Production Licks for Growing Stud Bulls

There is a growing demand for bulls that are in condition for mating by two years of age, but which is also adapted to extensive conditions. Getting bulls to the desired weight for mating becomes a challenge, when the use of grain, needs to be limited, for adaptation purposes. This implies that these bulls must reach the desired condition without extensive use of high energy rations containing mostly grain. These are a few options on how to get there.

Firstly we need to determine the goal weight at two years, and then plan around that as to how to get to that weight. A feasible weight at two years without intensive feedlot feeding is probably between 650 – 700kg. This implies that we need to add between 420 and 470kg in 450days (If you wean at end of April at 230kg, and the auction is in August). This is an average daily gain of roughly 1kg/animal/day over 450 days.

This is where a fodder flow plan comes in place. The growth achievable on a production lick depends on the type of roughage an animal is fed. For instance; gaining 1,5 – 1,7kg/day on Beefbooster 18 is very much achievable on green summerveld and/or pastures during the winter. But to get 500g growth/animal/day on dry winterveld is not as easy. Animals will probably grow between 600 – 900g/day on silage with Beefbooster 18 during the winter, and also on Maize stalks with bufferlick.

The first step then will be to determine how long you can feed animals on Beefbooster 18. Meadow Beefbooster 18 is an 18% protein ready mixed production lick. Of the 180g protein, only 39,3% is derived from NPN sources, meaning that 60,7% of the total protein is from natural protein sources. It contains Lasalocid – Na which can lead to a 22% gain in growth efficiency on high quality roughage as well as Zinc Bacitracin. The energy levels in only 6,7 MJME/kg which means that the animal gain maximum carcass growth, as opposed to depositing fat.

If the summer is 165 days long (November – mid April), with an average growth of 1,3kg/animal/day, that takes care of roughly 214kg growth. This leaves us with a deficit of 236kg and two winter periods to get that (May – October; first year (180 days), and Mid April – September (165 days)). In other words; 345 days to gain 236kg equals an average gain of 700g/day. To achieve this with a production lick is a tight order.

The first option is to give these bulls access to either irrigated pastures or oats for a period of average 90days every winter, on Beefbooster 18. This will yield an additional 115kg (ADG of 1,3) per season which will get the animals to the desired weight without expecting great gain from winterveld (165 days on a lick). A recommended production lick for additional growth; Lambing lick.

Second option will be either to put these bulls on maize crop residue with a production lick like Bufferlick, or feed them maize silage on veld with Beefbooster 18. In both cases growth should be between 600 – 900g/day. To get the same growth this must be done for 150 days per dry season. Again for the rest of the period look at lambing lick. Bufferlick is a production lick that has been specifically developed for the growth of animals on maize crop residue and the prevention of acidosis while grazing maize crop residue. It contains 26% protein of which 60.15% is derived from NPN sources (39,85% natural protein), and Lacalocid, a growth stimulant also used in Beefbooster 18.

The third option will be to give all young bulls a production lick with a high natural protein content (lambing lick @1kg/animal/day), aim at moderate growth during the winter months, and put them in a feedlot, for a limited time (75 days)with reduced energy levels and higher natural protein content. Such a ration will look like this:


In order for the animals to adapt well on veld after the auction, it is important that the period of feeding animals in a feedlot ends at least six weeks before the sale. During the last month in the feedlot it might be considered to add 50kg of cotton seed instead of Multimix concentrate (helps with the appearance of the hide).

The last six weeks before the Auction, animals must be fed in smaller camps on grazing, with ad lib. hay and if possible silage – supplemented with Supreme 20 at 2kg/day.

Supreme 20 is a ready mixed production lick with 20% protein (84,1% from NPN), no growth stimulants and an energy value of 8 MJME/kg.

To summarize:

Feeding Options


Date published: 2006-04-03

Jurie Naude

Publication: N/A