Critical Timing for Trace Mineral Status
The old adage of “Timing Is Everything” is very true when it comes to weaning. Often the timing of management interventions do not line up perfectly with the biology of the animal. I have heard many people say weaning success is all about having the right weather. If the weather changes to cold and wet right after weaning, most likely we will have more health issues. Weather can be a big factor, but the real issue is the stress of weaning occurs at the lowest point of trace mineral status for our calves.
Managing body condition score is one of the primary factors to impact reproduction. The BCS app is a great tool to help know how BCS is changing and what feeding management changes are needed.
June is Dairy Month which means Dairy Breakfast, Farm City Days and Dairy Food Specials are common in the dairy communities around the country. These events provide a great opportunity to show the consumer how we take care of our cattle and the effort it takes to produce the food and products they enjoy. Opponents of modern agriculture may say we need to return to the old way of doing things and use fear mongering of “Factory Farms” in their message. Some interesting dairy farm statistics of today’s dairy farms compared to dairy farms in 1944 show how today’s farms need fewer cows and resources while producing significantly less waste and green house gases. Source J. of Animal Science, 2009
In my travels this week I have seen rows of corn emerging from recently planted fields and even a few fields of mowed hay. All indication of a warm spring which will lead to summer time temperatures and the risk of reduce animal performance due to heat stress.
Spring is just busier and more crowded!
Managing the Spring rush is associated with calving season on beef cattle operations with spring calving herds. Many dairy farms will notice a seasonal increase in calving during the spring as well. Grazing dairies will calve in the spring to match the nutrient demand with the available forage. Traditional confinement operations often see an increase in spring calving for two reasons. Many operations do not calve first calf heifers in the coldest winter months. Increased spring calving of mature cows is often a result of heat stress. Cows that fail to conceive due to the heat of July and August will often become pregnant in September. These cows will enter the dry cow pens starting in March with subsequent calving in April through June. The net result is often an overcrowded situation in the dry cow, pre-fresh and fresh pens. Overcrowding in these pens leads to increased fresh cow problems after calving, most notably ketosis and uterine infections.
American agriculture is a world leader because of the innovation and hard work of the American Farmer and Rancher. Adopting new technologies has been at the center of this success. Often the innovation is the result of a need to improve animal performance, health and well being or improved utilization of a limited resource. If the estimates of 9 billion people in the world by 2050 are correct, the primary limiting resources will be land and water. Maintaining the choice to use the tools and technology available is being debated and we are at risk of not having many of these tools. Changes occurring in our industry can be seen as an obstacle or opportunity to better communicate why and how we manage livestock. The Food Safety Modernization Act and the move to veterinary oversight using the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) for medicated feeds are great opportunities to build trust and accountability with the food consumer.
About Improving Nutritional Efficiencies of the Beef Cow Herd
I started this Block Blog with the intention of explaining how rumen forge digestion is improved by feeding a CRYSTALYX® Self Fed Low Moisture Block supplement but the topic changed to looking at how technological changes will impact our industry. Ridley Block Operations, manufacturer of CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements, has and will continue to have, a focus on research and developing products and programs that increase profitability of livestock producers.
There is some apprehension about when the market will correct itself and who will be caught with expensive feeder calves. We should enjoy high feeder calf prices for a while given current market conditions. That said, the market will correct itself. When and how much are the real questions?
Harvest was in full gear as I traveled through the heart of grain country this week. Combines were running, the last of the hay was coming off and beef herds had been weaned or were soon to be weaning spring born calves. Several years back I was traveling with a gentleman from Montana during harvest. The combines got his attention but he was most impressed by the forage available for the cow herd with grazing corn stalks.