Supplementing calves with creep feed is important to their growth, as it provides a source of energy that most calves won’t get while transitioning from nursing to grazing forages. And since there are so many feed options available, one expert suggests that producers really take time to study the labels to select the best option for their calves.
“Calves get their energy from the creep feed, and the more feed the calves are eating, the less forage they are utilizing,” said Kevin Glaubius, general manager of Peets Feed, a division of BioZyme, located in St. Joseph, Missouri. “When there is less forage utilization, the entire microbial population shifts, and fiber digestion suffers.”
Peets Feed started adding Amaferm to its creep feed in 1996. Amaferm helps increase fiber digestion, which in turn makes more energy available to the calf.
“Amaferm is the cheapest way to provide extra energy to your calves,” Glaubius said.
Adding Amaferm to creep feed makes the most sense when forage quality is low to get the most energy utilization. However, the Amaferm advantage will also be evident if you are feeding a high-quality creep feed while grazing high-quality forages.
Studies have shown that feeding just 2 grams of Amaferm daily will boost gains by nearly a quarter of a pound per day. And at just .03 cents per day, the cost is only about $6 per ton of creep feed. With calves worth $1.50 per pound at .25 pounds that is a 38 cent increase in weight-gain value at a cost of .03, or a 10:1 return.
Glaubius suggests investing some time reading and comparing labels when shopping for creep feed, noting that some companies are vague on their list of contents.