Everyone wants to make the most of summer. In the upper Midwest, we waste no time getting outside to soak up as much sun as possible to get us through the other 7-8 months. It’s no different for the cow-calf operators; the pastures are green, calves are growing like weeds and the next generation is just taking hold. It’s a picture Norman Rockwell would be proud of; however it’s what you don’t see that disturbs the beauty of this scene…mineral deficiencies.
Technology has made us more connected than ever before. There’s a page or group for everything these days and it’s easy to get buried in a mountain of information. How do you know what to believe? Just like those poor performing cows in your herd, sometimes you’ve got to cull the bad information and move on. With this in mind, CRYSTALYX® offers you many free resources for fact-based information you can trust.
Regardless of your address, we can all agree that it’s been a long winter. Even though we’re officially in spring, it doesn’t look or feel like it in southern Minnesota. The long range forecasts are calling for cooler than average temperatures in most areas with average precipitation. The combination of cool weather and rain is perfect for cool season pastures to take off. While the green pastures are a welcome sight, they can potentially cause grass tetany.
I am super competitive. I’m not sure if that’s the Irish side or the Norwegian side that makes me that way, but nonetheless, I always want to be the best. It drives me at work and home and means that I’m always looking for opportunities to improve myself. Why you wonder? Because when you call in, I want to be able to give you the best answers and options for your operation.
I’ve been last for most of my life…alphabetical, height, foot races, etc. It’s rare that I get the last word, though not for a lack of trying. So I’m honored to be the last blog post of 2013.
My colleagues and I try to find thought provoking, timely and useful topics to discuss with you each week. The most obvious topic for the last day of the year would be a retrospective, but that one has been claimed. So here are my thoughts for 2014.
The cattle industry is slowly entering a rebuilding phase. Recent market reports are showing that fewer heifers are going into feedlots. Pastures are improving across the Great Plains as the drought slowly recedes; South Dakota producers are planning their come back from the devastating fall snowstorm Atlas; and now is the time for all cow-calf producers to maximize replacement heifer performance by monitoring body condition score.
As we move into fall, harvest is in full swing, the drought is letting up, pastures are coming back and stocker prices are high. While your style of winter grazing will vary depend on your geography, the opportunity to boost gains is the same. Winter grazing is a low cost way to keep stockers and develop heifers, however, why not put a few more dollars to your bottom line by supplementing with an ionophore.
This summer has been an odd one for many regions; unusually cool in the upper Midwest, unusually wet across the Southeast. Not that anyone I know will complain about the rain, but it does throw a wrench in the hay making works.
When considering mineral supplementation, one of the more costly nutrients is phosphorus. One may be tempted to skimp on the phosphorus level in a mineral, thinking that forages will make up for it. That can be a costly decision when you consider that phosphorus has a significant role in reproductive efficiency and growth and it’s the most prevalent mineral deficiency in grazing livestock.
With a long, snow covered winter and a rainy spring, many producers can be optimistic when thinking about forage quality and availability this grazing season. Reviewing the drought monitor, things are improving, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The effects of long-term drought are not limited to forage and water quality.