While additional costs will come into play and there is never any guarantee, research shows the probability of positive returns on a preconditioning program is higher and more consistent in recent years. Data from the Oklahoma Quality Beef Network showed over the last 12 years, program cattle earned an average premium of $13.05/cwt. Plus, as markets continue to remain high, buyers are willing to spend more for the reduced risk of sickness and death loss.
Nutritional naturally plays a significant role in any preconditioning program, serving as the foundation for health and growth. Distillers grain cubes and pellets shine in this scenario, offering highly concentrated protein and energy in an easy-to-feed, low-intake (less than 5 lbs./day) supplement. Containing very little starch, DDG cubes can reduce the risk of digestive issues like bloat and acidosis often caused by typical mixed rations. Beyond that, the concentrated nutrients encourage bone and muscle development rather than depositing excess fat.
The nutrient profile of distillers grains makes DDG cubes a unique and valuable option for the growing sector of the cattle industry. The product is cost-effective, typically much cheaper per unit protein or on a per head per day basis than typical growing rations. Additionally, the product can be fed in a variety of ways, either in bunks or on the ground with free-choice roughage in any form — pasture, round bale, stalks, etc. One step further, feedlot buyers are willing to pay premiums for cattle fed DDG cubes as they have been shown to transition easier, convert better in the yard, and grade higher on the rail.
Hear Buffalo Feeders manager Tom Fanning discuss the benefits of feeding DDG cubes before finishing. WATCH NOW