No matter the livestock you’re auctioning off this year, making minimum weight or just sliding under maximum weight will not suffice. Understanding livestock ADG (Average Daily Gain) and holding feed options for your specified project will help gauge how best to meet auction weight and produce a show animal that brings home a championship.
HOW TO MANAGE LIVESTOCK ADG?
“My project animal is at show weight, but fair isn’t for another month. How can I hold them at their current weight?”
This is a common question we receive when it comes to showing livestock. The holding phase happens when you reach show-condition prior to your show dates. It is best to minimize time spent holding the weight of an animal as much as possible. Holding weight, in steers, for example, can reduce marbling and increase the incidence of dark cutters (dark color meat). Holding in some cases can cause aggravation and mental anguish on livestock as well.
One of the simplest ways to limit holding is to purchase appropriately aged livestock. Know the age and weight of the animal you are purchasing. Then research the ADG of your species, estimate what the finished weight of your animal will be at the time of auction, and follow a feeding program. As your animal matures, you can calculate ADG by taking the amount of weight an animal has gained since the last weigh-in and dividing the weight by the number of days since that last weight.
Reference the ADG of your species with the chart below.
Minimum Average Daily Weight Gain
Your project animal must look it's absolute best when it’s time for show. The only way to achieve this is proper planning. Even when discussing species-specific feeding plans, it’s important to remember that no two cattle, or swine, lamb or goat are the same. Understanding your animal on an individual basis means providing a feeding program to fit their needs entirely. Studying the animal’s characteristics, breed, pedigree, body condition, even genetics are important to successfully achieve this. Not only do animals differ individually, but other exterior factors can affect ADG as well. The animal’s diet, including forages, grain-based supplements, mineral and vitamin supplements, and feed additives, all can determine ADG.
WHY SHOULD LIVESTOCK ADG BE MONITORED?
Monitoring ADG not only helps reach show condition at the correct time but it can also help identify issues before they evolve into big problems. If you find your livestock underperforming in comparison to the ADG expectations set, look into why this could be happening. A health issue could be arising, or maybe the nutritive values of your forage is less than expected. Set ADG goals but don’t be afraid to adjust if necessary. Continuously monitoring progress will help you stay on track. A helpful exercise we recommend is taking a picture of your livestock once a week. Seeing your animal in person every day makes it easy to miss the gradual changes of their bodies, however, a photo can help you reference and track what is really happening. Using this helpful exercise, you will be better informed on how exactly to adjust your feeding program.
While it is preferable to manage your animal’s weight over the duration of the project if you find yourself in the situation where holding is necessary, our recommendations for best holding feeds per species are listed here:
Recommended Feed: Purina® Honor® Show Full Range™
Crude Protein: 12% Crude Fat: 3% Fiber: 17%
Full Range™ feed is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of finished steers and maintain muscle, finish, and hair quality. This feed contains all the feed additives as the other great show cattle feeds offered by Honor® Show feeds. This feed is great for managing weight gain in market cattle. Honor® Show Full Range™ feed gives you the flexibility you need from start to finish to succeed in the ring.
Recommended Feed: Purina® High Octane® Depth Charge® Supplement*
Protein: 9% Fat: 1.50% Fiber: 25%
Depth Charge® adds upper body fill to lambs, filling out their flanks. A fill ration, it is great as part of a holding diet, keeping them full and happy without adding extra fat or calories to their diet. This feed is highly palatable, helps promote a full physical appearance and can be fed to all show livestock species.
Recommended Feed: Purina® High Octane® Powerfill® Supplement*
Protein 26% Fat: 12% Fiber 6%
Powerfill® is formulated to help promote body condition while managing weight gain and maintaining muscle. Instead of hand feeding or cutting, this feed is ideal for holding – allowing you to continue feeding and conditioning your hog to its best potential, but at a much slower gain rate than other show feeds. Powerfill™ can be fed as part or as the sole daily diet for show pigs.
Recommended Feed: Purina® Honor® Show Commotion™ Goat DX30*
Protein: 16.5% Fat: 4% Fiber: 12%
Purina® Honor® Show Commotion™ Goat DX30 goat feed is a high-energy formula designed for all life stages of show goats. The semi-textured form, using steam-flaked barley, provides the balanced, cutting-edge nutrition that today's modern show goats need to perform in the show ring.
While holding is at times inevitable, you can create goals and a maintenance plan that helps mitigate these types of challenges. Take the time to discuss show feeds with a feed nutritionist. Ask your livestock breeder questions about your animal’s pedigree line, allowing you to better predict the animal’s characteristics and feeding accordingly.
Continue learning and never stop educating yourself. For more information on show feeds and feeding programs, visit us online or in-store to speak with one of our Grange Livestock Experts. And happy livestock showing from all of us here at Grange Co-op!
*Available at select locations only, please reach out via chat or telephone for more information and quantity on hand.