Advice on changing feeding methods

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Sep 20, 2007
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Hard times have hit our farm and I need to reduce the amount of corn I am feeding to our beef steers. Currently I am feeding full corn rations, protein supplement, and hay. I need to reduce cost of course. I have a very good supply of large round and sm. square bales of good quality hay and corn stalk bales. I would like to know how I can go about switching them from full corn to basically a hay diet with maybe just a growers ration of corn. And what I should use for a protein supplement? Distillers grain is not an option for us because of handling. Gluten pellets were mentioned to us. Have never used them and dont know much about them. Any advice is welcomed. I know I have not given enough information so I also welcome your questions.
Latta, it seems to me that the best option would be to replace the commercial protien supplement with the corn gluten pellets . To feed corn gluten pellets you will need a premix with thiamine in it . I do like the distillers better and I think the cattle do too, I have neighbors that bring their wagons and get distillers from me . It's a low cost way for them to get some reasonably priced feed .

Seeing as you are in Iowa, one way to really reduce costs of feeding is to turn them out to graze some corn stubble. Keep minerals available and maybe some hay available but they will find some corn and use the stalks. An electric wire can be added in several ways if fencing is a problem.

Otherwise I would make the change from grain to stalk bales and hay gradually to give the rumens time to change over. Reduce grain day by day. Maybe supplement the stalks and hay with some ddg's as suggested to help make up for the grain withdrawn. Whatever change you make, I would suggest easing into it gradually over maybe a couple weeks rather all at once. Good luck.
If I slowly reduce the amount of grain I give them, how much grain should I keep in front of them. Currently I am feeding my 400-600 lb. calves 12-15# daily, 600-800 lbs. calves get 16-20#, and 800 on up steers 20-26# daily. They have free choice loose mineral and hay. I was planning to add corn stalk bales to feed, they seem to enjoy eating most of their corn stalk bedding. I thought this would work but always question yourself when changes have to be made. My question is, when reducing grain intake how much is enough? How much corn should they be fed and do I keep the protein level the same or should I consider gluten pellets instead? Thank you for your input it does really help.
They'll finish pretty good on 1 1/2 percent of their body weight in grain .

Thank you for your advice. Have been looking on internet for protein levels and not finding what I am looking for. If I reduce the grain intake on my cattle should I keep them at the same level of protein. Right now they are getting between 1 to 1 2/2 pounds daily depending on their size. I dont think I am going to change anything with my steers that are approaching finishing weight. I dont think that would be productive. But I am considering the reduction with my calves. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks again.


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