Why contemplate drylotting cows this fall?

This fall as pastures proceed to get well from drought in earlier years, some producers who historically pasture their cattle are contemplating feeding cow-calf pairs in confinement. Drylotting is usually a possible option to enable pasture restoration, whereas feeding grain, forage, and crop stover to pairs. A couple of of the numerous benefits of a drylot system embody nearer remark of the herd, low weaning stress, and offering alternative to bunk break calves previous to weaning.

Whereas enter prices of confined feeding of pairs is costlier than in years previous attributable to elevated commodity costs, it gives the chance for producers to stockpile forage sooner or later. With hay costs nonetheless above $200/ton, limiting inclusion quantities in diets is economical. Nonetheless, with a purpose to maintain a wholesome rumen, forage inclusion must be at the least 0.5% of the cow’s weight on a dry matter foundation.

When growing rations, think about using price per unit of protein and power to find out probably the most cost-effective feed. If obtainable, corn silage produces extra power per acre than another crop. Silage mixes properly with low high quality forages, and it will probably assist to restrict the wanted inclusion of low-quality hay, which might help to stop ruminal impaction. Low degree grain inclusion also can lower price per unit of power.

Understanding the standard of your feedstuffs is a vital a part of feeding cattle in a drylot. It’s endorsed to check your feed as a complete combined ration, however extra importantly testing forages previous to the feeding interval. This enables nutritionists/producers the flexibility to develop rations that correctly meet the nutrient necessities of the animal, and never exceed them, losing sources.

To additional cut back losing of feed sources, drylots present the choice to restrict feed, by decreasing consumption whereas nonetheless assembly dietary necessities. Restrict feeding must be fed at the least 1.75% of physique weight, in any other case cows will exhibit irritable disposition from lack of fill. This may be mitigated additional by feeding lengthy stem hay, which promotes rumination, conserving the cattle extra content material and decreasing behaviors like fence chewing.

If correctly managed, confined feeding herd well being is akin to pasture eventualities. Cattle must be lotted into pens permitting 500-800 sq. toes per pair. If pens are too giant and dry circumstances persist, the elevated mud from the floor promotes a larger probability of pneumonia for calves. When planning to drylot cows, enable for 28-36 inches of bunk area per pair.

It’s excellent to separate cows based mostly on nutrient necessities. Youthful cows and first calf heifers have larger power and protein necessities, whereas mature cows in good situation require much less power related to their physique weight. If feeding every thing in a single pen is the one choice a producer has, maximizing bunk area per head is very advisable to permit smaller, extra timid cattle a spot on the bunk.

Listed here are a couple of different issues to bear in mind if aspiring to dry lot cows:

  • Feeding complete corn works higher than rolled corn when each day forage consumption is at 0.5% of physique weight
  • Mineral might be both combined into the feed or fed free alternative.
  • Feeding cattle in a dry lot will increase the manufacturing lifetime of older, damaged mouth cows
  • A smaller, confined space, permits for simpler well being checks of cattle

Extra data might be discovered here.