On the Blog

It's fall, you're busy, but don't forget about the cows

My sons and I were on a mission this past long weekend with a road trip to North Dakota to hunt pheasants. It was their MEA (Minnesota Educator Academy) school break, or what we in the past called, “Teachers Convention”, and it is a great time to drive cross country and get out doors. This 670 mile trip took us from Mankato, MN to the North West corner of ND or about 7 miles from Canada and 40 miles from Montana. 

It has been a great fall for getting at harvest for the upper Great Plains region in the US. It was very apparent that many of the grain and livestock operations were making good use of their resources by grazing crop aftermath. Cows were scattered across the brown and yellow landscape as we made our way through Minnesota and North Dakota. Access to these grazing acres will clearly help stretch winter forage needs and help reduce the cow herd feed bill.

As a nutritionist by training, I couldn’t help think and actually observe in many of the pastures, some sort of protein supplement to help maximize the use of these dormant, lower quality forages. In many cases it was a combination of ungrazed grass lands intermingled with corn stalks and small grain residues. This truly is what ruminant animals like beef cattle are all about as they can ferment these forages and produce high quality protein in the calf crop soon to weaned. The challenge that we face with lower quality forages typical this time of year is to get the most out of the forage to maintain performance levels of both calves and cows.

In order to keep the calves growing up to weaning as well as maintain or improve body condition for the cow herd, providing supplemental protein is an easy decision to make.  It was obvious with the amount of activity in the fields that farmers and ranchers are still busy with harvest, moving hay, and preparing for winter.  Use of a self-fed supplements can really help optimize the use of your forages and reduce the need to baby sit your cows when you have a number of other things that need to be done. CRYSTALYX® has several protein supplements that contain not only the protein that you need but also offer balanced mineral and vitamin levels to make sure animal requirements are met.  Visit with your local dealer to keep your calves gaining all the way to the weaning finish line and your cows properly prepared for the winter ahead.

And yes, we were able to harvest a few pheasants while leaving an ample supply of foundation bird reserves for next year!