NutreBeef® Breeding Herd Feed
Nutrient requirements of beef cows change significantly during the year, depending on whether the cows are bred or lactating. Forage quality also changes during the year. The need for supplemental feeding is determined by the combination of the cows’ nutrient requirements and forage quality.
The general rule is to feed to condition, with a goal of having cows in good condition (Body Condition Score of 5+) at calving time. The feeding table below will help as a useful guide for supplemental feeding.
|Forage Type||Calving through Breeding||Breeding until Weaning||Mid-Gestation: Weaning until 60 days before calving||Late Gestation: 60 days before calving|
|Feeding Guideline: Amount of Feed per Head per Day|
|Lush green forage||0-2 lbs.||0-1 kg||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||0-2 lbs||0-1 kg|
|Mature green forage||2-4 lbs.||1-2 kg||0-2 lbs.||0-1 kg||0-2 lbs.||0-1 kg||1-2 lbs||.5-1 kg|
|Dormant, brown forage||5-8 lbs.||2-3.5 kg||2-4 lbs.||1-2 kg||1-2 lbs.||.5-1 kg||4-6 lbs||2-25 kg|
|Silage||2-3 lbs.||1-1.5 kg||1-2 lbs.||.5-1 kg||0-2 lbs.||0-1 kg||0-2 lbs||0-1 kg|
- Creep feeding can be a very effective way to increase calf weaning weights. In addition, creep feeding reduces the nutritional demands on the cow, helping to keep the cow in good condition for the next breeding.
- Creep feeding is especially beneficial when:
- You want to maximize weaning weights.
- Pasture supply or pasture quality is low.
- Cow condition is poor or marginal.
- Calves are nursing young cows (2 to 3 years of age).
- Begin creep feeding when calves are 2 to 3 months old. As calves get older and bigger, creep feed intake tends to go up.
- Intake can be managed by creep feeder location. To increase intake, place the creep feeder in areas where cattle gather, such as watering or shady areas. To decrease intake, move the creep feeder away from gathering areas.
- Profitable creep feeding depends on the difference between the value of the additional weaning weight and the cost of the creep feed.
- The efficiency of converting creep feed to extra calf weight varies, depending on how much creep feed the calf eats.
- The chart below shows the impact of intake levels on conversion rates. Generally, the higher the intake level, the lower the conversion rate.
|Estimated Creep Feed Conversion Rates*|
|Creep Feed Intake (per head per day)||Creep Feed Conversion Rate*|
|2 - 3 lbs.||5:1|
|3 - 4 lbs.||6:1|
|4 -5 lbs.||8:1|
|6 lbs. or more||12:1|
*These are estimated results. Actual results will vary based on cattle genetics, health of the animal, weather, management practices and other factors.