Cattle Nutrition Management
To provide a balanced ration, it is necessary to take representative samples of forages, silages, and grains. A water sample is also helpful in some situations. When the results are obtained from a laboratory, rations are designed to meet the needs of each type of animal for the stage of production they are in.
The test results are entered into the ©CowBytes program and rations are balanced. One of the considerations taken during this process is to use available feeds in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Supplying older or lower quality feeds to cows in mid- to late pregnancy when nutrient requirements are lower and using higher quality feeds for calves and lactating cows reduces overall winter feed costs but still meets animal requirements. Managing feed inventories when developing the overall winter feeding package is critical to prevent the need to purchase additional feed later in the feeding period.
It is possible that a custom mineral may be required to meet mineral, trace mineral, vitamin, and ionophore requirements if used. The resulting formulation could be in the form of a mineral, premixed, or pelleted supplement. It all depends on what is required and what product is best suited for the feeding practices on the farm. The custom product is tendered out to feed companies to obtain a competitive price.