Brad S wrote:FH, would you think the heat involved in cubing degrades vitamine quality if you are feeding vitamins and minerals in the cubes? Otherwise, cubes 3 times a week is a great delivery vehicle for minerals.
I've raised some 25% protein hay, but I've raised a lot of alfalfa that might show at the state fair that's a lot closer to 20% cp.
Also, when cows are pretty much on welfare getting most or all their feed from a haybale, I like some of the tame hay. Decent millet hay or Sudan hay might be in the low teen area and not need supplementation beyond mineral pack.
From what I have learned, it is an absolute that heat degrades vitamin/mineral quality. With that being said,
cattle that are on cake won't consume as much free-choice mineral. But that's ok, unless they haven't been
on a good mineral program prior to feeding cake. With lick tubs, unless the plant is very careful, adding a mineral pack--the mineral could stay in pockets, and not be dispersed throughout the tub. We suggest putting mineral out free-choice with the tubs. Again, they most likely won't eat as much of the loose mineral.
I think I have told this before....but an instance we ran into--a customer was feeding straight wheat hay and the cows started going down. The vet said it was milk fever--but these cows hadn't calved yet. I looked into and found it was 'winter tetany (symptoms are similar to milk fever and grass tetany). Anyway, we were able to help by changing mineral formulations. Wheat hay contains a lot of phos and the cows weren't eating their mineral because phos is a limiter. So they had a cal-phos inbalance. He went to a lower phos mineral that the cows would consume and that fixed the problem. Had he been feeding a mix of wheat hay and grass hay, the problem most likely would not have reared its ugly head.
To me, alfalfa is a protein supplement, not to be fed as a total feed. That can cause other problems--but it is a great supplement for protein. You get a lot out of alfalfa that is missing in other protein supplements.
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