Feeding Systems for Beef Cows

Dr. Steven C. Loerch, OSU Animal Sciences Department, OARDC

Meeting the nutritional needs of beef cows during the winter is a costly proposition. On average, it costs about $350 a year to maintain a cow. Of these annual costs, approximately two-thirds ($230) is cost of feed. If you feed hay valued at $60/ton for five months during the winter, this cost is approximately $160 (or $1.05/cow/day). Reducing winter feed costs provides the greatest opportunity to improve profits for beef producers. This paper will outline factors affecting cow nutrient requirements and winter feeding systems for beef cows that reduce annual feed costs for the cow herd. Continue reading

Additional Considerations for Drought Stressed Pastures this Fall

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Knox County

Now I am worried. From measurements various graziers have been taking on a weekly basis the forage growth for September was flat. On several farm visits I came away with the impression that we were drier now than mid summer. The worry comes from knowing you need feed and knowing what the forages are doing this fall. Continue reading

Corn as an Alternative to Hay for Gestating and Lactating Beef Cows

Steven C. Loerch, Animal Sciences Department, The Ohio State University

Corn grain is the least expensive harvested feed per unit of digestible energy available to producers in Ohio. The most common feed used for wintering cows is hay. This is despite the fact that hay costs 50 to 100% more than corn, per unit of energy. Corn priced at $3.00/bu is worth $107/ton. Because hay has only about half the energy value as corn grain, the breakeven price for hay on an energy basis would be approximately $54/ton. To add needed supplement to the corn brings the breakeven price to $62/ton. In many situations it is economically advantageous to use corn rather than hay to meet the energy requirements of cows. Continue reading