Cattle Nutrition: Spring Hay Feeding Tips

SoMo Farm & Ranch Supply in Springfield, Missouri, wants you to get the most out of your herd this year. 

As the weather turns warmer, it’s important to provide the right nutrition for your cattle, particularly as they start to calve and the grass turns green after the winter thaw.

Take a look at some of our cattle feeding tips for the spring.

Energy Expenditure and Body Condition

It is important to check the body condition of your cattle when transitioning from winter to spring. A hard winter with poor food quality may cause cattle to lose weight, so their diets should be adjusted accordingly to help them gain it back.

When cattle start to forage for newly growing grass, the new shoots might be so short and sparse that your herd expends too much energy trying to forage. Expending too much energy can cause their body condition to worsen over time, making it more difficult to gestate and raise healthy calves.

Yes, you can use supplements to restore an individual’s body condition. But trying to play catch-up is more challenging than staying ahead.

Offer free-choice hay until the grass is lush and plentiful. Soaking rains in April and May should do the trick, and your pasture can last until the fall. Supplement early in the spring, too.

Increase Nutrition for Gestation

Your cows may become pregnant with calves as early as February. As they gestate, their individual nutritional requirements increase from the first trimester to the last and then max out during lactation, when the calf gets most of its nutrition from the mother’s milk. 

Related Post: Making the Most of Your Very First Calving Season

Don’t Overgraze New Grass

Spring rains continue to turn your pastures greener and greener every day. Your cattle love that they can now munch on fresh food straight out of the ground.

But be careful not to overgraze now. If you do, your cattle may not have enough grass later in the spring when they need it more for calves. You still may need to rely on your hay stores until late spring. 

Add grains to your cattle’s diet to increase their protein intake from soybean or cottonseed meal. Alfalfa hay is another option, but it may not be suitable for all your cows.

What Cattle Supplements Are Good for Spring?

New grass typically has high phosphorus levels, and its bitterness can reduce the palatability of your cattle’s diet. To make cattle grazing easier, consider using a high-magnesium mineral supplement with low phosphorus. 

At SoMo Farm & Ranch, we offer many types of feed supplements for your herd. Crystalyx® is one of the best brands for efficient supplementation in any situation. 

We also have an extensive selection of Stockade and VitaFerm products in addition to our proprietary Double-O-feeds produced right here in Southwest Missouri. We also carry several products with alfalfa in them for extra protein until your fields become lusher.

Related Post: Revitalize Your Herd: The Benefits of Mineral Blocks for Cattle

Cattle Supplements in Springfield, Missouri

Stop by SoMo Farm & Ranch Supply to view our selection of feed supplements and lick tubs. For more information on our current stock, call us at (417) 865-0312.