The cattle feed industry is a massive market with a huge range of products for every stage of production and at every price point. Every rancher’s challenge is finding products that meet the nutritional needs of their cattle without breaking the bank.
One key tip is to be sure you’re comparing products on a cost per nutrient or cost per head basis rather than simply on price per ton. Price per ton can be misleading until you put pencil to paper, considering the nutrient analysis of the products, the pounds fed per day and the amount of forage needed.
“If feeding a pound of a supplement increases her hay intake by 10% or about two or three pounds and that provides enough extra nutrition to meet her requirements, then that is going to be an effective supplement,” Dr. Beck said.
At first glance, it’s easy to lean toward the least expensive feed options available, but taking a closer look often shows those cheap feeds cost more in the long run. Concentrated, high-energy products like distillers grain range cubes are not only highly effective at offsetting a low-quality forage and meeting nutrient needs, you can save money by significantly reducing the number of pounds fed per day.
“Most of the nutrients from a DDG cube go directly to feeding the cow and meeting her needs, along with providing what would be necessary to keep the rumen active and functioning,” Dr. Beck said.
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