Dehydrated alfalfa pellets and soybean meal/grain sorghum in step-up winter supplementation programs for spring-calving beef cows



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Kansas State University. Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service


The performance response to a stepwise increase in the level of supplement fed to cows across the winter supplementation period was studied by feeding 112 Hereford × Angus cows the following treatments: dehydrated alfalfa pellets (DEHY) or soybean meal/grain sorghum (SS), each either level-fed (constant daily amount from December 1 to calving) or fed in a step-up program (low level from December 1 to 30; moderate level from December 31 to January 29; high level from January 30 to calving; avg = amount fed with level-feeding). Cow weight and condition changes and calf performance were favored by the step-up supplementation program when SS was fed. When DEHY was fed, cow weight and condition changes favored level-feeding. Weight and condition changes generally favored the DEHY group over the SS group. No effects were found for the reproductive characteristics measured. These results indicate that potential benefits of step-up winter supplementation programs depend on the type of supplement being fed. All of the supplementation programs appeared adequate to support desirable levels of reproductive performance.



Beef, Beef cows, Protein supplement, Dehydrated alfalfa pellets, Winter range