The effect of feeding supplemented vs. non-supplemented wheat midds as creep feed to calves from first calf heifers

 

V. L. Anderson

Carrington Research Extension Center

North Dakota State University

Introduction

Creep feeding is a practice endorsed by some and refuted by others. Creep feeding can add pounds at weaning, ease the transition from nursing to feedyard, and reduce stress on cows in late lactation. Calf prices and feed costs dictate if creep feeding can be profitable. Using home grown feed grains or grain processing co-products, such as wheat midds, is an alternative to purchasing a complete commercial creep feed. However, commercial creep feeds are carefully formulated with higher levels of protein, vitamins, minerals, and ingredients that enhance palatability. An alternative to a complete commercial feed would be to add a concentrated supplement (5 or 10%) to products such as wheat midds to improve animal performance. Wheat midds are available in increasing amount with the development of milling and value added processing in the Northern Plains wheat growing areas. At approximately 18% protein, pelleted wheat midds require no processing, and provide adequate fiber and starch amounts for young calves. Wheat midds are commonly used in large amounts in commercial creep feeds. This study was undertaken to compare wheat midds as a creep ration fed with and without an added supplement.

Materials and Methods

Thirty two Limousin x Red Angus and reciprocal cross first calf heifers and their calves were blocked by calf sire breed and allotted to four pens on August 2, 1996 in a 2x2 factorial experiment to evaluate alternative rations for first calf heifers and their creep fed calves. Sire breeds were Limousin and Red Angus, mated to the most unrelated crossbred heifers in a two breed rotation system. Creep ration treatments were 1) 100% wheat midds and 2) 90% wheat midds - 10% supplement. The supplement was a commercial feed developed to mix with home grown feed grains or co-product feeds to provide additional protein, vitamins, and minerals, and increased palatability. The supplement contained oilseed meals, distillers products, yeast culture, chelated minerals, vitamins and salt. The product selected for this trial was Magnum, from the Manna Pro Company.

Calves were fed creep feed daily to appetite in calf size bunks located inside a pole shed. Supplement was top dressed on the wheat midds in the feed bunk and mixed in by hand. Feed intake was recorded by pen daily. Feed intake, gains and feed per gain were calculated for each of the two 28 day weigh periods and for the entire 56 day trial.

Calves were weighed on August 2, at the start of the trial, on Aug 30 at the mid-point of the trial, and at weaning, the end of the trial, on Sept. 27. Cow weights and condition scores were also determined at the start and end of the study. Pre-trial cow and calf data is presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Descriptive data for cow/calf pairs on creep feed study.

----------Treatment---------

Supplemented

Control

St. Err.

Number of pairs

16

16

-

Calf birth date, Julian date

79

76

2.29

Calf birth wt, lb.

88.50

86.69

2.46

Calf sex, (2=female, 3=male)

2.29

2.56

.12

Post calving data, (3 May)

Cow weight, lb.

1054

1111

22.69

Calf weight, lb.

160.21

161.44

5.98

Cow condition score

4.93

5.00

.13

Results and Discussion

Calf performance is presented in Table 2. Calf gains in period 1 and over the entire trial showed a response to supplementing wheat midds with the "Magnum" product resulting in daily gains improved by .4 pounds or 16%. An additional gain of 22.4 pounds per head is calculated per head for the trial period. Feed intake increased numerically for the supplemented calves resulting in no difference in feed intake per unit gain. Added weight of calves at weaning can result in increased value and returns to management. Additional replications are needed to further evaluate the consistency of this response over differing management systems.

Mixing 5 or 10% of a pelleted supplement in other feedstuffs can be accomplished when filling a creep feeder if the weight of the feed and the amount of time it takes to unload is know. Appropriate preparations such as having bag open and accessible are required. A small amount of supplement can be place in the creep feed outlet to entice calves to consume creep feed as well.

While processing co-products such as barley malt pellets, dried corn gluten feed, soy hulls, or wheat midds contain significant amounts of fiber, protein, and carbohydrates, supplementing appears to produce a favorable response to intake resulting in added weight gains. Many of these co-products vary greatly in price on a seasonal basis. Spot market opportunities for feed purchases may be further enhanced by supplementation with concentrated commercial products such as "Magnum".

Cost of the supplemental product is a consideration. The amount to be added to creep feed to show a response has not been determined. It may be possible to achieve some response from added amounts of less than 10% as used in this trial. Further comparisons are needed to define the threshold of response.

Table 2. Calf performance from supplemented or non-supplemented wheat midds as creep feed.

----------Treatment---------

Supplemented

Control

St. Err.

Initial calf weight (2 Aug), lb.

352.5

349.06

11.29

Intermediate calf weight (30 Aug), lb.

438.36

417.88

14.64

Final calf weight, lb.

516.07

489.94

17.17

Period 1 (2-30 Aug)

Avg. daily gain, lb.

3.06*

2.49

.15

Feed intake. lb.

7.26

6.55

.45

Feed/gain

2.37

2.63

.21

Period 2 (30 Aug-27 Sep)

Avg. daily gain, lb.

2.77

2.57

.19

Feed intake. lb.

9.34

8.13

.68

Feed/gain

3.37

3.16

.16

Overall (2 Aug - 27 Sep)

Avg. daily gain, lb.

2.92*

2.52

.13

Feed intake. lb.

8.30

7.34

.61

Feed/gain

2.84

2.91

.15

* Treatment means are significantly different (P<.05)


1997 Beef and Bison Contents