Helping Maximise Stock Weight Gain

If you have been lucky enough to have received adequate rain and you have green grass, here are a few tips to help maximise weight gain.

Step 1 – Satisfy salt cravings
Salt is a mineral and has a role but salt cravings are often the main reason for the consumption of supplements being too high. So, if your stock is chasing salt, allow access to it for a while to economically satisfy any craving prior to putting supplements out.

If you have never done this exercise, only buy 1 bag to start with because if your soils are elevated in sodium or your stock drink underground water, then it is likely they will not require any additional salt.

Step 2 – Keep minerals and phosphorus up to your stock when the grass is green
When there is better quality feed around animals should be growing faster and milking more. This means they will have a much higher requirement of phosphorus because every energy process in the body uses phosphorus in the ATP cycle.

Phosphorus is a key mineral for growth and fertility. Recent MLA trials revealed that phosphorus has a relationship with the amount of fodder your cattle will graze and utilise. This equated to increased weight gain while cattle with not enough phosphorus in their diet consumed less feed and put on less weight (see graph).

Over 5 months, adequate phosphorus intake resulted in 275kg steers gaining 125kg more weight than steers deficient in phosphorus. At $3 per kg that equates to $375 increased weight gain in 150 days, making the $$$ spent for a phosphorus supplement a great investment.

Every MegaMin blend contains phosphorus to ensure that this essential mineral is always part of your supplementation program.

MIA funded University of Queensland Trial 2012
Source: Update of Phosphoros project NBP537; pen study conducted by D. Poppi&S. Quigley, 13March2012, University of Qld

Step 3. Monitor supplement intake
If stock aren’t consuming enough supplement then the benefits won’t be gained. To monitor how many grams per head your stock are consuming, record the number of stock in the paddock, how much supplement you put into troughs and the number of days taken to consume the supplement. Daily intake can be determined by the following calculation: Daily intake (g) = Kg of supplement/ number of days/number of head x 1000.

On the flip side, if intake levels are too high, then consumption needs to be slowed in order to preserve your daily supplementation costs. Talk to our Field Advisors for advice on this.

Step 4: Consider a soil test
Even if you have no intention of fertilising, a soil test can identify likely deficiencies in pasture and provides a guide for supplement requirements for your stock.

Remember – use the right product, at the right time and measure intake to help get the maximum stock performance. Give us a call on 1800 81 57 57.