Feed Lot

AUG 2018

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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18 FEED•LOT August 2018 where intake was either limited or unlimited. Average daily gain was not different between corn or soybean hulls; however, ADG was improved by at least 0.50 lb/ day for the creep fed calves com- pared to no creep, depending on intake. When creep intake was limited, the efficiency of gain was improved by 33% over non-limit- ed controls. Research indicates that creep intake of about 1.5% of body weight is maximally efficient for high protein, high fiber creep feeds. The same study by Faulkner demonstrated no negative impact of creep feeding on subsequent feedlot performance or efficiency. Creep feeding, especially with a high starch creep, increased qual- ity grade by 5% over non-supple- mented controls; however, the same result can be obtained with early weaning and feeding a higher starch diet. Creep feeding is often turned toward during drought situations or in the case of young and/or thin cows. The expectation is that creep feeding will reduce milk intake, which is simply not true. If a calf consumed more feed but less milk, ADG would not change. Research from Oklahoma State University shows virtually no difference in Creep feed is one of the most misunderstood, and perhaps over- used, feeding strategies in cow/calf production. The "Hungry Calf Gap," which is the difference between milk required by the calf and the amount of milk available from the cow, is typically used as a justifi- cation for selling creep feed, even when calf prices are low and feed prices are high. There can be no argument that milk production and calf require- ments diverge around 200-300 lb of calf weight; however, during that same period, calves are becoming fully functional ruminants, capable of converting the available for- age resources to pounds of body weight. The available forage may be grass or a total mixed ration (TMR) in a drylot. Either way, creep feed is not the only source of supplemental nutrition. This is clearly evident by observing young calves in a drylot consuming TMR at the bunk with their dams. Please understand that the purpose of this article is not to discourage producers from using creep feed. Rather, the main take away should be to use creep feed to add extra pounds on calves when that weight is more valuable than the cost of feed and feeding, as long as the creep feed is not causing any long term negative impacts. Research into creep feeding has both proven and dispelled per- ceptions about the importance of creep feeding. Creep feeding does improve average daily gain (ADG) of calves. Research conducted by Oklahoma State University in the 1980's revealed an improvement in ADG between 0 . 17 and 0 . 25 lb/ day. Additional research suggests a slightly higher rate of gain, up to an additional 0.75 lb/day, depending upon feed intake. Average feed conversion for calves consuming creep feed is between 5:1 and 7:1 lb of feed per extra lb gained. Gen- erally, high protein creep feeds promote a better feed conversion rate because the added protein helps calves better utilize forages. High protein creeps also promote slightly lower creep intake, again improving efficiency. Whenever possible, avoid high starch levels in creep feed because high starch levels in the rumen interfere with forage digestion, resulting in poorer overall feed conversion. Faulkner et al. (1994) conducted a study where calves were creep fed with a corn-based supplement or a soybean hull-based supplement COW/CALF CORNER CREEP FEEDING BY DAN LARSON, PH.D., AND JORDAN BURHOOP, M.S., RUMINANT NUTRITIONISTS GREAT PLAINS LIVESTOCK CONSULTING The main take away should be to use creep feed to add extra pounds on calves when that weight is more valuable than the cost of feed and feeding, as long as the creep feed is not causing any long term negative impacts.

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