In a time of cheap corn prices and volatile cattle markets, focusing on effective management techniques – like feed bunk management – can improve efficiency and help producers make the most of already tight margins. Iowa State University Extension beef program specialist Erika Lundy says that’s why the Iowa Beef Center at ISU has revised and updated the existing fact sheet, Feed Bunk Management.
“As a supplement to this fact sheet, we also created a Feed Bunk Management Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, as a reference to help feedlot employees create operation-driven guidelines and standards to ensure consistency in making feed delivery decisions to cattle,” Lundy says. “Users are able to download this SOP and type information into the document to make it specific to their operations regardless of size or structure.”
Tools to help producers make better cattle feeding decisions
Iowa Beef Center director Dan Loy says bunk scoring is not a new tool but Extension and the cattle industry are learning best practices to apply its use, to help make more effective management decisions.
“This factsheet outlines various techniques and tips to successfully implement feed bunk management into any cattle feeding operation regardless of size,” Lundy explains. “These include using feed delivery calls, different philosophies of feed bunk management, and charting dry matter intake to optimize cattle dry matter intake while minimizing feed spoilage.”
Both publications available as free downloadable documents
Both resources are available through the ISU Extension and Outreach online store as free downloadable documents. Feed Bunk Management (IBCR 201A) is six pages long and the one-page SOP (IBCR 201B) has fillable spaces in formulas for users to enter individual operation guidelines for personnel who work on the farm. Click here for more information feed bunk management can help producers improve efficiency.
The Iowa Beef Center at ISU was established in 1996 with the goal of supporting the growth and vitality of the state’s beef cattle industry. It has faculty and staff from ISU Extension, the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine. IBC works to develop and deliver the latest research-based information regarding the beef cattle industry. For more information about the Iowa Beef Center visit iowabeefcenter.org.