Comparison of commercially available lick tubs to daily by-product supplementation of calves grazing corn residue
University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Corn residue is a forage source low in energy and crude protein to meet the needs of growing calves. Providing supplementation increases average daily gain of calves grazing corn residue. The objective of this trial was to compare the use of a commercially available lick tub to daily by-product supplementation of calves grazing corn residue. One hundred twenty five crossbred steers (240 kg ± 2.64) were backgrounded on irrigated corn residue for a 60 day grazing period at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Neb. The trial was replicated over two consecutive years (n = 8). Each year, an irrigated corn residue field was divided into eight paddocks, with four replications receiving dried distillers grains (DGS) and four having continuous access to lick tubs. Calves on the DGS treatment received supplementation in a bunk at 1.36 kg/head per day. Stocking rate was calculated based on grain yield of the field at harvest multiplied by an estimated 3.64 kg forage consumed/bu, 85% grazing efficiency factor and number of hectares available for grazing. Data was analyzed using Proc Glimmix with year run as a random effect. Average daily gain (ADG) of steers receiving dried DGS was 0.62 kg/head per day in comparison to 0.38 kg/head per day for steers on the lick tub treatment (P < 0.01). Average supplement intake for cattle on the lick tub treatment was 0.76 kg/day on an OM basis compared to 1.28 kg/day for steers receiving dried DGS (P < 0.01). Since forage estimations were not taken, supplement efficiency was used to compare the change in gain to intake by dividing ADG by supplement intake. Supplement efficiency for the lick tubs and dried DGS treatments were 43 and 46% on a DM basis (P < 0.01) compared to 50% and 48% on an OM basis, respectively (P = 0.64). Lick tubs are a convenient method for providing supplementation to calves and on an OM basis, offer similar supplement efficiency when compared with daily by-product supplementation.
corn residue, grazing, stocker cattle, supplementation