During several recent dealer meetings, intake has been a common topic of discussion. Talk has ranged from modifying total feed intake to the need for predictable intake of certain nutrients and additives to the control of self-fed supplements.
Most spring calving herds are well into the calving season with busy days of tagging calves and weeks of less sleep due to those late night trips checking the calving pens. An important activity that needs to be part of the calving season is body condition scoring (BCS) the cows.
We have entered into the new year and preparing for tax season is one item we will be doing. The questions we often ask is, “Will I get a return?” That same question is often in the back of our mind when we purchase supplements for the cow herd.
Recent studies cite that 83.9% of the cattle at harvest showed signs of chronic oxidative stress. What role do chelated trace minerals have in improving oxidative balance and how can we help cattle reach their full genetic potential?
In many areas, the cow calf producer is about to enter the more expensive time of the production cycle for feeding the cow herd; Hay feeding season! Pasture cost is the biggest expense for most operations, but the cow does the harvesting and the pasture payment often is not an out-of-pocket item that hits the check book all at once. If you are in a pessimistic mindset you may be thinking, “No, buying protein blocks is the most expensive thing I do”.
The cow calf producer is faced with the perpetual question of how to market the calf crop and maximize profit potential. The answer varies each year depending on the forage situation, management capabilities and current economics of the beef market. More calves are on the market with the expanded cow herd. On many operations calves are marketed at or shortly after weaning, and there is typically a glut of calves available in October and November which historically has the lowest calf prices of the year. Feeder cattle prices typically improve in the spring months compared to the seasonal low at weaning. What is required to hold calves to a later date, market them at a heavier weight, and increase the income per calf?
As we enter the later part of the summer, many farms and ranches may find themselves short of grass. In the upper plains, the main reason may be due to drought conditions and in other areas it may be due to stocking rate combined with weather issues. I travel in areas of expensive farm ground where the availability of pasture land is still an issue. Several producers have added cows more quickly than pasture has become available or available at a reasonable cost. We have yet to see corn and bean ground going back into grassland at an appreciable rate. Whatever the reason of forage shortage, the decision to early wean can benefit the cow by reducing the nutrient demand for lactation and allowing her to regain body condition.
Last week, Dan Dhuyvetter wrote a blog on summer conditions, drought and he started the title with the exclamation “Wham!”. When it comes to summer heat and humidity, “Boom!” is a fitting exclamation for the way heat and humidity can negatively impact dairy cattle.
Driving this week it was very apparent that spring has arrived and cattle will be turned out to pasture very soon in many areas. Tractors were in the fields completing manure application with tillage and planting equipment starting once soils begin to dry up a bit. Increased activities over the next few weeks signal a critical time in many agricultural production systems and this is especially true for the cow calf sector. A couple of the benefits of CRYSTALYX® Self Fed Supplements are the saving time compared to hand fed supplements and the added confidence of consistent nutrient delivery during critical production phases.
CRYSTALYX® supplements are highly palatable which contributes to several benefits related to grazing management. Cattle like the stuff and will seek it out! Strategic placement of barrels can modify where beef cattle graze and impact resting behavior in pasture and open range settings. A dairy free stall barn is a much smaller and confined setting but recent finds show that where barrels are placed does impact cow movement and behavior, even when abundant quantities of a TMR diet is offered in a restricted housing environment.