Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Zoom Workshop: Beef Cattle Nutrition

Jeremy Plesman of Valley Nutrition goes in depth on how to get the most out of your cattle feed for the healthiest animals. He explains how to grow healthy gut bacteria, use fibre to get the right rate of digestion, and balance protein and energy. See below for detailed chapter links and questions from Kootenay & Boundary cattle producers that Jeremy answered. 


  • CowBytes feed balancing calculator. This online calculator is being revamped due to licensing issues. Update Here.
  • Beef Cattle Research Council: Decision Making Tools for Beef Cattle (including Feeds Calculator, Tool for Evaluating Feed Test Results, Evaluating the Economic Value of Feeds Based on Nutrient Content, and many others).
  • Valley Nutrition (Jeremy Plesman’s company) 


Detailed chapter links for the recording (click on the time to go directly to the video):

00:00:00 KBFA Introduction
00:00:39 Round table introductions

00:14:15 Intro to webinar [Jeremy Plesman]
00:18:18 Each farm has unique forages and soils
00:19:16 Webinar outline
00:20:42 What is a healthy animal? (What’s your goal?)
00:23:47 Keys to Ruminant Nutrition (cellulose)
00:24:53 Byproducts as economical feed
00:25:46 Grain economics
00:27:08 Feed the bacteria (not the cow)
00:28:20 Balanced diet for efficiency
00:28:54 Dry matter vs weights
00:31:29 Energy (NFC, NSC, VFA, starch, sugar, soluble fibre)
00:33:24 NSC (Non-Structural Carbohydrate)
00:34:12 aNDF (digestible) & Lignin (indigestible)
00:35:16 Carbohydrates (starch, sugar, soluble fibre)
00:35:41 Net energy (maintenance vs gain)
00:38:41 Proteins (bypass, RUP, RDP, …)
00:41:48 Rumen, reticulum, & chewing cud
00:45:25 Omasum & abomasum
00:46:42 Digestion time (6 to 72 hours)
00:48:11 Rumen development (papilli)
00:50:03 Grain impacts on rumen
00:51:43 High straw diets with grain (slug feeding)
00:53:19 Rates of digestion and efficiency
00:55:36 Microbial protein transfer (RUP, RDP, Ammonia)
00:56:46 Microbial energy transfer (cellulose, glucose, VFA, …)

01:02:25 Q&A: Assess example analysis
01:04:25 Q&A: “Rumen mat” fibres slow down digestion of high protein feeds
01:06:02 Q&A: Urea benefits, risk of ammonia overloading “BUN”
01:08:56 Q&A: Excess urea impacts on health and meat
01:10:16 Q&A: Alfalfa & corn silage with straw to slow it down
01:12:21 Q&A: Ionophores — Rumensin, Bovatec, Deccox

01:18:36 Forage types, benefits of fermentation
01:20:54 Hay pros & cons
01:21:41 Silage pros & cons
01:23:03 Byproducts with nutritional benefits
01:23:32 Alfalfa hay analysis
01:24:41 Grass hay analysis
01:25:53 Alfalfa haylage/silage analysis
01:26:21 Grass haylage/silage analysis
01:27:19 Cereal silage analysis (vs. greenfeed)
01:27:59 Greenfeed problems
01:28:56 Corn silage analysis
01:29:39 Wheat grain analysis
01:30:09 Oat grain analysis
01:30:57 Barley grain analysis
01:32:10 Corn grain analysis
01:33:01 Conclusion & summary

01:33:54 Q&A: Minerals (phosphorous, calcium, …)
01:34:55 Q&A: Nutrition calculators (cowbytes)
01:35:37 Q&A: Adding powdered limestone
01:36:31 Q&A: Spent brewery grain quantity in diet
01:38:15 Q&A: Cutting alfalfa too early for beef (vs. dairy)
01:40:01 Q&A: Whole grain versus rolled grain digestibility
01:41:12 Q&A: Fodder (sprouted grains) to supplement low-protein hay
01:45:08 Q&A: BC cattle feed nutrition resources
01:46:06 Q&A: Old hay and moldy hay
01:47:15 Q&A: Silage bacteria inoculation for short fermentations (3 mo or less)
01:48:59 Q&A: Barley/wheat/oats vs corn (price, meat quality)

01:51:44 Upcoming KBFA events [Rachael Roussin]

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