Below is a parable about beans and two very interesting tribes of warriors and the cost of not using technology. This story should keep people’s attention and may help them understand the science and importance of technology like genetically modified organisms, GMO.
Intensive High Impact Workouts Verses Consistent and Strategic Activity
There are at least two times during the year that most people will think about exercise; around the New Year for making resolutions and in the summer when headed to the lake or beach. Personally, I prefer a comfortably paced walk compared to running a 5K and much prefer being active outside as compared to going to a gym. A reason people may give up on an exercise programs is the intensity and cost while convenience is really the main objection. We all can benefit from being in better shape by doing some exercise. That said; it does not have to involve packing up, driving to the gym, going hard for an hour every day. Don’t fall into the mindset that “I don’t have the time, energy or money to get in better shape”.
June is a busy month with many activities that will allow us to provide the general public a little more access to our cattle operations. June is Dairy Month with many activities such as Dairy Breakfast and Farm and City Days and for beef operations there are farm tours and breed association events. These are wonderful activities to highlight the care and dedication that is given to our animals. The interest of the general population in THEIR food supply is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, the availability of misleading information and outright deceptive information about production agriculture and livestock production is also very abundant. In addition, I take issue with advertising by some in the feed and food industry which contributes to the consumer’s confusion by implying that one a product is more wholesome or safer than another that is produced by a different production processes. I challenge you to take the opportunity to open the door a little wider to be even more transparent on your management practices. We need this to continue to gain the trust and support of the general population. If we fail to explain the technology we use, we run the risk of losing access to that technology.
Weather has an enormous impact on our industry; everything from precipitation concerns to temperature extremes affecting our crops and livestock. This past winter was one for the record books, now it is time to prepare for warmer temperatures and reduce the impact of heat stress on your dairy and feedlot cattle. We now have a better understanding of the impact that brief periods of low rumen pH can have on animal performance. Periods of low rumen pH can result in reduced rumen function, death of rumen bacteria and systemic endotoxemia.
I look forward to March most every year, even if the weather and my favorite basketball teams are so unpredictable. March Basketball is so unpredictable that a group is offering a BILLION dollar challenge for a perfect bracket. Good luck! The odds are against you. For dairy and beef producers some things in March are fairly certain; Fighting a few weeks of MUD and several days when Mother Nature will be confused about starting spring or holding on to winter. Weather changes impact feed intake and increase health risks for cattle. The odds of your cattle having consistent eating patterns or feed delivery in March are about as good as me have a winning basketball bracket with my UK Wildcats going all the way. We can’t control Mother Nature, however there are several CRYSTALYX® Self Fed Supplements that can help your livestock maintain performance through March Madness.
This week there are several events focusing on the cattle industry such as The NCBA Convention in Nashville, TN and the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, SD. At each of these events there will be presentations on how to better communicate with the food/beef consumer.
Impact of FDA’s Plan to Phase Out Antibiotic Growth Promotion Use in Animal Production
Part of my “casual” reading this week was the FDA Guidance For Industry (GFI) #213, which was released on December 11, 2013. This GFI outlines the voluntary 3 year plan to phase out the feeding of antimicrobials for growth promotion and increased feed efficiency in animal production while maintaining the use of antimicrobials for the prevention and treatment of disease. The other component of this plan is to increase veterinary oversight using the Veterinarian Feed Directive (VFD).
Cow calf production is all about getting the best return from the inputs you have invested. You may be questioning when to start or how fast will protein supplements generate a return. Input costs were higher than “normal” in most areas last year due to several factors. Foremost, the drought of 2012 had a major impact on forage availability. The additional investment in protein supplements provided a nice return by improving fiber digestibility, thus helping stretch tight forage supplies. This allowed many producers to maintain their current herd size. However, herd expansion was limited due to the low forage inventory and the need to generate cash which meant selling heifers as feeders.
We have a core value of Safety First at Ridley Inc. which in simple terms is a committed mindset of taking a moment to consider the safety hazards or risk involved in all the activities we do. I have written about safety in prior blogs and the recent release of the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2012 (preliminary results) by the US Bureau of Labor has prompted me to revisit the subject. I am analytical by nature and dug into the numbers. When I read the summary and looked closer at the specifics for agriculture I asked the question, “Why is agriculture one of the most dangerous occupations?”
A current buzz word in Agriculture is Precision. In crop farming it is a way to highlight the fact a new technology is being applied to a process; such as satellite linked Precision Planting and Precision Crop Nutrient Management. In animal nutrition, we also like to look for the newest thing or magic bullet. I am all for innovation and staying current with technology, but some proven methods should not be overlooked in the zeal to be new. This Precision Nutrient Delivery phrase may help some people understand and accept how low moisture block self-fed supplements like Brigade® and several of the Dairy CRYSTALYX® formulas such as Dry Cow™ Formula, Close-Up™ Formula and Transition Stress™ Formula work; even with modern ration balancing technologies.