It's time to fine-tune your winter feeding plans
Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30
For me, the next couple of weeks represent the busiest period of the year. The relative calm of the summer months now gives way to the busy winter feeding season.
Health plans and vaccination programmes are widely written about and discussed at this time of year. Perhaps I am biased, but nutrition management does not seem to get the same 'airtime'. When the topic is discussed, it generally centres on the specification and feed rate of the full or final finishing ration.
As all beef farmers know, getting animals to this full or final finishing ration can involve many hurdles. Successfully managing this introductory period and getting animals on full feed as soon as possible will reduce the duration of the overall finishing period, reduce the overall cost of the feeding programme, ensure rumen health isn't compromised and improve the immunity of the animal.
There are four categories of animals that enter beef sheds for winter finishing:
- Mature animals that go through the mart system and are housed directly;
- Recently weaned animals sold through the mart system or directly purchased that are either grazed or directly housed post purchase;
- Freshly weaned animals or springborn dairy-bred calves that have been grazed all summer and are being housed for the first time;
- Existing on-farm, mature animals that are being housed for finish.