Feed Lot

JUN 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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22 FEED•LOT June 2018 may have been through a manu- facturing process does not mean that the product does not contain toxins. If the toxin is present at harvest, processing will not void the feed of toxins. When including alternative for- ages into a ration, it is important to do so on an equal neutral detergent fiber (NDF) basis, which can be determined through a feed anal- ysis. Forage intake of a ruminant is impacted by the quality, digest- ibility, palatability and chemical composition of the forage. Forage quality is highly variable from for- age to forage making it difficult to estimate intake. Dry matter intake of cattle consuming low quality, or primarily roughage rations, is limit- ed by physical distention of the ru- men. Mertens (1987) suggests that NDF content of forages can serve as a proxy for the physical disten- tion effect in the rumen. In high concentrate rations, cattle intake is controlled through chemostatic regulation; however, forage is still needed to maintain rumen function and reduce acidosis risk. Forage in a finishing ration maintains rumi- nation and saliva production, thus providing ruminal buffering. In a feedlot finishing ration there is typically not a large amount of roughage included; however, when exchanging sources, it is still im- portant to take into consideration how that forage is going to mix in the ration to minimize sorting. Feedlot rations contain a large amount of concentrate feeds in Concerns of drought conditions going into the summer months cou- pled with dry weather conditions in 2017 and extended winter condi- tions in some areas, have caused producers to try and stretch their roughage supplies. With high hay prices and difficultly of procuring traditional roughage sources, it is important to have an economical alternative to grazing pasture or buying hay. Hot and dry weather conditions can shift very quickly, so being proactive and having a plan in place before drought conditions arise should be incorporated into a producer's risk management plan. It is important in times like these for producers to think outside of the box and be open minded to alternative feeds that they may not be accustomed to, if there is a financial incentive to do so. Alternative feeds encompass a host of feed stuffs including forages, crop residues, weeds, grains, screenings, grain process- ing co-products, oilseeds, and liq- uid co-products, just to name a few. Alternative feeds vary widely in nutrient composition and need to be analyzed before deciding to implement them into a feeding program. When selecting what alternative feeds to incorporate into a feeding program there are several factors to consider. Most alternative feeds are available in localized areas and are not typically the primary output of a manufacturing process or crop system; however, these less common alternative roughages typically provide a cost incentive in finishing rations. It is important to consider the consistency on a nutri- tional level, availability (year-round or seasonal supply), and shelf life of the product. Generally, produc- ers can purchase large quantities of feed ingredients cheaper than spot loads. In the case of wet feeds, there is typically a shelf life asso- ciated with them. This is a limita- tion to keep in mind as additional management and resources may be required in handling and storing products that do have a shelf life to ensure product longevity. Consis- tency of the product is important to measure, if a product is coming from multiple plants it is important to test the product's nutrient anal- ysis from each source. Toxins and anti-nutritional fac- tors associated with some alter - native feeds are important to take into consideration when choosing which feed to incorporate into your feeding program. Many an- ti-nutritional factors can be test- ed inexpensively and in a timely manner. Nitrates are an example of anti-nutritional factors that can be tested for. Nitrates are typical- ly a concern in forages that have been harvested following a freeze or in drought conditions. Ensiling forages can reduce nitrate levels 40 to 60 %. An important note to consider is even though a product FEEDLOT FOCUS A ltern A tive F eeding O pti O ns FO r the C A ttle i ndustry BY ROBERT JONES M.S., RUMINANT NUTRITIONIST, GREAT PLAINS LIVESTOCK CONSULTING, INC.

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