Ruminant Nutrition News - 07/15/96

Feeding fat and forage in place of grain...

Dr. Richard Zinn, a well known researcher from Imperial Valley, California, has shown (J.A.S., Vol. 74, pg 1194) that feeding 6% fat and 30% forage in finishing diets will perform similar to a typical finishing diet of 10% forage.

Because of increase diet energy density (fat is valued at 2.5 - 2.7 times more calories per pound than barley) there are favorable effects on protein flow to the small intestine and decreased inefficient rumen methane production.

This may greatly improve the cost of your finishing and growing diets by supplementing high cost grain with tallow, yellow grease, or acidulated soap stock.

For further information and directions on figuring cost effects leave a message in our inquiry page.

Feeding high energy diets to wintering cows
greatly reduces costs...

In a report by S.C. Loerch, of Ohio Research and Development Center (J.A.S., Vol 74, p. 1211) cows were fed a limited intake, high grain diet for the purpose of finding the implications on performance and cost of wintering. The study showed that winter feeding high grain diets limited to provide proper energy and other nutrients had no effect on calving performance and reduced wintering costs considerably.

This study was done before the explosive increase in grain prices but still has great value to operations in areas with locally high roughage costs. I have used this technique on several operations in conjunction with the use of Rumensin fed at double dosage every other day. We decreased wintering costs by as much as half, and felt the cows did decidedly better. Use of these techniques on range operations where all or most of the wintering hay is purchased are particularly more economical.

For further information and directions on figuring cost effects and proper supplementation, leave a message in our inquiry page.

The NRC (National Research Council) changes protein requirements...

The first nutrient recommendations for beef cattle in over 12 years has finally come out, and with decidedly good changes. First, the protein requirements have been changed from crude protein to metabolizable requirements, taking into consideration partitioning of rumen degraded and non-degraded proteins, soluble protein, and cell protein. Second is the use of Neutral Detergent Fiber in determining the rumen function in considerations of Ph+ and fiber digestion.

Also the model for formulation of diets has two planes of consideration. Both the rumen and the animal's nutrient requirements are factored into diet performance. This is a great change and will undoubtedly, over the next few years, markedly improve efficiency of performance and use of nutrients in beef cattle.

The major obstacle of using the new specifications of nutrient formulation are the analysis of feeds. At present few feeds have been analyzed for more than crude protein and acid detergent fiber. We will probably need development of a national nutrient database system where a feed analysis with the nutrients required in the new model can be placed. Until then "fudging", a problem over the last ten years anyway, will be necessary except for those fortunate people who feed only corn and hay.