Salt has had an elevated place throughout history. The phrase ‘worth his salt’ can be traced to ancient Rome where soldiers were sometimes paid in salt. However precious salt is, it’s not enough when it comes to your cattle.
In the past few years there has been a shift in the mindset of the consumer when it comes to food production. Science, it seems, is no longer an acceptable answer to the how and why of management practices. A number of retailers have taken advantage of this and have further influenced public opinion with advertising that is emotionally charged and less than 100% honest.
Newly weaned, fall-born calves are full of potential; potential for amazing gains as well as health issues. Backgrounding these calves on pasture this spring can help minimize the potential for health issues, but sometimes gain can suffer. However, with proper supplementation, including an ionophore, you can maximize growth, and ultimately returns, while minimizing the risks.
In January, I talked about the importance of zinc and vaccine effectiveness (read it here). Today, I’d like to continue the immune function discussion, but focusing on copper.
Copper has several important functions in the body ranging from metabolism, to enzyme function, to reproductive performance. Most notably, copper is a key component to proper antioxidant enzyme function (passive immunity, happens in the background) as well as antibody production and phagocyte activity (both are active immunity, happens in response to a pathogen). Cattle with a low to deficient copper status respond poorly to vaccines and disease challenges. This is because copper deficient cattle have decreased immune system protector cells, decreased antibody response to pathogens, and increased susceptibility to infection, including parasites.
Vaccines are an important part of the annual ‘to do’ list of any livestock operation. However, with the ever increasing list of cattle vaccines available, the cost to vaccinate can range from $3/hd up to $9/hd, not including labor. When you consider how much of an investment vaccines are, can you take the chance that they won’t be effective?
It continues to be good times cattle business. A colleague heard from a neighbor in eastern Wyoming that they received $1.25/lb more for their calves this year compared to last year. If you assume a 600 lb calf, that’s an additional $750 per calf! With higher than average profits and prices for replacement heifers, it only makes sense to reinvest in your cows.
We talk a lot about products on this blog, but sometimes we need to remember that CRSTYALYX® is about more than just providing great supplements. We’re a company comprised of people who care about our customers, about your cattle and about the future.
Goal setting… it’s a somewhat painful, but useful tool when you want to focus on a particular aspect of your life, work or production system. Setting production goals can be beneficial for cattle producers as it can assist with culling and buying decisions, in addition to herd health and nutrition programs.
There’s no denying it, the summer months seems to speed by, especially when you live in a northern climate. Forage quality can disappear just as fast as summer when temperatures rise and seed heads appear. Cow performance can trail off too. As the days get hotter, she’s more likely to seek shade or the pond rather than graze. Both late summer issues can be combatted by adding a protein supplement with Tasco® to your pastures.