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?”
As we move into fall, harvest is in full swing, the drought is letting up, pastures are coming back and stocker prices are high. While your style of winter grazing will vary depend on your geography, the opportunity to boost gains is the same. Winter grazing is a low cost way to keep stockers and develop heifers, however, why not put a few more dollars to your bottom line by supplementing with an ionophore.
CRYSTALYX® Brand self-fed supplements are an excellent way to maximize your returns from a supplement program that’s available 24/7, while minimizing your investment in time, labor and equipment.
The frequency of supplementation to beef cattle grazing pasture or being fed hay has a lot of ongoing commentary. There’s good research on this topic dating back a few decades, and more recently with range beef cattle in Oregon (Schauer et al., 2005; Bohnert et al., 2002). Many metabolism studies comparing the efficiency of the strategies of daily supplementation compared to alternate days or even weekly intervals have been conducted. Much of this current data has concluded that cow performance related to body condition score was not negatively impacted by the frequency of supplementation, nor were other parameters such as dry matter intake digestibility or grazing duration. Some conclusions were based on the fact that ruminants can recycle Nitrogen from protein supplementation rather efficiently and maintain adequate levels in their body to support protein needs during periods of infrequent supplementation.
Everyone loves calving in the Spring and watching newborn calves bouncing around the pastures. It provides a sense of new beginnings for that particular calf crop with great expectations of how they will perform over the summer grazing season. I would argue that weaning is as important, or even more critical as a period of new beginnings for the calf crop. Calves must now perform on their own without any assistance from their mother. From a cow-calf producers stand point with all that has been invested up to this point, you will want to make sure calves are able to transition to stockers, feeders, replacement heifers or young bulls without any set-backs in growth or compromised health status. After all, for most producers, pay day is just around the corner.