June is Dairy Month which means Dairy Breakfast, Farm City Days and Dairy Food Specials are common in the dairy communities around the country. These events provide a great opportunity to show the consumer how we take care of our cattle and the effort it takes to produce the food and products they enjoy. Opponents of modern agriculture may say we need to return to the old way of doing things and use fear mongering of “Factory Farms” in their message. Some interesting dairy farm statistics of today’s dairy farms compared to dairy farms in 1944 show how today’s farms need fewer cows and resources while producing significantly less waste and green house gases. Source J. of Animal Science, 2009
For most spring calving herd producers, cows are out on pasture with their calves at side meeting their nutritional needs through grazing. Little input is required other than a good fence and some supplemental vitamin/mineral nutrition. Nutritionally it is a very significant time in the cow’s production cycle as they are at a critical point for maintaining a yearly calving interval. The goal is to have cows bred within roughly 80 days of when they calved in order to maintain this yearly interval which can provide a uniform set of calves to merchandize in the fall or winter months.
Tall fescue has long been associated with a syndrome known as Summer Slump (a.k.a. Fescue Foot or Fescue Toxicosis). An endophyte fungus within the fescue plant produces alkaloids that cause adverse symptoms including: decreased weight gains, weight loss, decreased feed intake, reduced milk production, higher body temperature, increased respiration rates, rough hair coat, unthrifty appearance, loss of blood flow to extremities, excessive salivation and poor reproductive performance. Symptoms seem to be worst during hot summer months. Table 1 illustrates the differences in weight gain in steers on both high- and low-endophyte fescue diets.
Late in the summer of 2014, CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements came with a new launch, or better described, a new approach of product programs. There really wasn’t any new product, except for one; rather a reformulation of a few and a “categorical” look at different programs. We call this our Economy, Balanced and Premium categories. There were a few blogs written in the latter half of 2014 that mentioned these product categories so I won’t elaborate on the details of each.