Farm Table says:
This fact sheet talks about management strategies when producers are required to full hand feed cattle. At times of drought, adverse seasonal conditions or where limited grazing pastures are available, producers must make management decisions on their herd to ensure they have sufficient feed.
The items covered in this article were:
• What to be aware of when full hand feeding cattle
• How to manage stock
• Grain feeding
• Weaning management
• Calf feeding
• Types of feed and associated cost
Key points were as follows:
• Cattle should be fed in small areas to restrict non-essential energy burning.
• When purchasing feed from external sources, you should be aware of any new weeds that may grow in areas where feed was given.
• Ensure vaccination and drenching are up to date to minimise the spread of any parasites or diseases.
• In situations where full hand feeding is required, best stock management practice is important. Things to consider are the culling of any dry cows, withhold the joining of maiden heifers, wean and feed calves anytime from 2 months of age (see fact sheet for full table of feed requirements) and any calves under the age of 2 months should be left on the cow as long as possible.
• Be aware of grain poisoning when introducing cattle onto grain or grain mix feeds as it can be deadly if not managed correctly. Calcium deficiency can occur when grain feeding (to avoid feed finely ground limestone with the grain at the rate of 1.5 kg limestone per 100 kg grain. This will avoid the poor bone and teeth development that are the long-term effects of calcium deficiency.)
• When introducing any new feeds to any cattle, it’s important they are slowly introduced to the feed and are monitored to ensure no ill effect occurs.
• Feed costs can be calculated by using the feed cost calculator.