why do we feed supplement ?

Backgrounding & feeding questions.
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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by mwj » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:42 pm

If you have to transport hay very far it gets expensive very quickly! In most situations where you need to supplement poor forage, there is not an abundance of ''good'' hay.


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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Farmgirl » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:22 pm

Lucky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:18 am
The easiest way to tell if cows needs a supplement is too look at their poop. Best thing about the poop study is that it works any time of year and in any conditions. Early spring might fool you but generally just look at the poop.
Yep!

We have cows on a hay field now with Mix 30 out. Watching the poop and watching their grazing pattern tells you al lot. If they lay around in the sun and chew their cud and the poop isn't stacked up their doing good.

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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by rjbovine » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:24 pm

I agree I should have hay tested . Feeding the corn I'm ok with . I asking more about adding the 34% supplement to the corn . These are fall calving cows with calves on them . Also there isn't much pasture mostly dry lot. Keeping an eye on the poop is a good idea.Thanks rj

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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by BFE » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:02 am

Caustic Burno wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:46 am
BFE wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:43 am
I've always heard the worst grass is better than the best hay. In my experience it's true. They'll come through winter better grazing than standing around a hay ring.
So someone blew smoke about grass with 5% protein is better than hay with 12%. Last I checked hay was grass as well. All the time the cow is walking off pounds trying to fill a holler belly on low quality forage.

We used to not feed a bale of hay back in the 60’s and 70’s and most cows did survive the winters. BCS suffered conception rates were horrible.
It took 15 or so of those back forty cows to make 10 of the beef animals today. We didn’t vaccinate either because there weren’t any, good chance over half your cows weren’t producing due to bangs or lepto.
Big difference in owning cattle and beef production.
I did say my experience backs up what I have heard about the subject. Given sufficient standing grass (sorry I didn't specify down to the gnats azz on that), cows here do better finding it themselves than feeding them hay. I think our differences on this matter are probably due to differences in grass. I'm in the fescue belt, which makes for a good stockpiled forage. You are not in the fescue belt, so you have a different perspective. I'm not even including winter annuals like wheat and rye in my comment, which cows will also do better on than dry hay.

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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by BFE » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:03 am

rjbovine wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:24 pm
I agree I should have hay tested . Feeding the corn I'm ok with . I asking more about adding the 34% supplement to the corn . These are fall calving cows with calves on them . Also there isn't much pasture mostly dry lot. Keeping an eye on the poop is a good idea.Thanks rj
What county you in RJ?

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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by BFE » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:09 am

rjbovine wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:24 pm
I agree I should have hay tested . Feeding the corn I'm ok with . I asking more about adding the 34% supplement to the corn . These are fall calving cows with calves on them . Also there isn't much pasture mostly dry lot. Keeping an eye on the poop is a good idea.Thanks rj
This comment will get everyone fired up I'm sure. I have a friend who fattens all his calves, feeds them straight ground ear corn, no supplement. He says he can't tell a difference in the gain between having supplement and no supplement in the mix.
He's been doing this for 30-40 years.

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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Bright Raven » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:05 am

The topic of quality of standing forage needs to be defined based on location and management practices. Standing forage in this area (Kentucky) has high protein and total digestible nutrient (TDN) levels. It also depends to a great extent on how pastures are managed. My pastures are about 40 % clovers. I don't over graze and I keep them free of excess weeds.

The UK Extension office provides a hay testing service. The hay here has tested low over the last 3 years. It has been a function of bad hay making weather. I buy my hay from a hay farm. It runs 8 to 10 percent crude protein and the TDN is average. I know in this region, pasture forage will beat the locally grown hay in most cases. The problem here: 90 % of the producers over graze and over stock. My cows are still on pasture forage and they are all nursing calves since September.
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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Farmgirl » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:16 am

We are not located too far from Caustic so I'll take his viewpoint. Here we have lots of rain in the fall and winter and high humidity year-round. Seldom snows or freezes. We have had a frost already but many years we don't have frost until late November. With all the moisture, dead grass looses it nutrient value quickly. I think a lot of what is being debated is due to regional differences.

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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Bright Raven » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:19 am

Farmgirl wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:16 am
We are not located too far from Caustic so I'll take his viewpoint. Here we have lots of rain in the fall and winter and high humidity year-round. Seldom snows or freezes. We have had a frost already but many years we don't have frost until late November. With all the moisture, dead grass looses it nutrient value quickly. I think a lot of what is being debated is due to regional differences.

