Consider drought supplements

With a drought limiting the supply of both grazed and harvested forages, it's important to remember the protein needs of livestock, Southwind Extension agent Hunter Nickell explains.



October 16, 2023 - 2:36 PM

Register file photo

Traditionally, when cowherd supplementation is discussed, we focus on meeting the protein needs of the cow, with the goal of maximizing forage intake by supplementing protein, the most limiting nutrient in dormant native forages. 

However, drought often limits the supply of both grazed and harvested forages in many regions. In this scenario both energy and protein are limiting cow performance and therefore, supplements should be evaluated on both their energy and protein contributions to the nutrition program. 

When evaluating potential feedstuffs as supplements consider both the cost per unit of energy (TDN, net energy maintenance or metabolizable energy) and crude protein basis.