advice wanted please update, pictures, update

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Apr 6, 2007
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Manitoba, Canada
Just so you know we are taking our feed tests to the ag office this week to get the data read and see what kind of ration to do.

but i would also like some advice from the seasoned producers....constructive please
We are not into creep feeding, our opinion is it is costly for the cost of calves. What we might consider is a pellet ration if and i stress if needed.
Slight background
Most of you know that we received a pile of rain this year. After all was tallied the consenses was 30-40" from spring to Sept 1. Majority fell during the prime haying season July 15 to Sept 1, I lost track after 20" during that time.

No wild or sleugh hay
Tame hay crap at best
We shipped out alot of cows because we could not afford to buy hay. At 3 cents a pound, and $5-7.00 a loaded mile, and 400-500 calf prices it just did not pay
So we shipped cows in three waves
1. any thing with a bad attitude, even looked at us funny
2.old. we decided if we were going to downsize by 50% we needed a younger herd because replacements would not readily happen in a tight market. And buying breeds is not a consideration...PM me if you want to know why.
3. Preg testing was the next avenue of the rest of the herd. Here our vet helped us cull out the opens and real lated as well as the genetic not money makers and the big hay eaters, with a calf that was not what to write home to momma about. What we found is we culled whole lines of genetics.
Now we have a young herd. One cow born in 1999 one born in 2000 and the rest of the 63 animals born 2001 or later.
We decided to keep the older girls who were the best producers in their prime, their off spring. So we have 12 calves for next year replacements if they turn out.

Here is the dilema. Oh yeah everyone gets free choice mineral.
The hay is crap. We are feeding more pounds of hay to get them through. I'm taking about the brood cows here. They came off pasture as well as can be expected with the crap summer.
I will try and post some pics on Monday.
The thing is we have had a real cold bitter cold winter this year. They are consuming more than expected. The BSC looks not bad, but if this cold continues, they could go down hill fast. They have just started the last trimester. Just so you know it is as cold here as Randi's wiskey bottle her post...
We are really trying not to buy because the cost does not warrant it. However we are considering pellets if needed. Pellets offer rumensin to aid in better digestion of what they get, mineral and a guaranteed protien level. We really can not afford but might have to, sell off more cattle...
What would you do?
We produced 490600 pounds of hay. After the feed tests the hay volume was adjusted to 379817 pounds
I do not profess to understand the results of the feed tests so if there are #'s you need just ask and i will type them in. I might not get back to the computer till monday as after church we are going to the city on a much needed date.
Constructive please...we feed from October to May last year included June. We are in a snow infested cold infested area, for those who think grazing is an option. There is 2 feet of snow in the fields right now.
The basic numbers needed off the feed test would be the CP(crude protein), TDN total digestable nutrients), RFV(relative feed value), and then include how many pounds of hay/cow/day. Also would be helpful to know from the test % dry matter. Using these numbers would be able to calculate if your cows need protein, energy, both, or maybe none - that would be nice.

I have intermitently sp. been grazing some cows when we loose some snow now and then and these cows are in the early 1st trimester of gestation. Based on nutrition of the forage, which is pretty low, I can make it by with these cows if I give them about 4 pounds of 20% range cube/day. That gives me some energy and over another half pound of protein a day and the cows are in good shape going into this. I also did this with some repalcement heifers at another pasture I lease. With poor quality hay and if your cows are in early gestation you could probably get by with a couple pounds of range cubes every other day or so. I have a bunch of fall calvers milking right now and they are on a 12-14% CP 1st cut trefoil/red clover hay and I figure that is pleanty enough, although, I am trying to not feed anymore then I need to, I can sell everything I have in a really strong hay market we have now.
This is not the immediate help you were looking for, and I am not sure where in Manitoba you are but if you are in the southern part I would suggest that you plant some corn for grazing next winter.

I have had my cows on standing (non harvested) corn since October. it is amazing how many days of grazing you can get from an acre of corn.

We have maybe a foot of snow on the ground but the cows have no trouble finding ears and the upper part of the plant. I have hay and mineral out also but they are consuming very little of both compared to last year when they were on hay only.. There is some good information on grazing corn in W Canada on the internet - I think DeKalb seed has some or check with you local college.

