AoR 20: Don Llewellyn, This is Your Rumen on 3% Crude Protein -- Supplementation Science Today

A common misconception about late summer and fall range grass is that low-quality forages serve only as fillers and have little value as feed. If this were universally true, wild ruminants would not be able to survive. Join Tip Hudson and Don Llewellyn for Art of Range episode #20 as they discuss how to get ruminants to digest low-quality forages. Rumen physiology, ruminant nutrition, and the fine points of proper protein supplementation for cattle on late summer/fall/winter range and pasture are all on tap. 


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>> Welcome to the Art of Range, a podcast focused on rangelands and the people who manage them. I'm your host, Tip Hudson, range and livestock specialist with Washington State University Extension. The goal of this podcast is education and conservation through conversation. Find us online at

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My guest today on the show is Don Llewellyn. Don is a colleague of mine at Washington State University, there are fewer and fewer of us that have anything to do with animals, particularly people that have some crossover between animal science and rangeland ecology, and Don is one of those. He's a ruminant nutritionist who had a career in the Midwest and south before he came to Washington State. Don, welcome to the show.

>> Yeah, it's a pleasure to be here.

>> Where we're headed today is a discussion of how to manage a cow herd that is consuming low quality forage. And I'm mostly thinking range and pasture grazing, not bunk feeding straw or some other pre-harvested feed stuff like low quality hay. We've had several episodes on managing or trying to suppress invasive annual grass using grazing, since that's one of the only cost-effective solutions out there, and I'll make a note here if a listener is aware of better cost-effective solutions than grazing invasive annual grass, we'd love to talk about that on the podcast, so call me at 509-962-7507. We've also discussed in various episodes that grazing in the fall and winter gives us a larger window and tends to be more effective than spring grazing in reducing invasive annual grass, and there are three main mechanisms that are perhaps more effective at control than what we do in the spring, which is pretty much just removing some seed heads. One, if we graze stuff like cheatgrass in the fall, the animals will paw through the litter to consume the fall germinated seedlings, which when they're going through the litter kind of are like bean sprouts, so they're pretty nutritious and tasty. The second thing is that the animals will disrupt the litter layer by pawing through it to find those seedlings, and then third, and this is the interesting part, apparently the cattle will actually consume quite a bit of that litter layer, but that's the part that worries me and anybody else who's trying to keep their cows in good condition through the winter. I haven't looked up what the feed values are on cheatgrass litter, but it's low, it would be on the order of bluegrass straw, I would guess. And so I'm going to quote from your extension publication, Don, on this for a teaser for the episode. You said, "A common misconception about forages is that low quality forages serve only as fillers and have little value as feed. But if this were universally true, wild remnants would not be able to survive on low quality forages." Now, I'm fond of saying that rangeland based animal husbandry is the only method of food and fiber production that relies on naturally occurring plant communities, and those naturally occurring plant communities are not always 12% crude protein. And I think the beauty of this system, a system where a domesticated animal is taking the most abundant carbohydrate on the planet, cellulose, and converts it into something that humans can use, that system depends on rumen microbes metabolizing really low quality feed, or at least being able to function through times of the year when what they have available is low quality. And ideally, you know, in the world of rangeland based livestock production, we do that without a lot of input costs, and that's where livestock production makes economic and ecological sense. That's a mouthful. But before we get around to that, let's talk a little bit about how you ended up being a ruminant nutritionist. How and why did you get into animal nutrition?

>> Yeah, Tip. Well, the ruminant nutrition is kind of my second career, I started out farming and ranching, I grew up in the state of Washington in the north-central part, and fed cattle and worked with grain farming and so forth, and so this is kind of my second career, and it just basically all comes back to being able to apply those things that I learned as an undergraduate before I came home to farm and ranch, and that really interested me, and that's what took me into graduate school and more advanced study. And after graduate school at Kansas State University, where I was the research assistant at the cow-calf unit for four years. Then I did do five years on the teaching faculty at Eastern Kentucky University, and then when the job opening came with WSU Extension, it was natural that I would apply for that so that I could get back in my home country, and that's the best of both worlds, to do what you love to do and also to be able to do it back home.

