Nutritional demands on rise for pregnant and lactating livestock

Local Land Services staff are encouraging graziers to check the condition of their livestock as well as the quantity and quality of the feed (pasture or supplement) they are receiving as lambing and calving ramps up across the Monaro.

Lambing ewes and calving cows experience a rapid escalation in their feed requirements. Ewes in their last month of pregnancy require 70% more feed than a dry or early pregnant ewe.

This requirement increases to 250% of that of a dry sheep for their first month of lactation easing back to 180% during the second and third month of lactation. Twin rearing ewes can require 330% of a dry sheep’s feed at their peak point of lactation.

Late pregnant cows require 40% more feed than a dry cow with this increasing to 60% after calving. (Refer to Table 1).

Feed allowance for pregnant and lactating ewes

Feeding Tips:

  • feed enough of the right feed for each class of animal. You can calculate this amount by using the NSW DPI’s Managing and Preparing for Drought guide available online or from your nearest Local Land Services office. The NSW DPI’s “Drought Feed Calculator” app can also help you to calculate feeding rates and costs.
  • know the quality of the feed you are providing. Feed quality testing kits are available at your nearest Local Land Services office.
  • early lactating animals require significantly more feed than dry animals. They can’t eat enough dry paddock feed or hay to meet their requirements – they need grain or pellets as well. The same is true for heavily pregnant animals.
  • dry stock can do well on good quality dry paddock feed or good quality hay alone.
  • consider availability, affordability of feed and if you can physically manage it.
  • DO NOT give hungry stock free access to grain or pellets. Introduce pellets or grain gradually.

South East Local Land Services will be running two ‘Feed Check Workshops’ for Monaro graziers this month.

Topics will include:

  • the increasing demands of late pregnant and lactating livestock
  • what drives feed quality in hay and grains
  • stretching out winter pastures
  • animal health considerations
  • support services and government assistance.

Cooma – Monday 19 August, 12.00 – 3.30pm at the Alpine Hotel (lunch & afternoon tea provided).

Bombala – Tuesday 20 August, 9.30am – 1.00pm at Club Bombala (morning tea & lunch provided).

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