Va. nutritionist offers cattle feeding strategies
DOSWELL, Va. — Virginia Tech’s Bain Wilson outlined procedures to help cattle producers in providing proper nutrition for their animals on Dec. 6.
Wilson discussed body condition scoring, TDN and CP requirements, interpreting forage analysis and nutrition for backgrounded calves.
Speaking to the Pulaski County Cattlemen’s Association, the professor and Extension specialist said there is no such thing as the perfect cow. He urged the producers to aim for a constant five or six body condition score.
He recommended a Virginia Cooperative Extension publication, Body Condition Scoring Beef as a guide.
Wilson said he prefers visual appraisal or palpitation of the animal at chute side over other methods of scoring.
His power point presentation walked the producers through data that can be helpful in nutrition decision making. It included graphs and tables describing numerous situations.
Some of the information came from an Arkansas Extension publication, Nutrient Requirement Tables.
Producers need to know what their forage provides and what it does not, Wilson said. He said standard feed takes may be missing lots of needed information. For this reason, he suggested using feed testing labs. It is important to know what nutrients are needed when getting a forage test.
Wilson pointed to five steps to consider when putting together a ration. They are as follows:
• Evaluate your available feed stuffs;
• Get a good nutrient analysis of chosen feed stuffs;
• Determine animal nutrient requirements;
• Calculate what is provided by forage;
• Calculate how much supplement is needed to fill a nutrient gap.
Wilson continued that it is important to deliver supplements in small packages. This makes the animals eat forage too and not overeat the supplements.
He noted that there are a number of was supplements can be delivered to cattle. The individual producer has a choice.
Those needing details provided by Wilson can contact their local Extension agent.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925