The first step in saving money and getting cows through winter in good shape is to know the value of your range and hay forage.

"A $22 forage analysis could pay you back on total feed cost if you know the protein and energy values of your feedstuffs," says John Paterson Extension beef cattle specialist for Montana State University.

By getting your forage analyzed you might be surprised to find that you don't need as much supplemental energy as you would have used. If you determine that your forage has some mineral deficiencies as well, get mineral supplements into the cows 60 days prior to calving to insure adequate nutrition and avoid any difficulties due to mineral deficiencies