Kris Ringwall, beef specialist for North Dakota State University Extension Service, says that producers should be spending more time on meeting the nutrient requirements of their cow herd to optimize production.

There are four basic questions that you should think about when working with a nutritionist to develop your feeding program, according to Ringwall. “How much do the cows weigh and milk? How is the environment affecting the feeding requirements of the cattle? What stage of production are the cattle in? Lastly, what type of feed do you have available?”

Harsh winter conditions dictate that cows need adequate nutrition to make it through the calving season. “Now is not the time to misjudge cow nutrition,” Ringwall says. “Make sure you adjust the cow feeding for your environment, cow size, expected milk production and production stage.” Ringwall says that you also need a good feed analysis and you should be able to account for feed wastage in developing your optimum ration for cow maintenance.