Producer Guide: Feeding Dry Supplements


Dry supplements should ideally be introduced before conditions become dry and cattle start to lose weight. Feeding earlier means you will utilise more of your pasture to promote gains.


When To Supplement 

Firm and dry dung indicates that the rumen is short of protein and as a result, cattle will be losing weight. The addition of non-protein nitrogen and true protein from cottonseed meal in the PASTUREPRO® Range will stimulate the rumen bug population and feed intake. Dry supplements can increase dry pasture intake by up to 30%.


Forage Quality and Availability

The level of production is mainly determined by the amount of leaf in pasture. When pastures have mainly green leaf with little stalk, high production can be achieved. A mineral supplement like PASTUREPRO® Calphos can be used to correct mineral imbalances.
As pasture starts to mature the flower/stalk increases and the amount of leaf declines and the level of production declines. At this stage protein, vitamin and mineral supplements are effective in maintaining growth rates. Use PASTUREPRO® Five + R.
When pastures are flowering there is a large amount of high fibre bulk feed that can be effectively utilized with dry supplements that contain high protein, minerals and vitamins. As pastures dry off and turn brown the amount of leaf declines and cattle will start losing weight. The role of the supplement is to utilize the pasture available and reduce the rate of weight loss of cattle. A high protein, vitamin and mineral supplement is required here. Use PASTUREPRO® Ten + R.
When the pasture is stalky with little leaf, cattle will be losing weight. At this stage an energy, protein, vitamin and mineral supplement is required. Dry supplements are not recommended. To finish animals, a feedlot mix that can be full fed or restrictively fed in self-feeders is needed with the remains of the pasture used for a roughage source. Use Riverina 80% Feedlotters Concentrate or Lamb Concentrate 4% mixed with grain.


Class of Cattle


Require a higher protein and energy level if they are going to continue to grow evenly. Post weaning their rumen is not fully developed and they are going to need a good quality pasture that is still green and before flowering. The supplement needs to have a lower urea level and high levels of natural proteins like cottonseed meal in the PASTUREPRO® Weaner.

Feeding rates will be determined by the condition of the pasture. Once brown but still with leaf, higher levels of feeding are going to be required.



The rumen has developed fully and the protein requirements have declined. Steers and heifers will continue to gain weight until pastures are flowering and just starting to turn brown. PASTUREPRO® Five + R should be used prior to flowering and PASTUREPRO® Ten + R after flowering. Starting earlier maintain weight gains and turnover rates.


  • Dry cows and those early in calf can maintain themselves on mature pasture provided there is sufficient leaf with a supplement.

  • Lactating and Late in Calf require higher protein and energy diets to develop the calf and improve milk production. If pasture conditions are poor it is best to early wean the calves as after the cows are dry the pasture may be adequate to maintain the cow.

  • Breeding: Supplementation 6 – 8 weeks prior to joining will help improve conception rates. If pastures are green, a vitamin and mineral supplement is all that is necessary but when pastures are dry, protein, vitamins and minerals are needed.

  • Bulls and Growing Bulls: Use a safe supplement like the PASTUREPRO® Calphos + 7% Urea that has a low urea and high natural protein from cottonseed meal. This should be fed 6 – 8 weeks prior to joining. Young bulls need to be on better quality pastures. Vary the feeding rates to maintain an even growth rate. A grain/concentrate mix may need to be supplementary fed when pastures are poor.


How to Feed


  • Open ended troughs are ideal.

  • Multiple holes are needed to promote good drainage.

  • Keep dry at all times. Urea dissolves in water sitting on the top of the lick, if cattle drink the water it could lead to urea toxicity.

  • Have adequate trough space for all cattle to eat the supplement. Bullying can lead to uneven intakes and potential problems.

  • Once feeding starts NEVER let the troughs become empty. Cattle are likely to over consume when troughs are re-filled which can lead to deaths, especially on the higher urea supplements.

  • If cattle stop eating lick (often following a pasture flush) cover the lick with a layer of salt to prevent sudden intakes when conditions become dry.



  • Cattle need to have ready access at all times to a reliable clean water supply, at all times.

  • Place troughs at least 200m away from the water source to promote grazing.


Starting Cattle:

  • Feed according to the directions for the specific product on the label or the product sheet - visit the relevent product page on our website.

  • Many areas are salt or phosphorus deficient. Cattle will often over-consume a supplement while trying to top up their reserves of these minerals, however if the lick contains a high urea level this can lead to toxicity.

