Summer Nutrition Tips for Cows & Their Growing Calves

The early summer months offer beautiful green pastures following spring rains. But by the end of the summer, your pastures may lose some of their nutritional value when the grass turns drier and a bit crispy. 

Plus, the summer heat can take its toll on any animal’s eating habits, even when your cattle are used to warmer temps. Cows in particular need to maintain their nutrition because some of them may still be nursing their calves. Even if calves are weaned, they need enough protein in their diet to grow up to their full potential.

Discover some summer nutrition and feeding tips for cows and their growing calves whose nutrition is vital in their initial growing stage.

Monitor Forages

Forages mature as summer goes on. Much like animals (and humans) that get older and lose some of their ability to maintain nutrients and health later in their lifecycle, grass in your pasture does the same thing. 

For forages, this means the grass loses protein. 

Monitor forages to see how much protein they lose by looking at manure. If forages drop below 7 percent protein, consider additional sources of this macronutrient to supplement your herd, cows who need to stay in breeding condition for next year, and any calves.

Protein tubs and blocks offer ways to maintain body condition before foraging loss becomes a problem. Place tubs and blocks in the paths where cows and calves move about your pastures for best results. Start on these in mid-summer because the cattle will get used to these supplements before fall and winter set in. 

Remember, it’s much easier to maintain body condition than it is to play catch-up after your cattle lose their protein intake.

Flies Abound

By the time July gets here in the southern United States, the flies are everywhere. They’re attracted to the scents of your herd and the manure. 

Biting and blood-sucking flies are only half the problem. The other part of the difficulty is that cattle swat files constantly with their tails, which increases physical activity and stress on the herd. 

Fly control mineral supplements can lessen the impacts of flies on your herd. How do these work? Cows ingest specific minerals that move through the digestive tract and into manure. Fly larvae feed on the minerals in the manure, which breaks the lifecycle of horn flies.

Maintain Water Supplies & Plenty of Shade

Fresh water is vital to nutrient uptake. Replenish fresh water quickly to help keep animals cool. Automatic waterers help in this regard.

Shade also helps, whether it comes from trees, a windbreak, or temporary shade solutions. Fast-growing bushes or shrubs along a fence line can produce shade quickly when planted properly.

Where can I get mineral supplements and automatic waterers? 

At SoMo Farm & Ranch Supply in Springfield, Missouri. We offer a wide variety of mineral supplements and automatic waterers for your herd. 

Call us at (417) 865-0312 and talk to us about what we have in stock.