This week’s bitter cold temperatures means cattle producers will be bumping up rations as animals need extra energy to stay warm.

Colby Elford is a Livestock and Feed Extension Specialist and says making sure that cow has the feed and nutrients she needs is key with the drop in temperature.

“They need more grain during that time and one of the good rules of thumb; for a mature beef cow they could use an extra pound of barley for every five-degree drop below-20.”

Producers need to balance the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diet at about 2:1.

Elford notes grain is higher in phosphorus, plus this year producers are feeding more green feed or salvage crops that may have got hailed which then are also typically higher in phosphorus.

He says if producers are feeding alternative feeds make sure you’ve done a feed test so you know what you’re feeding and can bump up nutrients as required.

He says it’s very important for animals in the final trimester and after calving.

“About 75% of the growth of that fetus occurs in the third trimester, so there’s a lot of energy and protein that is required for that. There’s generally speaking about a 15% energy requirement during that third trimester for the animal to meet all the needs of that fetus and the momma cow.”

He notes and with the extremely cold temperatures it’s important to get the newborn calves dried off and warm as quickly as possible to avoid hypothermia and frostbite.

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