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Alfalfa as supplement

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Faster horses
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby Faster horses » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:47 am

Brad, when you posted this: "I didn't realize tubs did a poor job of delivering mineral - I thought mineral delivery was the lone redemption for mineral tubs, but I'm quite certain FH knows the score in that area", did you mean lick tubs and not mineral tubs?

The problem with lick tubs is that the mineral they say is in them, does not stay disbursted evenly; mineral tends to stay or gather in spots throughout the tub. The tubs we sell we encourage putting free-choice mineral out with them. The cows will tell you if they need the mineral. They don't consume as much mineral with tubs, we have found. FWIW

(Thanks for the kind words.) My intention here is to help if I can. I am blessed that my Area Sales Manager believes in 'cowboy math'....which in my instance means using the KISS System: "keep it simple, stupid." :D 24 years we have been a team and it's amazing what I didn't know going into being a mineral dealer. I've loved it and what I have learned; plus seeing how our own cattle and customers cattle benefitted from what we learned. It's fun helping people and I don't think for one minute that I know it all. I know a little so I can help a little. :D
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby Brad S » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:02 pm

Yeah, I was meaning lick tubs that also deliver mineral. Protein delivered through a tub is cost prohibitive, and then I learn they don't do a good job of delivering mineral.

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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby PPRM » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:07 pm

Brad S wrote:Yeah, I was meaning lick tubs that also deliver mineral. Protein delivered through a tub is cost prohibitive, and then I learn they don't do a good job of delivering mineral.



I feel there's a few times it makes sense to put out tubs. But very few. It generally is something I do for a very short season when I can't get to the cattle very regularly (Like once every 3 weeks). Tubs are cheaper than lost condition on a cow that is using a calf and you are trying to get her to breed back or rain a fetus.
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby Faster horses » Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:32 am

PPRM wrote:
Brad S wrote:Yeah, I was meaning lick tubs that also deliver mineral. Protein delivered through a tub is cost prohibitive, and then I learn they don't do a good job of delivering mineral.



I feel there's a few times it makes sense to put out tubs. But very few. It generally is something I do for a very short season when I can't get to the cattle very regularly (Like once every 3 weeks). Tubs are cheaper than lost condition on a cow that is using a calf and you are trying to get her to breed back or rain a fetus.


I agree on a short window to time to use lick tubs- and remember that lick tubs are mainly for protein. In our country, I don't understand why people use lick tubs when our grass is 18-20% protein. (We have grass samples taken in June that show that-so it's not a guess). What they need at that point is dry matter. The spring grass has everything in it that cattle need EXCEPT DRY MATTER. Lots of moisture in the spring grass usually. I have an old article written by Dennis Price (I think it was him) when he wrote the nutrition column for Beef Magazine. He talked about some cows in Australia that the owners were having problems getting them to breed back. He went down there and what he found was too much protein at breeding time raised the PH in the uterus which caused the eggs to not attach to the uterine wall. They would cycle, but not breed. They were on cereal grain forage, high in protein...maybe even 20%. They took the cows off those pastures and went to something of lower protein and that solved the problem. That article had interested me since I first read it. So it is hard for me to understand the reason for adding protein in the spring (in areas with high protein in the grass) when it might come back and bite you...plus the expense of doing so.

I think sometimes.....lick tubs are used to make US feel better. :D
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby TexasBred » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:50 am

Brad S wrote:FH is absolutely correct that 10% total ration protein is adequate for dry cows in good flesh. Seems like we're always chasing flesh so I use a 12% target on dry cows.

I didn't realize tubs did a poor job of delivering mineral - I thought mineral delivery was the lone redemption for mineral tubs, but I'm quite certain FH knows the score in that area.

When FH says "don't know how to score corn silage," that's just one of those feed ingredients that's so variable it simply must be tested for feed value.

< $1 calves are coming, and this thread is valuable.

They do if it's actually a mineral tub and not a protein tub. The protein tub will have minerals but with the low consumption on the better cooked tubs the amount of mineral received is minimal. Keep out a good loose mineral preferably with chelated minerals. And don't forget energy. Cattle with a negative energy balance lose weight, and have decreased milk production.
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby George » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:40 pm

I think protein tubs will allow you to get by on lesser quality hay - - - but you would probably be money ahead to just step up and buy some better hay.
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby Faster horses » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:35 pm

George wrote:I think protein tubs will allow you to get by on lesser quality hay - - - but you would probably be money ahead to just step up and buy some better hay.


Goes back to what I have said for years. TEST YOUR HAY. Best money you can spend. Amazing what it will tell you.

Feed stores have made a living over-selling protein since forever.
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby leanin' H » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:51 pm

AMEN Faster Horses and George!!! :clap:
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby Brad S » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:31 am

FH, down in wheat pasture country (ks, & ok) they've found the same lower conception rates when breeding on a diet of primarily wheat pasture.

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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby Faster horses » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:40 am

Brad S wrote:FH, down in wheat pasture country (ks, & ok) they've found the same lower conception rates when breeding on a diet of primarily wheat pasture.


That would be a 'cereal grain' type of forage, so based on the article I have, that is understandable. Be interesting to know how much protein is in that wheat pasture when they are breeding on it.
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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby quarterstrap » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:47 am

Great points. I never have fed hay that wasn't tested. Not because I liked the bill of testing feed, but because I have always been too poor to waste protein. It has already been said, but if you know your cattle's requirements you can mix different forages to balance your ration. Another thing I learned years ago is that when I was feeding several types of hay, say alfalfa, cane, oat hay & grass so that the ration was balanced, the cattle would eat salt but leave the mineral alone. If I got messed up due to poor planning and had to feed one or two types of feed for a week or so the mineral would disappear. My understanding of overfeeding protein is that extra protein has to be converted to energy at a net loss. That might be why the old timers said you could starve a cow to death on straight alfalfa. I have never seen that but I think I understand the principal. To Faster Horses original point...As easy as it is to feed good alfalfa I can't understand why a cake and range guy wouldn't buy tested alfalfa and feed 10-15#/dy instead of 1.5# of cake. The protein requirement got met way cheaper than buying cake and they got half-fed extending winter range. Old habits I guess. Good reading.

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Re: Alfalfa as supplement

Postby Faster horses » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:07 pm

The first rule of feeding free-choice mineral: Quality and Quantity of forage dictates mineral consumption. This is good to remember.
The cows will tell you how good the feed is and if there is enough of it. Honest, they will. :D

As to the cake/range guy, sometimes it is a matter of getting the alfalfa out to them if they are quite a ways from the headquarters.
Much easier to get there with a cake feeder than a tractor with hay. Anyway, that's what I have been told. :D

Good post, quarterstrap!
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