Photo submitted by a local producer to our feed department manager. It's great to see how our local coop is reaching out to the next generation of producers! It's about more than just making feed.
Weaning Tips for Beef Calves
By Shannon Voegele, Nutritional Consultant
Weaning is considered one of the most stressful periods in the life of a beef calf. During the weaning process, calves are exposed to various stressors that include removal from their dam, castration, vaccination, dehorning, exposure to different pen or pasture environments, changes in feed and water sources, and exposure to season climate changes.
We can help eliminate some stressors by using stress tubs pre and post weaning. Stress tubs are highly palatable molasses-based supplement that entices cattle to taste. It provides the key nutrients needed for a fully functioning immune system so that cattle are fully prepared to face and/or recover from the stresses of weaning and transportation, respond to vaccination programs, and start more quickly on feed.
As you proceed with weaning this fall, let us know how we can help incorporate a stress supplement into your program. There are also three weaning programs people generally use: total separation, fence-line and 2-stage. Each way has its pros and cons and there are also various creeps and starter feeds we can use during this time.
I’m looking forward to working with you on keeping your beef operation moving in the right direction. Make sure you have started conversations with your vet on what vaccination program you should proceed with this year. Hopefully we can make your weaning season as smooth as possible and avoid any setbacks.
By Tyler McCoy, Feed Department Manager
With all the rain we have had lately I understand that it makes it hard to spend the money on creep with pastures greening up again, but please keep an eye on your cows’ body condition. Calves are growing fast this time of year and they are really pushing the cows for production so your cow’s body condition can deteriorate quickly. If you are not creeping, your cow’s condition can drop a half a point in the next couple of months. It’s important that we try to keep those girls in good condition going into fall. On average a calf will eat 400 pounds of creep a season and put on 60-90 lbs. After paying for creep, we’re predicting anything from $60-$90/HD return. If you aren’t comfortable with our traditional pelletized creep, we also offer accuration as another option. Please don’t think of feeding creep as just another way to add weight to calves. Remember that it helps with cow’s body condition, which also helps improve the cow and calves’ health. It teaches calves how to eat and extends grazing season for the pastures. Our locations have really seen an increase in creep deliveries so please reach out if you are interested in us finding the best creep program for your farm. As always, thanks for your business.
By Brooke Brunsvig, Nutritional Consultant
Where did summer go?! In the amount left, many people wonder if this crazy creep price is worth paying. I’m here to tell you that it does pay to creep calves, this year. Even if you feed them for a while, they’ll retain the weight advantage.
Creep feeding is, however, often misunderstood. Creep should ONLY be used to add extra weight to calves when that weight is more valuable than the feed consumed. It’s true that cow milk production and calf nutrient requirements split and continue to diverge when the calf is 200-300 pounds…BUT, it is false that providing creep will slow milk intake. There also must be adequate grass in the pasture. Creep is formulated as a supplement to milk and forage. The bump in protein improves forage utilization/feed conversion. Often people want to mix their own creep hoping that is a cheaper option. In all honesty, when I’ve penciled that out previously, it was a wash or more expensive than commercial feed, and we can’t know that performance is the same. Home mixed, high starch creep, actually interferes with forage digestion making the calf less efficient with that feed and arguably more costly to feed.
Consumption of the creep feed has also come up time and time again as a concern. Similar to tubs, you can manage intake with placement in the pasture and monitor the feed pan and adjust the opening as needed, .75-1 inch is the recommendation. Consumption is 0.75%-1.5% of body weight; 1.5% is max optimal intake. If you’re replacing milk or grass with creep, they will overconsume. I encourage you to track intake as closely as possible.
A little cowboy math to put numbers to it (believe me, I’ve only just come around to the worth of creep). Over 100 days, say a calf gains an extra 86 pounds eating 6 pounds a day on average with a conversative creep feed conversion of 7:1 (often closer to 5). A 400 pounder may bring $2.92/lb at auction, you spend $111 for those 86 extra pounds for a profit of $114.13/calf. Even with price slide that’s profitable.
Are you thinking about creep feeding?
Call a Nutritional Consultant or Location Manager for pricing and availability today.
Keep our feedlot programs in mind once you wean your calves.
Call a Nutritional Consultant or Location Manager for details.
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