New herd - winter feeding program questions

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Rockhollow1009
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New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby Rockhollow1009 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:39 pm

Okay, so we just got a small herd of mini/classic herefords. I grew up raising show steers and we have put beef in the freezer since... graze all summer, hay and heavy feed last few months into winter to finish em out. Pretty straight forward... but this is my first time with actual beef cows and heifers. Ive had dairy in the past but they are a totally diffferent beast to feed obviously.

I am in the northeast, (southeast PA to be exact)... I plan to have the cows with calves at their side inside a bed pack this winter for ease of taming calves, and the 15 month old heifers i just bred in a small pasture (just some low quality fall season grass) with a shed. Both have access to loose salt as well as loose mineral mixed local for our area. Both will have free choice good quality grass hay, some first cutting mostly grass with some timothy. Its horse safe but 1st cutting and not as green as a most "horse people" would prefer
:help: How much grain should I be feeding? Everyone just got bred back. Cows have 2+/- month old calves on their side, who will be weaned in december. Heifers are obviously still growing but in good condition around 500 lbs+/-. Cows are in good condition, if anything a bit heavy looking at 800-1000 lbs. Calves will have access to creep. I have easy access to>
16% all stock sweet feed for ruminants $26cwt
20% calf starter/grower $30cwt
10% steer grower $18cwt
Any kalmback beef feed product (tubs, grains)
And plain oats and corn
Im just worried they will be missing protein, nutrients or vitamins if I don't supplement with something at least... they haven't touched the mineral.

Anyone want to give their opinion on what theyd feed who and how much? I obviously dont want to be throwing money away if they dont need it but want them to be healthy and have good repro health as well.

Thanks in advance
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby M.Magis » Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:40 am

If hay is decent there’s no reason for grain.
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby Lucky_P » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:38 am

Without testing your hay, you have no idea what its nutritional makeup is, or how much, if any, supplementation is needed.
There are ration calculators (OSU Cowculator is one) that can get you in the ballpark
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby ddd75 » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:15 am

feed prices are really high.... i wouldn't deal with those people.

probably haven't touched the mineral because they don't like it. Find something decent. I have to go to another state to buy mineral because they won't touch any of this junk they pass as mineral.
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby farmerjan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:07 pm

Many cows won't touch much mineral if they also have salt available. Many mineral mixes have salt in them. I would see if there is salt in your mineral mix and if so, just feed the mineral mix.

We do not regularly supplement our beef cows with any grain except to teach them to come into the catch pens. Do that a time or two a week, or when pastures are looking short. If the calves have access to creep, they will learn where the "good stuff" is and will come in on their own, We do not offer creep feed free choice, but I actually feed some a couple times a week to the calves. They learn that I am the "good guy" and bring them feed so they will come in the creep gate and practically push me over to get the feed.
It definitely helps to get the hay tested. Ours runs in the 8-12% protein range and we mix it up when we feed so they are hopefully getting some good and some mediocre. Some has some alfalfa in it and some has some real nice clover in it and some is just old pasture mixed grass and some orchard grass. This year it will be poorer hay due to the delay in getting first cutting made and the quality being down. We may put out some protein tubs at pastures where it is harder to feed grain at. We cannot get "cubes" here and grain can get wasted fed on the ground.

If you supplement with too much the dry cows will get too fat and you will wind up with calving problems. The dry cows will need the "least good" of your hay and the growing heifers will need the best. Since your feed prices seem quite high, I would see if the protein tubs might not be a better way to go. Get the "cooked" tubs, they are harder and won't get consumed near as fast. We use a 20% all natural tub with no added urea in it.
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby TexasBred » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:10 pm

ddd75 wrote:feed prices are really high.... i wouldn't deal with those people.

probably haven't touched the mineral because they don't like it. Find something decent. I have to go to another state to buy mineral because they won't touch any of this junk they pass as mineral.

The mineral your cattle refused may be much better than the stuff they're eating. It simply does have enough of anything in it to make it palatable. Most of that stuff does not taste good. But if they won't eat it, it's worthless.
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby elkwc » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:01 pm

We have used several different minerals mainly all reputable brands. What I've found regardless of which brand or what formulation we use some times of the year they will consume a fair amount and other times they eat very little. The last 2 years we have fed the Vita Ferm heat with IGR. This summer had 2 pastures that have consumed a fair amount and 2 that have ate very little. One that ate in the middle for some reason last week cleaned the feeder. Seems like as the grass matures they start eating more. As long as the grass is lush and growing well they don't eat as much. And it seems the cattle in the same two pastures eat more every year and we have put different groups there. Not for that reason but just because it worked out that way when we moved cattle to summer pastures. My belief is they will eat it if their diet is lacking something. I have heard both pros and cons about putting salt blocks out also. One of my vets say putting blocks out. He does suggest putting loose white salt in one side of a mineral feeder. I did that last year but haven't this year. May start back before long.
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:14 pm

I agree with Jan. If they have access to salt, they most likely won't eat the mineral. If mineral does not have salt (do they make it without?), you could mix it to use up the mineral you bought. Too expensive to waste.
Your growing calves would be the only thing I would supplement - after they are weaned. You can creep them 3-4 weeks before weaning, so they know what it is & transition easier.
Not much $$ to be made in beef business. You cannot afford to be putting expensive feed into them. Cows "should" breed & calve on grass and hay. There are some areas that never make good hay, but, in PA you should have good hay. I live Upstate NY.
What is a mini/classic Hereford?? Is that a cross between mini & regular?
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby callmefence » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:43 pm

Rockhollow joined in 2016....
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Re: New herd - winter feeding program questions

Postby 5S Cattle » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:12 pm

callmefence wrote:Rockhollow joined in 2016....

Probably will get back to y’all in two more years
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