• Protein supplementation of stocker cattle in the Northern Great Plains

      Grings, E. E.; Adams, D. C.; Short, R. E. (Society for Range Management, 1994-07-01)
      A comparison of the response of varying classes of growing beef cattle to protein supplementation was conducted on Northern Great Plains rangeland during the summer and early fall. Response was evaluated in 2 experiments, conducted in 1988 and 1989, by measuring organic matter intake and body weight gain in 13-month-old (spring-born steers) and 7-month-old steers (fall-born steers), which received either a 26% crude protein supplement or no supplement. Weight gain was also monitored in 7-month old heifers (fall-born heifers). In experiment 1, spring-born steers were fed 1.28 kg and fall-born steers and heifers 1.64 kg of protein supplement every other day. During experiment 2, spring-born steers were fed supplement at a rate of 1 kg and fall-born steers and heifers at 1.8 kg every other day. Intake of forage organic matter for steers was not affected (P > 0.10) by supplementation in either experiment. In experiment 1, total organic matter intake tended to be increased by protein supplementation in June but not in August (date X supplementation level interaction, P = 0.08). Forage organic matter digestibility was greater (P < 0.01) in June than in August during experiment 1 and in August than September in experiment 2. In experiment 1, this difference was greater for fall-born steers than spring-born steers. In experiment 1, supplementation increased (P < 0.01 average daily gain of cattle from 0.63 to 0.78 kg/day. In experiment 2, daily pin of cattle was increased (P < 0.01) from 0.62 0.82 kg/day with protein supplementation. Also, in experiment 2, cattle receiving supplement were 18 kg heavier (P < 0.05) at the end of the grazing season than unsupplemented controls. Protein supplementation increased weight pins of growing cattle in the late summer in the Northern Great Plains. The advantage was most consistent for fall-born steers with higher relative protein requirements.