>> Yeah, for sure. Ruminant biology and nutrition interests me a lot, but I'm not at all an expert in it, and I think a lot of what I'm excited about regarding the way rumens work, I picked up from you, the term itself that I think I heard you use once, rumen ecosystem, says a lot about ruminant animals that probably not everybody knows. Even the people who listen to this podcast, which tend to be ranchers, range specialists, range students, people who ought to know something about ruminant nutrition. But I remember you saying at one point, I think, that there are over a billion individual organisms in a single milliliter of rumen fluid. That blew me away. And that there are tons of different kinds of organisms, quite a bit like what you would have in the ocean, where you've got large organism, little bitty ones, ones that are eating each other, they're not all just eating the feed that we throw down a cow's throat, like an ocean but in the miniature. I think that's a mark of a good teacher, you can tell that I was interested and that stuck with me and I was captivated by that. Can you give us a bit of a primer on rumen physiology? Are those things that I think I'm recalling true?

>> Yeah, they are Tip. And the interesting thing about this is that when you think about that rumen ecosystem, the rumen microbes have a nutrient requirement for the various nutrients protein in the form of nitrogen, or energy, or whatever, they have a nutrient requirement just like the cow or the steer or whatever. So, basically we have to satisfy the nutrient requirements of the rumen microbes, just like we eventually, along with the rumen microbes, satisfy the nutrient requirements for the cow.

>> So, when we feed the cow, we're mostly feeding the rumen microbes. Is everything that the cow gets in terms of, you know, what they need to live on, the result of the microbe digesting stuff, or is there stuff in the feed that bypasses the rumen microbes and goes straight to the cow.

>> Yeah, I actually it's both. Let's protein for an example. The metabolizable protein requirement of a ruminant, be it a cow, or a sheep, or whatever, is satisfied in two different ways. One is microbial protein, and the other is with your flow-through or, as you say, your bypass protein. Your microbial protein is a result of those rumen microbes assimilating nitrogen from the feed, and then utilizing that to make proteins in their microbial cells. And of course, the microbes are reproducing exponentially in the rumen, and so they have to go somewhere, and eventually they're going to die off and wash out, and they're digested for protein and energy just like a piece of feed would be. And so that's one way that the protein requirement is met, and the other way is that there's some proteins that are not digested in the rumen that pass on through and are digested in the small intestine just as any other protein would be. In other words, they're not broken down and they're just digested as a monogastric would.

>> Right. And then there's lots of stuff in forages that's not protein, and I think if I'm going the right direction that we're mostly concerned in thinking through low quality forages that a lot of what's in there is cell wall instead of soluble cell contents, and the cell walls are lots of cellulose, and then there could also be other anti-quality compounds like silica maybe that make the forage less digestible than we'd like, or less valuable to the animal than we'd like. What are the different-- how are those things separated out, if we're thinking about animal nutrition and how to measure it at least on the front end, what are the different components of forage and what makes a feed good or bad, or maybe to avoid the good or bad, things that have high feed value or have low feed value?

>> Sure. Well, typically if we look at a forage as it matures, let's say just a grass for example, and your cheatgrass could be, although it's short lived, it's a pretty good example, and our range grasses are the same. As they mature from full vegetative, they're typically fairly high in protein, and then over time as they mature, that protein level drops. Alternatively, the fiber level in those grasses that increases as we move towards vegetative maturity. So, the quality of the grass is decreasing because of a loss of protein as it matures, and then fibers increasing as it matures, and in essence that's saying that the digestibility is going down because there's going to be an inverse relationship between the digestibility and the amount of fiber. And so, you know, when I talk to my students about fiber, you know, we always hear a lot of things about fiber for people, you know, it's good for our diet and this and that, and I asked them, I say, well what is fiber? And we have this discussion, it's actually structural carbohydrate, it gives structure to the plant material. And it's basically long repeating chains of glucose makes up cellulose, whereas let's say starch, for example, in our grains, that's long repeating chains of glucose, but it has a different bonding system. Alpha bonds in the starch easily broken down by monogastrics, you know, weeds starts it, and utilize potatoes, and grains, and breads, and all that kind of stuff really well.

>> Right.

>> And so do cattle. But the beta bonds in the fiber are what are more difficult to break down, and that's why they need those rumen microbes to produce the enzymes to break the beta bonds, and that's the difference between a ruminant and a monogastric on why they do really well on forages and even really low quality forages.

>> So, somebody's looking at a forage test or a hay test, how would these different kinds of components be communicated on a forage test result?

