ARSBC 2018: Preparing for the breeding season in a drought

Eric Scholljegerdes
New Mexico State University

The number one limiting nutrient on rangeland, whether in a drought or winter, is going to be crude protein.

We are feeding two organisms when we are feeding a beef cow. First is the rumen microbes. The second is the cow.

We see improvement in low-quality forage intake in response to crude protein supplementation. However, in a drought year this can be an issue. When grass availability is limited, we don't want to waste that resource. This is when a conservative stocking rate comes into play.

If forage crude protein is above 8%, we probably don't need to supplement protein as intake is not going to increase. If crude protein is above 8%, we may want to supplement energy instead.

Increase in protein allows the bacteria in the rumen to more completely digest the fiber in the diet.

By-pass protein provides key amino acids.

Non-structural forms of energy, e.g. starch from cereal grains causes a substitution effect. Non-structural carbohydrates have increased risk of bloat and acidosis. We worry less about structural forms of highly fermentable fiber. These include wheat midds, soybean hulls, and beat pulp. There is lower risk of bloat and acidosis with structural carbohydrates.

Dried distillers grains can give higher pregnancy rates because they are providing additional fat.

Body condition scores are less important, if the females are gaining weight (positive plain of nutrition).

Link to video of Scholljegerdes' presentation:

See ARSBC Newsroom for more information.

Note: this post was live blogged and may contain errors.


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