Winter feeding of beef cattle

TEXAS - The dollars spent in wintering cows often make the difference in profit or loss in a beef herd. Wintering costs represent 35 to 45 percent of the annual expense for keeping a cow.
calendar icon 5 December 2006
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Proper feeding exerts a tremendous influence on a cow’s fertility and calf weight at weaning. Beef cattle producers must plan their winter feeding strategy to meet the cow’s nutritional requirements and do it as cheaply as possible. Cattlemen must analyze their individual situations and use their resources for a successful feeding program. Proper planning will enable cattlemen to feed brood cows successfully during the most critical season of the year.

The protein and energy requirements of beef cows differ depending on the stages of production. Protein and TDN (total digestible nutrients) requirements of dry pregnant cows can usually be met with good quality forage. However, after a cow calves, there is a tremendous increase in protein and energy requirements.

Improper nutrition before or after calving will have a serious impact on conception rate and weaning weight. Research indicates that underfeeding protein and energy before or after calving can reduce the conception rate as much as one third and weaning weight by as much as 50 pounds. Either situation is unacceptable in today’s competitive field of
beef production.

The nutrient requirements of beef cows can be affected by other factors to a lesser degree. Other major factors are age and productivity.

Source: East Texas Review

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