No Promotions3rd September 2019
Landbouweekliks episode 518th December 2019
Many beef cattle are placed in intensive farming systems like feedlots. This can often be a stressful time, and the effect of stress can be minimised thanks to a practice known as backgrounding.
In a cattle production system, backgrounding is the practice of rearing a calf on a combination of forage, like pasture, and grains in order to increase its weight before it is placed in a feedlot. Backgrounding is the intermediate stage between when the calf is weaned and when it is placed in a feedlot.
- Background feed have a few requirements to ensure that cattle grow out uniformly and in good condition:
- Good quality bypass protein and energy
- Vitamins like the B vitamins and vitamin D
- Minerals like phosphorous, calcium and potassium that are needed in higher levels
- Trace elements like copper and zinc
- Background rations often contain feed additives like ionophores and probiotics
There are a number of advantages that come with backgrounding your herd which help to improve their weight and overall condition. These include better feed intake, increased socialisation and improved health, and overall increased productivity.
As backgrounding often introduces cattle to feed bunks and water troughs that cattle may not have been exposed to before, it helps to condition them to bunk feeding while still on pasture. This in turn fights the reduced feed intake that might otherwise have occurred in the feedlot.
Intensive farming systems like feedlots often present challenges in cattle health because of the large number of animals grouped together in a relatively confined space. This introduces more pathogens and puts livestock at risk of falling sick. By allowing animals to socialise in a bigger area in their groups before being placed in feedlots, they will be exposed to low levels of pathogens and develop a level of immunity against them, which will be beneficial once the group is placed in the feedlot.
Vaccinations should also be administered during backgrounding so that livestock are fully vaccinated before entering the feedlot. To obtain maximum immunity calves should be background for at least 45 days.
Molatek Background 18 (V21955) is an excellent source of high quality protein and energy product. This product is well suited to rearing and finishing of young animals, and great for backgrounding feedlot calves that are being kept on good quality pastures.
Molatek Backgrounding 18 can also be used for:
- Cows that are lactating
- Rearing of heifers
- Maintenance and growth of first calf heifers
- Nutrition of phase D bulls
It is important to note that Molatek Background 18 contains medications that enhance feed conversion rate. Feed Molatek Background 18 at 1 to 2 kg/calf/day, depending on the pasture quality available.