Early Spring Feeding for the Beef Herd
Springtime is a nutritionally critical time for the beef herd. Most are giving birth, and their nutritional needs increase greatly prior to milk letdown and several months post-partem.
Rations fed to cattle during calving season should have enough energy and protein to allow proper calf development, milk production and enable cows to maintain themselves through the stress of calving.
Keep in mind metabolic needs of cattle increase anytime that they must use energy to maintain body heat, such as cold winter and early spring nights. Rations of feed or grain as an energy source help to offset this rise in energy needs. Liquid or block protein supplements can aid in upping daily protein intake. By combining these two, with a good, to high quality hay ration, producers can enable their herds to withstand the rigors of spring. Pay particular attention to first calf heifers, and young cows, as they tend to be timid feeders, and the “boss” cows usually beat them away from the feed bunks.
By developing feeding plan that accounts for increased nutritional needs in early spring, producers can insure that their herds will emerge from winter solstice fit enough to remain efficient, and productive, for the rest of the year.