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Calf Growth in the Winter

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Anonymous

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I've only been in the cattle bussiness for 6 or 7 years. I have calfs that grow to 600 pounds in the summer months but every calf I've had after August seems to not grow very well. I'm only seeing 400 pounds or less at 6 months old. Is this the norm or am I doing something wrong? I give all the hay the mamma's will eat and I keep out Liquid feed that's suppose to be 32% fat. Any suggestions?

Thanks

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OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
i am certainly no expert, but i think it is awfully hard to replace that good old green grass.. i think most people experience what you are experiencing to some degree..

gene

> I've only been in the cattle
> bussiness for 6 or 7 years. I have
> calfs that grow to 600 pounds in
> the summer months but every calf
> I've had after August seems to not
> grow very well. I'm only seeing
> 400 pounds or less at 6 months
> old. Is this the norm or am I
> doing something wrong? I give all
> the hay the mamma's will eat and I
> keep out Liquid feed that's
> suppose to be 32% fat. Any
> suggestions?

> Thanks

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
To keep calves growing at pre-winter rates you would have to really pump the protein and enrgy to them. On typical hay or even stockpiled forage the little boogers just can't eat enough to meet all their needs for warmth and growth. You could probably feed them top quality alfalfa, butthey'ld cost you an arm and a leg to feed.

dun

> I've only been in the cattle
> bussiness for 6 or 7 years. I have
> calfs that grow to 600 pounds in
> the summer months but every calf
> I've had after August seems to not
> grow very well. I'm only seeing
> 400 pounds or less at 6 months
> old. Is this the norm or am I
> doing something wrong? I give all
> the hay the mamma's will eat and I
> keep out Liquid feed that's
> suppose to be 32% fat. Any
> suggestions?

> Thanks
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Possibly protein is missing in your supplementation. The cows are probably able to maintian their weight through the winter on the hay and supplement you are providing but the calfs need more energy for the growth they are experiencing. There are several good articles on Cattle Today's main page talking about alternative feeds. The trick is to figure out how much the extra feed supplementation will cost compared to the weight gain realized and thus the value of the calf. We use range cubes with 20% protein (alfala, molasses, corn, wheat, sunflowers) they run $188/ton or about 9.4cents /lb. If you feed 5# per calf per day and you supplement for 4 months(120days) you would feed 600# of supplement per calf. You would spend $56.40 per calf in supplement. If you get a one pound a day gain the calf would weigh 520# vs 400#. If calves sell for $70/cwt. The heavy calf would be worth $84 more than the light calf. $84 minus $56.40 means a additional profit of $27.60 per calf. Of course like you pointed out calfs run on summer grass would be worth the entire $84 more than their winter relatives.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
only catch to this is... usually the 400# weights bring more per pound... so if the 400 brings 80 and the 520 70, you end up losing..by spending the extra $56.

gene

> Possibly protein is missing in
> your supplementation. The cows are
> probably able to maintian their
> weight through the winter on the
> hay and supplement you are
> providing but the calfs need more
> energy for the growth they are
> experiencing. There are several
> good articles on Cattle Today's
> main page talking about
> alternative feeds. The trick is to
> figure out how much the extra feed
> supplementation will cost compared
> to the weight gain realized and
> thus the value of the calf. We use
> range cubes with 20% protein
> (alfala, molasses, corn, wheat,
> sunflowers) they run $188/ton or
> about 9.4cents /lb. If you feed 5#
> per calf per day and you
> supplement for 4 months(120days)
> you would feed 600# of supplement
> per calf. You would spend $56.40
> per calf in supplement. If you get
> a one pound a day gain the calf
> would weigh 520# vs 400#. If
> calves sell for $70/cwt. The heavy
> calf would be worth $84 more than
> the light calf. $84 minus $56.40
> means a additional profit of
> $27.60 per calf. Of course like
> you pointed out calfs run on
> summer grass would be worth the
> entire $84 more than their winter
> relatives.

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OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
> The liquid feed I have out all winter has 32% protein so I don't think that's the problem. I was just trying to get a feel for others with the same problem. Maybe it's normal, like the one person said, there's nothing that will compare to Green Grass. Thanks

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A

Anonymous

Guest
I think that in the vast majority of situations it's normal for the winter calf growth to be less than for summer, particularly if you are in a cold, windy, wet, etc. environment. That's why I try to have my calves sold by the first of November, and I'm in SE Texas. Generally the quality of the groceries available just isn't as good at that time of year. It wouldn't surprise me if many of the feedlots in the mid-west have recently experienced weather such that even the calves on feed might have been doing good just to maintain weight, much less actually gain some.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Live and do my "regular work" as a CPA in Houston. Cows, hay, etc. are near Rosenberg and also East Bernard.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
The protein in the liquid feed you are feeding is mainly from urea. This is intended to get a mature animal through the winter and is not sufficient for a growing calf. Even with a mature cow if she is not getting all of the energy that she needs then this will not be utilized as protein. Urea is just cheap protien and while a little bit is fine nothing replaces good natural sources. You might want consider creep feeding your calves in the winter just watch your costs.

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