  • Feed PASTUREPRO® Calphos as this supplement is high in both phosphorus and salt but contains no urea. When intakes settle to less than 150g/head/day switch to the supplement of your choice.

  • Monitor Intakes: Be aware that you are getting average figures, some cattle will not be eating and others will be over consuming. As urea can be potentially dangerous if not well managed, maximum feeding rates are noted on all products to alert you that their urea consumption or other additive may be in excess. If maximum feeding rates are exceeded, discontinue feeding and contact your Riverina representative.

  • For cattle unaccustomed to dry supplements, start by placing troughs a minimum of 200m away from watering points and then move them out into the paddock to promote grazing after they start to eat the lick.

  • Do not add new cattle into mobs that have already adapted to consuming licks. The new cattle’s rumen will not be adapted to the urea in the lick and could be dangerous.

  • Take care when moving on to higher urea supplements. Make sure cattle are currently consuming less than the maximum feeding rate of the lick before changing. Creep feeding calves prior to weaning helps them become accustomed to eating supplements and makes weaning easier. Start a minimum of two weeks prior to weaning.


Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System (PCAS)

Our dry supplement range can be manufactured without RUMENSIN®, FLAVO® or FLAVECO™ and will then meet the PCAS requirements (PASTUREPRO® WEANER will not meet requirements).

If you are interested in our range of PCAS approved supplements please refer to our separate index.


General Warnings for PasturePro Supplements

Dry supplements are concentrated sources of protein, vitamins and minerals and can be fed safely if they are managed properly. You should take note of the following points:

  • Urea can kill stock if consumed too quickly. When starting cattle or sheep, intakes need to be monitored. Each product has a maximum feeding rate that keeps urea and other additives at safe levels.

  • Do not feed with other supplements such as liquid feeds, molasses supplements, pellets, meals, water medication etc, that may contain urea or another nonprotein nitrogen sources. Doubling up can be dangerous.

  • Do not feed supplements to thirsty, starving or salt deficient stock. If the supplements contain RUMENSIN® or BOVATEC®, do not feed to dogs, horses or other equines as it may prove fatal.

  • Keep dry at all times.

  • Feed to the intended species. Beef supplements contain high copper levels that can cause toxicity in sheep. Clean water needs to be available at all times. Most of the PASTUREPRO® range has high salt levels and cattle will drink more water.

  • Supplements are not complete feeds. They are designed to be fed in conjunction with abundant pasture to help balance out nutrient deficiencies.

  • For more information on shelf life and storage ( dry feeds or liquid feeds), and specific warnings on the full range of Riverina products, see the detailed product information.


Finishing Cattle and Sheep on Riverina Concentrates

Riverina have a range of concentrates to suit finishing cattle and lambs. These concentrates can be used in a number of ways:

  • FEEDLOT: Mix the concentrate with rolled grain and roughage (and a protein/calcium source in some cases) to form a complete feedlot diet or mix the grain and concentrate and offer hay in racks.

  • PASTURE BASED: Mix rolled grain and concentrate (and a protein/calcium source in some cases) and use in a self-feeder provided adequate standing pasture is available.

  • Additional lime (calcium source) may need to be included in the ration for younger weaner cattle or lambs.

  • Protein meals may also be needed to increase the protein of the feedlot ration to a suitable level. This will depend on the protein level of the grain and age of cattle. We recommend testing your grain for protein.

  • A buffer such as Bentonite at 2% – 4% or sodium bicarbonate at 0.5% – 1% of the total diet is recommended at least in the introductory phase to aid in preventing acidosis. The 80% Feedlotters Concentrate + Acidbuf includes a buffer.

  • Ensure that there is ample access to clean water.

  • Cattle and lambs need to be gradually introduced to the concentrate mix over a three week period for cattle, and two weeks for lambs, either by mixing higher levels of roughage in the ration or limiting intake of the ration and supplying extra roughage in a hay rack. This allows the rumen to gradually adapt to the high grain diets.

  • Initially roughages should be palatable and of good quality. After the introduction period cattle can use a coarser roughage source but lambs need to have good quality palatable hay throughout the feedlotting period.

The following table is a suggested introduction program for feedlot cattle:
 Total Ration Mix
Days on FeedGrainConcentrateRoughage
1-2 daysNilNil100%
3-7 days35%5%60%
8-12 days45%5%50%
13-17 days55%5%40%
18-22 days65%5%30%
23 days and over75%5%20%
MANAGEMENT: The adaptation period where cattle are changed from grazing pasture to a high energy grain based diet is of critical importance. Please see Notes on Feedlotting Cattle or contact your local Riverina representative for more detailed information.

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