Might be worth a try. Good luck.
RR, I wish I could be more help to you. We were in a similar situation this fall, the big difference being that we had good quality hay, not enough of it but it is good enough quality that we were able to buy in some straw to mix off with it. We still had to reduce our herd, however.

If your hay has enough energy, you may want to consider adding a protien supplement such as Promolas.

If your hay doesn't have enough energy, then you really run out of options, and you will need to buy in some sort of grain or pellets. I know Barley has really dropped in price around here, and that may be all you would need to bring in.

With you having your feed tested, I can give you some links to programs that can balance a ration, and show you what you need.
Thanks Randi, I am trying to access it now and it is being slow. Hopefully it will download before the next

here is one test it is average for what we have
as recieved dry matter basis
moisture % 7.3 0
dry matter% 92.7 100
crude protien% 9.4 10.1
heat Dam Protien% 1 1.1
available protien% 9.2 10
Dig Protien % 6.4 6.9
Acid Det. Fibre% 62.9 67.9
TDN est % 46.7 50.3
NE/GAIN .2 .2

RFV 73.6
This was a middle of the road test. There are 5 in total
Hope this helps

please remember our temps here are cold
Protein is fine, but look at the Fibre and TDN values, they are the same values a person would normally equate with cereal straw in our part of the world. The fibre values are really going to restrict the amount of hay the cows will be able to consume, because the passage rate is slow. This will get worse as rumen volume becomes restricted by a growing calf, and at the same time the cows energy needs will be increasing due to the growing calf.

I would say that you are headed for a wreck (in our environment) based on the fibre and energy values; the cows are probably losing or soon will be losing weight and when they start milking theres no way they will hold weigh which will also hurt your fertility; cows won't breed if their nutritional status is severly compromised.

I would take to a good ruminant nutritionist to help you formultae up a ration; those cows are going to need more energy ie: Grain and/or pellets. I would reccomend pellets because you can usually get Rumensin and all the vitamins and minerals added for cheaper than whole grain will cost you. I don't see any way to get around it unless you can find some really good hay to blend cheaper than you can find the pellets; but remember energy is what you need so don't buy any hay without a feed test.
Sell some breds and buy feed.

If the weather comes up you may be ok - depends on their condition now.

Time to flip and coin and wait - or sell and buy in feed.

Run that pencil - and pray to the weather Gods.

Let's see what those cows look like right now.

Pics please

This is cold deep snow country here to. I have Wintered cows on upland grass and $30 % protein lick tubs. Cows don't gain weight, they got to eat all they can. They seem to do OK. Man! this is a brutal Winter we're having :shock: -32 out there. :help:




Hubby to farmers in the area today since we went to town on business. Everyone is complaining their animals look like crap. The vet said (saw her) near 8 weeks of this cold, nothing will keep condition.
The ag guy did not come out today due to the near frigid temps will be here later in the week.
for now, we put out two lick tubs, protien. a 22% and a 16%. They are low on the fibre. As well as we bought 2-1 mineral so they have one mineral feeder with 2-1 (more calcium) and one feeder with 1-1. Then they can choose what they want. Figured a way to go until later in the week when the ag guys comes.
Advise from Texas isn't going to weather very well. :oops: I'd think the hay is border line for your cold harsh weather. I believe the protein tubs are a good way to supplement the hay. Might consider a 30% tub (urea), my understanding (from what is being told around here) it is better in aiding in the digestion of the hay and a few dollars cheaper. (Could be that is what your 22% tub is) Add in the mineral you are giving and I believe you are doing everything you can right now. I'd say the cows aren't fat but not skin and bones either. If you can hold their condition I don't think you have much of a problem. I think most of them look pretty good from a southern perspective but I really don't have knowledge as to how fast they can lose condition up north.

As a comparison (without the cold wet condition) I'm short winter grazing. I have sorted into 3 groups, cows with calves, cows without calves, bred heifers. Bred cows are getting hay 10.7% Crude Protein, 7.3 % digestible CP, 34.4 ADF, 67.4 TDN Not to much different than yours. They are getting 18% all-natural protein tubs, mineral, and salt. They are holding condition pretty well, but not having to deal the your cold.

Cows with calves and bred heifers are getting to graze some oats every other day for a few hours and are getting some lesser quality hay on those days. Still saving the better hay.

