Fresh green grass is always welcome in spring. But, early grasses with limited volume or growth should be approached cautiously. They may lack the nutrients to ensure cows will be at optimal health. If it is their only source of food, you may have issues in the future. It would be better to supplement with animal feed.
Ensuring at risk animals get the right nutrition
The risk of nutritional problems here is higher for cows that are recently calved. In addition, any that are coming out of gestation will be coming into their highest nutrition requirement time. So, you must ensure they get everything they need in their diet.
Nutritional needs for cattle go up from gestation to the final trimester of pregnancy. During lactation, they are at their highest. As a cow starts lactation, her phosphorus and protein demands increase by about 60 to 70%. This is compared to demands during the previous trimester. The needs for total digestible nutrient (TDN), or energy, also go up by 15 to 25%.
The nutrients in question influence milk production. It is the same for a cow’s capacity to get bred back rapidly and, ultimately, the ensuing calf crop. Let’s say you only maintain the feeding rate from gestation to lactation. You could begin shorting your animals of the necessary energy and protein. Such a nutritional gap can lead to lost body performance and condition.
When you feed cows during spring, it is critical to offer sufficient nutrition. This will aid in preserving the ideal body condition and rebreeding. The breeding success of a heard will dictate the amount of calves you will gain the following year. It is the same for how much they weigh. With all of that in mind, you must consider the animal feed.
According to research, the body condition score (BCS) at calving influences how swiftly cows start cycling and become pregnant. With cows that calved in at a 6 body condition score, 98% estrus by day 40 of the breeding season. Also, 90% were confirmed pregnant by day 40. To compare, drops to a BCS 5 led to just 80% in estrus, as well as 65% pregnant.
For every hundred cows, one point drop from a BCS 6 to 5 at breeding may equal to around 25 calves. These are ones that are either not born or born later thanks to nutrition issues post-calving. Those born later result in less weaning weigh.
The quantity of energy supplied to a cow influences their milk production and lactation length too. This impacts the nutrition available for calves. So, sufficient animal feed is vital.
The data reveals that a cow which consumes 170 Kcal per metabolic body weight will preserve peak milk production. This is for roughly 8.3 weeks at 20.2 pounds of milk daily. It will generate 2,726 pounds of milk over 210 days. However, offering more energy, at a level of 290 Kcal per metabolic body weight, led to preserving milk production for 10.9 weeks. This was at 24.2 pounds of milk daily, and a total 210-day production of 3,742 pounds.
The increasing requirements for cows
It is not hard to become excited about some green grass, especially after a long winter. However, there might not be enough volume to support the increasing requirements of a herd of cows. They will go after green grass, but will likely burn more energy seeking it than what they will consume. Such a deficit can lead to lost body condition.
A visual loss in condition usually means you have left performance on the table already. Supplements and specific animal feed can aid you in regaining it. But, playing catch-up normally means feeding huge levels of supplement or feed at higher costs. You should supply hay early and carry on feeding it long enough for cows to obtain a BCS 6 at calving. Also, they should not have under a 5.5 BCS at breeding.
It is also possible to complement hay with a self-fed solution such as Accuration supplement alongside intake Modifying Technology. This enables cattle to determine whether they require more protein and energy. Cows won’t have that much Accuration supplement as long as forage is meeting their needs. However, they will consume more when it does not. Supplementation has the potential to preserve an ideal cattle body condition score throughout the year. It can optimise cow performance with existing forage too.
Start shopping with us for animal feed and more
At JS Hubbuck Ltd, we make sure that customers have easy access to all the agricultural items they need. We have been serving clients for decades, delivering consistently high quality products and the best support. Ultimately we want to make the whole industry better.
So, if you’re interested in shopping with us for animal feed or anything else, please get in touch. You can also view a small range on our website, but we have much more than this.