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Using Supplements

Livestock Supplementation with Loose Licks 

 

  • Loose licks are the most cost-efficient method of supplementation for livestock grazing in a paddock on natural or improved pasture, forage crops or stubble.
     

    They may contain some rumen degradable protein (eg. urea) and some protein meals that are high in by-pass protein, such as copra and cotton seed meal.

  • Loose licks may also contain macro minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sulphur and salt, as well as micro-elements like copper, zinc, selenium, cobalt, manganese, iodine, plus vitamins A, D and E.
     

  • Loose licks are manufactured with varying amounts of these elements to suit a wide range of stock grazing on different types of country to balance deficiencies in paddock feed within varying seasonal conditions.
     

  • Successful feeding of loose licks can increase the digestion and performance of stock grazing low protein and high fibre diets.
     

  • Available in easy-to-handle 25kg bags. 

​When to Supplement?

 

  • Dry feed supplementation is commenced when the producer decides that livestock are not to lose any more weight.
     

  • Supplementation may begin when dietary protein in available grass falls to below 6%.  The nutritional value of paddock grasses decreases as plants mature.
     

  • One of the main points in using loose licks is to begin supplementing before livestock start to slip in condition.able in easy-to-handle 25kg bags. 

 

General Warnings When Using Loose Lick

  • Urea can kill stock if consumed too quickly. Stock must be introduced to supplements with lower urea levels initially allowing the rumen to build up an ability to utilise ammonia.
     

  • Never introduce supplements to hungry or starving stock as they will most probably gorge on supplement, thus consuming urea levels that may prove toxic.
     

  • Keep dry at all times. Troughs for feeding loose mix should be well drained and preferably have a roof to prevent water pooling in the loose mix.
     

  • Monitor consumption. Always keep track of the animals’ intake of loose lick so as to manage their supplement intake and thus their urea intake. The most effective urea level intake per head/day is between 40-80g for cattle and 4-8g for sheep.
     

  • Feed to the intended species. Some loose licks contain ingredients such as Monensin (Rumensin®) that can kill horses and dogs if consumed.
     

  • Never let troughs go empty, especially later in the season.
     

  • Do not feed loose licks in conjunction with other supplements as toxicity may occur.
     

  • Clean water needs to be available at all times but don’t place loose lick close to water.
     

  • Loose licks are designed to be fed in conjunction with abundant pasture or alternate roughage sources.

 

Times To Supplement

During the winter/dry season the protein content of most pastures falls below the percentage required to support animal production. The low protein levels reduce the intake of pasture, consequently resulting in a deficiency in energy. This energy deficiency can be overcome by feeding a protein supplement such as a loose lick to stock. 

For these supplements to be effective there must be an adequate supply of dry feed available. Loose lick supplements should ideally be introduced before conditions become dry and cattle start to lose weight.

Loose mix supplements can be manufactured with urea levels of 0%, 5%, 8%, 10%, 15% & 20%. Urea increases microbial activity in the rumen, allowing stock to chase roughage. It allows better digestion of roughage therefore, increasing dry matter intake. 

In the rumen, urea is broken down into ammonia and carbon dioxide. The ammonia is used by micro-organisms to form microbial protein. Ammonia increases the rate of microbial activity, and the rate that they break down feed will increase the intake of feed due to faster digestion. The efficient use of urea can increase dry matter intake by up to 25-30%.

 

Practical Feeding of Loose Lick

Slowing Consumption

If the stock that you are supplementing are non-lactating cows, steers or bullocks then you can adjust intake by adding one bag of loose lick to one bag of salt and then slowly decrease salt content as the consumption rates fall below recommended daily intakes. The addition of salt will add extra bitterness to the product.  

If you are feeding lactating cattle or weaners, then to slow consumption you would add DCP (dicalcium phosphate). At an initial mixing rate of one bag of loose lick to equal weight of DCP and then slowly decrease DCP as the consumption slows.

Beware of cattle that are salt hungry or phosphorus deficient as these may make stock increase their consumption in the short term.

If the loose lick intakes are not up to recommended daily intake, it is advised that you introduce into the top of the loose lick supplement a palatable protein meal such as Copra or Cotton Seed Meal.  It should be introduced to entice cattle to consume correct daily intakes. The protein meal would need to be incorporated in to the top 6 inches (15cm) of loose lick, so that the stock gains a taste for the supplement.  

Increasing Consumption

If the loose lick intakes are not up to recommended daily intake, it is advised that you introduce into the top of the loose lick supplement a palatable protein meal such as Copra or Cotton Seed Meal.  It should be introduced to entice cattle to consume correct daily intakes. The protein meal would need to be incorporated in to the top 6 inches (15cm) of loose lick, so that the stock gains a taste for the supplement.  

Records To Keep
  • The number of livestock in the paddock
     

  • The amount of loose lick put into troughs
     

  • The number of days taken to consume the loose lick
     

  • Daily Intake = kg of lick/Number of days/Number of Head x 1000
     

  • Cost Per Head = Cost of lick/1000/1000 x Daily Intake

 

Calculations To Make

 

DAILY INTAKE   =   kg of lick/Number of days/Number of Head   x   1000

COST PER HEAD   =    Cost of lick/1000/1000   x   Daily Intake