Either way we both face the same delima, are we going to make it till spring and what is spring going to be like. Started to study the cow list again. Probably going to lay some gals off. Same idea I had last spring but didn't follow thru. :frowns:
Thanks, It's a tough one. This might be a good year to decide what animal can do the job that is expected of them an what animal can not. I don't think there is much fat left on them. If we could get a break in the weather it would help.
The 22% is urea and the highest we can get here. The 16% is all natural
i was told by the feed house that if there is to much fibre the manure would pile and not patty like it should. We did a thorough check on the patties (not the nicest job but atleast can be done visually) in the feeding area. Some are patties and some are piles.
We are suppose to get really really cold for the next few days. Ugg. Hubby ususally feeds every other day. That is his plan still, but on the second day he plans to head out again and see what they have left and top them up so they stay warm. Thank God for bush.
With the advent of severely cold weather I would sure try to figure out a way to get some serious energy into their ration along with the protein.
dun":9g1b7znj said:
With the advent of severely cold weather I would sure try to figure out a way to get some serious energy into their ration along with the protein.
I absolutely agree with this. Might be time to do as you were thinking and sell some to feed the others. Protien is fine and good for them, but they need some fat/energy in their diet. There's a lot more winter yet to go......
Well, it looks cold.

Be that as it may, I am thinking you might be too worried too soon.

They look cold but are not hunched up bad and do not have tight tucked in tails.

So I figure they are doing ok considering the weather.

I might just go out and buy some corn - cracked or otherwise - and feed it out to them - on the ground - in piles that are about one gallon in size. I would do this over the next few days. Try to get it so each animal has a pile to themselves - but they will sort that out for you.

I do not know the cost of corn - and I might reduce the amount I fed out if I figured the weather might break. But they do not need protein in my opinion they need energy. You do not need tonnes of corn - a few hundred pounds would carry you for a week or two until the weather breaks.

I would feed it out in small piles for each of them. And I would do this every day until the weather breaks. I might do it for a couple days after the weather breaks depending on the cows and my mood.

Some are going to say I am being wasteful - but those cows will clean it all up and they will get a little corn sugar and starch into them for energy.

I would only do it when it is really cold and I would not worry about the rest of the time.

I say this because this is exactly what we do with our cows. Only difference being - I get my corn for free.

Keep the hay in front of them - hi or low quality, they need the bulk.

If you ever get a chance to get a few oat straw / green feed bales in next year do it - they love it in times like this because the chaff has a lot of grain in it - and they like it a couple years old and weathered. It makes a good stand by.

I am thinking you are going to be ok - they will come down a bit in condition but it looks to me that you are doing it right at this point in time.

You will be fine - those animals are going to be ok with a small bit of TLC.

This summer you think on this post a bit. When you find a chance to grab some grain - any kind - cheap and easy to store - do it - and you will have it for times like this because they will come again. You do not have to feed it out all the time - only during the times they need the energy for warmth.

Hang in there kiddo - I was expecting ribs, hip bones and eyeballs when the pics came - you are a long way from that. They will keep their calves and calve out in the spring - you wait and see. Those girls are tougher than you are.

Half ton of rolled corn, one gallon per cow, dumped on the ground, for a few days here and there, hardly seems worth the effort. Willow Springs was right on the money. Those cows may drop a healthy enough calf, but at what cost and consequence. There is too much winter left. I am not being critical of Randi, I hear what she is asking and to quote dun ~ those cows need some serious energy.
I thought they would look much worse as per your descriptions, they look really good for the season they have had to endure.

I might have missed something so what does your nutritionist say to add ?

Last year at this time was much more harsh on my girls than this years, and they went through a lot of feed, I was scared I would run out. But the weather finally let up and they caught up to where they should be. I too hope the weather is kinder to us than past seasons.

Good luck with everything RR, I know you must be really frustrated with everything that has been thrown at you this summer/fall and now winter, hang in there.

I hope you two had fun and really enjoyed your well deserved date night.. :)
Hey those numbers are not great, but they look at lot better then others I know feed and they make it through the winter just fine. I think because you are in early to mid gestation your energy requirements might be pretty low anyways. As far as protein, those numbers look good enough, If your cows are eating 30 to 40 pounds of hay per day you are gonna be getting well over 2 lbs. of protein per day. Sure hate to see you have to sell more animals when you don't have to. Even if you have lower birth or weaning weights still might be more economical.

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