Friday, May 6, 2016

Feeding Cattle Under Roof: What have we learned?

Over the past few years, new cattle buildings have been going up at an astonishing rate. Monoslope, gable roofed, and hoop structures are becoming more prevalent around the Iowa countryside, as the trend of feeding cattle under roof continues to grow.

As the cattle and feed markets continue to fluctuate and find new price points, producers yearn for the ability to grasp as much control of their cattle feeding operation as possible. Feeding cattle under roof gives producers some of that control.  The ability to control the effects of Mother Nature on a cattle operation can increase cattle comfort, manure composition, as well as the producer’s bottom line.
When cattle are fed outside on open dirt or grass lots, several factors can leech profitability from the farming operation, including decreased feed efficiency, health problems due to extreme weather conditions, and the loss of a vital farm resource; manure.

The benefits to feeding under roof are numerous, but one of the most impressive the increase in feed efficiency. How much is that efficiency worth? Jeff Pastoor, who works in Beef Business Development for Quality Liquid Feeds, says that the increase in efficiency literally pays off. “When we feed cattle under roof (in barns) we know we improve feed efficiency, and we know it improves enough to help pay for the building.”

Jeff Pastoor
Pastoor, who will present along with Scott Roskens at ICA's regional BeefMeets this summer, was quick to point out the other benefits of cattle barns, as well. “Inside the cattle barn, you’re able to keep the manure out of the rain, reducing run off. You’re also going to improve your manure quality and increase the amount of manure that can be used as fertilizer.”

Scott Roskens
During their BeefMeets presentations, Pastoor and Roskens will go into detail sharing how to manage cattle under roof in order to get the most from the investment.  They’ll cover pit additives and bedding requirements, as well as cattle health and animal welfare considerations. The experienced producer will pick up tips to maximize profits, while producers considering expanding can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of feeding under roof.

Feeding Cattle Under Roof will be presented at the Northwest Regional BeefMeet in Spencer on June 22 and the Northeast Regional BeefMeet in Independence on June 23. Register today to hear these educational sessions and more.

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