>> Well, we like to look at thigs on a dry matter basis, obviously we look at the protein content, in crude protein, on a dry matter basis, and one thing that a lot of people don't think about is that crude protein lumps a lot of different thigs together, it's not all true protein, it's basically an analysis that measures nitrogen. And so albeit extra things in there besides protein may not be in a very large quantity, but it also takes in your nuclear components from the nucleus of cells and in your DNA and all of those things in addition to the amino acids. In other words, it lumps all nitrogen containing compounds together. Because a ruminant doesn't really care where the nitrogen's coming from, it's still going to get broken down, or most of it's going to get broken down, and the rumen are a good share of it.

>> Yeah, so protein is fairly straightforward, just based on the amount of nitrogen in the feed stuff. What about the fiber?

>> So basically, if we look at the forage analysis, we typically analyze for neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber. The neutral detergent fiber takes in the hemicellulose and the cellulose, and the lignin, and other anti-quality components may be in there as well, but those are less digestible components, and that comes from the detergent fiber system that's been around since the late 1960's or so. Now, there's somewhat of a relationship between neutral detergent fiber and intake. So, in other words, the higher the NDF, we would think that that would decrease intake. Then there's a relationship between ADF, which is the cellulose, takes the hemicellulose out and it's the cellulose and the anti-quality components, and that has a pretty good relationship with digestibility. So, as that measure of fiber goes up, we would expect digestibility to probably go down to a certain degree. So, those are things we think about when we're starting to build our feeding programs is how does that fit into what we're trying to attempt to do when we try to get those cows to consume as much as we can get them to consume of a low quality forage, and also to get them to digest as much as we can of what they eat.

>> Right, so the problem is that if the forage is low enough quality, and by low quality we mean that it doesn't have a lot of protein and it does have a lot of fiber of various kinds, then the animal's intake goes down and they're perhaps not able to consume enough volume of it, enough bulk, to meet their nutrient requirements, is that right?

>> Yeah, that's correct. And so, when we think of low quality forages, one term that I like to share is the term of the first limiting nutrient. And in low quality forages our first limiting nutrient is typically protein. And what that tells us is that if the protein requirements are not being met for the cow and the rumen microbes, then optimum production can't move forward. So, in other words, with the first limiting nutrient, that's the first thing we've got to correct before we can get those cows to perform on whatever type of low quality forage we're talking about.

>> How do we get the rumen to digest enough of that stuff to make it work for the cow and meet their nutrient requirements and find optimum production?

>> I've spent quite a number of years in the field of protein supplementation, dating clear back to my time in Kansas, and to give you an example, those range grasses in Kansas are very low in quality when they reach full maturity.

>> These are mostly warm season, or both warm and cool?

>> They would have a mixture of warm and cool season, but the warm season grasses are especially low in quality, you know, like your blue stems and so forth. So, you can take forage tests of those grasses out there in the winter time, and they might only have three percent protein on a dry matter basis. So, I mean, we're talking very low quality. And so with beef cows, we really need to kind of define what low quality is. So, typically we consider forage that has about less than seven percent crude protein would be considered a low quality forage. And basically where that comes from , it's going to take about that much protein in the grass to come anywhere near meeting the protein requirement for a dry pregnant cow, a spring calving cow in the winter time.

>> Right.

>> And so, and then of course as we get closer to calving, and as we get through calving, those requirements are going to go up. But that's kind of where we define a low quality forage.

>> I would guess that a lot of range grass in, say, October, November, is going to be more like three, four, five percent crude protein?

>> Yeah, that--

>> Is that right?

>> Oh yeah, I would think so. And you know here in Eastern Washington, we have a lot of producers that use corn residue that they graze I the fall, that's a little higher quality, but how about wheat stubble, barley stubble, and those type of scenarios, same thing as what you're talking cheatgrass, you've got a mature grass out there, it' got energy in it, but what you've got to do is figure out how you're going to unlock that energy and make it available to the cow. So, we use our protein supplementation as a tool to try to unlock the potential energy out of that.

>> Right. I think that's a good place to switch gears. But before we do, it seems like forage testing is a good thing to talk about here in the middle. In your publication that we'll provide a link to, the document is on WSU's publication website, but we'll put a link to that in the show notes, you said that forage testing should be an integral part of all beef cattle operations. That sounds like a recommendation to me. So, people shouldn't, we used to say, don't guess, soil test, and in this context we would say don't guess, forage test. I'm familiar with people taking forage tests on hay, that's not real uncommon, but it seems like it's much less common to do forage tests on standing range grass. Do you recommend that, and if so how do you go about it? And then we'll go to talking about supplementation.

