By Seth Bredemeier, Livestock Production Specialist
To creep feed, or not to creep feed: that is the question.
Pastures are greening up, and cows are to grass (or will be shortly). Have you considered creeping those calves through the summer months, capitalizing on potential weight gains? Mother’s milk and fresh grass alone can create a gap, resulting in less-than-optimal gain in your calves from a TDN standpoint. As calves grow, their TDN value increases with nutritional demand. This is where creep feed can aid in bridging that nutritional gap by providing the necessary “supplementation” to meet the needs of the growing calf. As calves get bigger and mother’s milk decreases, green grass can only supply them with so much. It’s important to look at grass quality versus grass quantity. If quality and quantity of grass is less than desirable, the nutritional gap can be even bigger! Grass can be washy and doesn’t allow calves to consume enough dry matter to take off and excel. Research shows creep-fed calves have higher weaning weights and additionally carry the gain through to harvest. Creep feed is most effective when calves are young, so why not take advantage?
- Early start on feed, plus easier weaning and transition to the feedlot
- Higher weaning weight
- Higher ROI with better feed conversion
- Increased growth and development for seedstock producers
- Don’t leave an empty/non-working feeder in pasture.
- Don’t allow fines to accumulate.
- Clean wet feed from creep feeder trays after rain.
- Check feeder several times a week to evaluate flow and gate settings.
- Place near cattle loafing area.
- If intakes are too high, move feeder further away from loafing areas.
- Start calves on RL Creep 14% till calves are eating 1% body weight.
- Move to an Accuration Creep Program/Cob Grower Ration.