Creep-fed calves from spring-calving suckler cows will convert feed to liveweight (LW) more efficiently than at any other time in their life. This makes creep feeding a very cost effective way to maximise weaning weights.
"Creep feeding can increase weight gain by 25kg per animal as well as reducing weaning check, due to less stress as it familiarises the calf to a different feed. It can also help improve body condition scores (BCS) if cattle are in poor condition and reduce the risk of pneumonia after housing," explains Katherine.
Timing of creep feeding will depend on calf age, growth potential and grass availability, but should normally start six to ten weeks before weaning. In cases where it’s hard to start creep feeding or with very milky cows, starting to creep feed four to six weeks before weaning will still help reduce the weaning check.
In a recent trial, 51 pedigree Limousin cattle were split into two groups and fed two different creep feeding products. One group of 36 animals were fed ForFarmers Super Grower 16, the remaining 15 cattle were fed a competitor creep feed. The cattle, who were all creep fed from two months old onwards, received 5.3kg per head.
There was a 0.1kg difference in DLWG in the group fed ForFarmers Super Grower 16.
ForFarmers have three products in the creep feed range, each one designed to meet different farm systems:
Katherine Muirhead, ForFarmers Beef Specialist, works within the technical team, providing technical support to Account Managers across the whole of the South West and Wales. For more information or to contact Katherine Muirhead, get in touch via the Contact page.
Regular weighing, careful stock management and a calculated approach to feeding have enabled Edward Mathers to develop an award-winning beef enterprise.