Don’t cut corners on cattle rations because of high feed costs
As cattle producers struggle with tight margins because of higher feed costs, an extension educator reminds them not to cut corners on feed rations.
Travis Meteer with the University of Illinois tells Brownfield for a cow/calf operation feed accounts for about 60% of total costs and it is a large input for feedlots, but proper management can help make ends meets.
“There has been a lot of talk about subbing out corn and using alternative feeds so get with your local extension specialist and use those tools to compare feedstuffs on a cost per unit for energy and that will help you make profitable decisions on those alternatives.”
He says producers need to work with their nutritionist to be sure feed substitutions meet the nutritional needs of the herd.
“We need to evaluate fat levels, starch levels, and potentially the vitamin and mineral side as well like calcium and phosphorus ratios to make sure we aren’t causing more trouble by making a substitution. If we are going to make changes to rations, it needs to be subtle. Fast changes to rations can really throw cattle off and harm cattle health.”
He says producers can also evaluate bunk space, feed waste, and reduce any stress on cattle to ensure they are putting on weight efficiently.