Retaining ownership through finishing is almost always the best way to maximize returns but isn’t always financially feasible. Using distillers cubes, you can add more pounds for less cost and boost the value of your cattle before they ever head to the feed yard. With fewer days on feed to finish, better dry matter conversion and increased carcass quality, retaining ownership could become a viable option for more producers.
If retention is your strategy, your goal should be to get cattle as big as possible before sending to the feedyard. With the distillers cube program, you can accomplish this without sacrificing feedyard performance. In research trials with Oklahoma State University, cattle fed distillers cubes on grass have consistently gained more, converted better and even had superior carcass quality than unfed cattle.
Feed up to 3 lbs. per head per day, starting lower and scaling up in the last few months of the summer:
- Start cattle in a trap with any available forage.
- Feed about 2.5 lbs./hd/day for 2 weeks to 45 days or until summer pastures are ready.
- For first half of summer, feed 10-14 lbs. per head per week.
- Halfway through the summer season, increase to 14-21 lbs. per head per week to optimize gain and feed efficiency before shipping.
By feeding 2-3 lbs. per day, you will add pounds of bone and muscle for much less than the cost of that same growth in the feedyard. However, resist the urge to push cattle past the 3 lbs. per day limit. Our studies show that past the 3 lb. mark, cattle will continue to gain well but supplemental feed efficiency decreases.
Another key factor is to watch cattle stools and adjust feeding rates accordingly. If stools are too loose, reduce your feeding rate and visa versa.