Several previous blogs by my colleagues and me in 2016, stressed the importance of nutrition in late pregnancy, winter, post calving and breeding periods. For a cow that will be calving in the next 90 days, the next 6 months will be the most nutrient demanding months for her this year.
It’s Thanksgiving. We often reflect around Christmas and New Years on the past year; its good times and tough times. I think Thanksgiving is also a time to reflect, and reflect on all the positive things we have in our homes, businesses, and country. I for one, am thankful to be working, living and raising a family in the livestock industry and the feed business that supports it. We in the feed and supplement business, are in the cattle business too. Our success is dependent on our customers’ success. So, for this, I’m thankful for my customer’s success.
It’s no secret this fall is a different fall than the past two or three regarding the cattle market. The pressure is on to scrutinize cost, not just feed, but all costs. My neighbor brought some cows to our place for fall pasture this past weekend and commented that, “not many new pickups will be sold this fall.”
We’ve been reading about it, we’ve experienced it, we’ve denied it and we’ve accepted it. Calf prices are off significantly from where they were the last two years. This seesaw of a cattle market over the past couple years has made for a lot of optimism and grief, depending on which side of the seesaw you sit.
There are many additives fed to improve or alter rumen function and gut health. Yeast cultures, prebiotics, probiotics and fermentation extracts of these compounds are gaining more attention and finding more application.
With Agriculture, you can count on change, uncertainty, challenge, risk and opportunity. It’s only 5 months from 2017 when the new Veterinary Feed Directive becomes law of the land. This directive/ruling will regulate the feeding of Antibiotics in food animals giving oversight to veterinarians and has been well described in previous blogs by my colleagues.
Very few heifers bred late or what would be deemed the third heat cycle, meaning most that did not breed AI were bred in the second heat cycle by clean up bulls. This was a marked improvement over previous years on a different mineral program, and supported our theory going into the demonstration that with better nutrition post AI breeding, we could perhaps achieve better embryonic survival once heifers went to grass and better clean up breeding thereafter.
Wow, time flies! March 21st was the official first day of spring, or was it? I live in Nebraska and my least favorite season of the year is spring; not because of all the new beginnings or starts, but because of Mother Nature’s Biopolar personality this time of year. I read a Facebook post this morning from a Sandhills Ranch woman whose family I worked for in my youth. She commented on how the temperature the morning of March 21st was in the single digits, highs in two days would be in the mid 70’s and then a snowstorm was predicted the following day. This is what I don’t like about spring; you never know what you’re going to get.