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Agricultural News


Studies Reveal Proper Cow Nutrition Prior to Calving Pays Big Dividends

Wed, 05 Dec 2012 15:13:17 CST

Studies Reveal Proper Cow Nutrition Prior to Calving Pays Big Dividends
Don’t put your cow herd on “coast.” Nutrition in the months before calving can determine the calves’ future performance.

Rick Rasby of the University of Nebraska says, “The idea behind fetal programming is can you manipulate the fetus while it’s still in utero in the cow by nutrition.”


Research at the University of Nebraska and other universities across the country says, “yes.”


“Some of the early work we would have done here would indicate that when cows were grazing winter range and were supplemented, as compared to those cows that were grazing winter range and were not supplemented, those steer progeny, those male progeny, from those females that were supplemented, if you carry them on into the feedlot, is that they had a heavier hot-carcass weight as compared to those male progeny whose dams were not supplemented, to the tune of about 62 pounds.”


That same study found that offspring of the supplemented cows graded 86 percent choice compared to 71 percent in the non-supplemented group. Premium-choice dropped 18 points without the added protein.


Layne Anderson, of Purina Animal Nutrition, concurs with those findings.


“We know that even some of the nutritional programs those cows are on before those calves are even born can have an influence on marbling, gain characteristics, health of those cattle once they get to the feedyard. But in the neonatal stage and in the early summer, for us spring calving fellows, we continue to see the type of nutrition, the plan of nutrition, those calves are on being ultra-critical to determine their performance later on. And that performance isn’t just average daily gain. We know that we can affect marbling characteristics in those cattle, the quality aspects of the carcass by how we feed them way before they even enter the feedyard.”


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