This year’s dry conditions have left some livestock producers looking for more feed.

Regional Livestock and Feed Specialist, Leah Clark says with some shortages of perennial forages producers are looking at other options.

She says it’s even more important for producers to do a feed test this year so they know what they have to work with to meet the needs of that bred cow.

“When looking at when her greatest needs for energy and protein are that’s at the third trimester and the first part of lactation. That’s where her energy and protein needs really increase. So, it’s all about prioritizing the good quality feeds for that time period and getting the tests to back up the rations that you’re putting together.”

She says depending on the feed test results producers may need to look at increasing rations or supplements to ensure the animal’s nutrient requirements are met over the winter.

“One rule of thumb that we like to use when it comes to cows is for every five degrees colder that it gets from minus 20 Celsius it takes an extra pound of grain to compensate for that drop in temperature. So for, minus 30 that would be two pounds of grain, minus 35 three extra.”

She notes it’s also a good idea to have your water tested as good quality water has an impact on feed intake.

Clark says producers should be spending time now getting tests done and lining up what they’ll need for increased rations or supplements so they’re not scrambling when the cold weather hits.

Producers interested in how to conduct or what to look for in forage or water tests can contact their Regional Livestock and Feed Specialist for more information.

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