Supplementing Cattle Forages with Liquid

December 16, 2019


After nearly 5 years on the job, it seems as if I have seen a different challenge for cattle producers each year. In 2019, it was flooding that make its mark for cow calf and feedlot producers. Hay shortages and the quality of the forages that were harvested in some instances were less than ideal. Our feed team at Central Valley Ag has been working with producers recommending liquid supplements to deliver the correct amounts of nutrients to their cow herd. QLF provides a full line of molasses- based, protein supplements for beef cows and stocker cattle.  Supplementing protein can be the key to improving forage utilization and overall cowherd nutrition. Liquids can be used in lick tanks, for bale treatment, and in a TMR (total mixed ration).

Lick tanks or wheel tank feeders are designed for self-fed liquids to compliment available forages. Cattle access the liquid by licking a rotating wheel. Each tank has 2-4 wheels that allow different settings to help control intake. Once adapted to the tank (maybe in 2-3 weeks), consumption will vary due to a cows’ stage of gestation, forage quality, and environment. Normal consumption is ¼ lb to several lbs per head per day.  It is suggested that 1 wheel is needed per 20-25 head of cattle. Tank placement of at least 50 feet from water and congregating areas is recommended. An advantage to lick tanks is that cattle have the opportunity to consume liquid throughout the day and less dominant cattle get a chance of having time at the tank. Lick tanks provide little to no waste and decrease labor. These tanks should not be introduced to starved cattle or allowed to run empty. Providing fresh, clean water along with salt and a good mineral will help with the success of this supplemental program.

Bale treatment has also been a popular option this year. Treated bales contain more dry matter, protein, energy, and minerals, while promoting intakes due to increased palatability. Application is 7-10% of bale weight and can be used on hay, straw, or stalks. As an example, a 1000 lb bale would get 7-10 gallons. By tilting the bale on end, liquid is poured or pumped on to the top surface and must sit until the liquid has penetrated through. Once this has taken place, the bale may then be tilted back to original position. Keep in mind the time frame will vary based on bale density. Multiple bales may be treated at a time, but to get the best benefit, bales should be fed in that season rather than the next year.

As for mixed rations, liquids provide the benefit of reduced sorting, improve ration appearance by reducing fines and dust, increased palatability, and convenience by providing many options in a single supplement to meet the needs of a balanced ration. The liquids’ uniformity reduces the risk of digestive upset, promoting cattle health and performance. To learn more about the multiple options liquids provide, visit your local Central Valley Ag feed location or feed sales specialist. Plus, we would like to learn more about your operation to help with the forage issues we have seen this year. As a reminder, testing feed stuffs for your cattle operation is a great idea this year and our team is happy to do this for you.
 
by Brandi Salestrom
Posted: 12/16/2019 3:00:12 PM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments


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