My :2cents:,
Farmgirl
That was my point. It is different regionally and even within the region dependent on management practices. When folks visit my farm, I don't have to point out the boundaries. The difference in pasture says it all.

But even here, when the grass gets weathered and stops growing, the nutrient levels drop significantly.
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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:26 am

Location - location. What's good for you is not good for me.
I posted a windy post about LOOKING AT MANURE - poof - it is gone. Anyway, someone already said it and I concur. You can tell if your winter grass has enough protein by looking at their manure. You can tell if it has food value, by watching their body condition (don't let heavy winter hair coat fool you!!)
Even if I had enough land to stockpile grass, my cows wouldn't be able to eat it because of our heavy snowfall and the fact that it "packs" so the cattle cannot forage thru it.
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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Bright Raven » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:32 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:26 am
Location - location. What's good for you is not good for me.
I posted a windy post about LOOKING AT MANURE - poof - it is gone. Anyway, someone already said it and I concur. You can tell if your winter grass has enough protein by looking at their manure. You can tell if it has food value, by watching their body condition (don't let heavy winter hair coat fool you!!)
Even if I had enough land to stockpile grass, my cows wouldn't be able to eat it because of our heavy snowfall and the fact that it "packs" so the cattle cannot forage thru it.
It is not just location. I suspect that Fence is using practices that involve planting species of grass that provides good standing forage if grazed in a timely manner. I don't even know where he lives in relationship to CB but he has often posted pictures of outstanding forage that he planted and grazes standing. You cannot argue with his logic that grazing it standing saves the expense of harvesting it, storing it and moving it around.
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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Bright Raven » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:55 am

One thing I should add. There is an expense associated with winter planting of forage. Fuel, equipment wear and tear, seed, etc.
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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Caustic Burno » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:59 am

Bright Raven wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:32 am
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:26 am
Location - location. What's good for you is not good for me.
I posted a windy post about LOOKING AT MANURE - poof - it is gone. Anyway, someone already said it and I concur. You can tell if your winter grass has enough protein by looking at their manure. You can tell if it has food value, by watching their body condition (don't let heavy winter hair coat fool you!!)
Even if I had enough land to stockpile grass, my cows wouldn't be able to eat it because of our heavy snowfall and the fact that it "packs" so the cattle cannot forage thru it.
It is not just location. I suspect that Fence is using practices that involve planting species of grass that provides good standing forage if grazed in a timely manner. I don't even know where he lives in relationship to CB but he has often posted pictures of outstanding forage that he planted and grazes standing. You cannot argue with his logic that grazing it standing saves the expense of harvesting it, storing it and moving it around.
That winter pasture is not free, take 50 bucks an acre to plant rye grass in seed and fuel. You haven’t even factored in labor and maintenance. If you need fertilizer that price really went up and your still supplementing?
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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Bright Raven » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:03 am

Caustic Burno wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:59 am
Bright Raven wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:32 am
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:26 am
Location - location. What's good for you is not good for me.
I posted a windy post about LOOKING AT MANURE - poof - it is gone. Anyway, someone already said it and I concur. You can tell if your winter grass has enough protein by looking at their manure. You can tell if it has food value, by watching their body condition (don't let heavy winter hair coat fool you!!)
Even if I had enough land to stockpile grass, my cows wouldn't be able to eat it because of our heavy snowfall and the fact that it "packs" so the cattle cannot forage thru it.
It is not just location. I suspect that Fence is using practices that involve planting species of grass that provides good standing forage if grazed in a timely manner. I don't even know where he lives in relationship to CB but he has often posted pictures of outstanding forage that he planted and grazes standing. You cannot argue with his logic that grazing it standing saves the expense of harvesting it, storing it and moving it around.
That winter pasture is not free, take 50 bucks an acre to plant rye grass in seed and fuel. You haven’t even factored in labor and maintenance. If you need fertilizer that price really went up and your still supplementing?
I agree. Nothing comes without expense. It may be even with buying hay.
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Re: why do we feed supplement ?

Post by Lucky » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:34 am

I make a trip several times a year through the country that Fence runs his cows on. I know nothing about running cows there but it does look like planting winter pasture would be a good deal there. Maybe supplement with range cubes if needed. Every time I drive through the area I wonder how many acres it takes to run a cow and how a man would get a hay meadow going. It’s very rocky country, really nice area though. It’s actually one of the places I would look to move to if I ever relocate.

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