Whether or not the weather plays along, cattle have got to eat, and eat well enough in order to continue producing healthy calves. This according to RCL Foods manager for ruminant research and development, Johan Mouton. What this means is that farmers have to adapt their methods in order to keep their cattle happy and healthy.
Four ideal topics that can be discussed here are management principles, feeding creep feed and production licks, risk management, and success drivers.
The question has been asked many times, how necessary are hay rings when it comes to managing how your cattle feed?
It has been found that intake falls considerably when hay rings are being used, whereas using just feed and grazing methods have shown increased intake. Mouton has discovered that cattle exert roughly 5% – 10% more energy for every 2km that they walk in order to graze, and the more energy exerted the more the animal needs to feed. In order to keep the animal at a healthy minimum consumption, it may benefit you to try to limit the movements as best as you can.
Feeding creep feed and production licks
Choosing to use a production lick over a creep feed may benefit you more if you are looking to spare your cow. Using a production lick will improve the milk production of the cow, as well as her chances of calving in the next breeding season. As beneficial as the practice of using creep feed is,it is suggested to keep to the normal timeline instead of prematurely starting your calves on dry feed.
In order to continue farming in the upcoming seasons, constant planning is needed of which risk management is a large part. Aspects of planning to consider are the controlled and non controlled parts of farming. Although farmers can not control grazing capacity, climate or composition, they can manage what they feed their cattle from the bag, the stocking rate of animals and the pattern in which they manage their resources.
A farmer who plans well during the summer makes it through the winter on what he has managed to conserve in pastures as well as in his stock bank. The suggestion of leaving grazing for the winter has been made, with the thought in mind that everything not used in summer will add up to more that is usable in the winter months. This would mean that the farmers would need to know when the growth period is of the pastures in order to correctly rotate their herds, giving the pastures enough time to properly grow and develop.
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