Winter supplement options

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Amo

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Well I know option vary by region and there people on here from the Mexican border up into Canada. Options vary by region. I also know unless your to dam honest of a salesman, every salesman thinks their product is the best!

With that being said Northern Nebraska had had our turn with drought. Went to corn stalks last year with pairs. Guy had more stalks than I could use with just cows before winter would get really bad. Weaned late December, and sold late January. Didn't want cows or calf's loose weight, so they had free choice mineral, 30-13 lick tubs with improved biomoss, and creep feed. Had a decent winter and cows and calves did well. He moved them to fresh stalks while they were still passing corn. They are very little creep and I had some late March calves weigh 700# when I sold.

Well high grains and drought most of my supplement options are quite a bit higher. Cows are in decent shape. Tubs are still reasonable, just looking at options. Grains are high and I really can't store bulk cake/cubes. Thought about buiret (urea) or amaferm in the mineral. That'd increase digestibility, but still short on protein. Creep is an option. 130 calves barely ate 6 ton. Which is good and bad. Been thinking some about liquid protein free choice. Nobody real close uses it. About same price per day with different protein and energy levels as well as intakes.

Guess I was just curious if I was missing something as far as a product to consider?
 

SBMF 2015

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I'd say your on the right track. I like liquid protein, but like you said it's kind of a pain depending on location. I switched back to 30-13 tubs. I also feed a cow balancer supplement with corn silage. My cows winter in corn stalks and have free choice hay. They get silage once a day.
 

Stocker Steve

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I thought most in Nebraska supplemented with DDG ?

If you don't like handling it - - then I would price out some limit fed alfalfa hay / lb. protein, then skip the creep and skip the tubs.

Alfalfa hay here is less than half the price of creep feed.
 

C-Ranch

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Our nutritionest said because if the mineral formulated for our area I didn't need to keep putting out tubs since we fed alfalfa. This year because of the drought I'm a little worried of what to feed them since I don't want to start feeding 100% till December. Thinking cubes/pellets but not sure. There is still a little grass left much certainly not much.
 

Lucky_P

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For about 15 years, we limit-fed grass hay and a distiller's grain product; depending upon price, either modified distiller's grain w/ solubles or dried distiller's grain - from the local fuel ethanol plant. Last 7 or 8 years, it was always DDG. We were STOs, hauled 3-4 tons home at at time, and shoveled it out into 5-gallon buckets, then poured it into feedbunks.
 

faster horses

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I have a comparison of alfalfa hay to any other protein source that was written several years ago in the then Montana-Farmer Stockman paper. At that time they compared $100 alfalfa hay to all other protein sources, excluding DDG's (because it wasn't heard of back then) and alfalfa hay was the cheapest form of protein, BY FAR. Liquid protein was the highest priced.

10% protein hay is fine for range cattle. Protein requirements are easily met. Retail stores have made a lot of money selling protein, because it is expensive. In our country, energy is what we are short of. We have tested a lot of hay and I know that we fed 8-10% protein hay that we didn't supplement with anything but mineral and we got along even better than fine. We fed plenty of it, and didn't cut the cows back because they didn't clean it up in a couple of hours. They always went back in the afternoon and cleaned up most of what they left in the morning. It is a mistake to cut them back when they don't clean it right up, because the lower protein hay is usually not as digestible. Takes them longer to digest. It would have been good for us to supplement alfalfa hay with the grass hay we were feeding, but we didn't have it. (SE Mt).

The best thing you can to is TEST YOUR HAY. It won't cost much and it can save you big bucks. Then you can supplement what is necessary.
 

C-Ranch

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Too many cows ?
Right now any cows may be to many. We have already cut back and will cull even more when the rest gets home in a few weeks. We just haven't had any rain all summer so what grass was left has burnt up. Just trying to keep from culling to deep if we can help it.
 
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Amo

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I thought most in Nebraska supplemented with DDG ?

If you don't like handling it - - then I would price out some limit fed alfalfa hay / lb. protein, then skip the creep and skip the tubs.

Alfalfa hay here is less than half the price of creep feed.
A lot of distillers is used.... modified, dry, etc. I've used it in the past. They call it a co-product instead of a byproduct and price it accordingly. With $5-6 corn it's not cheap either. Same with alfalfa. Price per pound of protein might change things. Some of the issue is they will be about 40 miles away. I don't have a bale bed to feed hay. He has a processor and feed wagon and silage. There again, it's priced off corn, and I'm paying him for time when he feeds.
 

