On the Blog

Stay cool when the heat is on at the fair

My weekly chat with my mom reminded me that it’s county fair time in the northern parts of the US. While we’re lucky to not have the oppressive heat and humidity that some of the southern states have, it can and does get hot and humid. I recall a few show days from my 4-H years that were extra hot and a break in the shade with a wet towel was in order. This week, I thought I would share some thoughts on keeping everyone safe while at the fair.

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5 questions about VFDs and beef production

Cattle feeding will be changing in 2017. Starting Jan 1, 2017, all livestock producers will need a veterinary feed directive (VFD) in order to utilize antibiotics in the feed. Trying to wade through all the regulations can be a nightmare, so I’ve pulled out 5 things you need to know to be ready for 2017.

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Updated CRYSTALYX line up

In an effort to ensure your cattle are getting the very best nutrition available, we have made some changes to the CRYSTALYX® LineUp. You may have already heard about them from your CRYSTALYX® representative or dealer, but a refresher is always welcome.

 

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Earn to Learn: It's back!

The CRYSTALYX® Earn to Learn™ program is back for another year and better than ever. This blog discussion is not about the performance of CRYSTALYX® on livestock, rather about today’s youth in agriculture; which is our future. The future of CRYSTALYX® is not only about cows but kids too.

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Fat levels in CRYSTALYX

Beginning this week in August, you will notice that we have changed the formulation of the “HE” CRYSTALYX® products. These were some of the oldest CRYSTALYX® products in existence.  The “HE” in their name used to stand for “High Energy”.  I say “used to”, because since I got involved with formulating the CRYSTALYX® products over 19 years ago, I also got involved with the marketing of them.  I noticed that most every promotional flier we had on CRYSTALYX® products at the time, usually listed “high energy” as the first bullet point.  Having access to the energy values of the various formulas, I could quickly see that the energy contained in ¾ pound of CRYSTALYX® was approximately the same as ¾ pound of corn.  Now I agree that corn is relatively high in energy compared to straw, but I would struggle to promote CRYSTALYX® as high in energy, given that you could get the same amount of energy in ¾ pound of corn for much less money.  We began having the “High Energy” bullet points removed from our advertising materials, and I slept better at night.

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Urinary stones in goats

Urinary stones can be a problem in male goats. This is because the urethra, the tube that empties the bladder, is shaped like an S in males (See Figure 1) and stones can easily get stuck in these S bends and cause blockage. Does get urinary stones too, but blockages rarely occur.  It is important to note that presence of urinary stones is a “herd problem” when all are fed the same diet. As such you should strive to take a holistic approach in prevention and treatment.

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Common sense tips for stretching your feed dollars

We are still a long way off from knowing the final effects of the most widespread drought in the United States in more than 50 years. Given current market volatility and fears of feed shortages, it only makes sense to do everything in your power to make the most of available feedstuffs. Below are a list of tips that can help you make the most efficient use of available feed.

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Water quality falls during drought

When in a drought situation, thoughts turn immediately to pastures. However water quality can drop off just as quickly during extended periods of hot, dry weather. Water is often the forgotten nutrient. We take it for granted that if there’s water available in the pen or pasture, that the livestock are set.

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Don’t throw away hay to improper storage

Hay is going to be more valuable than ever this year in light of the drought. For this reason, it is critical to maximize usable hay. Round bales are a popular means to harvest hay in many parts of the country. Proper round bale storage can make or break you. If your current storage method is allowing several inches of bale to rot, you might be surprised at how much hay is being wasted. The outer 4 to 6 inches, where most losses occur, make up a large percentage of the bale as shown in Table 1.

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What is an organic trace mineral?

Nutritionists, along with producers, are always on the lookout for the next big thing to really improve livestock performance. In the case of nutritionists, we’re looking for products that pack a bigger nutritional punch per pound. Organic trace minerals are one of those advances that do bring a little more to the table. But what is an organic trace mineral?

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