Feed Questions


   I’ve had several cattle producers asked about possible adjustments in their rations for weaned calves. The reason is $2.60 or lower corn and record high calf prices. The by-product feeds, especially distillers grains and corn gluten feed, have also seen a drop in price depending on when you might have locked in a price.
   We’ve cautioned in the past that too much high starch feed like corn in a grower diet might compromise the digestibility of the forage portion of the diet. Two or three pounds per day of corn in a blended diet with by-products and forage should work just fine, especially if the corn is significantly cheaper.
   Do some pencil pushing regarding the comparative cost of corn and by-products and the amount of gain you’re shooting for. Everyone that calls usually tells me they’d like to make at least two pounds per day gain on their stockers. With that target, they need about 1.75 lbs. per day of protein and 9 to 10 lbs. per day of total digestible nutrients. Distillers runs 28 percent plus or minus on protein and corn gluten feed will be 20-22 percent. Good lush fall fescue pasture can exceed 16 percent protein. Should you have wheat, rye or rye grass pasture it also is high in protein. A lot depends on the quality of the pasture and hay as to the protein needs of the supplement. ∆
   ELDON COLE: Extension Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri
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