The onset of winter for beef cattle means that producers need to take extra care to manage their herds.
For each 10-degree drop in windchill below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the cow's energy requirement increases about 13%, according to an article in Beef Magazine (http://bit.ly/…).
A number of techniques are available to producers to help animals maintain rate of gain and to protect cows as spring calving season approaches. Especially dangerous are wet and windy conditions that make it difficult for animals to create enough body heat.
One technique is to feed corn or distillers grains: both are excellent sources to provide additional energy and protein. Ron Lemenager, Purdue Extension beef specialist said that a thin cow at zero degrees wind chill has a 90% higher energy requirement.
Lemenager stressed that producers should not overfeed protein, however, as doing so could increase birth weights which could cause birthing problems.
Other techniques to help cattle during winter include ensuring herds have easy access to water, since animals tend to not eat if they don't drink water. Also, producers should use pasture management for winter grazing to retain a stubble height of at least 4 inches.
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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