Year ‘Round Supplementation Improves Pasture Utilization

It’s been a challenge raising registered Angus cattle through the last 13 years of drought on the Bradley 3 Ranch in the Texas Panhandle.

“We’ve changed a lot of management over the last five or six years to cope with the drought,” says James Henderson, one of the ranch’s three owners.

Much of these changes has been in managing pastures and forage on the ranch, explains Henderson. “What we do now is we typically take the cattle off of all of our native pastures during the growing season and use that as stacked forage in the winter.”

“We’re a fall calving herd, and so we’ll calve on those native pastures, and raise those calves. We have about 1,000 acres of Old World bluestem grass that’s been divided into some paddocks. We’ll move the cows into an intensive rotation grazing on that during the growing season, and we utilize the native pastures mostly as dormant forage in the winter and early spring.”

Henderson says there are about 400 cows that are run on the 12,000 acre ranch. “Bradley 3 Ranch sells about 200 Angus bulls per year. We also raise our own replacement females, so at any given time on the ranch, we’re probably going to have 800 to 900 head of cattle.”

Year ‘Round Supplementation

One of the big management changes has been the implementation of year around supplementation with Purina® Sup-R-Lix®. “The Sup-R-Lix program that we’re using on these cows really helps us a lot because we’re maintaining body condition on the cows all the time, rather than trying to regain body condition.”

Henderson says the cattle have access to Sup-R-Lix all year long. “We keep it out year ‘round. In times when forage is good they don’t hardly consume any at all. Other times when forage isn’t as good, they will eat more.”

“We’re getting a whole lot better utilization of our pastures with Sup-R-Lix than before and that’s allowed us to increase our stocking rates, even in drought,” explains Henderson.

Another advantage is that the ranch saves money in delivery costs by using Super-R-Lix. “Compared to a program of delivering cubes, the delivery cost of the Sup-R-Lix is about $35 a head less on an annual basis.”

Henderson’s cattle have been on the year around Sup-R-Lix program for three years. He worked with Purina Cattle Nutritionist Kelly Sanders and Purina Field Representative John Gardner to help implement the program.

“We’ve worked a lot with them, and they’ve spent a lot of time here at the ranch,” he says.

Henderson believes that Purina “is light years ahead in technology of any other feed company that I’ve talked to and they have a philosophy that fits really well with ours. They believe if they do the proper job of teaching, training, educating, and servicing, the product will sell itself, and we’ve always felt the same about our business.”

Purina also has helped with nutrition programs for bull development, according to Henderson. “We’re in the cattle genetics business, so obviously selling bulls is our paycheck. Purina has done a really nice job in helping us properly develop them.”

The ranch uses Purina’s Accuration®/Cattle Limiter, in combination with forage, “for developing and conditioning bulls for greatest reproductive success”, Henderson says.

Bradley 3 Ranch also uses Purina’s Wind and Rain™ All Season Minerals that have been specifically designed to include multiple nutritional formulations to meet cattle need regardless of forage quality.

“Everything that we’re using on the ranch is Purina,” says Henderson.

It’s difficult to know exactly when to provide supplements for your herd. You can’t always tell when forage quality has changed, but your cows know. And with Purina’s Intake Modifying Technology®, it just makes sense to be sure supplements are always available to you herd. They will consume a supplement only when they need it. Purina products with IM Technology will help you keep your cows in proper body condition for their life stage, get maximum value from your forage, increase the efficiency of your operation, and save you money on your overall feed bill in the process.

Contact your Purina dealer today to learn more about the benefits of year-around supplementation or for more information about Purina’s other cattle nutrition products and programs.

Source material for this blog article was provided by Purina Mils, Inc. © 2008

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