Judging production capability of dry feed

How do I know when my pasture is lacking the quality and quantity to sustain production?

For cows and calves, put out bales of barley or oat straw:

  • If they don’t touch the straw, there is enough nutrition in the paddock to satisfy requirements.
  • If they only eat a little bit of the straw, the feed in the paddock is borderline.
  • As soon as cows eat around an average of 2kg/head/day, this will tell you that the pasture on offer is unsuitable for lactating cows.

Another pretty quick sign, and one that can be well used in any class of cattle is to look at the dung. If it is dry and hard and makes a neat pile like a big Anzac biscuit, the cows diet is lacking rumen degradable protein (RDP).

What should I do next?

There are a few options that can make best use of the standing dry feed in paddocks:

  • Wean the calves off before the cows lose too much condition and feed cows and calves separately.
    • Dry cows will gain condition on low value dry feed and a HiPro supplement like StockGro-HiPro or StockMins-BoviPro.
    • Weaners will grow moderately well with a high quality silage or hay, barley straw and a HiPro supplement.
  • Supplement lactating cows and calves with high quality silage or hay.

For more information on how to efficiently get the best out of your cattle call AusFarm Nutrition Products on 0412048055