Drought has made this a tough year for many livestock producers in southern Appalachia. Drought-affected pastures rarely produce adequate amounts of forage. Hay is in short supply and what's available tends to be of below-average quality. Drought-stressed plants tend to be nutrient deficient, especially in protein, phosphorus and vitamin A.
It’s Thanksgiving. We often reflect around Christmas and New Years on the past year; its good times and tough times. I think Thanksgiving is also a time to reflect, and reflect on all the positive things we have in our homes, businesses, and country. I for one, am thankful to be working, living and raising a family in the livestock industry and the feed business that supports it. We in the feed and supplement business, are in the cattle business too. Our success is dependent on our customers’ success. So, for this, I’m thankful for my customer’s success.
Technology is everywhere. Our homes are wireless, tractors all but drive themselves, and you can even get reminders on your phone to put out fresh barrels. As much as technology is readily accepted in other areas everyday life, there is hesitation when it comes to technology and food production. Public concern over the use of feed additives in food animals is high with those outside the ag community. However, what would happen if the growth enhancing technology (GET) we take for granted in cattle production (ionophores, implants, etc.) where no longer available?
The current cattle economics situation is making everyone evaluate their feeding programs and overall production cost. Markets have their cycles and it is hard to say how long this period of low prices will last, given how quickly markets have moved in the last 2-3 years. As you look at your feeding program, remember it is the cost per pound of product sold that is the true driver of profitability.
I like to focus my blogs around timely nutrition and management topics for beef cow-calf producers whenever I can. My motivation is mainly to provide useful information that can help keep beef producers in business today and in the future. However, I thought I might take a break from that theme with a few observations related to the “Sustainability” term that keeps coming at us with increasing intensity.