How much hay should I be feeding my steers

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Steer15

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We are fairly new to the beef industry. We have a very small farm. We have 6 steers that will be a year old in may. They currently weigh around 600-700 lbs. we got them when they were 7 months old and they were just weaned. They had been started on hay and some grain. This is our 3rd batch of beef so to speak. The other two batches we had were crazy over grain. They would eat it before hay. We buy a second cutting clover, alfalfa mix hay and they other cattle did well on it along with feeding them a 9 % cow chop feed. We have continued to feed the 9% grain to the current steers. They are currently getting 11lbs of grain per steer per day. They started out getting 7 lbs a grain a day along with hay. As we started to increase grain they began to be more interested in the hay. I was giving them 2 bales per day sometimes less. I am now feeding them 5 flakes of hay twice a day and the 5.5lbs of grain per steer twice a day. They always clean up the grain but will always eat the hay first. I'm just curious if anyone can tell me why that is? And am I giving them too much hay or not enough? We are really trying to produce excellent marbleing in the beef. I am getting the hay tested to see protein levels and am going to switch to an 11% feed. Any help would be appreciated.
 

jerry27150

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that hay should have plenty of protein. don't know what your chop is, normally corn & oats, they should only need whole or cracked corn with this hay. with 11 lbs grain they need more hay
 

TexasBred

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Steer15":3sdh0ekq said:
We are fairly new to the beef industry. We have a very small farm. We have 6 steers that will be a year old in may. They currently weigh around 600-700 lbs. we got them when they were 7 months old and they were just weaned. They had been started on hay and some grain. This is our 3rd batch of beef so to speak. The other two batches we had were crazy over grain. They would eat it before hay. We buy a second cutting clover, alfalfa mix hay and they other cattle did well on it along with feeding them a 9 % cow chop feed. We have continued to feed the 9% grain to the current steers. They are currently getting 11lbs of grain per steer per day. They started out getting 7 lbs a grain a day along with hay. As we started to increase grain they began to be more interested in the hay. I was giving them 2 bales per day sometimes less. I am now feeding them 5 flakes of hay twice a day and the 5.5lbs of grain per steer twice a day. They always clean up the grain but will always eat the hay first. I'm just curious if anyone can tell me why that is? And am I giving them too much hay or not enough? We are really trying to produce excellent marbleing in the beef. I am getting the hay tested to see protein levels and am going to switch to an 11% feed. Any help would be appreciated.
Always try to feed the same amount of hay/grazing as you feed grain.
 
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Steer15

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Thank you for the replies. I'm trying to figure this batch out. I'm switching them to an 11% grower this week. I am also seeing corn in the manure.

The feed does have cracked corn and some other stuff in it.
 

farmerjan

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I have never limit fed hay to any of my cattle. It is front of them, or they have unlimited grass for grazing. Too much grain can cause an imbalance in the rumen ph and they can get acidosis and cause them other problems. Cattle are a ruminant, they want/need the roughage and their rumen will work better if they have enough. In dairy rations they often have to add yeast to make the feed (corn silage especially) less acidic and when they add hay it definitely helps. An animal won't marble well until it has reached a certain stage of maturity, it is just in their genetic makeup. They can put on fat but the meat will not marble until their body is ready to. That is why most animals do their best marbling in the 18-26 month range. Different breeds also have different rates of marbling and different degrees of tenderness that is due to marbling.
Some breeds are grain hogs and some don't care. Our red polls would just as soon have real nice hay as have grain. Others will knock you over for a bucket of grain. This group you have may just have the preference for hay.
 

kenny thomas

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The hay u describe should be much higher in protein that the feed your getting. 9% is a maintenance for a cow not a grower feed for calves.
 
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Steer15

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Thank you Kenny and farmerjan. I apprrciate the feedback. I'm still learning all of this. I was raised showing quarter horses so this cow thing is new to me :nod:
 

TexasBred

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Steer15":nejh6z7a said:
Thank you for the replies. I'm trying to figure this batch out. I'm switching them to an 11% grower this week. I am also seeing corn in the manure.

The feed does have cracked corn and some other stuff in it.
Not a problem. Just lets you know that you have a pretty "hot" feed going there. ;-)
 

farmerjan

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Just a note, one of the other members reminded me that yeast doesn't change the PH but it does help to make the gut/rumen more bacteria friendly and creates better digestion. It is sodium bicarb that changes the PH and I meant to put in my post that yeast and sodium bicarb is added to many dairy rations to make the feed less acidic. Thanks TB for picking up on my goof.
 

TexasBred

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farmerjan":2g0u8bdq said:
Just a note, one of the other members reminded me that yeast doesn't change the PH but it does help to make the gut/rumen more bacteria friendly and creates better digestion. It is sodium bicarb that changes the PH and I meant to put in my post that yeast and sodium bicarb is added to many dairy rations to make the feed less acidic. Thanks TB for picking up on my goof.
That's not a goof....read enough of my posts and you'll see some real goofs. :lol2: :lol2:
 

kenny thomas

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farmerjan":1xli1i0e said:
Just a note, one of the other members reminded me that yeast doesn't change the PH but it does help to make the gut/rumen more bacteria friendly and creates better digestion. It is sodium bicarb that changes the PH and I meant to put in my post that yeast and sodium bicarb is added to many dairy rations to make the feed less acidic. Thanks TB for picking up on my goof.
Jan or TB, can yeast or bicarbonate be added to normal free choice minerals as a maintenance? Will it help grazing cattle?
 

TexasBred

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kenny thomas":4dfb25u4 said:
farmerjan":4dfb25u4 said:
Just a note, one of the other members reminded me that yeast doesn't change the PH but it does help to make the gut/rumen more bacteria friendly and creates better digestion. It is sodium bicarb that changes the PH and I meant to put in my post that yeast and sodium bicarb is added to many dairy rations to make the feed less acidic. Thanks TB for picking up on my goof.
Jan or TB, can yeast or bicarbonate be added to normal free choice minerals as a maintenance? Will it help grazing cattle?
Kenny it can be but not sure how effective it would be nor how cost effective it would be in a low consumption mineral. Yeast culture begins to deteriorate almost immediately once the bag is opened. it certainly can't hurt anything but as I said, not really convinced it would be cost effective. Beef cattle typically don't have problems with acidosis because very few of us feed that much real grain. (feedlots being the exception).
 

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