>> Any time your cattle are on any type of range grass, forage testing is still a possibility. And, you know, it all boils down to the fact that you have to get a representative sample, and that's a little bit harder than it is than if you're taking cores out of a bale, or out of a group of bales, when you've got a hundred ton of hay sitting in the barn, or whatever, but you know, if you're going to do it, I mean, if we were doing research, we'd go out there and set up grids and everything like that, but that's not something we have to do in a production scenario, but what I would suggest is you've got to get some grass off the hilltops, you've got to get some out of the draws, and all of the different topographies so that you get a representative sample, because that's going to help you a lot in the accuracy of your estimate.

>> Yeah, and it seems to me like this might be worthwhile, even though I don't think it's very commonly done, that's probably our job to help promote some of that. But, you know, one of the main objections to people using supplement is that it's quite expensive, and expensive enough that it kind of makes sometimes grazing that low quality range forage more of a breakeven proposition economically where your main objective is just to hold the herd long enough until you can get back on some other kind of high quality feed. But if a forage test costs 20 bucks and you do five of them on several different pastures or different landscape positions, $100 is pretty cheap insurance to help you avoid overbuying supplement or buying the wrong kind of stuff, am I right about that?

>> Absolutely, and like I tell the students, I say, you don't know what you need until you know what you have.

>> Right.

>> And so that kind of goes back to what you were saying about forage testing, and I think that it's really important. It's not hard to calculate what you need, but you're just shooting in the dark--

>> If you don't know what you have.

>> If you don't know, that's right.

>> So, if I were to go and take a sample from a range pasture, am I clipping just a portion of the plant that I think the cow's going to eat? You know, say from four inches of stubble up, in other words, I'd leave the last four inches on the ground, is that the portion that I would take a sample from and collect 20 plants?

>> Absolutely, because you want to have it as accurate as you can. You know, the cattle are going to graze, I mean, the more pressure they put on the pasture, the farther towards the ground that they're going to graze it, but you have to kind of try to mimic what they are doing out there. And one thing I'd like to interject here too is that people don't realize also that when those cattle are out there grazing, they're not just going with reckless abandon, they're actually selecting a diet, because if you take a monoculture of grasses or go out, I did studies like this in Canada, a diet selection study, you go out there and if you sample the grass on the range and then sample what the animals are actually eating after they've consumed it, those cattle are going to select a diet. And this doesn't matter whether it's the west part of the United States, or the Midwest, or whatever, the literature will support this, they're selecting a diet that's two or three percentage points higher in protein than the average of the standing grass, so that prehension that they're doing with their mouths and so forth, they actually have a method to what they're doing.

>> Right--

>> It's really amazing.

>> They're picking out individual plants and plant parts that are closer to meeting their requirements.

>> Absolutely. But typically we don't figure that in to our protein requirements because that's kind of our cushion, you know what I mean?

>> Right.

>> Because if the grass out there, we sample it, it's seven percent, then we'll supplement accordingly, and if they get a little bit more because of their selection, that's just all the better.

>> So, just to spell this out again, what happens when we offer a protein supplement to cattle eating low quality feeds? What specifically is going on with rumen microbes that enables the cow to do something with all that cellulose?

>> Okay, so one of the key factors in protein supplementation that we have to be thinking of is you have to have adequate forage out there. Because if you don't have adequate forage, it's really not supplementation, right?

>> It's just feeding.

>> It's just feeding. And so what we do is we can provide a limited amount of protein to meet the requirement, as long as they have adequate, albeit, maybe really poor quality grass, and so what we're trying to do is charge up the rumen microbes, satisfy their requirement for nitrogen so that they increase the proportion of that grass that they break down in the rumen. And so on very low quality forage, what we like to see is that as a result of a limited amount of protein supplementation is an increase in intake, and an increase in digestibility, and very low quality forages will usually see both. Now, sometimes in the cool season grasses of the Pacific Northwest, we may not see as much of an intake response, but we may still see the digestibility response, but those two things, they go hand-in-hand, and we're really just trying to charge up the rumen microbes to do their job better and unlock the potential energy that's in that grass. So, there's an [inaudible] link between energy and protein because a little bit of protein, through better utilization of the grass, delivers more energy, does that make sense?

>> Yeah. You know, a lot of people use liquid supplement, stuff like anipro, people use low moisture tubs or blocks that provide protein. What are some of the various kinds of supplement and your thoughts on the relative value of some of those? I realize some of that's constrained by location, you know, if you're trying to provide alfalfa hay for supplement, that's not quite as easy to do in a remote range location than running some tubs in.

