On the Blog

Beef production critical control points and cow supplementation

I recently had the good fortune to attend a company-sponsored conference on Beef Production Critical Control Points. Just the title/topic of this conference would open up a long list of subjects one would expect to learn. Nutritionists, veterinarians, economists, ranchers, feedlot operators and anyone else would come up with a long list or perhaps their own specific list. In fact, many surveys by various organizations and institutions exist with a near endless list of production management categories. (See chart below).

Source:  Priorities First, December 2006 (sponsored by American Angus Association)

Proper supplementation practices are either on these lists or influence various categories. Past blog topics since April 2011 on this website have addressed in one way or another something in the list above.

As the fall season approaches, I often get the question in the northern plains of just when is the best or most valuable time to use a supplement like CRYSTALYX®.  For the traditional products that supply protein, the answer is usually in early fall/late summer, and to match supplementation to forage conditions to positively affect cow body condition? A cow given some supplement while in good body condition will likely not suffer later as weather and forage conditions further deteriorate and will ultimately be more efficient. If bred cows are entering the second trimester of pregnancy, data also supports the positive effects of supplementation now on subsequent calf performance (i.e. fetal programming or developmental programming). 

Anymore just about everything involving beef production is critical. When one ponders that the American beef producer is challenged everyday by circumstances completely out of his or her control, and still manages to come up with the safest, highest quality, and most abundant supply of beef in the world, it’s evident that much attention is paid to critical control points. It is also a reminder that the production bar continues to be raised and that beef producers and all who support them with goods and services cannot be complacent in any area.