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Energy Supplements for Finishing Cattle in 18-20 Months

February 20, 2020

Energy Supplements for Finishing Cattle in 18-20 Months
By Will Winter, DVM

Imagine the savings in time, forages and money if your cattle can go to town in the late fall of their second year. We know it’s possible. Particularly for ranchers up here in the northland, we would like to help prevent the need to hold heifers and steers over for the second winter. We have experience with fall-calving producers who can marble-up their animals by 18-20 months of age, and we have even seen it done as early as 16 months. Remember, this is all on grass forages alone, zero grain. 

What to do? As mentioned in the past, we want High-Brix (high sugar!) grasses year-round. But, what if you (like most of us) don’t have it? Even worse, what if you don’t have the best grass genetics in your cattle (like most of us)? This is where the ENERGY SUPPLEMENTS come to the rescue. 

The energy source that is now becoming the most common, even exceeding the use of lick tubs, is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). With ACV, not only do we get the average daily gain increases, the increase in forage utilization, and a host of health benefits such as parasite elimination and immune stimulation, we get more. We get more glucose for fattening, particularly marbling! And now, the story gets even better. This includes some of the side products that we derive from the fermentation processes used to manufacture ACV.

Apples contain 2.5 times as much sugar as corn, over 10 grams per 100 grams of apples, of which over 2.5 grams is already glucose. When we ferment this into alcohol, we get a 6% (12 proof) product that is ready to go to work towards making marbling! We have direct access to FERMENTED APPLE ALCOHOL and it is sold as our alcohol-version of the so-called HEAVY VINEGAR. This is for getting grass-fed animals to marble. 

We recommend the alcohol version of Heavy ACV to be fed at the rate of 3-4 oz/head/day throughout the fattening period. This is even more critical in the extreme cold of northern climates and during the hot weather, especially in the southern climates. When sold, our alcohol-version of the Heavy ACV, also contains a nice quantity of 85 Brix Organic Blackstrap Molasses. Pure sugar! If desired, even more molasses can be added to the alcohol version of the Heavy Vinegar.
In addition, we have a super-energy supplement sold as LASSAHOL. Lassahol is molasses that has gone through a certain (patented) process to create not only alcohol, but also some compounds that act as “hydrogen donors”, which augment the Kreb’s Energy Cycle, the driving force which creates storage fats, especially marbling fat. An ounce per head is the maximum dose required and it’s frequently blended with any of the ACV products.

Matt Buhmann


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