The Benefits of Feed Additives for Beef Cattle
Would you like to improve rate of gain, feed efficiency or prevent certain diseases in your beef cattle? Southern States offers a variety of products that can help you address these issues. There are a number of ways to supplement the diet of your beef herd including protein supplements, medicated feed additives and minerals. Feed supplements can be used in cattle finishing, cow-calf and stocker grazing operations. If you properly utilize these supplements, you can greatly improve the profitability of your beef cattle operation.
Beef producers' feeding programs rely heavily upon forages. However forage must often be supplemented with protein to meet the nutritional needs of cattle. This additional protein can be delivered economically through blocks, tubs or in liquid form. According to Harry Walker, Southern States Feed Sales and Technical Representative, "Most hay fed to beef cattle is low in protein; therefore supplementing protein helps digestibility and utilization of the hay." Prior to adding protein to your herd's diet, we recommend forage testing to determine if supplementation is needed and if so, how much. If you have questions about forage testing, your local Southern States store can point you in the right direction.
Medicated Feed Additives
Medicated feed additives (MFAs) can be instrumental in helping you maintain a healthy herd. MFAs contain drug ingredients intended to promote growth, improve feed efficiency and/or to cure, mitigate, prevent, or treat diseases. Some commonly used medicated feed additives include Rumensin®, Bovatec® and Chlortetracycline (CTC). Rumensin (used in Cattle Ru-Min 1200 Medicated) and Bovatec (used in Bov-A-Min Extra Mineral Medicated) are both designed to improve feed efficiency by 5-7%. Weight gain can also be attributed to these two MFAs.
CTC, which can be found in Cattleman's Pride Graze-N-Gain CTC Mineral, aids in the reduction of bacterial enteritis; prevention of liver abscesses in feedlot cattle; control of bacterial pneumonia, shipping fever and anaplasmosis; and significantly reduces pinkeye and foot rot according to university tests. Southern States customer Lawrence Bernard of Milton, North Carolina, has been using CTC in his herd of 125 Angus and Angus Cross Broodcows at Bernard Farm for the past two decades. "I've been using CTC to reduce pink eye, hoof rot, fescue foot," notes Bernard. "Since using CTC, I've noticed there are no scours in the calves and the conception rate of my brood cows is higher."
As MFAs are controlled by the Food and Drug Administration, you are responsible for ensuring they are used properly. Therefore you must: use the feed additive for its intended purpose, follow the feeding guidelines and any warning statement(s) on the label, and observe any withdrawal time when necessary.
Although minerals make up a small amount of dry matter your beef cattle consume on a daily basis, they can have a huge impact on how well your herd performs. Proper mineral supplementation provides a number of benefits including: improved conception rates, increased weaning rates, increased profitability, improved nutrition and better immune system response. Southern States offers a variety of mineral options to meet your specific needs.
Specifically, your herd may need magnesium or trace mineral supplementation. Magnesium (available through Cattleman's Select Weathershed® Mag-O-Min Cattle Mineral) can help combat potential grass tetany issues as spring grass often comes in with high potassium and low magnesium levels. Trace minerals such as copper, zinc, cobalt, and manganese (available via Cattleman's Pride Weathershed Beef Breeder with Availa-4) can improve cattle health in a number of areas including reproduction.
Other Feed Additives
There are also supplements and minerals available that can help you address specific problems such as pest control. Feed-through supplements can help rid your facility of manure laying pests such as horn flies. Cattleman's Pride Weathershed Beef Breeder Mineral with Altosid® works by passing the product through the cattle's manure, thus halting the fly life cycle.
Picking Feed Supplements
Interested in supplementing your herd's diet? Southern States understand that your cattle operation is unique. Contact your Southern States feed representative or local dealer to see which of our beef nutrition program's tailored solutions will work for your operation