Cattle’s nutritional needs change throughout the production cycle. Even a full-grown bull is going to need extra energy to get through a cold winter, but pregnant cows or growing animals have even more dynamic needs throughout the winter months. In fact, a cow’s energy needs can increase significantly and protein requirements can nearly double during the later stages of pregnancy, especially in conjunction with cold weather.
Dr. Kim Ominski, professor at the University of Manitoba, outlines what to anticipate for cattle’s changing nutritional needs through the winter in this newest episode of the Beef Research School. She also discusses cattle’s water needs, the importance of a back up plan for water, and special considerations for swath and bale grazing scenarios.
In a swath grazing scenario, feed quality can change over the course of the winter as the swaths become weathered; Ominski notes this makes an early feed test and a follow up late-season feed test especially important if cattle are to be put out on swaths in late February or into March (editor’s note: at 2:34 in the video, Ominski says “bale grazing” but means “swath grazing” in regards to weathering).
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