Tips on feeding cattle

November 1, 2008 03:53 AM

Some important tips related to feed quality, feed storage, and feed loss management include:

  • Analyze incoming ingredients and use selected suppliers that have quality control programs.
  • Always monitor ingredients moisture.
  • Use either a Koster Tester, a microwave oven, or a forced-air oven to check ration and ingredients moisture.
  • Keep daily or weekly inventory reports.
  • Check incoming ingredients moisture, color, odor, and texture.
  • Watch for the presence of foreign material, heat damage, mold, and spoilage.
  • Establish rejection criteria for incoming ingredients to ensure the best ration possible.
  • Keep written quality control targets.
  • Always handle feeds in a way that ensures that contamination does not occur.
  • Frequently sample both ingredients and the total mixed ration.
  • The ration should be consistently mixed.
  • Check if the feed analysis matches the ration formulation.
  • The mixer scale should be checked periodically for accuracy.
  • Bunker forages should be tightly packed to minimize spoilage.
  • Recognize that coproducts (e.g., distillers grain) will vary in nutrient content. A regular testing program should be established for coproducts used.
  • Water must be kept clean.
  • Reduce bunk shoveling with good bunk management.
  • Estimate and account for feed waste.
  • Watch the bunks to minimize feed wastage resulting from sorting or climatic factors (e.g., rain, snow).
  • In times of high feed costs, reducing feed waste does make a difference.

For more information see: Improving Feedlot Profitability by Beth Doran and Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center.

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