Optimum supplementation strategies for beef cattle consuming low-quality roughages in the western United States1
- T. DelCurto *,
- B. W. Hess†,
- J. E. Huston‡ and
- K. C. Olson§
- *Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, Union Station, Oregon State University, Union 97883
†Department of Animal Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie 82017-3684
‡Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, San Angelo 76901
§Department of Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences, Utah State University, Logan 84322-4815
Beef cattle production in the western United States is faced with many challenges unique to the region. Arid rangelands with limited forage production and seasonal and yearly extremes in forage quality create the need for dynamic and regionally specific supplementation programs. Moreover, some areas consist of cool-season forages and(or) high-elevation rangelands characterized by significant snow accumulation, which necessitates heavy reliance on harvested forage during the winter. The ability of the western cow-calf producers to compete in a growing world meat market may hinge in part on the ability to lower production costs via strategic use of harvested feeds during periods of low forage quality and availability. Winter management strategies, in turn, often blend optimum production with low-input sustainable economic strategies that can differ from those in other regions of North America. This article, like many others, focuses on traditional protein, energy, and physical form of protein issues. However, this article also includes discussions of general supplementation concepts (matching production expectations with the resources available), strategies for supplement delivery, supplementation of vitamins and minerals, comparisons of hand-fed vs self-fed supplements, and supplementation concepts within an economically sustainable framework that is regionally focused on the western United States. Supplementation strategies need to be optimized with dynamic western range environments and compatible with extensive beef production systems.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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