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Feed & Nutrition

Learn about all aspects of cattle nutrition from harvest and storage to balancing rations with forage, byproducts and supplements.

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In the cattle business, there are few things as rewarding as getting weaned calves and newly arrived feeder cattle off to a good start. The first 30–45 days after weaning and/or commingling can set the tone for calves’ lifelong health, performance and profitability. Whether calves are destined to be herd replacements or feeder cattle, they should all be provided with feed that helps them build strong immune systems and grow at a pace that will enhance their production for their entire lives.

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Cow-calf producers often simply view creep feeding as a way to increase calf weaning weights beyond what can be produced with mother’s milk and available forage. However, the benefits of creep feeding can reach well beyond weaning weight and are summarized below:

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One of the characteristics of a ruminant animal is that it can harvest large amounts of nutrients, store it, ruminate on it, endure short-term periods of deprivation and then go make a large harvest again.

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Between fieldwork, cattle work and everything else happening on the farm or ranch, stress levels seem to increase during the fall. Calves may also experience stress during this time of the year, as well as at weaning – when they are adapting to big changes.

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We often see ads promoting the benefits of probiotics in a variety of products targeted toward humans and animals. However, ads typically generalize the benefits of probiotics – intertwining nutrition and managing health as research shows how changing diet can have major health benefits.

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Despite major differences in cattle production nationally, there’s one thing I’m comfortable generalizing: Cattle producers do not have an abundance of time, labor or resources.

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