Yes, summer has passed, and we are quickly entering the fall season. For most spring calving herds, summer pasture rotations have been made to match moisture and growing conditions to maintain a supply of high-quality forages — but plants mature, and leaf growth for most grasses has slowed down.
I can’t believe it’s September already — where did the summer go? The mornings are noticeably cooler and the days are getting shorter. Thoughts of weaning spring-calving herds are likely present, and those of you with row-crops are undoubtedly looking forward to harvest.
A quick look at the calendar reveals that Labor Day is just around the corner, and many spring-born calves — if they haven’t been already — are about to be weaned. We spend a lot of time discussing ways to reduce weaning stress, in addition to using a program to keep our calves nutritionally healthy — and, hopefully, gaining — through this period.
I recently visited Texas to attend a distributor meeting. Prior to the meeting, I traveled to the southern part of the state to visit with a group of ranchers and distributors. Coming from Minnesota and landing in San Antonio felt akin to walking into an oven as I deplaned.
Water is one of those things that we’re never really satisfied with. There is either too much, too little or it doesn’t come at the right time. Or it’s too expensive, tastes funny, is too hot — the list goes on and on. Still, we tend to take for granted that, when we open the tap, it will be there. Water is essential to life, yet we rarely discuss it in relation to nutrition.
We are well into the summer grazing season and I have started to see ads for back-to-school sales, which made me realize that fall is just around the corner. Summer is a time when we can slow down a little and enjoy family activities, such as trips to the lake or showing livestock at the county fairs.
Many beef cow producers have experienced ample moisture this summer, and their pasture conditions and availability are likely very good to excellent. Unfortunately, others have experienced drought conditions, with pastures drying up and forage supplies diminished. This summer has truly provided a tale of two pastures throughout the U.S. and Canada.
With summer finally upon us, and for those of you with spring calving herds, you are now building your 2019 calf crop. Hopefully, you have been using a good-quality mineral on your herd prior to breeding season. But if you haven’t, it is not too late to start a summer mineral program and reap the benefits from a higher level of nutrition.
I have recently spoken with several ranchers who have had questions on the limitations of CRYSTALYX®. Naturally, everything has its limits, whether it be your best friend, a faithful dog, a good cow or even a CRYSTALYX barrel. What I’m getting at is that it’s good to understand both how and why CRYSTALYX is to be fed, and the best way to manage it. Following some basic rules will help this supplement to perform at its best.
Fetal programming, also known as “developmental programming,” has been a hot topic for a number of years now. When we consider fetal programming from a nutritional perspective, we think of the lasting impacts gestational maternal nutrition has on calves. I have often heard farmers and ranchers say, “If you take care of your cows, they will take care of you,” and this certainly rings true.