Now that everything has thawed, most of us are left wondering where springtime has gone to. It seems as though we went from below 30 and snow to 75 overnight! With that being said, we are gearing up for grass turn out, spring breeding (if we haven’t already got that going) and also looking towards planning our nutritional program for the summer months.
Most of us look at several things during these months; first and foremost…that beautiful green grass! While it is a sight for sore eyes, it does take some management to navigate as we begin to turn cows in and they go on a pasture buffet for a while. One of these is ensuring our year-round mineral program is set in accordance with our production stage and forage availability.
When grass is growing like it is right now there is a significant amount of potassium coming through the grass which works against the absorption of magnesium. Having a good magnesium source, like a high-mag mineral out for them leading up to turn out time and those first few weeks helps safeguard against this issue. Once they are established on grass, we can transition to an all-season mineral.
Even in many of our programs that utilize AI’ing, we don’t want to forget about the workhorse herd bulls that get the job done when we come up short. First, we want to make sure these guys have access to the same good mineral that our cows do leading up to breeding time. There is much to be said for high-quality, highly palatable, highly absorbable mineral and its impact on semen quantity and quality, as well as immune system health in our bulls. This investment in the bull lot transitions to a big payoff in the pasture without doubt!
So now that we have them all turned out on grass and bred up to calve, now what? Well, now we really become students of watching and managing the health of our momma cows and pasture grass stands. We all try and rotate our pastures as much as we can but, in time, we all could use another 40 acres, am I right? With that being said, though, there are many things that we can do from a nutritional standpoint to help these cows navigate the summer months and also take care of the pastures that are providing the core of our nutritive value for our herd. Our baby calves, at as early as 10 days have fully functioning rumen; meaning they are going to start eating what momma eats, in addition to their milk buffet they get 24/7. As these babies grow, they put more strain on momma as she is not only trying to provide for them, but also maintain herself so she can stay pregnant and grow a healthy baby calf inside. We can look at supplemental options to aid in this for her and also allow better utilization of the pastures/grasses we are giving them already!
Creep feeding is a great place to start. It not only helps build healthy weight gain for the calves; it also provides a nice break for mom. The right creep feeding program is efficient, but we also want to make sure we are designing one that can allow for that pasture utilization we talked about earlier.
With the Rangeland Calf Creep and Range 33 program, we have seen an increase in grazing and pasture utilization of 15 to 20 percent relative to traditional creep programs. This program also grows with the calves and can be adjusted to fit intake and manage the feeder most efficiently and cost-effectively. Now aside from the obvious benefit to a growing calf we also see some stress taken off momma now that her bouncing bundle of joy has another feed source and she can have some much needed “me time”. She can graze and have some time for her thoughts and — even as summer goes on and the grass dwindles — she can find her way to a Rangeland 30-13 tub for that much-needed protein and energy to provide her adequate nutrition and stretch that grazing period as much as we can!
Here are Two Rivers Coop we are currently contracting creep feeds for this spring and also have our creep feeder lease-to-own contracts available. Additionally, we have our loose mineral and tub promotion on through May.
Give Ashley a call at 641-204-2526 to discuss further.