In a time of cheap corn prices and volatile cattle markets, focusing on effective management techniques – like feed bunk management – can improve efficiency and help producers make the most of already tight margins.
Iowa State University extension program specialist Erika Lundy said that's why the center has revised the existing fact sheet, Feed Bunk Management.
"As a supplement to this fact sheet, we also created a Feed Bunk Management Standard Operating Procedure as a reference to help feedlot employees create operation-driven guidelines and standards to ensure consistency in making feed delivery decisions to cattle," Lundy said. "Users are able to download this SOP and type information into the document to make it specific to their operations regardless of size or structure."
Iowa Beef Center director Dan Loy said bunk scoring is not a new tool but extension and industry are learning best practices to apply its use for more effective management decisions.
"This factsheet outlines various techniques and tips to successfully implement feed bunk management into any operation regardless of size," Lundy said. "These include utilizing feed delivery calls, different philosophies of feed bunk management, and charting dry matter intake to optimize cattle dry matter intake while minimizing feed spoilage."
Both resources are available through the Iowa State Extension and Outreach online store as free downloadable documents. Feed Bunk Management is six pages long and the one-page Feed Bunk Management Standard Operating Procedure has fillable spaces in formulas for users to enter individual operation guidelines for personnel who work on the farm.