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  • Stutt Trading

Preparing For The Winter Months



The signs that winter is approaching is all around, the days are getting shorter, the nights longer and the temperatures are dropping. Everyone sees this but we as farmers understand what this could mean for the general well being of our livestock and our crops.


As temperatures decrease, livestock nutritional requirements increase. It can have a domino effect on performance if livestock is short on nutrition during cold stress. Cold stress occurs when livestock require more energy to sustain basic bodily functions at a specific temperature, called the lower critical temperature.Nutritional deficiency resulting from cold stress can lead to cows producing lighter and weaker calves. Low-quality colostrum and later return to estrus in the breeding season can also result, compromising conception rates and weaning weights.


Losses and expense can be reduced dramatically by ensuring that you have a efficient winter feeding strategy in place. The veld's nutritional value decreases drastically in autumn when grass begins to produce seeds so it is important to maximise fiber digestion for your animals and to provide for the micro and macro mineral needs of your animals that are lacking in the natural winter veld. 


As the main feed component for cattle and sheep is roughage, supplementing feed with winter licks is a very efficient option to include in your feeding strategy.


Licks are used only to supplement the most limiting nutrients. It is, thus, important to keep the animals on the pasture and not substitute it with licks. As these supplements aim to improve digestion of dry natural grass and may lead to a higher intake of grazing and supplementation of the animal's energy needs.


The goal of any lick supplement is to supply those nutrients that cannot be supplied by the natural grazing to fulfill the animals requirements. It is however very important to understand that a lick is not a feed and that is can under no circumstances be used to replace roughage. If there is no roughage available, licks – especially licks containing urea – cannot be fed to animals.


The following nutrients should be standard in all winter licks,

  • Sodium

  • Chlorine

  • Calcium

  • Phosphorus.

 

We at Stutt Trading are here for you. You are welcome to contact us for advice on pasture and crop selection as well as feed supplements.

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