Springtime Feed Intakes
By: Mark Venner,
Springtime is typically not thought of for extreme weather (i.e. January windchills and July heat indexes) however the quick changes and variation of temperatures challenge cattle to stay on feed. The early March blizzard and cold weather following took lots of hair off the cattle this year. This coupled with mud and rain has pressured performance and decreased closeout numbers. When I ask operators how intakes have been I continually get the same answer, that they are holding steady. I would agree with this on average, but when observing daily feed records I have seen some huge swings in intake. The weekly or bi-monthly intake averages look steady. On Table 1, the dotted line represents the weekly average intake while the solid line graphs the daily intake. Remember that you offer the animal a diet on a 24 hour period and the key is trying to get that 24 hour diet as constant and steady as possible. This insures peak performance and ultimately profit.