Lucky_P

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What FasterHorses said about testing your hay. If you don't, you have no idea about what you're feeding. Also... stage of gestation/lactation has a tremendous influence on nutritional needs... a fall-calving, lactating cow needs a whole lot more in the way of calories and protein than a 'dry' cow.
Last two years we had cows, the hay we bought in ended up testing in the 4-6% CP range; the producer was all excited about his ADF/NDF values... and just couldn't/wouldn't believe it when I told him his hay was crap... but, with a CP below 7%, there's not enough Nitrogen there to allow the rumen microflora to break down hay... it just sits there... DMI decreases, 'cause they can't process what they've already eaten... they start catabolizing body fat and muscle protein... they can't eat enough, even if it's available free-choice, to meet their nutritional needs.
 

Stocker Steve

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Right now any cows may be to many. We have already cut back and will cull even more when the rest gets home in a few weeks. We just haven't had any rain all summer so what grass was left has burnt up. Just trying to keep from culling to deep if we can help it.
What would it cost to ship cows out of state for the winter?
 

Stocker Steve

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What FasterHorses said about testing your hay. If you don't, you have no idea about what you're feeding. Also... stage of gestation/lactation has a tremendous influence on nutritional needs... a fall-calving, lactating cow needs a whole lot more in the way of calories and protein than a 'dry' cow.
Last two years we had cows, the hay we bought in ended up testing in the 4-6% CP range; the producer was all excited about his ADF/NDF values... and just couldn't/wouldn't believe it when I told him his hay was crap... but, with a CP below 7%, there's not enough Nitrogen there to allow the rumen microflora to break down hay... it just sits there... DMI decreases, 'cause they can't process what they've already eaten... they start catabolizing body fat and muscle protein... they can't eat enough, even if it's available free-choice, to meet their nutritional needs.
Crap hay can reduce both your feed cost and feed intake. Issue is how long can your cows maintain acceptable condition ?
 

Lucky_P

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"Crap hay can reduce both your feed cost and feed intake. Issue is how long can your cows maintain acceptable condition ?"

Yeah... that'd depend on what BCS they were in when they went into the winter.
And... depending on supply & demand, you may end up paying just as much, up front, for crap hay as you might have for decent stuff in other years.

I remember winter of 2013-14... cows dying left and right, with a rumen full of low-quality, virtually indigestible 'hay'... 30-50% calf mortality when they started calving in late Jan/early Feb. Rumors were circulating about 'a pathogen in the hay'... it wasn't a 'pathogen'... it was just insufficient nutrition.
Free-choice indigestible hay... depleted body fat stores... BCS 2s common - but a big distended rumen, so producers who weren't really LOOKING at their cattle thought... "They look OK."... calves born to protein deficient dams were unable to generate body condition and get on their feet... died of 'exposure' before they could get up and nurse... and colostral quality and volumes were likely diminished as well, so those that actually made it onto a teat probably got less than ideal antibody levels.
 

faster horses

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"Crap hay can reduce both your feed cost and feed intake. Issue is how long can your cows maintain acceptable condition ?"

Yeah... that'd depend on what BCS they were in when they went into the winter.
And... depending on supply & demand, you may end up paying just as much, up front, for crap hay as you might have for decent stuff in other years.

I remember winter of 2013-14... cows dying left and right, with a rumen full of low-quality, virtually indigestible 'hay'... 30-50% calf mortality when they started calving in late Jan/early Feb. Rumors were circulating about 'a pathogen in the hay'... it wasn't a 'pathogen'... it was just insufficient nutrition.
Free-choice indigestible hay... depleted body fat stores... BCS 2s common - but a big distended rumen, so producers who weren't really LOOKING at their cattle thought... "They look OK."... calves born to protein deficient dams were unable to generate body condition and get on their feet... died of 'exposure' before they could get up and nurse... and colostral quality and volumes were likely diminished as well, so those that actually made it onto a teat probably got less than ideal antibody levels.
In the Bitterroot valley years ago, those calves were called 'weak calf syndrome.' Then they found out, lack of protein caused 'weak calves.' It sure does.
 
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Amo

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I'll test hay. Hay test can vary by how accurate your samples are, but it's better than a shot in the dark. Feed man says stalks 5-6% protein. Obviously that will depend on how corn the combine didn't get. General concensus around here is you can get away with some urea provided there's an energy source...i.e. corn.
 

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