Feeding cows during late gestation

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Cody Wright, MS, PhD, South Dakota State University Extension beef specialist, offers these general guidelines for feeding cows during late gestation.

Crude Protein

¾ to 1 pound per head per day will complement marginal forages. Cows in late gestation have a 9% (DM) protein requirement.


Cows may not be able to utilize energy from feed efficiently if protein is inadequate.

Examples of supplements containing appropriate protein and energy content
(per head per day):

  • 3–5 pounds of 20–30% range cake
  • Distiller’s grain: 3 pounds. DDGS or 5 pounds MDGS or 8–9 pounds. WDGS
  • 1.5 pounds soybean meal plus 3–6 pound corn
  • 3 pounds corn (or up to 0.25% body weight) without supplemental protein can be fed without negative effects

Lick tubs

Depending on tub protein content, cows may have to consume as much as 0.75 pounds or more per head per day to meet protein requirements.

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