With the high price of nitrogen and today’s economy, let’s face it, pastures and hay fields don’t always get fertilized like they should. But other than harvesting fewer tons of forage, it doesn’t really matter that much, right? Or does it? What if you knew that lack of nitrogen fertilization directly correlated with Fescue Toxicity symptoms?
Even though snow is still flying in some parts of the country, now is the time to start planning your fly control program. Are you ready?
Excessive biting fly populations can literally suck the profit out of your cattle. Biting flies reduce weaning weights, lower milk production and spread disease. Why should your hard-earned money go toward feeding flies? In today’s economic environment, it is more important than ever to keep fly populations in check to maximize efficiency and profitability.
Lately, the question of the merits of injectable mineral supplementation has come up. Sometimes producers get conflicting information from their veterinarian vs. their feed supplier which can be very confusing. Let me take this opportunity to shed some light on this issue.
As I sit writing this, multiple tornados have ripped through the Southeast and much of the Midwest is under a blizzard warning. Disasters come in many forms – hurricane, flood, tornado, fire, blizzard or ice storm, just to name a few. You will likely have to deal with one or more of these situations at some point. No matter where you live or what kind of livestock you raise, everyone can benefit from having a well-prepared disaster plan. As they say – failing to plan is the same as planning to fail. Here are a few tips on what you can do:
Urinary stones can be a problem in male goats. This is because the urethra, the tube that empties the bladder, is shaped like an S in males (See Figure 1) and stones can easily get stuck in these S bends and cause blockage. Does get urinary stones too, but blockages rarely occur. It is important to note that presence of urinary stones is a “herd problem” when all are fed the same diet. As such you should strive to take a holistic approach in prevention and treatment.
As we all know, hay is in short supply this year due to drought. Feed costs represent 40 to 60% of the total budget for a cattle operation. Of this, hay represents a sizable proportion. Your choice of hay feeder design can significantly influence how much hay is wasted and thus your total feed costs.
We are still a long way off from knowing the final effects of the most widespread drought in the United States in more than 50 years. Given current market volatility and fears of feed shortages, it only makes sense to do everything in your power to make the most of available feedstuffs. Below are a list of tips that can help you make the most efficient use of available feed.
Hay is going to be more valuable than ever this year in light of the drought. For this reason, it is critical to maximize usable hay. Round bales are a popular means to harvest hay in many parts of the country. Proper round bale storage can make or break you. If your current storage method is allowing several inches of bale to rot, you might be surprised at how much hay is being wasted. The outer 4 to 6 inches, where most losses occur, make up a large percentage of the bale as shown in Table 1.
Vitamin D is often known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is synthesized in response to exposure to sunlight. There are two major natural sources of vitamin D, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). Vitamin D3 is synthesized in the skin of many herbivores and omnivores upon exposure to UV light from sunlight. Vitamin D2 is not found in green forages, but is formed when the dying leaves are exposed to sunlight. Thus, sun cured hay is a good dietary source of vitamin D2. Livestock utilize vitamin D3 much more efficiently than vitamin D2.
Fescue toxicity is the most costly grass-related disease in the United States with production losses exceeding $600 million per year. An endophyte fungus within the fescue plant causes fescue toxicosis. This endophyte produces alkaloids that cause adverse symptoms in grazing livestock including: decreased weight gain or even weight loss, reduced milk production, higher body temperature, increased respiration rates, rough hair coat, unthrifty appearance, loss of blood flow to extremities, excessive salivation and poor reproduction.