Crop byproducts can stretch hay supplies

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Apr 18, 2005
by WLJ
Livestock producers should consider using crop byproducts to stretch drought-affected pastures and hay supplies, said Greg Lardy, North Dakota State University Extension Service beef cattle specialist. Lactating beef cows have relatively high nutrient requirements, according to Lardy. Consequently, those cows need an adequate supply of nutrients, particularly protein and energy, to maintain their body condition.
Byproducts such as wheat middlings, soybean hulls, barley malt pellets, corn gluten feed and sugar beet pulp all contain highly digestible fiber that the ruminal microorganisms can use as a source of energy, he said.
Many counties in southwestern and south-central North Dakota face dry conditions this spring. In some cases, hay supplies are dwindling. The lack of rainfall has livestock producers concerned about forage availability for the upcoming grazing season. Their primary concerns are providing the proper nutrition for their cows and managing the grazing resource properly.
"In areas without enough hay or pasture, byproducts can be an economical alternative or substitute for a portion of the hay in the diet," Lardy said.
North Dakota processing plants produce thousands of tons of these products daily. Many of these byproducts are priced reasonably this spring, he said.
How much of each particular byproduct to feed to the cowherd depends on a number of factors, such as the amount and quality of hay or pasture available, the cows' nutrient requirements and the projected cost of the ration.
For more information on specific recommendations, producers should refer to NDSU Extension bulletins AS1175, AS1182 and AS1242 or contact their local Extension office. These bulletins are available on the NDSU Extension Web site at
A list of byproduct suppliers is available on the NDSU Web site at — WLJ

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