Is your pasture quality where it needs to be to keep condition on your cowherd?

July 22, 2019

With all the rain this spring and summer, many of our pastures sat for extended periods of time, reducing the quality. Most summers, we look forward to moisture and don't consider it as a hindrance.  However, this year's floods not only affected grazing pastures but the opportunity to put up high-quality hay as well. During a trip out west last week, I talked to many ranchers who are hoping to get out to the hay fields that aren't underwater. But being this late in the season, the grass is more mature and in return, may have reduced energy and protein.  In this blog, I would like to discuss a few options on how to keep your cow herd in condition and tips to prepare for winter as we deal with low-quality forages.

Allowing a CVA feed team member to send off a hay sample will provide us with the information we need to ensure cattle requirements are being met in the pasture. It also gives us the information we need to use at the bunk in a ration. An easy option for lower quality forages would be an Accuration Hi Fat tub from Purina. These 200lb tubs are weather resistant protein tubs that contain vitamins, minerals, and a higher level of fat designed to provide extra energy to balance nutrient deficiencies in forages. These tubs are meant to be fed free choice and consumption is 1-3 lbs per head per day depending on forage quality. A 200lb tub will provide nutrients for 10-15 head of cattle. It's essential when using these tubs that adequate forage is provided at all times.

When working with bunk rations, consider adding distillers grains if your forages test low in quality.  Distillers grains provide extra protein, energy, and fat to help supplement cow herds. I recommend working with a nutritionist to determine the amount of distillers that need to be added to a diet due to possible adverse effects of too high of a level being fed. 

After reading about the research from Elanco, another option that I would recommend is the use of ionophores in our cow herds. Rumensin for cows, when fed as a daily supplement, reduces the amount of hay required by 7-10 percent. However, do use caution when feeding Rumensin to cattle if you have horses with them. Rumensin is toxic to horses, and just a small amount can be fatal.  If bunk feeding is not an option, besides supplementing with tubs, cover crops can be a great option, as well as grazing stalks this fall. For more information on hay testing and supplementing your cow herd, reach contact your local CVA feed sales specialist, or visit our website at and click on the feed tab.
by Brandi Salestrom
Posted: 7/22/2019 9:01:50 AM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments

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