Providing Consistent and Balance Nutrition to the Cow
Harvested feed provided in the winter results in the largest portion of cow maintenance costs. Providing consistent and balance nutrition to the cow during this period is an investment that can reduce overall forage use and improve performance of the cow and developing calf.
The first step is testing your forages then work with a nutritionist to determine feeding strategies for the winter. When considering corn silage or other ensiled forages in you cow-winter feeding program consider the following 1) incorporating too much corn in the diet with corn silage which can reduce forage digestibility; 2) consider a mineral program which has more bioavailable trace minerals and higher vitamin concentrations and 3) make sure ensiled properly to avoid issues such as molds and mycotoxins.
Trace minerals can boost colostrum quality and help in the development of healthy calves and result in heaver weaning weights. The recommendation would be to provide an organic trace mineral source, Availa-4®, 60-90 days prior to calving. Then continue this mineral program through the breeding season to improve reproductive performance. When hand-feeding a supplement each day or utilizing a TMR, also consider incorporating Rumensin® into your mineral program, this feed additive can reduce forage use by 7-10%.