With the fall of the year upon us, I know I am ready for some cooler weather. Cattle perform at a much higher level when the weather cools down and they feel more like grazing and eating than standing in the shade or ponds.
I hope you have made adequate plans for your winter feeding program and you have enough hay to meet the normal demands of a winter feeding program. With higher feed and other input costs, it has been refreshing to have higher cattle prices to help offset some of these costs. While the margin for profit remains slim, it’s good to know the possibility does exist with proper planning and management.
I want to take this opportunity to update you on the performance of our stocker feed program several producers have utilized. I realize other producers will soon be weaning calves for November and December delivery and I am confident these producers will find the performance of this feeding program to give them reasons to consider this feed as a viable alternative to other feeding programs like soyhulls and gluten.
A successful stocker operator understands a combination of healthy calves, a good nutrition program and a solid marketing plan adds to their profitability. While controlling sickness is extremely important in stocker operation, a good nutrition program will go a long way in improving the overall health of your calves while adding pounds of beef for market time. We are very confident the AFC Stocker Calf Feeding Program will help you reach all your goals at the most economical cost.
AFC Stocker Feed Program is the same feeding program implemented and utilized by CPC Cattle Company in Fountain Run, KY. Through the backgrounding of over 100,000 calves a year, CPC Cattle Company developed a program that clearly out performs commodity by-product feeding programs. The most popular feed in this program is CPC 13% Grower R feed containing Rumensin®. This feed combines several ingredients to make a palatable feed cattle will readily consume. It is a bulky, textured feed that can be fed without hay after the first month on the feed.
It also contains a complete mineral and vitamin package cattle need on a daily basis. The fact cattle get these important minerals and vitamins daily has a direct impact on improved immunity and the ability to overcome sickness. In a commodity-based program where the producer furnishes free-choice minerals, calves will not consume them daily leaving them susceptible to disease and sickness. The Rumensin® in the feed helps improve feed efficiency, reduces cost and helps prevent coccidiosis in cattle. We have several producers in Alabama who continue to be surprised by how fast the cattle get on the feed and how quickly they get up to full feed. The faster you get cattle eating, the less sickness and more growth and performance you will see from your cattle. This feed is very consistent and available on a consistent basis while products like soyhulls and gluten can be inconsistent and hard to come by during certain times of the year.
Other benefits of a complete feed come from the nutrient breakdown of the feed. A complete feed takes into consideration the nutrient requirements, not only for crude protein but for degradable and by-pass protein, while also being formulated to meet the calf’s requirement for fats and carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. A feeding program of soyhulls and/or corn gluten alone cannot meet their total nutritional needs.
While this sounds great—as the saying goes, "the proof is in the pudding"—let’s look at some of the performance data coming from producers’ operations in Alabama from this past June, July and August. (I am sure you realize how hot it is during these months, making the results of this program more impressive.) We have data collected from producers who have had over 3,000 head of cattle on CPC Grower 13% R this summer. The cattle on average have gained 3.1 pounds per-head per-day on a feed intake average of 17 pounds of feed. This converts to close to 6 pounds of feed per pound-of-gain for a cost on these calves of less than .65 cents a pound-of-gain.
The producers who used the feed all utilized a soyhull or soyhull gluten-based diet in past years. They all indicated how much quicker the calves went on feed, how much more time was spent feeding and not under the shade tree with improvement in overall health and no issues of bloat.
The cattle on this program showed more muscle definition and more frame with less fat and less belly than the cattle fed soyhulls in years past. We were also able to get numbers from these producers as well as other producers who fed soyhulls last year or decided to feed them again this year. These calves converted at a 10 pounds-of-feed to 1 pound-of-gain for an overall cost of close to .90 cents per pound-of-gain. The cattle on soyhulls had larger incidence of bloat and sickness, higher death loss, showed less frame and a higher overall percentage of fat. The cattle were slower to start on feed and had a higher medicine cost than those calves on the AFC Stocker Calf Feeding Program.
CPC GROWER 13% R
calcium iodate, thiamine, mononitrate, manganese sulfate, copper chloride, ethylenediamine, dihydroiodide, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, cobalt carbonate, zinc sulfate, sodium selenite, ethoxyquin and BHT (preservatives)
Crude Protein (min) 13.0% (This includes not more than 0.7% equivalent crude protein from non-protein nitrogen.)
CAUTION: Do not allow horses or other equines access to feed containing monensin - ingestion been fatal. Monensin-medicated cattle and goat feeds are safe for use in cattle and goats only. Consumption by unapproved species may result in toxic reactions. Do not exceed the levels of monensin recommended in the feeding directions, as reduced average daily gains may result. If feed refusals containing monensin are fed to other groups of cattle, the concentration of monensin in the refusals and amount of refusals fed should be taken into consideration to prevent monensin overdosing.
WARNING: A withdrawal time has not been established for pre-ruminating calves. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal.
Bulk Invoice Manufactured for: CPC Commodities LLC
We have talked to several producers who have indicated they do not plan on feeding a by-product-based diet ever again and several who utilized a by-product program this year stated they would be going with our program next year. This is the "proof in the pudding" we all like to see as we make decisions about our feeding programs.
I do realize soyhulls and corn gluten both have a place in the market and are very good ingredients when combined with other ingredients, minerals and vitamins to make a complete feed. I encourage you to try to find research data from universities proving soyhulls and gluten are a more economical and profitable way to feed cattle. We have large producers using our complete feed this year who have fed nothing but both ingredients in the past and are very pleased with the performance and cost of gain they are seeing. I encourage you, as a producer, to look hard into the decision-making process of selecting a feed. Do not make this decision without asking questions of producers and others who recommend certain feeding programs. Encourage those involved in research to conduct research trials providing performance data on how well complete feeds stack up against commodity feed ingredients. I am confident, when this is done, you will find a complete feed like CPC 13% Grower R will provide you the cheapest gains and will develop cattle that are more sought after by order buyers and feedlots alike.
Jimmy Hughes is AFC’s animal nutritionist. He looks forward to hearing from you or visiting with you in the future.