Feed Lot

AUG 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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According to research conduct- ed by North Dakota State Univer- sity and South Dakota State Uni- versity, using the right feed mixing equipment can make a difference in Daily Rate of Gain of up to .25 pounds per day. "What matters is that every mouthful of ration is the same," says Karl Hoppe, NDSU Area Ex- tension Livestock Specialist at the NDSU Carrington Research Exten- sion Center. "It's all about making a meal and keeping them fed." The goal is a blend of feeds that creates a steady, even fermentation in the rumen. For some feeds like ensiled high moisture corn mixed with dry rolled corn, blending can have a synergistic effect. "First you start with a balanced ration, and everyone in the industry basically understands what that is. Now it's up to the feeder to deliver it to the feed bunk," says Hoppe. In North Dakota, wheat mid- dling, barley, beet pulp and distill- er's grains can all find their way into the bunk, but corn is king. How fine to grind the corn depends on the size of the cattle. Whole corn is acceptable for finishing, when the ration is mostly grain. "Howev- er, you want the right ration to the size of the animal," says Hoppe. "A 500-pound calf's metabolism is still designed for nursing, so a higher energy ration is needed at weaning. If the calf is larger, it can adapt to a higher roughage ration if your goal is to background the cattle at lower rates of gain." Smaller calves benefit from a finer grind that increases digestibil- ity and increases rapid rumen fer- mentation. Grinding disrupts the hull and exposes the starch gran- ules. It also exposes more surface area to microbial and intestinal di- gestion and absorption. Ground or flaked grains can also be easier to mix and store, but they don't come cheap. Grinding and mixing equipment is expensive. Hoppe says it is up to the pro- ducer to determine the cost bene- fits of machinery investment, espe- cially for backgrounders. "You may see lower performance in young calves on whole grains. But at $20 a ton to process the grain, can you realize that value? If not, then is it worth it?" Along with pushing the pencil on the dollar investment, he cautions producers to factor in time. "Will you see a return on that hour a day it takes to grind?" There are other factors to consider 6 FEED•LOT  August 2017 FEEDLOT FOCUS By TERRI QUECK-MATZIE GRIND IT RIGHT. MIX IT RIGHT. Eat it all up.

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