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.
Rations for Winter Beef Cows
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.
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.
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.