Feedings VS Pushups
If you are looking for ways to get more out of what you put into your cattle one thing to consider is feedings per day vs pushups per day. For a long time I heard “feed once a day, then pushup” and you will get the same results. Personally, I would make a pretty strong argument against that statement today. Increasing dry matter intake is everything and multiple feedings per day has shown to drive dry matter intake and increase milk production. Often you will see an increase of 3-5lbs of energy corrected milk when switching from one feeding per day to two feedings per day. I have had the opportunity to work with some producers, that have facilities that allow them to feed 4-8 times per day. The feed efficiency and dry matter intake in these herds are impressive.
This also applies to feeder cattle, finishing groups, dairy heifers, etc. Colorado State University had an interesting study on finisher cattle where they compared feedings per day. Similar groups size, fed the same diet, and fed 1x, 2x, & 3x per day. The groups fed 1x and 2x per day had almost identical growth rates. But the group fed 3x per day highly outperformed the other pens.
I think the take home message of a lot of these studies comes down to, encouraging cattle to consume more meals per day typically leads to higher yields. And increasing feedings per day can usually increase your meals per day.