Bez+":2k6dtvx3 said:We run our animals - cows carrying calves - outside all winter long - they eat and live and sleep on snow.
Hay quality that meets the following minimum levels means they get nothing but supplementary minerals.
Dates are approximate. Condition of the animal and weather generally dictates our feed schedule.
Oct - Dec: Minimum 7% protein
Jan - Mar: Minimum 9% protein
Apr - May: Minimum 11% protein
Yes, we test our hay and sort it.
We calve in May - June.
This keeps them just fine.
Any additional protein over about 11% - plus or minus a bit - they just p!ss it out on the ground - a waste of money.
Milking cattle need more. Fats need lots more. You do not say what you are doing so this advice might not be worth a pinch of rat manure to you.
If you are carrying over animals and not looking to put weight on - this is all you need in our part of the world.
No matter who gives you the advice you are looking for be sure it fits YOUR environment and YOUR cattle. Ours is cold - lots of snow - with heavy wet in fall and spring.
Winters are long here - we often feed for 7 plus months - temps drop to minus 40, winds can be a problem so they have wind breaks for shelter. No roof overhead so they carry the ice and snow on their backs.
You need the right genetics for this - we have been breeding them for this for 30 years.
Millions of cattle in North America - most live out doors on far less than the pets most people on this board keep.
Regards and over to you.
Thank you for the winter hay for beef cattle primer! I have already purchased some almost dairy quality hay mostly because it became available at the awful price of milk these days and a baler breakdown etc.
I take it from your post that protein over 11% will get wasted. But you say 11% min. I was thinking of also purchasing some much lower grade hay and putting out one bale of each at a time but I suspect the dairy stuff will get eaten since it is much better texture. And the lower quality hay left....although if its the only hay out...
If I have some 15-16% (or higher - have not tested it) hay how can it best be used without wasting it on Herefords in WI. I was thinking of using some of it for the calves that will be on hay after weaning in Oct. All will be grazing corn also this winter. Cows earlier, calves later.
Thanks again. Jim