Many parts of the country are experiencing cold winter conditions with some areas receiving snow and the coldest temperature of the year. It takes more time and effort to get regular chores completed. In addition, we need to push snow, pull out stuck vehicles, break ice and thaw frozen water pipes. When you consider the extra energy that humans need, it helps put our cattle’s nutrient requirements into prospective.
The current cattle economics situation is making everyone evaluate their feeding programs and overall production cost. Markets have their cycles and it is hard to say how long this period of low prices will last, given how quickly markets have moved in the last 2-3 years. As you look at your feeding program, remember it is the cost per pound of product sold that is the true driver of profitability.
Weaning is one of the more stressful times for calves. Managing weaning stress is a major factor that determines when many producers market their calf crop. Weaning stress is a combination of nutritional and social changes forced upon the calf. Avoiding the risk of health problems at weaning is one reason some producers choose to wean on the trailer as the calves go to the sale barn.
Parts of the country are fortunate to have excellent pasture conditions. Large portions of the Eastern and Southeastern US are well above normal for rainfall which has kept pastures conditions in the good to excellent range for most of the grazing season. I have not seen this much grass in mid-August in the area I travel in several years. For the most part producers have built up hay inventories. Other parts of the country have not been as fortunate and will need to begin feeding hay earlier than desired.
The discussion about food and the environment impact of animal agriculture has generated debate for many years. A disturbing trend is how the ultimate goal of eliminating animal agriculture is hidden in the recommendations of some organizations which attempt to tell the consumer what is best for them and the world in general.
The dairy industry is celebrated throughout the month of June with Dairy Breakfast and Farm City Days. These are excellent events where dairy producers are able to offer the food consumer a glimpse into the daily activities and workings of a dairy farm. Farms that are hosting these events deserve a big THANK YOU from not only the visiting consumers but from the rest of the agriculture community. Collectively, the animal agriculture industry needs more of these type of events to foster a higher level of consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply and a better understanding of the effort and dedication it takes to care for our animals. Heat stress abatement strategies and feeding management is one of the areas we can highlight for the consumer. Officially, summer begins on June 21st, however heat stress is beginning to impact dairy cattle in many parts of the country.
With each new season there are things that we look forward to like green grass, warm days and watching the new calf crop develop. One thing we and our cattle do not look forward to is the suffering, annoyance and general loss of performance that excessive fly pressure can create. We have recently expanded our fly control options available in the CRYSTALYX® self-fed supplment line.
We realize there are many information sources that livestock producers can seek out and are honored that many producers find CRYSTALYX® activities as a reliable and trusted source for information.
It has been a relatively mild winter in many areas except for the last few weeks with severe cold temperatures in many parts of the country. It is relatively easy to understand the need for extra feed and/or nutrition during these times of low temperatures.
We are just over 12 months away from the Veterinary Feed Directive being fully implemented in January of 2017. We will still have antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of disease but with added paper work and expense.