Current Progressive Cattleman digital edition

Feed & Nutrition

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


Current feed and fertilizer prices have moderated relative to the highs five to 10 years ago, resulting in reduced input costs for cow-calf producers. But current cattle prices have decreased significantly compared to the highs three years ago, putting the financial squeeze on cattle producers again.

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Cattle convert grass into steak; what’s your superpower?

It is remarkable what goes on inside the rumen.

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Nutritional interventions to promote fetal programming in beef cattle has been a topic of interest to many research groups. After evaluating the existing literature, we assessed that little was known about the impacts of maternal trace mineral status on offspring productivity, including elements essential for fetal development such as copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn) and cobalt (Co).

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Cattle, goats, sheep and even llamas have been raised for 1000’s of years to use the forage that could not be used for food by man. They have been selected to provide meat, milk, clothing and years ago … these animals were used as a power source. Today, there are new, better and different ways to deliver forage and other nutritious ingredients to our animals.

How can I Do More with Less … NOW?

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Producers have recognized for years they must feed a certain amount of fiber in their mixed rations even though there is no actual dietary fiber requirement for cattle. Selecting the optimal amount of fiber depends on your production goals and can be compared to the way Goldilocks picked the best porridge from the Three Bears table:

  • using too little fiber will make the ration “too hot”
  • using too much will make it “too cold”
  • and of course, there is an amount that is “just right”

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Are you tired of grinding and storing hay? Losing money because of shrink or mold? It might be time to consider updating your feeding program to improve your bottom line. As a veteran livestock nutritionist, I am one of the first to see how our industry is changing. In order to stay in the black, we all must be one step ahead of the times. We’ve got to do our best to improve every day. (I believe it was Noah who built the ark while it was still sunny outside.)

As a nutritionist, it’s my great challenge and responsibility to recommend what’s best for those I advise. My report card is the ROI of the cattlemen I serve and is based on competency gained through education, experience and deliberate experimentation. Part of the value I provide is to push cattlemen I serve towards calculated risks when the payoff for them is great enough.

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