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A Carol for Cattle Producers

By: Stacey Spenst, PAg, Regional Forage Specialist, Kindersley

On the 1st day of winter feeding my Forage Specialist said to me, “Did you submit one feed test for each of your hay, grain, and stockpiled forages?”

On the 2nd day of winter feeding my farm supplier sold to me two electric fencers in order to set up temporary paddocks that only supply 3 days of corn grazing at a time to decrease the risk of acidosis/grain overloading.

On the 3rd day of winter feeding my Livestock Specialist gave to me three complete winter ration programs, one for the mature cows, one for the bred replacement heifers, and one for the older thin cows since the nutritional requirements of these groups are different.

On the 4th day of winter feeding I purchased four cone-style round bale feeders to aid in preventing hay waste and spoilage when feeding whole bales.

On the 5th day of winter feeding I made sure my five off site watering systems were winter ready and able to guarantee a fresh supply of water to my livestock, helping to prevent them from breaking through the dugout and creek ice.

On the 6th day of winter feeding the posts were placed for six temporary, small paddocks in order to efficiently swath graze my annual crop with maximum swath utilization and minimum waste.

On the 7th day of winter feeding there were seven loads of pellets delivered to the farm in order to supplement feeding poorer quality hay that was overly mature when cut, resulting in decreased protein and digestibility.

On the 8th day of winter feeding eight portable windbreaks were hauled to the pasture to provide shelter when using infield feeding systems. The portable windbreaks will be moved frequently to avoid manure build up and potential nutrient hot spots.

On the 9th day of winter feeding I ordered nine bags of salt and minerals as my rations required supplementation. Feed tests help to identify the amount and type of salt and mineral supplementation my animals will require.

On the 10th day of winter feeding I checked the 10 bales that were currently being bale grazed to ensure the cattle were cleaning them up sufficiently, and that they were spaced to allow for good manure and nutrient distribution.

On the 11th day of winter feeding my Forage Specialist gave to me a Forage Challenge Handbook to submit my 11 feed tests into the contest for a chance to win a prize! The deadline is January 27, 2017 for entry.

On the 12th day of winter feeding my Regional Forage and Livestock Specialists invited me to contact them or the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377, 12 months out of the year, to help answer any production related questions that I may have.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season!

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