Regardless of your address, we can all agree that it’s been a long winter. Even though we’re officially in spring, it doesn’t look or feel like it in southern Minnesota. The long range forecasts are calling for cooler than average temperatures in most areas with average precipitation. The combination of cool weather and rain is perfect for cool season pastures to take off. While the green pastures are a welcome sight, they can potentially cause grass tetany.
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.
It’s no secret that Beef cow nutrient requirements start increasing prior to calving and continue up until the cow herd is bred. In spring calving herds many producers have matched these increasing nutrient needs with their calving season to take advantage of these actively growing pastures to help limit the amount of supplemental inputs needed. There has been a wide variety of conditions across the US this past winter with extremely dry conditions in the west and very cold temperatures in many other parts of the country. This is a strong reason for concern going into calving and supports the need to evaluate your nutrition program in order to ensure calf health and performance and timely rebreeding. Reports from the Extension Service in SW Missouri this winter have indicated reduced conception rates and even death losses in cows from the colder than normal weather conditions. Lingering cold temperatures could easily result in reduced cow body condition if energy adjustments were not made jeopardizing both calving and rebreeding. Shortcuts in the area of nutrition now can seriously affect your profitability given the current calf prices.
Many of you may have already heard of the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed by FDA. In a nutshell, previous FDA rules were focused primarily on identifying food safety problems after they occurred and responding accordingly. FSMA seeks to help prevent food safety issues in both humans and animals through preventative controls throughout all levels of production, storage and distribution. Part of the fallout of FSMA is the topic of antibiotic use in meat animals. With debate still ongoing, one thing is clear, that reliance on antibiotic use in food animals is on a downward trend. With this in mind, it is going to be more important than ever to build strong immune systems in our calves through sound nutrition.