Brooks (Rural Roots Canada) – Knowing what you are feeding your cattle is imperative in livestock production.

Blake Balog is a veterinarian and the owner of Bow Valley Livestock Health in Brooks, Alberta.

He says it is imperative cattle producers not only get their feed tested but do something with those results.

“It’s all too common that I have people that get feed tests and they don’t do anything with it, and they’re scrambling,” Balog said.

He says they don’t know what to do with it from there, at which point he says it is important to talk to your nutritionist or veterinarian.

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“There’s a lot of simple things you can do, figure out what forages you should be feeding to your replacement heifers vs. your cows vs. your second calvers vs. your bulls and what times of the year, what stage of pregnancy you should be feeding those.”

Balog says there is something to remember if you are purchasing feeds.

“Try to do that on a least-cost basis, figure out on a dollar per nutrient as to what that cost is.”

If you’re getting into distillers grain for crude protein to bump up protein availability on some stored grass that you are trying to graze, figure out what that cost is on a group protein basis and compare that to other feed supplements that might be available to you.”

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He says matching your herd with your forage is also important.

“Knowing what kind of forages you actually raise on your operation, are you buying them in? What’s really available? Are you using stored forages as well and what are those forages?  I think it is really important to have a feed test on them.”