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Photo Credit: Barry Yaremcio
July 12, 2023 Health & Production

Plan now to secure winter feed supplies

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.

In many areas, soil moisture was lacking this spring. With little or no rainfall this growing season, pastures and hay lands are under stress and cannot produce an average crop.

Expectations of low hay yields and a short grazing season; planting extra acres to greenfeed or swath grazing is an option to have extra feed available. In order of drought tolerance, rye, and triticale – spring, fall, or winter have the highest potential. Barley and wheat are intermediate, and oats has the lowest drought tolerance. Also, annual millet is a very drought tolerant crop.

An advantage of seeding a winter or fall annual is the late season growth. These crops start to grow rapidly in mid August and continue to grow in September that will provide high quality forage going into winter. If left undisturbed, there is good potential for early spring growth that can be grazed well before pastures.

Cows in mid and late pregnancy can be maintained on a combination of hay, straw, grain, and supplement feeding program. It is not necessary to feed hay as the only ingredient. Use of by-product feeds such as wheat shorts, wheat mids, wheat or corn distillers’ grains or pea and lentil screenings as a protein supplement work well in a straw – grain ration. Oat hulls, cull potatoes, grain screenings, brewers’ grains, brewers’ mash are all good energy sources in cattle rations.

Plan ahead to secure feed supplies now to reduce feed costs. By-products are produced year-round. Summer typically is when demand is the lowest; therefore, prices are low. As fall approaches, demand increases and so do prices. For many products, supplies become limited towards fall and there could be a long wait before product is available.

By-product feeds and unusual feedstuffs have different nutrient profiles compared to hay or silage. Phosphorus content in some of the grain products are double or triple compared to the grains. Calcium and magnesium supplementation may need to be increased depending on what is being fed. It is possible that the standard 2:1 mineral will not be suitable in some rations and a feedlot type mineral with high calcium and minimal or no phosphorus is required. Feed testing or obtaining a feed test result is essential before the rations can be balanced.

For additional information on alternate feeds for cattle, contact Barry at 403-741-6032 or bjyaremcio@gmail.com.

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About the Author

Barry Yaremcio

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 www.beefconsultant.com.

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Live: ---
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Last Updated on September 21, 2023