In South Africa there are a number of different production systems utilised to ensure that cattle reach target weight, muscling and fat deposition. This includes more extensive farming systems like grazing on veld and pasture, as well as more intensive systems like feedlotting. Each of these present their own advantages and disadvantages, which we will be looking at here.
- Veld: Cattle are fed out in the open on natural grazing land that comprises of sweetveld, sourveld or a combination of the two. Here cattle have the opportunity to selectively graze according to what they find palatable. The diet they eat here are high in roughage and fiber.
The range of Molatek licks, supplements and blocks can ensure that your herd maintains condition while grazing on veld.
- Pastures: As with grazing on veld, pasture grazing is an extensive farming system. These pastures have been planted with grasses and legumes such as lucerne and Kikuyu that are specifically intended for the feeding of cattle. Because of this, cattle that graze on these pastures grow out better than if they had grazed on veld. As with veld grazing, this diet will be high in roughage and fiber.
Molatek Background 18 is an excellent high quality protein and high energy product that you may want to consider if you graze on pasture. It is suitable for of feedlot calves on good quality green pastures.
- Feedlots: Unlike cattle that are grazed on veld or on pastures, feedlot cattle are kept in pens. This is known as an intensive farming system and these animals will be fed a diet that has a vastly different nutritional component. This diet will be much higher in easily-digestible carbohydrates like grains, and much lower in roughage and fiber.
Molatek Beef Fat 33+ is a specially formulated protein concentrate that can be used in a complete or cafeteria finishing diet.
The differences between feedlotting and grazing on veld or pastures
- Much more land is needed for extensive farming than for feedlotting.
- More labour is required for feedlotting than for extensive farming.
- Cattle grazing on veld and pastures eat more fiber and roughage than cattle in feedlots, which eat more grain and high-energy feeds.
- Over a short term period, cattle grazing in extensive systems will have a much lower weight, muscle and fat gain than cattle that are fed in feedlots.
What are the advantages of feedlotting
It is more difficult to control the grazing cattle on veld and planted pastures than it is to feed them in feedlots.
- There is more control in a feedlot due to the fact that livestock is restricted from excessive movement.
- Medication can be more easily dispensed.
- It takes less time to get cattle to the intended target weight with the correct amount of muscling and fat than when they are grazing in extensive systems.
It is also much easier to manage and observe animals in feedlots because they are close at hand, making it easier to pick up nutritional and metabolic disturbances, or other conditions such as respiratory diseases.
It is important to maintain the correct balance of nutrients and feed in feedlots to ensure that animals do not develop metabolic disorders or conditions.
Please contact your nearest Molatek Technical Advisor if you wish to learn more about the nutrition of feedlot cattle.