Now marks the time when cattle producers should begin thinking about creep feed supplementation for nursing calves. The milk from a lactating beef cow only furnishes about 50 percent of the nutrients that a 3-4 month-old calf needs to realize its genetic potential for growth. Although creep feeding is extremely beneficial when high-quality pasture is inadequate or unavailable, research shows that supplemental creep, regardless of pasture quality, pays dividends come weaning time.
Cattle nutrition specialists recommend supplementing creep feed as a way to meet the energy and protein requirements of growing beef calves. According to a report on Creep Feeding Beef Calves by Dan E. Eversole, Extension Animal Scientist at Virginia Tech, “The energy and protein requirements of a growing calf increase well beyond the milking potential of most beef cows to meet the nutritional requirements of calves from birth to weaning. For example, 10 lbs. of milk are required by a 100 lb. calf to meet its daily energy and protein requirements for growth, whereas a 500 lb. calf needs 50 lbs. of milk. Since the average beef cow produces approximately 13 lbs. of milk daily throughout a 205-day suckling period, a 500 lb. calf is short-changed by 40 lbs. from getting enough milk from its dam at this lactational stage to meet its nutritional needs. The best way to fulfill the ‘hungry calf gap’ is to creep feed or creep graze.”
BioZyme brand VitaFerm® offers three products (Sure Champ®, Sure Power 37™ and Sure Start Pellet®) that can be incorporated with feedstuffs found at the local mill to create a complete ration, and an additional product (Amaferm® Digest More™) that can be incorporated into any pre-formulated/bagged creep feed.
“Our wide variety of proven products help keep cattle healthy and efficient,” said BioZyme Nutrition Coordinator Lindsey Grimes. “All VitaFerm products contain our proprietary Amaferm advantage, a natural feed additive that acts as a prebiotic to increase digestibility and maximize the energy value of feed for easy transition and efficient gain.”
Recommended VitaFerm Products for Creep Feed:
Sure Power 37™ – A high protein and macro mineral pellet that is a great fit for building today’s modern creep feeds. Contains moderate levels of essential micronutrients to ensure animal performance. Sure Power 37 can be used alone for commercial calf creeps or together with Sure Champ to build high-performance show and creep rations. For more information about Sure Power 37, visit vitaferm.com/products/sure-power-37.
Sure Champ® – Proven in the show ring, Sure Champ works equally as well in creep feed to help maintain the strong appetite and healthy digestive system needed to unlock the genetic potential of calves. Sure Champ contains high levels of essential micronutrients for that extra bloom that show and sale cattle require. For more information about Sure Champ, visit surechamp.com/products/sure-champ-cattle/.
Sure Start Pellet® – The ideal supplement for stressed calves during weaning. This pellet also works extremely well as a creep balancer, bringing high levels of vitamins and minerals when additional protein is not needed. Sure Start Pellet works well in distillers and corn gluten-based creep feeds. For more information about Sure Start, visit vitaferm.com/products/vitaferm-sure-start-pellet.
Digest More™ – A low inclusion way to supplement Amaferm in any diet. At the feeding rate of 0.5 ounces, Digest More provides 2 grams of Amaferm. Digest More is best suited when additional protein, vitamins and minerals are not required. For more information about Digest More, visit vitaferm.com/products/digest-more.
Producers can view creep feed rations using these products developed by BioZyme’s nutritionist team by visiting http://static.backofficeapps.com/biozyme/pdfs/literature/VF+CreepFeed.pdf.
BioZyme customer Kevin Eathington of Eathington Angus in Illinois has witnessed positive gains in his calves by supplementing his creep feed with Digest More.
“Not only did we see a 50-75 lb. improvement in gains on our calves by adding Digest More to our creep feed, but the overall health of our calves was much better compared to previous years,” said Eathington. “At weaning we continued to use the new creep feed formula. The noticeable difference in gain continued and we didn’t have any sick calves. We would definitely recommend any product containing Amaferm to other cattlemen.”
As a free service to beef producers, BioZyme’s nutritionists will also formulate custom creep feed recipes based on a producer’s available ingredients and specific production phase requirements. To access this free service, producers are encouraged to contact their BioZyme Area Sales Manager https://www.biozymeinc.com/our-staff or call 800-821-3070 to begin the process.