Liquid and dry supplements for wintering range beef calves

TitleLiquid and dry supplements for wintering range beef calves
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication1971
AuthorsNelson A.B., Neumann A.L., Herbel C.H., Yarbrough C.C., Parker E., Whittenburg J.
Series TitleNew Mexico Agriculture Experimental Station Research Report 214
Date Published1971
CityLas Cruces
Keywordscattle, government publication, range plants, supplemental nutrients, winter grazing
AbstractThe nutritive value of range plants decreases as they mature. When these plants are dormant, they are often deficient in certain nutrients, particularly protein and phosphorus. These deficiencies have been shown by many studies, including those at New Mexico State University. To correct these deficiencies during the winter, supplemental nutrients may be provided in many forms, the most common being meals, pellets and blocks. A relatively new practice is the use of liquid supplements. Such supplements have a liquid base, usually molasses, to which other ingredients are added. The most common addition is nonprotein nitrogen, such as urea, next most common is phosphorus and others are vitamins, minerals and antibiotics. Most liquid supplements are used in feedlot rations. Animals on pasture or range may also be offered liquid supplement free-choice, either ad libitum (at will) or restricted. With ad lib feeding, the supplement is placed in an open container with animal intake restricted only by formula modification. With restricted feeding, intake is controlled by mechanical feeders. The feeder is usually a covered container with one or more wheels extending down through the cover; the wheels turn as they are licked by the animals and a fresh layer of liquid is picked up with each turn. Decisions about supplements to feed to grazing cattle during the winter season should be based on what nutrients are lacking in the forage available for grazing. Many forms and formulations of supplements may be purchased and the increased availability of liquidsupplements has raised many questions concerning their nutritive value. To answer these questions, the NMSU Agricultural Experimental Station compared weight gains and feed costs of range beef calves fed liquid and dry supplements. Liquid supplements were compared to dry supplements in four experiments. All comparisons were with beef calves weaned in October and allowed to graze in native grass pastures. The pastures contained adequate quantities of dry grass, although the number of acres required per head varied considerably.