>> Yeah.

>> What are different kinds of supplement that work?

>> Yeah, that's right, Tip. At some producer meetings I've had producers really want me to say, well, what's best? Should I use a lick wheel, should I use a molasses tub, should I use a handfed supplement, say, like canola meal? That would be a classic that would be available in the Pacific Northwest. Or, how should I deliver this? Should this be a hand-fed, and do we deliver it daily, or can we deliver it several days a week or whatever? And what I tell them, the answer to that question is it really doesn't matter, because if you're managing your animals to have adequate grass out there, it doesn't matter too much about what vehicle you're using to supply the protein, the concept is still the same. And so, maintain adequate grass and then deliver protein to make up the protein deficiency. And then the only other caveat to that is, is that if you're doing a self-fed supplement, intake control is the key factor.

>> The challenge.

>> It is a challenge because some of those old boss cows, they're going to love it, and they're going to eat lots, and there'll be some cows that maybe are a little more timid, or they just don't like it. And so your intake across the herd may be a little bit more variable. And one other thing I might say too is about our feed testing, is if you're using a particular protein supplement that's like a dry like a canola meal, or like in the Midwest they use a lot of cake or cubes, you know, or there they use a lot of soybean meal, or whatever, always do a feed analysis on your protein supplement as well because some of these byproduct feeds like distillers, grades, or canola meal, or whatever, have a lot of lot to lot variations, and so we can find a lot of variation in the protein content of those, so we have to there again know what we have so we know how much of it to feed.

>> Right. How much do various supplements differ in the level of protein provided and in the amount of energy provided, and under what circumstances would you use something that's quite a bit higher in protein? Like, if you got extremely low quality feed, would you offset that with a supplement with significantly higher protein value?

>> Yeah, you can do that if you're giving a similar amount of protein with a lower protein supplement, then it stands to reason that you're probably going to-- Let's just say for example you have a protein supplement that's 25%, and then you have another supplement that's at 45%, like soybean meal or whatever, and if you give double the amount of the 25%, you're probably going to deliver more energy from the supplement itself. And then we get into the conundrum of energy versus protein supplementation. When we just feed a little bit of protein to unlock the potential energy out of the grass, that is very, very efficient. If we decide we're going to mix, say, a little rolled barley with our protein supplement because those cows need a little bit of extra energy, then what we call the gross supplementation efficiency is going to be poorer than it is if we're just getting the extra energy out of the grass. But there's a couple of reasons why we might want to deliver energy along with our protein supplement, it would be it the case of let's say we're a little short on grass, or let's say we want to save grass and extend our grazing season, or we're in a drought situation, then it might be well to deliver some extra energy with it and increase the stocking rate or increase the length of the grazing season or whatever, and that's what we call, when we put an energy supplement along with a protein, that's what we call the substitution effect, in other words--

>> Right, stretching it.

>> Right. In other words, that energy in the supplement is taking the place and depressing the need for the grass a little bit.

>> Right. How consistent are some of the, you know, non-feed supplements? Things like low-moisture tubs or blocks, do they pretty much match what's on the label? Or do you know?

>> I would think so. You know, there's going to be, like all feeds, they'll have a range, you know, not less than so many percent protein or whatever, and I think that you can go by what they say on the label. But just bulk supplements I would say, and especially those byproduct feeds, you should test those to be sure you know what you got. And another thing about the byproducts, let's say canola meal that's available here in the northwest for example, it depends on how it's processed, if it's just crushed, there'll be more residual fat in there, which can be beneficial because it's extra energy. On the other hand, if it's oil seed that's solvent extracted, there'll be less residual oil left in there, less fat, and so you just need to know what you got.

>> One of the things that's interesting in the follow up paper that you did on this, on fetal programming, if I understand it right, is that a mother that has gotten accustomed to consuming and successfully metabolizing low quality feeds passes some of that ability on to its offspring. Is that right?

>> Sure. And I think that some of that early research that came out back in around 2008 or so, the amazing part about that is that they showed that through years, and years, and years of records of their supplementation records, and then following these calves through heifer development, or the steers through the feed lot, that a little bit of supplement during that third trimester in the form of that supplemental protein in the spring calving cows, was having an effect on the fetus while it's in utero, but also effecting how that animal performed all the way downstream clear into the feed lot, and that's pretty amazing stuff.

