Livestock Producers May Want To Consider Supplementing Pastures

May 19, 2021

With the drier conditions this spring pasture growth has been slower than normal.

Livestock and Feed Extension Specialist Catherine Lang says producers may want to consider supplementing their pastures to avoid overgrazing this Spring.

"So going into supplementing cows, you can either look at if you have extra forages like green seeds or hay to take those bales out in early spring. Sometimes you can put out enough for a couple of days so that you don't have to feed every day. If you don't have those forages, you can always feed concentrates like pellets or grain or sometimes protein lick tubs do give that extra protein bump to meet those cows requirements."

Lang says the best way to determine if you need to supplement is to watch the animals body condition score.

"Cows that are in a healthy body condition score should be about a three out of five on a one to five point scale. If the cows begin to fall lower than a three, then that does mean that it is time to consider providing a supplement to make sure they don't lose that body condition."

She notes you also want to make sure animals have access to salt and minerals especially right now when water quality may not be as good as it could be with dry conditions and no runoff.

Lang adds producers may also want to look at creep feeding calves, where only they can access the feed and the cows cannot.

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