As 2014 draws to a close, the snow begins to fall, and various opportunities for extending the grazing season are ending, it is a good time to consider the opportunities that exist to manage your current feed inventory and minimize feeding costs during the coming winter. With cattle at record prices and grain prices declining markedly relative to the past few years, it may be tempting to become complacent about minimizing feed costs, but this would be ill advised. This may in fact be the best time to invest in new practices and technologies to help weather the next, inevitable downturn in the cattle cycle.
There are many obstacles to overcome when putting up quality hay, silage or fermented grains. These include: crop maturity, packing density, humidity, oxygen and plant moisture content. Silo-King®, a forage and grain treatment additive helps protect feedstuffs from these obstacles, while enhancing digestibility and feed efficiency.
There are two main goals when making fermented feeds: 1) rapid fermentation for maximum preservation of nutrients which happens at the beginning of fermentation; 2) providing a stable product during storage and feed out occurring at the back end of fermentation. Several different technologies are required to accomplish these goals from start to finish.
In the past two issues of TMR Corner we have explored how feeding a beef cow-calf herd with a vertical TMR mixer simultaneously decreases feed waste and increases animal performance. In this issue we will use that information to develop a cost-benefit analysis for adopting the use of a vertical TMR mixer on a moderately sized cow-calf operation.
Gross income from calf sales depends on the total pounds of calf sold and dollars per pound received for that calf. Although it is true that calves in lighter weight classes sell for a higher dollar amount per pound, gross income is greater with calves in heavier weight classes due to more pounds sold.
The weight of the weaned calf depends on age at weaning, genetics, and nutritional resources prior to weaning, as well as health and other factors. This article discusses a nutritional management practice that affects calf weaning weight.