Preparing for Winter Feed Needs

Black Angus Beef Cattle in the winter on a Minnesota Farm

With the unseasonably warm weather we are having lately it’s hard to believe that we are talking about looking ahead to winter feed needs. As we all know, weather can change very quickly around here!

For winter feed needs we need to look at couple things.  Keep on top of your bulk feed inventory whether it be swine, cattle or any other livestock.  Your CVA feed manufacturing locations can be impacted by bad weather. This can slow down the process of making feed and road conditions play a big part in the delivery of feed.  As a producer, we ask you to watch the weather and place orders ahead of time to keep from running short when bad weather arrives. Be prepared by having a winter emergency plan.

Winter needs also apply to livestock nutrition. As temperatures drop, livestock nutritional needs go up.  Planning for and providing the basic needs including a balanced diet, water, and shelter will keep your animals healthy over the winter months.  Animals need to eat more in cold weather to provide extra calories for heat energy.  When the environment results in an effective temperature below the animal’s lower critical temperature, the animal must increase heat production to maintain a constant body temperature and performance.  To produce more heat the animal must either receive an increase in energy from a feed ration or draw from it’s body stores.  A good rule of thumb is to increase the amount of feed by1% for each degree of cold stress.

It has been well documented most forages are low in phosphorus beginning in late summer and continuing to decline into fall and winter.  Cattle are more likely to be phosphorus-deficient during winter months and early spring after they have been feed stored forages for the winter.  CVA offers a great line of products whether it be loose minerals, mineral and protein tubs, complete feed and supplements to help your livestock deal with the harsh Midwestern winters.

Let us at CVA help you develop a winter emergency plan.  If you have any questions stop by or call any of our CVA feed locations.