Beef Tips

Tag: feed

Testing feedstuffs, another tool in the management toolbox

by Justin Waggoner, Beef Systems Specialist, Garden City

Many of the challenge’s cattle producers face are essentially about managing variability. Our management decisions/practices are often dictated by changes in weather, markets, genetics, animal performance and many other factors.  There are a variety of tools that have been created to help cattle producers manage different sources of variability and predict animal performance. Today we often think of complex tools like EPDs or genomic testing. However, simple tools such as body condition scoring and analytical testing of feeds are also tools that should be included in this list. Although it is often overlooked, the underlying reason we evaluate the chemical composition of feedstuffs is to gather data that can be used to more efficiently manage our feed resources and more accurately predict animal performance.

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Forage analysis: What Numbers Do I Need

By Justin Waggoner, Beef Systems Specialist

One the more common questions I receive with regard to analytical testing of forages and other feedstuffs is, “I have the sample, now what do I test for or what analysis package should I select?”

The basic components that nutritionists need to evaluate a feedstuff or develop a ration are dry matter or moisture, crude protein, an estimate of the energy content of the feedstuff — Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), Net Energy for Maintenance (NEm), Net Energy for gain (NEg), and the macro minerals, Calcium and Phosphorous. These are the most basic numbers that are required but including some additional analyses in the report can give us additional insight into the quality of the feedstuff or improve our ability to predict animal performance, which is the primary reason we analyze feedstuffs.

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Managing cold stress

by Justin W. Waggoner, beef systems specialist

As we all know there is no typical weather pattern in Kansas. We experienced a mild fall this year and thus far winter has been interesting with record high temperatures followed by cold and windy days. The downside is that we don’t know what might happen in the New Year, as we approach what are typically the coldest months of the year. Most cattle producers know and appreciate that cold weather increases nutrient requirements. However, the obvious questions that come to mind are “What is cold to cow?” and “What increases (energy, protein etc.) and by how much?”.

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Managing Feed Intake of Weaned Calves

weanedcalvesby Justin W. Waggoner, beef systems specialist


Weaning is just around the corner for many spring-calving operations. The process of weaning calves essentially has 3 primary components: 1) maternal separation 2) moving to a new environment with a new social structure and 3) becoming accustomed to new, unfamiliar feedstuffs. How we manage all of these sources of stress or components of the weaning process ultimately impacts calf health and performance. However, one of the most critical elements of a successful weaning program is getting calves to consume feed. The first step in managing feed intake of calves is getting them to the bunk.

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The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD): What producers need to know about antimicrobial use in feed


by A.J. Tarpoff, DVM, MS, Beef Extension Veterinarian


The use of antibiotics in feed for food producing animals has come under scrutiny over the past few years. The growing issues with bacteria developing resistance to medically important antibiotics in human medicine have been a major driver of these changes. The FDA has put the use of medically important antibiotics under the guidance of veterinarians. The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) is the way in which veterinarians will work with producers to ensure the judicious use of these antibiotics with FDA oversight. Many of the antimicrobial medications affected are currently sold over the counter, but will soon be under VFD status.

As of January 1, 2017, the new VFD rules will be in full effect. Medically important antibiotics will no longer be labelled or be used for growth promotion practices. Many currently over the counter antibiotics will be changed to VFD status. Use of these antimicrobials by producers must be authorized by their veterinarian in the form of a VFD.

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