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How Much Grain to Feed a Cow Per Day: How it Affects Your Cattle

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

Whether you're new to cow-raising or have some expertise, you'll benefit from learning more about cattle feed and the variables to consider when determining how much grain to feed a cow.

What your cows consume is determined by several variables, including changes in air temperature and the age and physical condition of the cows. If you're thinking about getting into grain feeding, there are a few things you should know.

Introducing Grain Into Cattle's Diet

In addition to grazing, grain may be given as a drought ration or as part of a feeding program. Regardless of your situation, pay careful attention to this stage in feeding to prevent any undesirable consequences.

Suppose you're just getting started with quality grain feeding. In that case, you'll want to introduce it into your cow's diet carefully and in small amounts to enable their digestive tract to adjust and get acclimated to the new meal gradually. On the other hand, if your cow's digestive tract is not used to grain and exposed to excessive quantities of it, health issues such as grain sickness may develop.

Grain overload, lactic acid poisoning, and acidosis are symptoms of this health condition, which may be fatal. Make sure the animal only receives modest quantities of grain initially to prevent health issues that may be deadly to the animal. Increase the amount in small increments.

If feasible, you should feed your cattle individually if you have more than one cow and are concerned about feeding them unequally. Separate polled cattle from horned cattle and move shy-feeders away from the rest of the herd. You will minimize the likelihood of overfeeding as a result of this. Some cows may easily consume grain when fed in groups, while others will turn their noses up at it.

How To Avoid Grain Sickness

Grain may cause various digestive issues, even when consumed in modest amounts. Exercise caution to lessen the probability of such unpleasant occurrences.

To aid digestion, you may want to increase the number of fibrous grains fed to the cows, such as oats. Grains such as wheat are low in fiber, which may make digestion more challenging for the cow.

To aid the cows in digesting grain, you may supplement the initial period with substances that balance the acidity. Buffers like sodium bentonite and sodium bicarbonate are the most common. You may remove them after about four weeks of grain feeding.

When grain constitutes the majority of your cattle's daily diet, as with lot feeding or drought feeding, adding 1% ground agricultural limestone for its calcium content is suggested. If your herd contains young or nursing cattle, you may want to supplement with 1% sodium chloride to make up for any sodium shortage.

Numerous variables influence a cow's daily consumption. The main determinants are cow weight, feed quality, and production stage (gestating or lactating). When fed the same feed, cows weighing 1,300 pounds eat more per day than lower weight cows weighing 1,100 pounds. Additionally, lactating cows eat more than non-lactating cows.

As forage quality improves, as measured by the TDN content of the forage, the quantity of forage that the cow can eat rises as well. As grain quality improves, there is more significant proportion of leaf to stem. When the quality of the grain is poor, there is more stem, and therefore more cell wall components that are difficult to digest - the forage does not move quickly through the stomach.

Wheat straw is an excellent example of how forage quality affects the quantity a cow can consume daily. Wheat straw is deficient in protein and energy, with just 4% crude protein and 40% TDN. When cows have complete access to wheat straw, they stop eating it not because they dislike it but because they can no longer push it into their rumen. Straw has poor digestibility, requiring more time in the rumen to digest and pass through before more can be eaten. Daily consumption may range between 1.6 and 1.8 percent of her body weight on a dry matter basis. By contrast, corn silage is usually about 70% TDN, and nursing beef cows may readily eat 2.5 to 2.7 percent of their body weight in this diet on a dry matter basis.

Grow Your Cattle And Your Profit!

When it comes to creating the optimum diet for your cattle, there are many variables to consider. The best way to process grain is by utilizing a roller mill to assist you in maintaining a favorable balance. You may purchase whole grains that are less costly and more stable and grind them yourself to make them more digestible and less likely to create issues.

Automatic Equipment Manufacturing has almost a century of expertise assisting farmers in growing their livestock effectively. Whether you have a large feedlot in need of a high-capacity mill or a small herd of a few hundred cows, our mills can help you increase your operation's productivity and profitability.

Visit Our Website to learn more about how Automatic Equipment Manufacturing can help you grow!

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