>> Yeah, that's really interesting.

>> And talking about, you know, differences in marbling ability or carcass weight and so forth. Pretty cool stuff.

>> Right, because you would think that the animal's performance would be nearly entirely related to their own rumen ecosystem and what the individual animal has been exposed to after it was no longer attached to the mother, but somehow it changes their long term ability to deal with that stuff?

>> Absolutely, and when you talk about it from the time they're in utero until the time they come out of the feed lot, you're getting up there towards a couple of years that they're still measurable effects based on that protein that happened to mama cow while she was on pasture during the winter while she was pregnant.

>> Yeah, one of the, I'm going to say conflicts that I think is out there in the world of livestock production, particularly in the beef industry, is the philosophy that you need to do whatever you can to make the cow match the environment, I tend to lean that direction. We had a podcast episode with Dr. Fred Provenza, who has written a lot about the benefits of wild environments that have high botanical diversity and some of the benefits of that to the animal. But then you also have people that say we have pretty fancy genetics in the beef herd right now and we need to give them what they need in terms of inputs above and beyond what the environment naturally provides to allow that performance or production to be expressed, this to feels to me like kind of a meet in the middle solution, you know, where regardless of how you cut it, a cow is not going to do all that well on three percent crude protein, and so it's reasonable what we're asking a cow to do in a scenario where they're fall or winter grazing some pretty rough low elevation rangeland is to make do with feed that doesn't meet their requirements, and this is giving them just enough tools to allow the microbes to do their job without fully trying to modify the environment. Fred Provenza would say that when you try to fight nature, you end up spending more money than you can afford, and you still don't end up usually in a good place. This looks like a pretty reasonable meet in the middle solution.

>> It is, like you say, meeting in the middle is probably a good thing. One example that I use about finding the right cattle to batch your environment is let's talk about the needs of a cow in the desert southwest versus the high country of north central Washington, it's a lot different.

>> Right.

>> You know, a high milk producing cow in the desert southwest, she may deplete her body reserves so much she won't get her bred back. And so whereas on a good year, heavy grass, and good rains in the north-central part of the state of Washington, you can get a little bit more milk production out of those cows and still have them be able to main body condition. That link between body condition and needing those cows to be in adequate body condition by the time that they calve so that they breed back is really important. So, it's all about matching the cow to their environment. And like you say, whether we talk about selecting sires or whatever, there's all kinds of high-powered genetics there and they look really good, but we have to remember what kind of rangeland that these cattle are going to be on.

>> Right, they have to perform under those conditions.

>> That's right, and that's your world, I mean, you know this and you deal with rangeland every day, and you know the vast differences and we just have to take that into account.

>> Yeah, and one of the challenges, especially with the inner mountain west native rangelands is that the native plant community was notorious for curing out well, and those plants retained quite a bit of their forage value into dormancy. Once those native plants have been replaced by exotic invasive species like invasive annual grass, and even some perineal grasses that they were replaced with, they don't have the same value and dormancy, and so now we have a bigger challenge than once was to try to make animals make do on what's out there. In the show notes, we're going to put a link to the two extension publications that you wrote, Don, on low quality forages, and then the other on fetal programming, we'll also put on there some forage testing procedures for both range pasture and testing hay, and we'll put a link to a publication on interpreting a forage test, and then also some information on how to go about selecting supplement and applying supplement in a real world setting. Don, what's the one thing you want listeners to remember or to try out from our discussion today?

>> If you're going to supplement protein on low quality forage, you have to have an adequate forage base before you start. If you don't, then you're probably going to be looking at your protein supplement along with supply and some energy as well, because basically what you're trying to do is provide a small amount of protein to unlock the potential energy that's tied up in that low quality gas.

>> Very good. Again, my guest today was Don Llewellyn, ruminant nutritionist with Washington State University. Don, thank you for your time.

>> Oh, it's been a pleasure.

>> Thank you for listening to the Art of Range podcast. You can subscribe to and review the show through iTunes or your favorite podcasting app so you never miss an episode. Just search for Art of Range. If you have questions or comments for us to address in a future episode, send an email to For articles and links to resources mentioned in the podcast, please see the show notes at Listener feedback is important to the success of our mission, empowering the rangeland managers. Please take a moment to fill out a brief survey at This podcast is produced by Connors Communications in the College of Agricultural Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. The project is supported by the University of Arizona and funded by the Western Center for Risk Management Education through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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