What are you using to supplement energy for your herd through the winter?
This week is Valentine’s Day, so chocolate comes to mind to provide energy, but that’s probably not your answer.
A reader in SE Minnesota is dealing with temperatures that jump from below zero to high 30s and back, with alternating rain, ice, snow, and wind. She’s trying to figure out how to get enough energy into their herd of grass-fed/grass-finished beef, and would like to hear what others are doing.
Currently they are feeding a grass/alfalfa mix with about 90-100 RFQ (Relative Forage Quality). This year, she started feeding heifers and a few lactating cows with September calves, and the bulls and stockers about a lb each of dried molasses and beet pulp mixed 1:1, with a little apple cider vinegar mixed. There’s also a big lick tub of Crystalyx Brigade designed for stress, and salt and kelp available in the bunk.
She says the cows are holding their weight, but she’s a big believer in feeding the heck out of them starting in November so they are fat going into winter. They’ll roll out bales in March and April when there’s less snow on the ground, and the herd will get that along with any hay that was buried in January and February. During the cows’ third trimester she gives them quality but not so much quantity
What do you think? What do you use to provide energy for a grass-fed herd? Write in and tell us, or leave your answer in the comments below.
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Thanks for reading!
Rachel and Kathy
P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU, from your friends at On Pasture. We wouldn’t be here without you.AND We couldn’t be here without all our authors too! We’ve been joined by wonderful people who have contributed so much to what you read here in On Pasture. Please join us in sending a Happy Valentine’s Day to all of the folks bringing you great information!
Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.