Clear Selection
Clear Selection
Animal Performance
Antibiotic Free Production
Broiler Carcass Quality
Digital Dermatitis
Gut Health
Heat Stress
Transition Cow Management
Zinpro Value
Water Quality
This website uses cookies to provide necessary site functionality and to improve your online experience. By using this site, you agree to the Privacy Policy.
< Return to Articles
2 minute read

Four Winter Beef Cow Nutrition Strategies

Dr. Jason Russell

Beef Nutritionist
Zinpro Corporation

Winter is typically the most costly season in terms of feed expenses. The following winter beef cow nutrition strategies can help maximize your beef cow feed efficiency and ensure cows are at a healthy weight and body condition before the breeding season.

Conduct Pregnancy Checks graphic

Feed is the No. 1 cost for a cow-calf herd. So, it’s vital to identify open females beforehand to help save money on your winter feeding bill.

Up to 70 percent of total pregnancy loss occurs in the first 45 days after breeding. By conducting pregnancy checks at least 45 days after the breeding season concludes, beef producers can help account for early pregnancy loss. This also provides a clearer picture of which cows are open and may need to be culled going into winter feeding season, which helps save on winter feeding costs.

Evaluate Body Condition Scores graphic

Evaluate body condition scores following weaning to determine how much weight gain is needed throughout the winter-feeding season to get cows ready for spring calving, and balance nutrition accordingly. There is an increased energy requirement during cold winter weather, so feeding the appropriate levels of protein and energy is important.

Beef cows are evaluated for body condition on a nine-point scale. The acceptable body condition score range is five to seven, with six being the ideal score.

Test Feedstuffs graphic

Test stored forages to determine the macro mineral, protein, energy content and overall quality. Make sure these forages are meeting the cows’ nutritional requirements, and consider supplementing additional energy, protein and trace minerals through the winter.

Supplement Performance Trace Minerals graphic

Stored and stockpiled forages are more mature than lush forages and, therefore, are going to have less trace mineral availability and a lower overall nutritional value. It is important to supplement your beef cattle nutrition program with performance trace minerals and vitamins during winter.

Supplementing trace minerals is easier in winter since cows are often closer to the home farm at that time. Research has shown that feeding performance trace minerals during the third trimester results in increased weaning weight, as well as reduced incidence of Bovine Respiratory Disease in the offspring.

In addition to these four winter beef cattle nutrition strategies, beef cattle producers should consider their feeding practices and look for opportunities to reduce forage waste. Winter preparation should also include checking water sources to ensure beef cows have ample access to water.

To learn more about including Zinpro Performance Minerals® as a part of your winter beef cattle nutrition program, contact a Zinpro representative today.

Performance Trace Minerals Improve Bull Hoof Integrity and Beef Cattle Reproduction

Bulls may only account for 5% of your beef herd, but they account for 50% of the breeding equation and need special attention during the offseason. Discover how supplementing performance trace minerals can reduce cattle hoof problems and improve beef cattle reproduction.

Read more >
Dehydration Causes and Symptoms on Your Livestock Operation

Water accounts for 98 percent of all molecules in the body and between 50 and 81 percent of an animal’s total body weight at maturity. When an animal becomes dehydrated, it can create costly production challenges on your livestock or poultry operation.

Read more >
Performance Trace Mineral Supplementation Improves Calf Weaning

Many beef cattle producers consider performance trace minerals to be a breeding mineral, but year-round supplementation is crucial for optimal performance throughout an animal’s life. Learn how feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals® prior to weaning improves feed intake and kickstarts feedlot performance.

Read more >