Rations for backgrounding calves

122 views

Source: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives

Beef calves are backgrounded to grow out and prepare for high energy feedlot rations or for grassing programs the following spring. Cattle type and desired rates of gain will determine the feeding program. A profitable backgrounding program will maximize use of cost effective feeds such as high quality forages.

The following rations are intended as guidelines only. As forages are utilized to a large extent in backgrounding rations, an accurate forage analysis is essential. Once your forages are analyzed, have your rations balanced by a qualified nutritionist. The following numbers do not allow for wastage. Forage wastage can be as high as 25-30% in some circumstances.

Medium Frame Calves

Medium Frame (1.5 lbs ADG, 450-550 lbs)
Alfalfa Grass Barley Silage Corn Silage
9 lbs alfalfa grass 36.5 lbs barley silage 27 lbs corn silage
4.5 lbs barley 1 oz 2:1 mineral 7 lbs alfalfa grass hay
1 oz 1:1 mineral 1 oz salt 1 oz 2:1 mineral
1 oz salt 1 oz salt
Medium Frame (1.5 lbs ADG, 550-600 lbs)
Alfalfa Grass Barley Silage Corn Silage
10 lbs alfalfa grass 42 lbs barley silage 25 lbs corn silage
5.5 lbs barley 1 oz 2:1 mineral 10 lbs alfalfa grass hay
1 oz 1:1 mineral 1 oz salt 1 oz 2:1 mineral
1 oz salt 1 oz salt
Medium Frame (1.5 lb ADG, 650-750 lbs)
Alfalfa Grass Barley Silage Corn Silage
12.5 lbs alfalfa grass 37 lbs barley silage 25 lbs corn silage
5 lbs barley 3 lbs barley grain 8 lbs alfalfa grass
2 oz 1:1 mineral 2 oz 2:1 mineral 2.5 lbs barley grain
1 oz salt 1 oz salt .5 lbs canola meal
2 oz 2:1 mineral
1 oz salt

Large Frame Calves

Large Frame (2.0 lbs/day, 550-650 lbs)
Alfalfa-Grass Barley Silage Corn Silage
9.5 lbs alfalfa grass 32.5 lbs barley silage 23 lbs corn silage
7 lbs barley 4 lbs barley grain 5 lbs alfalfa grass
1 oz 1:1 mineral 1 oz 2:1 mineral 5 lbs barley grain
1 oz salt 1 oz salt 1 oz 2:1 mineral
1 oz salt
Large Frame (2.0 lbs/day, 650-700 lbs)
Alfalfa Barley Silage Corn Silage
11 lbs alfalfa 32.5 lbs barley silage 23 lbs corn silage
8 lbs barley 5.5 lbs barley grain 5 lbs alfalfa grass
2 oz 1:1 mineral 2 oz 2:1 mineral 6.5 lbs barley grain
1 oz salt 1 oz salt 2 oz 2:1 mineral
1 oz salt

** 1 oz = 28 g = 0.06 lbs **

Type of Mineral Mix to Feed

  • 1:1 alfalfa-grass, alfalfa, pasture grasses
  • 2:1 greenfeeds, cereal silage, corn silage, native hay, straw/grain rations

Suggested Trace Mineral Levels in Mineral Mix

  • Selenium (Se) 30 mg/kg
  • Copper (Cu) 2500 mg/kg
  • Manganese (Mn) 8000 mg/kg
  • Zinc (Zn) 8000 mg/kg
  • Cobalt iodized or trace mineralized salt should be fed

Vitamins

Backgrounding calves require 20,000-25,000 IU Vitamin A/day. This is best provided by the addition of a vitamin A premix to the feed. Vitamin A injections are available but potential damage to the carcass is a concern.

For example, if you are feeding a vitamin premix with 1,500,000 IU Vitamin A/kg, 15 g premix/day would provide 22,500 IU Vitamin A/day.

Prepared by:
Karen Dupchak
Farm Production Extension, Animal Nutritionist
Livestock Knowledge Centre Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here