
pounds. Commodities are usually bulky and not suited for storage
bins. And, it is advisable to use open-front sheds that are large
enough to handle a truckload. If you have 75 cows and will be
feeding them about 10 pounds a day then a 45,000 pound load will
last you 60 days.
The goal is to provide the type and amount of supplement that
will maintain weight and condition without reducing forage intake
or digestion. High fiber energy feeds like soy hulls, wheat midds,
corn gluten feed or brewer's grain can be fed at higher levels
than corn, barley, or wheat. Limit intake on cows to about 8 pounds/day
and 4 pounds/day for 500 pound calves
The following table shows the feeding value and cost per pound
of feed, TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients) and Crude Protein (CP).
Here is how the table was developed. First get the nutrient value
of each ingredient along with their market value. To calculated.
$/lb take the cost of the ingredient divided by the pounds of
the unit. Corn for an example: $3.40 / bu divided by 56 lbs/bu
gives $.061/pound. To calculate $/lb TDN take the pound cost of
the ingredient divided by the percent TDN. Again using corn: $.061/lb
divided by .87 (87% TDN) = $0.07 /lb TDN. Correspondingly for
CP $.061/lb divided by .10 (10% CP) = $0.605 /lb CP. After you
have determined the unit prices, you can then evaluate which ingredient
is most economical for what you need TDN or CP.
An example will help illustrate this concept. Assume you have
adequate dried forage from pasture sources. However, energy to
maintain your cows is limited. Under these costs and products
the cheapest $/lb TDN is corn silage at $0.026 and the most expensive
is 48% SBM at $ 0.123. The cheapest source $/lb CP is Broiler
Litter at $0.068 and the most expensive is Cotton Fiber by-products
at $0.813. Feed balanced diets and do not over feed. County Extension
Offices can get help balance rations if necessary.
|Product||% TDN||% CP||$/unit||Unit||$/ lb||$ /lb TDN||$ /lb CP|
|Ground shelled corn||87%||10%||3.40||Bu||0.061||0.070||0.607|
|Dry corn Gluten||82%||28%||149.00||Ton||0.075||0.091||0.266|
USING POULTRY LITTER
When processed by an acceptable method, poultry litter is an economical and safe source of protein, minerals and energy for beef cattle. Grain and poultry litter (40-45% of mix) can reduce the pasture demands by 20-40% for cows. However, young calves under 300 pounds can not utilize this type of ration efficiently.
The best result with feeding poultry litter is with the deep
stacking process or ensiling it along with a forage crop. A 6
page article on "Deep Stacking Broiler Liter As A Feed For
Beef Cattle" can be found at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/drought/dro-49.html
. The Southern Region Beef Management Handbook has
two articles, Secton 2007 "Feeding Poultry Liter to Beef
Cattle" and Section 2007a "Deep Stacking Liter as a
Feed for Beef Cattle".
The following two tables list the nutrient
content of broiler litter and turkey litter and the MAXIMUM amount
of poultry waste that should be in diets of various classes of
|ITEM (%)||BROILER LITTER||TURKEY LITTER|
|Dry Matter||75 %||81%|
|Classes of Cattle||MAXIMUM Level||Classes of Cattle||MAXIMUM Level|
|Feedlot Cattle||25-30%||Dry Cows||80%|
|Replacement heifers||40 %||First Calf Heifers||60%|
|Stocker Cattle||50%||Nursing Cattle||60 %|
AMMONIATION OF LOW QUALITY ROUGHAGES
Ammoniation works best on low quality
forages such a straw, corn stover, and very mature, low quality
grasses. Ammoniation can double or triple the crude protein and
can boost consumption by 15-20%. Phosphorus, trace minerals and
Vitamin A should be added to the diet when ammoniated residues
are fed. Residues treated with anhydrous ammonia are not very
effective on thin cows. Cows can maintain their weight and condition
until 50 days prior to calving when additional supplementation
may be required. The best results occur when residues are 10-20%
moisture. For more information on the process, safety precautions
and cost see http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/drought/ds-9-97.htm.
It may be possible to lease additional
pasture land and move some of your cattle there to reduce the
stocking rate of your fields.
During extreme condition, you may have
to move cows to a drylot area. It may be more economical to concentrate
cattle by feeding large amounts of supplements. Doing this will
also let the pastures rest.
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