Benefits from Your Spring Forage
Who’s ready for Spring? It’s a time when nature can help undo some of the damage that bad weather, low-quality forage, and less than perfect management techniques that may have inflicted on your herd.
Purina Animal Beef Nutritionist Ted Perry explains, “While spring grasses are loaded with nutrients, a balanced mineral supplement should always be offered. You want to make sure the cows are getting enough Magnesium.”
When preparing cows for calving and reproduction, there are clear benefits from utilizing as many of those spring grass nutrients as possible. The most important is to increase body condition especially in those that have become thin due to winter. Rotational grazing is one method that helps us take advantage of the nutrients in spring grasses.
Another helpful practice is forage testing. Numerous variables affect the results of forage testing, including different species in the pasture and different times of the year. “In a study we conducted in the 1980s, we used a lawnmower to collect samples which represented all the forages in a given area” Perry offered. “Then, we compared those with what the cows were eating. We found the two samples to be very different. The herd is selective about what they eat so forage analysis can tell you what’s growing.”
Use of Minerals
Minerals are incredibly important. According to Perry, “Approximately 40% of cows in the United States do not get the supplementation they need.” Minerals are key to a cow’s production, both in terms of feed efficiency and milk production. When cows receive adequate minerals, both their rumen and reproduction all improve.
“The cost of a mineral program is minimal—only $35 to $40” he added. “Without it, you take the chance that the cow will not produce a calf which results in a loss. The minerals assure she will be healthy. Additionally, in the dry conditions over time, we need to do everything we can to enhance cow production. Mineral supplements with the appropriate additives also give us an easy, economical way to deliver fly control and antibiotics to prevent anaplasmosis.”
Protect Your Herd
Purina Animal Nutrition offers more than 100 different formulations of minerals that target different seasons, forages, pasture types, and weather patterns. Purina’s Wind & Rain Storm Minerals have been specially formulated for consistent, predictable intake and also resist loss due to those forces. Talk to us all the mineral supplement options available to you and how we can help you choose the mineral program that’s right for your operation at any given time of year!