Save Money By Not Overfeeding Protein

The cattle markets are not what they were the last couple of years and many producers are re-evaluating their production costs to determine where expenses might be trimmed. It is a well- established fact that feed costs make up the majority of cowherd expenses in most operations. Therefore, it stands to reason, re-evaluating feed costs is a good place to start. A 1200 pound gestating, non-lactating cow requires about 10 pounds of Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) and 1.8 pounds of crude protein per day. More importantly than crude protein however, is rumen degradable protein which is necessary for the bacteria in the rumen to adequately digest the forage she consumes. Research conducted at the Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory indicated that cow would require approximately 0.88 pounds of rumen degradable protein per day. Most producers assume that if the forage is less than 8% crude protein then additional protein needs to be supplied. However, prairie hay that is 6.5% crude protein with 62% of that being rumen degradable and containing 50% TDN would meet this cow’s requirements. We can assume that a 1200 pound cow will eat 22 pounds of dry matter. Therefore, 22*0.065 = 1.43 pounds of crude protein, but, 1.43*.62 = 0.88 pounds of rumen degradable protein, which meets the requirement. Additionally, 10 pounds of TDN would also be supplied, meeting the energy requirement as well. If a producer had 500 cows and assumed these cows needed one pound of a $400/ton protein

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One thought on “Save Money By Not Overfeeding Protein

  1. Good article!

    Those cows of mine have been lying to me again! Every morning they stand at the fence making all kinds of noise for me to come feed them. They are not going to like what’s in store for them!

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