Alternative Feeding Programs and Feeds for Drought Stressed Beef Cow Herds
Ted Perry, Beef Nutritionist
Land O Lakes Purina Feed
Beef cows traditionally graze forages during the spring and summer months. However, during droughts when forage production stops, alternative feeds and feeding programs need to be used to feed the herd until forages are growing again. When deciding on an alternative feeding program there are several options to consider. The goal is to get the cows re-bred, maintain pounds produced per cow, and minimize feed cost per pound of calf sold. Daily feed costs are going to increase during a drought. Options to consider are feed availability, equipment needs and storage. Integrated Resource Management (IRM) data shows that most producers budget pasture costs at around 50 cents per cow/day. The ideal alternative feeding program will meet the cows’ requirements as close to budgeted costs as possible.
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