Cattle Nutrition and Breeding Q&A

Management : Cow & Calf

Nutrition : Minerals

Nutrition : Supplements

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Purina Animal Nutrition

Invest in your herd’s cattle nutrition and your cows will reward you.

That was the biggest takeaway after talking to Branch Ranch General Manager Derrick Miller, Missouri cattleman Dennis Alt and Arkansas rancher Russell Womack.1

All three made a cattle nutrition change to support cow fertility and breeding success. They share their results and what they learned along the way.

Tell us a bit about your cattle operation.

Miller: In 2015, I started working for Branch Ranch located in Mansfield, Louisiana and two years later, I became general manager. The Branch Ranch is home to 1,500 registered/commercial Brangus cows.

Womack: I dispersed my cow herd around 2007 looking for a fresh start. We invested in 500 virgin heifers and used a herd bull for two years. Today, we AI our entire herd since 2009. Today, my family and I run about 300 Angus cows in Hope, Arkansas.

Alt: In 2012, I moved back to his Nevada, Missouri farm after a career in law. Now, I manage a cow/calf operation with 100 commercial cows, 125 Limousin/Lim-Flex cows and 60 Red Angus cows. I also market about 70–80 bulls per year.

Why did you refresh your cattle nutrition program?

Miller: Our bull nutrition program just wasn’t working. And, our conception rates had fallen. Cows were getting harder to maintain on the program Branch Ranch had them on. So, I connected with Purina expert Dr. Doug Hawkins, and we started from the ground up. We introduced Purina® Wind and Rain® Mineral and got our bulls on Accuration® Supplements. Today, Branch Ranch cattle are on 100% Purina® products.

Alt: I saw how much research went into Purina products compared to other companies during my visits to the Purina Animal Nutrition Center. Once I switched, I saw the results first-hand. If I didn't think Purina® provided economic value to me, I wouldn't use it because I’m running a business and need a black bottom line.

Womack: Around 2012, I met with Purina representative Buck Pendergraft and Purina expert N.T. Cosby. They introduced me to Stress Care® 5 Supplement Feed. It seemed too good to be true, but once I tried it, we had tremendous results. So, we started looking into other Purina products. We tried Purina® Wind and Rain® Mineral next.

What results have you seen since making the switch?

Miller: For our embryo transfer program, the before and after results were incredible. We were in the low 40‘s for conception rate. When Branch Ranch changed to Purina®, cow conception rates on embryo transfers went from 41% to 68%. Our AI and natural service rates went from 72% to 94%. Yearling and two-year-old bulls, on a one-year average, consumed 12.8 pounds of feed a day with a 3.1-pound average daily gain. Before we switched to Purina®, we had to feed bulls 35 pounds of feed per head per day to get that conversion.

Alt: What surprises me the most, after doing the math, is the value for the rate of gains and the cattle health. For example, feeding those replacement heifers Purina products cost me about 75% of what commodity feeds would have cost. Commodity feeds seem a lot cheaper but, when you look at total dollars, Purina® was much more affordable.

Womack: We started using Stress Care® 5 and we get a consistent gain every year on our calves. Now, we plan for 2.5 pounds average daily gain at weaning. After weaning calves in the fall, I put my cows on Accuration® Supplements to make sure we get body condition scores back up where they need to be. In addition, I keep my replacement heifers on Purina® Wind and Rain® Mineral with Availa® 4 all the way through the first summer, even after I breed them. Our breeding season is tight, 21 days for our heifers and 31 days for our cows. Our cattle mineral program gives us consistency in our heats to help us achieve a tight breeding season.

Which Purina product is your favorite and why?

Miller: All the Accuration® Supplement products are great. Our cow herd receives Accuration® year-round. We also use Accuration® Supplements 90 days before the Branch Ranch bull sale.

Alt: We’ve had great results with Accuration® Supplements. We develop our bulls on Accuration® and when people come in looking for bulls, they sell themselves. The bulls aren’t in a feedlot, but they come to eat thanks to the snack-eating technology of Accuration® Supplements.

Womack: Can I pick two? Stress Care® 5 is reliable. You know what's coming when you pour that bag out because cattle will eat it, they're going to gain weight and they're not going to get sick. Purina® Wind and Rain® Mineral with Availa® 4 helps us maintain a consistently tight breeding season.

Does your cattle nutrition program stack up? Find out with a Proof Pays trial.

1 The stories of Derrick Miller, Dennis Alt and Russell Womack are provided as examples of an operation’s experience with Purina products and may not be a representation of actual results that can be guaranteed. Because of factors outside of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC’s control, individual results to be obtained, including but not limited to financial performance and animal condition, health or performance, cannot be predicted nor guaranteed by Purina Animal Nutrition LLC.