The Economics of Creep Feeding – Does it Pay?

This article originally appeared in May of 2018. It is drawn from information provided by the University of Nebraska Lincoln Beef, Randy Saner, Nebraska Extension Educator - Beef Systems, and Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist – Range Production Systems. Thanks for your great work! Creep feeding is a practice of providing feed so that calves can get to it, but the cows can't. It's a practice that some producers have used to put additional weigh on calves before weaning. Upsides and Downsides of Creep Feeding In severe drought conditions, creep feeding can be used to offset declining forage quality and quantity. However, creep feeding will not replace or decrease the calf’s milk intake. Thus, creep feeding calves in drought conditions does not result in lowered nutrient requirements for the dam and may exacerbate the loss of forage due to drought on the cowherd. Another concern with creep feeding is the long-term impacts on creep-fed heifer calves. The increased rate of gain from creep feeding in heifers can cause over-development of the udder or fatty udders, resulting in lowered lifetime milk production of replacements going into the cowherd. In a long-term study conducted at Purdue University, cows that were creep-fed as heifers weaned less pounds of calf during their lifetime production. There are data suggesting that creep feeding has a positive effect on carcass quality. The effect of creep feeding on carcass quality is influenced by the length

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