Before feeding a cow supplements to make up for drought related shortages of forage, producers need to evaluate whether they can afford to meet her nutrient requirements, say Texas A&M University Extension Specialists Bruce Carpenter and Charles R. Hart. Once that determination is made, they offer some tips for drought feeding.
- Sort and feed livestock by age, production status and body condition.
- If stocking rate needs to be reduced, begin by culling the open cows. For further reductions, move to culling lactating females in poor body condition that probably will not re-breed.
- Use forward contracting or bulk storage to hold down the cost of purchased feed. Late summer typically provides the lowest prices for feedstuffs.
- Reduce feeding frequency. Supplements high in natural protein may be fed as infrequently as twice, or, depending on level of protein deficiency, even once per week.
- Use a good one-to-one calcium to phosphorus mineral. Inject or feed vitamin A if it has been more than three to four months animals had green forage.