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March 21, 2024 Checking in with ABP

Stretching feed supplies after calving

ABP is excited to feature the writings of Barry Yaremcio, ruminant nutritionist and production management consultant. Barry is a trusted voice in cattle nutrition and forage production, operating Yaremcio Ag Consulting Ltd. This article was originally published on his BYOB Blog, which can be found on his website.

What can be done to use existing feed supplies effectively? The overriding concern is to provide adequate nutrients, especially protein and energy to prevent cows or heifers from losing weight between calving and the start of the breeding season.

Evaluate the ration the cows are receiving. Is there a way to reduce the amount of high-quality forage and feed more greenfeed, or straw and grain? Keeping protein at 11 per cent and TDN close to 65 per cent on a dry basis is necessary to maintain milk production and reproductive potential in the upcoming breeding season.

Supplement lower quality forages. When adjusting the ration to lower quality or older hay, it is possible that supplemental protein will be needed.  Wheat or corn distillers’ grains, or canola meal are less expensive to feed on a cost per kg of protein than some other options. Other options are wheat midds, brewers grains, pulse screenings, and faba beans. Take into consideration the cost of processing if supplementing with whole grains. Not providing sufficient protein will reduce feed intake because of slower passage rates which limits nutrients consumed per day.

Provide protection from the elements.  Energy lost by an animal will limit what is available to the cow to maintain weight and produce milk. Having trees, portable wind breaks, and open face sheds for shelter reduces heat loss.  At -25C with wind speed of 20 km/hr, an additional 6 Mcal of Digestible Energy (DE) is needed.  At -30C, an additional 9 Mcal of DE is needed.  That is an additional four to six pounds of barley per head per day just to keep an animal warm.

Bedding is needed to keep animals insulated from the cold ground and from wet conditions. A cow laying on wet snow can lose up to 25 per cent of their body heat. 

Prevent feed losses when feeding cows. No system is 100 per cent efficient.  Using fence line bunks, or well designed bale feeders will reduce feed waste down to the five per cent range. Unrolling hay on the ground or processing hay onto snow results in 13 and 19 per cent feed waste respectfully.  If using a bale processor, feed into a portable bunk or feeder to prevent cows from walking through the feed.

About the Author

Barry was raised on a mixed farm in northeastern Alberta. He completed a Bachelors degree in Agriculture specializing in Animal Science from the University of Alberta in 1984. He then worked for Alberta Agriculture as a District Agriculturalist, Laboratory Nutritionist, and Provincial Beef Nutritionist. In 1994, he left Alberta Agriculture to work in the private sector for various companies.

In 2003, Barry rejoined Alberta Agriculture as a Beef and Forage Specialist at the Ag Info Centre in Stettler. His responsibilities included providing advice to farmers and ranchers on cattle nutrition, forage production, animal management; troubleshooting production concerns; designing corrals; and handling facilities, hay sheds, and silage pits. 

In 2009 he completed a Master’s Degree in Animal Science (nutrition), evaluating the amount of feed waste by various feed delivery systems and the impact it had on the quality of feed consumed.

In March of 2020, he started Yaremcio Ag Consulting Ltd. as an independent ruminant nutritionist and production management consultant. You can contact Barry at

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Cattle Report

Updated: 12/04/2024


Live: ---
Rail: 415.00-420.00 del


Live: ---
Rail: 415.00-420.00 del

Choice Steers

Live: 182.00 (KN, TX) 185.00 (NE)
Rail: 293.00-295.00 (NE, IA)

Choice Heifers

Live: 182.00 (KN, TX) 185.00 (NE)
Rail: 293.00-295.00 (NE, IA)

Boner Cows

Over 500 lbs: 250.84

Canadian Dollar

$72.82   0.32

Livestock Price Insurance Index

Expiry Fed Feeder Calf
8-Jul-24 226 -- --
5-Aug-24 222 318 --
2-Sep-24 220 324 --
30-Sep-24 220 324 366
28-Oct-24 218 324 366
25-Nov-24 216 320 364
23-Dec-24 222 312 360
Last Updated on April 11, 2024

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