Weaning season is an exciting time for ranchers to measure the fruits of their labor. Weaning a healthy calf that will tip the scales enough to bring home a rewarding paycheck brings optimism for the year ahead. Late summer and fall is a critical time for spring calving beef producers because seasonal changes can impact the nutrient density of rangeland and pastures.
In their growing state, plants produce over 10% crude protein. However, when grasses mature there is a rapid decline in protein content and digestibility of the forage. As grasses move into the dormant state, crude protein can fall to ranges between 5-7% and continue to decrease into the late fall and winter months. Protein, important to the nutritional value of the cow’s diet and previously attainted from the availability of grass during the summer will diminish and result in nutrient deficiencies.
To maintain body condition on your cows as they enter later lactation and mid-trimester of gestation, the answer for diminishing protein from maturing forage quality is to feed a protein supplement designed to meet the cow’s nutritional needs. Supplementation will continue a cow’s milking ability until weaning, adding pounds to the calf crop, and increasing your economic return. When nutrient density of forages is low, a late-lactation beef cow, cannot consume enough nutrients from the forage to meet her daily nutritional requirements.
Utilizing SweetPro® block supplements will allow you to provide a nutrient rich diet in the final 60 days the cow is providing for her calf. Available with varying levels of protein, considering forage quality (TDN levels) the proper SweetPro block can be selected to match feedstuffs. SweetPro blocks produce a unique dynamic which both influences the total and type of protein available to the animal. Total protein is improved, not just from the protein in the supplement, but also from the rumen microbes (microbial protein). The other protein dynamic in SweetPro is in high bypass protein. This protein is not used in the rumen but available directly by the animal.
Additionally, SweetPro provides energy from ingredients with structural complex carbohydrates rather than empty sugar calories. Cows lacking energy will not metabolize protein as efficiently, so while protein is the first thought when discussing a supplement, energy (the right type) is as important. Growing calves mean more work for the cow to continue to produce milk. Protein and energy requirements of the cow are greatest during peak lactation time thus meeting energy requirements is as important as meeting protein requirements. SweetPro is designed to suit the cow’s nutrient requirements for both.
When the protein and fiber-oriented benefits are combined with SweetPro’s strong vitamin and mineral package, ranchers have a solid tool to help prevent losses they would typically absorb when forage is poor and to prevent the cow’s body condition loss. If cows go into the fall/winter thin it is even more challenging for them to gain weight and/or maintain their body condition. According to University studies forage feed efficiency can be improved by up to 25% on cool season grasses when supplementing with SweetPro blocks.
Late summer and fall means continued challenges with flies and mosquitoes. SweetPro blocks are now available with a garlic concentrate as a natural insect repellent.
Achieving goals of healthy, heavier calves, while meeting the nutritional plain of your cows means providing a protein supplement like SweetPro to compensate for maturing grasses.
To discuss matching a supplement with your forages, in Nebraska contact Scott Anderson, Agri-Best Feeds, [email protected]; all other states contact Troy Gavin, SweetPro Feeds, [email protected]. For more information refer to http://www.agribestfeeds.com/promotions/ or our website at www.SweetPro.com