The importance of feeding cattle roughage during the winter months
EVEN if there is new growth of pasture and you are using various supplementary feeds, you could ask – why feed roughage.
Roughage is the bulky feeds that are mostly considered to be high in fibre and low in energy.
Roughage is needed to be fed to your livestock this winter for a number of reasons.
Even though some roughage may be left uneaten, for digestive function livestock require a minimum amount of fibre and long roughage to maintain their digestive systems, this is sometimes known as the ‘scratch factor’ and stimulates rumination (cud chewing).
When moving livestock onto green pasture, their rumen needs time to adjust to a new feed type.
Newly growing pasture may not have adequate fibre levels - it may be better to supplement stock to allow the pasture to establish and develop.
Hungry cattle need to be prevented from gorging themselves on pastures that may have potential to cause nitrate poisoning or bloat.
If feeding grain or pellets with too little roughage, acidosis or grain poisoning can occur.
As we move further into winter, hay may be needed to reduce grass tetany risks and allows a way of administering Causmag.