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Winter is Here! Time to Make Sure Cows and Calves Adjust without a Hitch!

Winter has definitely made its appearance and it’s time to make sure Cows and Calves adjust without a hitch

Yes, the snow, cold winds and sudden drops in temperatures around the country have sent a sharp reminder that winter-like conditions are upon us.  Extended weather forecasts show that it is not simply a flash in the pan, but will stay with us for at least a few weeks.  Who knows where it will take us after that, but you can’t escape the winter months ahead.  We all try to plan as best that we can for winter, but if you are like me, I always think I have a few days, maybe weeks to prepare for winter and as usual, I still have a few things to get done. 

Reminders, for the never-seen-before value of cattle, right now are with us in every magazine article we pick up.  It has presented us with a different paradigm when evaluating inputs and their potential for economic returns.  Historically, withholding or minimizing management practices such as deworming, fly control, preventive vaccinations or supplemental nutrition for example, may have only realized a few dollars in lost opportunity from decreases in calf growth, cow reproductive performance or impaired animal health.  That just isn’t the case with the economic value of cattle today.  You may be losing a tremendous amount of revenue by cutting corners on expenses if cattle performance suffers, even slightly. 

What does this mean this time of the year?  Send in the Brigade®!  A good number of producers are in the middle of weaning right now.  With the abrupt changes in weather, there is no better time to put a barrel of Brigade® CRYSTALYX® supplement in with them.  It is a highly palatable self-fed form of nutrition that contains key nutrients to help combat high stress levels along with the potential for increased pathogen load.  We have observed countless situations, in particular high stress conditions at weaning, where calves on Brigade® have cut pull rates in half compared to calves without access to Brigade®.  It is an easy to feed supplement for the first 30 days when starting on feed that also has shown animal performance improvements of around .20 to .25 pounds per head per day for calves on Brigade® barrels.  Jon Albro had a recent blog  (September, 23rd) that does a nice job of outlining more specifics on Brigade® feeding and results by our customers.

We can’t forget the cows this time of the year either.  There are some management systems that have, more or less, used this mid gestation time of the cows reproductive stage for spring calving herds, to almost forget about them for a period of time because their nutritional requirements are at their lowest.  Beef cows are a resilient beast that has the capacity to put weight on when nutrients are in abundance such as on good summer pastures, and then harvest their body reserves when the nutrition and environment combine to put them in a negative energy balance.  Cold fall/winter conditions and periods of damp wet weather along with declining quality forages without supplemental nutrition can be the perfect recipe for cows to lose body condition fast. 

On the flip side, when cow requirements are their lowest as stated above, it can be a great time for minimal supplemental inputs to hold or even pick cows up in condition as they go into the fall and winter months.  This is where supplemental protein delivered by self-fed CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements can particularly cost-effective.  CRYSTALYX® supplements can help ensure that cows go into the winter in good body condition and make it easily to pre and post calving next spring.  Results by the Barrel® provide an ample opportunity for cows to rebreed and calve early in subsequent calving seasons, year in and year out.  Catching up once cows have slipped in body condition is an expensive lesson that results either in poor reproduction and calving results or a very large feed bill, or a mixture of both. 

So be proactive with your herds nutrition program this time of the year and make sure you provide an opportunity to optimize their performance and capture the value that is present in these magnificent cattle economic conditions.   Mother nature is telling us to start paying attention!