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‘The perfect complement’

Dr. Kelly Sanders, Westway Feed Products Technical Sales Team 8/26/2019


Molasses-based liquid feed supplements provide added energy, protein, and other nutritional benefits for an effective complement to a cow’s forage-based diet.
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Cattlemen across the country understand that at times, cows need nutritional help to raise a strong, healthy calf. In many cases, grass only supplies 45-90 days worth of all the nutrients she needs each year. It’s important to remember that a cow doesn’t get a day off. She’s always lactating (raising a calf) or developing a calf in utero. Grass is always changing as well. Forage quality is typically getting better or worse; it’s never the same.

So how can cattlemen manage nutrition for their herd’s changing needs and changing grass quality? One of the easiest ways to deliver nutrition to cows is through a molasses-based liquid supplement. It’s the perfect complement to grass.

Molasses consists of a valuable energy source (sugar) and easily available protein in the form of non-protein nitrogen. Grass also contains sugars and protein that work very similar as the nutrients in molasses-based supplements. Both are able to supply energy and protein to cows. Since the sugar and protein are similar, they complement the bacteria in the rumen to increase the digestion of the grass a cow eats. The cows get more nutrition from the combination of grass and liquid supplement to raise and/or develop calves. Additionally, many liquid feed products can be formulated to offer added mineral and vitamin packages.

Molasses-based liquid feed supplements are also free choice, which allows more cows to consume what they need over a 24-hour period instead of feeding everything at one time. This provides several benefits to a cow. First, she is more efficient in utilizing the grass and the supplement she consumes. She gets much more nutrient value out of it to help her raise her calf because the bacteria in the rumen have necessary nutrients they consistently need. Cows generally will eat at a lick wheel feeder 2-3 times per day.

A cow usually ends up losing weight when we decide she needs supplement because we notice she has lost weight. In reality, the cow has needed supplement for about 30 days – we just didn’t notice it that soon. Grass quality can start losing its value in the middle of the summer when it gets hot and it matures. Protein is the first nutrient that becomes short in a cow’s diet. Keeping supplement out year-round is a good option for cattlemen to ensure the necessary nutrition a cow needs to take care of herself and her calf is provided.

Finally, liquid feeds such as Pro-Lix offer a convenient delivery system that requires limited labor and minimal waste. A cattleman can fill tanks, monitor his cow herd, and know there is little, if any, feed loss on the ground.

The combined economic advantages of increased forage digestibility, less waste, and convenience make liquid feed options a perfect complement to cows and grass!

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