We have often written about the delivery costs of hand-fed supplements adding greatly to the total cost of a supplement program. Yet, many times those delivery costs do not get figured into the cost of the supplement.
The holiday season is upon us and most of us certainly have a lot of things to be thankful for, including plentiful food, a warm place to take refuge, and the pleasure of working in an industry with the best people on Earth! Of course, it is also very easy to overindulge on many unnecessary calories during this time of year.
Do you supplement your sheep and goats? Do they have access to the nutrients they need each day? As someone who is personally involved in the small-ruminant industry, I have a firsthand understanding of the lack of good-quality, palatable supplements formulated specifically for sheep or goats.
“Which protein product do I need?” This question comes up with some frequency when speaking with producers or dealers about the many CRYSTALYX® protein options available. Since we are entering the primary protein season of the year, I thought it would be wise to share a short refresher about the differences between livestock diet protein sources.
Late winter/early spring is usually a time of muddy sloppy conditions, which can spell trouble for hooves. From cracked hooves to foot rot, poor hoof health takes a toll on your livestock, no matter what the species. Wet, sloppy conditions just exacerbate hoof problems, softening them up, making them more susceptible to injury and microbial entry. The best way to combat poor hoof health is to grow a strong, hard hoof in the first place.
Many of us have seen daily news and social media updates regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In particular, those of us in the ag community have an interest in both livestock and companion animals that have been impacted by the flooding. There has been daily coverage of livestock being moved out of flooded areas, desperate to find higher ground. For those who are familiar with Gulf Coast grazing lands and the endless acres of low-lying, boggy, marshy pastures, we understand the challenges associated with their efforts. The recovery ahead will take not only a few days or weeks, but many months and perhaps even more.
As breeding season quickly approaches, goat owners should think about whether or not to flush their breeding does. What is flushing? Flushing in simple terms refers to putting the animals on a higher plain of nutrition 30 days prior to breeding and continuing on until 30 days after breeding. The purpose of flushing is to facilitate better ovulation rates and increased implantation rates resulting in better conception rates and increased twinning or even triples. Under the correct circumstances the practice of flushing can reap many benefits; however, it is not ideal for every situation.
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.
My weekly chat with my mom reminded me that it’s county fair time in the northern parts of the US. While we’re lucky to not have the oppressive heat and humidity that some of the southern states have, it can and does get hot and humid. I recall a few show days from my 4-H years that were extra hot and a break in the shade with a wet towel was in order. This week, I thought I would share some thoughts on keeping everyone safe while at the fair.