Range Beef Cow Supplementation Information & Strategies

Range beef cattle production depends on the nutritional quality and quantity of available forage species. Winter and early spring months typically provide the least availability of high quality or nutritionally dense forage. During this time period on most operations, cows are expected to provide nutrients to the developing fetus during pregnancy, produce milk for a new calf after calving, and maintain or increase her physiological status during the postpartum period in order to conceive for the next production cycle.

Ongoing research projects are designed to profile the nutritional physiology involved in range beef cattle production, as well as developing new feeds and feeding strategies to supplement cattle during times of nutritional stress at an economical advantage. Currently there are four areas of special interest: Replacement heifer development, young cow post-partum supplementation, mature cow supplementation alternatives, and weaned calf management strategies.

Below are links to published general information, as well as, result driven publications derived from 20 years of research conducted on the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center.

Range Beef Cow Nutrition

General Information

  • Using a Supplementation Program
    As a Grazing Management Tool. A short summary of altering your supplementation program to better utilize entire pastures. (NMSU CES Guide B-818, December 2009)
  • Beef Cow Supplement Decision Guide
    A great yes/no decision tree in a flowchart format. With three questions this guide can help assist in your decision to start or continue with supplementation and gives suggestions as to what level of protein and what rate fed. (Courtesy of Dr. Clay Mathis, NMSU Extension Livestock Specialist)
  • Managing and Feeding Beef Cows
    Using Body Condition Scores. A how-to in scoring beef cows for dividing into feeding groups to maximize reproductive performance and reducing feed costs. (NMSU CES Circular 575, November 2002)
  • Protein and Energy Supplementation
    to Beef Cows Grazing New Mexico Rangelands. A general guide to cow nutrition with explanations as to when and what supplement should be used. (NMSU CES Circular 564, January 2003)
  • Supplement Delivery Systems
    A guide to options in supplementing range beef cows for efficiency and economy. (NMSU CES Circular 571, August 2001)
  • Urea in Range Cattle Supplements
    A good reference describing the proper use of urea to lower feed costs without hindering rumen efficiency. (NMSU CES Circular 583, March 2003)
  • Early Weaning Beef Calves
    Early weaning calves can be a useful strategy to reduce forage requirements of range cows and can help improve cow condition and reproductive performance. (NMSU CES Guide B-126 August 2005)