As winter sets in, our blog takes a look at mineral and protein supplementation tips for cows and weaning calves.
Don’t Wait Until Cows Are Too Thin
You already know to have plenty of hay for your cows in the winter. Consider protein and mineral supplements as soon as they start munching on hay. This is because cows are natural foragers. When winter hits, they eat more and more food from hay and do less foraging. Poor hay quality may affect a cow’s health in the winter, too, if bacteria, fungus, or mold grow on hay due to poor growing conditions in the summer.
Studies have shown that a 15 to 45 percent decrease in forage consumption leads to protein deficiencies. When you start to see protein deficiencies in cows, it’s often too late to start supplementing. You need to bolster their diet before it affects their health.
Protein Is More Than Just for Milk and Meat
Cows need protein for more than just milk or meat. Calves need protein in the winter to bolster their muscle development as they grow into cows or cattle for beef or winter. Even after weaning, they still need more protein in their diets to support growing muscles (and the muscles lead to healthy bones).
Getting Cows Bred Back
Herd maintenance occurs year-round, no matter when calves are born. If you want your cows to produce one calf per year, they need to rebreed within 85 days of calving.
You must provide adequate mineral supplementation to cows year-round, not just right before breeding and calving. The cow needs proper mineral nutrition for colostrum health as well as trace minerals, so the unborn calf develops properly. Minerals also play a vital role in helping the cow’s reproductive system heal ahead of rebreeding.
Adjust Supplementation for Weaning Calves
Weaning calves gain weight rapidly, which is why winter supplementation of protein and minerals is important. Adjust supplements to add daily gain more efficiently.
Pay Attention to Grazing Patterns in the Pasture
Cows and cattle typically take an easy route through your pasture while grazing near water or riparian areas of the land. Place supplement containers along their natural grazing path to encourage consumption. Supplementation not only adds more to their diet, but it also helps them to forage more food and eat what they need.
Crystalyx Is the Best There Is
Do you want the best protein and mineral supplements for your cows? Crystalyx is what you need. As the region’s largest supplier of this world-class supplement, stop by SoMo Farm & Ranch Supply to pick up your winter supplements. We’d be happy to help you in any way we can. Call us at (417) 865-0312 for more information.