Current Project

Feeding and metabolism trial to improve cattle performance

Executive Summary

This research project will provide comprehensive cow and progeny performance data on the practice of total confinement feeding of beef cows on a year-round basis as compared to traditional wintering of cows in dry lot followed by management on pasture from spring until late fall.  Total confinement feeding of beef cows is being examined due to escalating land prices where cow-calf production based on pasture and forage production cannot compete with the financial returns from cash crop production.

This project will also provide information on the impacts of prepartum protein supplementation in late gestation and determine the influence of utilizing commercially available rumen protected methionine to further improve the impacts of protein supplementation in late gestation

The project objectives are to evaluate growth performance (gains, feed intake, feed efficiency), changes in body condition score, reproductive performance, markers of protein turnover, progeny performance (heifer reproduction, steer feedlot performance), and fetal programming when late gestation cows are fed diets that meet 85 to 115% of crude protein requirements established by the NRC with (without) supplemental rumen protected methionine.  This will be examined using a systems approach that will compare year-round confinement feeding of cows to traditional wintering of cows in dry lot followed by management on pasture from spring until late fall.

Sub-objectives include:

Evaluating how meeting protein requirements with(without) supplemental rumen protected methionine affects:

  • Total tract digestibility, nitrogen balance, and glucose tolerance prepartum,           
  • Colostrum quality and calf immune status
  • Examining how housing regimen affects methane production in beef cows

Completion date: 2019


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