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Cooked Molasses Tubs

Sep 09, 2021

Managing Comsumption
 
Cooked Molasses Tubs offer a competitive way to supplement cattle. However, in order to keep costs in line we must manage the tubs.
 
  1.  Follow directions as to the number of cattle per tub.  If a tub is designed for 25 head, make sure you have at least 25 head or a few more on the tub. Over consumption can result when we have 10-15 head on a tub meant for 25 cows. If we have those small groups, put a salt block or rock in the top of the tub to restrict surface area available. What about those situations where we have 35 cows, do we put out 2 tubs? Our experience has been to not put out 2 tubs until we get to 40 head.
 
  1. Make sure to use tubs in the season they are made for.  In order to achieve the correct consumption, we cook tubs for summer consumption at higher temperatures.  This crystalizes more of the sugars and makes these tubs harder so they will hold up to higher summer temps.  For example, if we feed a summer cooked tub in mid winter with cold temps, we will restrict consumption more than we want and short cattle on the nutrients they need.  On the other hand, if we feed a winter cooked tub in mid summer with high temps, cows will eat much more than they need.  Each tub has a date label on the top of the tub telling you when they were made. Rotating inventories to keep tubs in season will result in satisfied customers.
 
  1.  Feed tubs in the shade in summer and in the sun in the winter.  This also helps maintain correct consumption. You do not have to be concerned about location of tubs relative to water.  When bitters were used to control consumption, moving tubs away from water restricted consumption, but cooked molasses tubs control consumption due to hardness.  Locating tubs can be helpful though.  If we locate tubs in areas of pasture we need to graze, the tubs will draw cattle into these areas.
CTI Molasses tubs w/Mos 
A New Beginning in Calf Health

The Spring of 2019 created many problems for beef producers.  Heavy snow loads, and cold temperatures gave way to rain and mud.  It seemed like the wet conditions lasted forever. It was a recipe for disaster for young calves.  Scours and respiratory problems followed. During these tough conditions we promoted the use of a yeast culture called BioMos.  BioMos increases the strength of the colostrum, stimulates the immune system, cleans up the digestive system, and helps the calves fight off disease. The results were amazing.  In instances where calves were already scouring, we started cows on a tub with Mos. A week later the scours were gone with no other treatment.  Other producers used tubs with Mos as a preventative.  Again the results were fantastic.  No sickness while the neighbors across the fence treated calf after calf. One producer told us he only treated one calf out of 137 before weaning. Since that time many of our customers have tried tubs with Mos.  The results have been the same, no scours even on farms where scours have been a problem for years.    
 
When used as a Preventative
 
Provide CTI Calving Tubs w/Mos to the cows one week before the start of the calving season, and feed through the calving season.  This will provide a complete program to supplement forage. You will also get the benefit of the stimulation of the immune system plus the increases in the digestibility of forages that the sugars from molasses provide.
 
How much will they eat?
Experience tells us that consumption will run about ½ lb. per cow/calf pair/day.  In cases where forage quality is poor or cows are in poor condition, consumption may run slightly higher.
 
What will it Cost?
BioMos adds about 2 cents per day or $1.80 for 90 days to cow costs. Producers tell us total cost for a tub with Mos will run less than 30 cents per cow per day or less than $27.00 for a 90 day calving season.
 
CTI Cooked Molasses Supplements
The challenge
Cooked molasses tubs must do 2 things
  1.  Keep cows in good condition when fed with fair to poor quality forages.
  2.  Do this at a reasonable cost.
 
How Do They Work
When the sugars from the molasses go into the rumen, you get an explosion of rumen bacteria.
This increased bacteria population breaks down more of the cellulose and lignin portions of forages. In University trials, researchers found that calorie yield from good to average quality grass hay increased approximately 35% when fed with cooked molasses tubs. When fed with poor quality hay, straw, or corn stalks, calorie yield increased as much as 55%.
 
What are the benefits:
CTI cooked molasses supplements allow a cow to maintain or even gain weight on forages of limited quality.  It is not uncommon for cows to come through the winter two condition scores higher than they would with other supplementation programs.    Recent research has shown that when measured at calving, condition scores are the best predictor of pregnancy rates the next breeding season. Maximum preg rates are achieved when cows are in condition score 6 at calving.  A drop to condition score 5 usually means a 10% drop in preg rates. Generally when condition scores drop below 5, open cows become a severe problem.
 
How much will cows eat:
Consumption depends on forage quality and availability.  With fair quality forage, consumption will run about .5  lb. per head per day.  With a retail value of 45 to 50 cents per pound, cost per head per day should run less than 25 cents per head per day.  This is very competitive with any form of supplementation.
 
Is ½ pound a day enough: 
CTI Supplements are not designed to provide the calories a cow needs, but to improve the digestibility of the forage so a cow gets the needed nutrients from the forage she consumes.  In most cases where forage quantity is adequate, ½ lb. is sufficient to provide the complete nutritional needs of the cow.
 
How does CTI compare to its competitors
Most of the competition make cooked molasses supplements with de-sugared molasses.  This means higher consumption levels are required to meet the cow’s needs.  As consumption increases, the cost per head per day increases greatly.  Performance is not different, only the cost to maintain the cow.
 
          Starch vs. Sugars
 
With drought conditions across much of the southern plains, many cow calf producers are looking for economical ways to keep cows. With By-Products very expensive, some producers have considered feeding some form of grain (wheat, corn, or milo).  If you consider 5 to 10 year old research data, you may reconsider.  that research data says that feeding 2-5 lbs. of grain will cause a cow to lose 100 lbs of condition in 100-120 days.  What happens is the starch from grain interferes with rumen function, reducing the calories the cow extracts from forage.  If you feed cows 7-8 lbs of grain with forage, she converts the rumen to a starch basis, getting almost all of her calories from grain, and will hold condition.
 
Another option, if adequate forage is available, is to feed cooked molasses tubs (CTI) with forage.  In this case, the sugars from the molasses increase rumen bacteria population, allowing the cow to increase the calories extracted from the same pounds of forage. University research has shown that increase to be in the range of 30-50%, with bigger increases when fed with poorer forages.  In most cases, a tub and average quality forage will allow the spring calving cow to gain one condition score over the winter.  The biggest benefit of this is cost.  You can feed CTI Cooked Molasses tubs for less than 25 cents per cow per day plus forage.
The one issue is that adequate volume of forage must be available.  If forage quantity is not available, do not rely on cooked molasses tubs.


 


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