With feed supplies running short on many cow-calf operations this year, Kansas State Extension beef specialist Dale Blasi says ranchers should consider feeding an ionophore to help stretch forage supplies.

Blasi notes that research has shown Rumensin (monensin sodium) and Bovatec (lasalocid) improve the feed utilization of growing cattle by altering rumen fermentation patterns, thereby, improving the metabolizable energy content of feeds. While both of these ionophores have been extensively used with great success in the feedlot industry for almost 40 years, Rumensin is the only one currently approved for mature, reproducing beef cows. Previous research has shown that Rumensin can reduce hay intake by approximately 5 to 10 percent.

More recent research conducted at Oklahoma State University with cows fed 200 mg per head per day resulted in an additional 0.5 pounds-per-day gain that resulted in an increase of nearly one-half a body-condition score over a 58-day feeding period. The estimated cost for including this feed additive into a mineral supplement is approximately 2 to 3 cents per cow per day.