Profit Tip: Save on Delivery Costs by Decreasing the Frequency of Protein Supplementation
With today's high fuel costs decreasing the frequency of protein supplement delivery can help reduce costs. Numerous research studies have demonstrated similar animal performance when cattle are fed protein supplements either daily or twice the daily amount every other day. Even longer intervals have been shown to be effective.
In a study done at Oregon State University, cows were maintained on a low quality hay diet during the last trimester of gestation and were supplemented with soybean meal. Cows received the following amounts of soy bean meal: either 1.6 lbs every day, 4.8 lbs every third day, or 9.6 lbs every sixth day. Cows in all three treatment groups gained the same amount of body condition during the 78 day trial (Bohnert et al., 2002; Journal of Animal Science 80:1629-1637).
Achieving similar performance with infrequent delivery of protein supplements is likely a result of the ruminant animal's ability to recycle nitrogen. Infrequent feeding of protein supplements is effective but this same strategy does not work with energy supplements.
Dr. Aaron Stalker
Former Assistant Professor, Beef Cattle Nutrition
University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center