August and September can be the toughest two months of winter in many areas, with the season often not breaking until late September. The recent frosts and lack of moisture means protein often becomes the limiting factor for grazing dry feed.
If there is no visible green grass in the paddock this is a key time to shift to feeding MegaMin 50% Protein Meal blend. Graziers who attended our animal nutrition seminars would have heard that your dry feed is still the cheapest source of energy. The MegaMin protein blends utilise protected protein meals, which means that from one intake, ruminants can graze longer because the protein in MegaMin breaks down slowly, releasing Nitrogen to the rumen microbes for the digestion of mature fodder, providing a safe and longer lasting option than Urea.
What about your heifers?
Many of us have been guilty of neglecting our replacement females whether it’s beef, dairy or sheep. It’s easy to do. Dairy farmers often focus on maximising available feed for the milking herd while heifers run in the back paddock. Graziers tend to focus on finishing the steers on the best feed and only think about their heifers just prior to joining. The same applies to ewe lambs.
It has been proven that if we don’t look after our young stock in their first two years, not only will we stunt their growth, but they will never milk to their full potential, regardless of how well they are fed after. Differences of up to 2,000 litres more in the first lactaction have been found in dairy cattle trials. In beef cattle or ewes, the end result is a reduction in growth and wool production.
What’s the answer?
This is a clear case where supplementing will provide a return on investment. Because the cheapest form of energy is the pasture in your paddock, the best option is to supplement a broad spectrum of minerals with a small amount of protected protein meal to ensure increased intake and better utilisation of available fodder.
Because pasture will never deliver 100% of the mineral requirements for your stock, MegaMin 10% Protein Meal or MegaMin 50% Protein Meal blends are a ‘cheap insurance’ to provide minerals and slow rumen degradable true protein for your stock.
Supplementing your cows, steers and weaners is certainly beneficial. From my experience, there is also a great opportunity to ensure that replacement females and dry cows are prepared for the next lactation and the rest of their production years by supplementing with MegaMin products.
I always emphasise two things, firstly supplementing must be cost effective. Secondly, it’s about maintaining stock, or in some cases, ensuring they continue to move forward to avoid further loses. It is easy to focus on weight loss or a decline in fertility but don’t forget the economic benefits of maximising MILK production for beef and sheep.
If you have any feedback, or want a farm visit or soil test, contact us on 1800 81 57 57.
By Gary Zerner