AMARILLO, Texas — This past winter cattle producers experienced record high prices, on the spot market, for supplemental feed. But cattlemen can rest assured that a new website from Forty-Five Cattle will provide decision making tools for contracting feed this fall.
Lately, news of unstable commodity prices, wheat supply shortage, and the high demand for corn have all played havoc on cattle feed prices. And, soaring fuel prices only serve to compound the issue.
“Commodities and bi-product feeds have a place in the overall nutrition program for cattle producers, but large operations, common to ranches from Texas west, cannot shift to feeding cattle in bunks and troughs like small operations in the east can,” Dan E. Gary, ranch consultant and president of Forty-Five Cattle in Amarillo, Texas, explains.
FeedsandFeeding.com is designed to help cattlemen decide on which feed, bi-product or commodity is most nutritional and cost effective. Producers can check spot prices and compare cost from month-to-month.
“Spot prices have declined from 90 days ago,” Gary says, “because demand is slowing down. In the fall, prices will begin to rise again.”
Alternatives need to be considered. While range cubes and high protein cake have been a standard, some producers have turned to corn gluten feed. While, a viable alternative, the small pellet is difficult for cattle to pick off the ground, and at higher feed levels, elevated sulfate levels are prone to cause polio symptoms.
“In some areas, this winter, good quality alfalfa hay was approximately one third the price of a 32-percent protein cake,” Gary says. “If this trend continues, alfalfa could be used on alternate days with traditional feeds.”
The site also addresses feeding cost. Many producers feed three times a week, generating a cost of $.12 per head, per day. Feeding twice a week reduces cost to $.06 per head, per day. And, waiting until late morning when cattle are going to water, reduces it to $.03 per head, per day.
Feed evaluation and feeding cost calculators also come in handy. For example, the feed evaluation calculator allows producers to compare six feeds at one time. A full Data Transmission Program (DTN), job locator, and classified section are also available.
More information: http://www.feedsandfeeding.com.