Planning ahead will become crucial in making feed go the distance this winter.

Barry Yaremcio, Beef and Forage Specialist at the Ag Info Centre in Alberta, says producers have a couple of choices when short on feed.

"Either you can buy more feed, you can cull more cows, or something that's not usually done is to move the cows into some of the areas that do have more feed. And, it's always cheaper to move cows to the feed rather than feed to the cows."

If you know you're going to be short on hay, try feeding straw, lower quality feed, slough hay, or lower quality forages with supplements when the cows are in early to mid pregnancy, Yaremcio says.

"Add some additional proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Adding an ionophore is definitely something that will reduce your feed requirements by 7-8%, which is a good investment. And, get some help from a nutritionist. Have them work through the winter feeding program, and establish what you need for your entire feeding program.

Yaremcio says the best thing to do when building a winter feeding program is to spend the money on feed testing.