Rations for Growing Cattle

E. C. Prigge
Division of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
West Virginia University
Phone: 304-293-2631 ext. 4415
FAX: 304-293-2232
email: eprigge@wvu.edu

When there are hay shortages, the following grain-based options may meet your feeding requirements. These rations are based on various commodities which are suitable for 400 lbs or heavier calves to gain about 2 lb/day. A roughage source will be necessary for all of these rations, however, hay feeding will be minimal. Limited pasture can be substituted for the hay in many cases.

To calculate how many pounds per head that should be fed, assume the cattle will eat about 2.50% of their body weight. A mineral mix should be fed free choice with these rations containing 1 part limestone, l part dicalcium phosphate, and 1 part trace mineralized salt.

Option l:
50% ground corn
25% soy hulls
25% chicken litter
  Option 2:
57% ground corn
25% chicken litter
18% hay
Option 3:
57% corn
33% hay
10% soybean oil meal
  Option 4:
53% ground corn
30% soy hulls
10% hay
7% soybean oil meal
Option 5:
51% ground corn
25% hay
24% corn gluten feed
  Option 6:
42% ground corn
18% corn gluten feed
30% soy hulls
10% hay

Rations for Winter Beef Cows

All concentrate

Ohio State University has conducted a considerable amount of research on maintaining cows on limit feeding an all concentrate ration. If this program is adopted, bunk space must be ample to assure all cattle have an opportunity to eat and fencing has to be adequate. Although nutrition requirements will be met on this type of diet, the cattle will feel hungry. This type of ration will be more economical to feed than purchasing hay. It should be fed twice daily to limit over consumption problems.

Diet for 1200 lb. dry cow
11.5 lb corn/day
1.5 lb soybean meal/day
Diet for 1200 lb lactating cow (average mills)
13.0 lb corn/day
2.0 lb soybean meal/day
Suggested mineral mix for above diets (Feed Free Choice)
l part dicalcium phosphate
l part limestone
l part trace mineralized salt

Alternative Roughages

The following rations are based on free choice feeding and is adequate for both dry and lactating cows. Because chicken litter is high in minerals, no salt or minerals need to be fed with this ration.

70% chicken litter
30% hay

Another alternative for beef cows would be soy hulls. Soy hulls can replace up to 50% of the hay being feed and has adequate protein and energy for both the dry and lactating cow. A mineral mix containing 1 part dicalcium phosphate and l part trace mineralized salt should be fed free choice with the soy hulls and hay.