Are You Reading Manure?

In the past we have written about how evaluating the appearance of a cow’s manure (Cow Poo and You) can be useful means for a nutritionist to determine how well your cows are digesting nutrients in their diet. The color, consistency, presence of fiber, and presence of grain particles provide a great deal of information on how cows are utilizing the nutrients we supply them. Manure consistency is one of many factors ANC Consultants evaluate when they walk through a herd of cows. Dairy producers should also observe the manure consistency of their cows on a routine basis. When the appearance of the manure changes, that information should be shared with their ANC Consultant as this may indicate that the digestion of nutrients in the diet has changed. The chart below lists characteristics of the manure that producers should evaluate on a routine basis.    Your ANC Consultant can utilize your observations on the appearance of manure in your herd to fine tune your ration. Contact us today to get...

How does Moisture Impact the Digestibility of Corn?

Recently, I was asked if high moisture corn that is too wet (> 35% moisture) would feed differently than corn that is made at the appropriate moisture (~30%).  I also have been asked if high moisture corn that is dry (<25% moisture) would digest differently than corn that is made at the correct moisture. The answer is to both questions is YES. Several factors impact digestibility of high moisture corn, including moisture content, degree of fermentation and particle size. The starch in a kernel of corn is imbedded in a protein matrix (shown in the figure below). The cow’s ability to digest starch is impacted by this protein matrix. Therefore, breaking down the protein is advantageous in terms of starch digestion. The starch released from a kernel of corn can be improved by grinding the corn to reduce particle size and break-up the protein matrix. Another method of improving starch digestion involves chemically breaking down these proteins in a process called proteolysis. This is one of the reasons high moisture corn can make an excellent feed source. The amount of moisture in the corn impacts the fermentation of the corn and thus the degree of starch release. If the kernel moisture in corn is less than 25% then the degree of starch availability will be limited—these ‘dryer’ high moisture corns need to be ground finely to increase the degree of starch release. On the other hand, if the kernel moisture is over 35% then the availability of starch will be significant; this corn may need to be fed in limited quantities and/or fed with dry corn to reduce the...

Form-A-Feed, Inc. Acquires Agri-Nutrition Consulting with Plans to Strengthen the Impact of Dairy Consulting

To our friends in the dairy and livestock industry,  It has been a very exciting time for Agri-Nutrition Consulting LLC so far in 2014. We have been working hard to ensure we serve our customers to the best of our abilities.  We know that to continue to exceed your needs for innovation, technical resources, and new technology, we need to be consistently growing and evolving. As of January 9, 2014, Agri-Nutrition Consulting Inc. (ANC) has been acquired by Form-A-Feed, Inc.  The acquisition, which recognizes the need to appeal to the industry trends of large commercial herds, will combine Form-A-Feed Inc.’s expertise in quality manufacturing and product development with ANC’s diverse team of independent consultants and nutrition programs. On this date, Agri-Nutrition Consulting, Inc. was dissolved, and a new company, Agri-Nutrition Consulting LLC was formed. The acquisition is expected to be a win-win for Form-A-Feed, ANC, ANC’s independent consultants and our clients.  “We are looking forward to the opportunity to bring more value to our customers through the sale.  Form-A-Feed also has the resources ANC needs to continue to expand to new markets and grow along with the trends of the industry,” explains Carol Chesemore, ANC’s Operations Manager. Eric Nelson, Form-A-Feed, Inc., states, “I’m thrilled to begin working with ANC’s team on this new venture.  ANC has the right team members and ideas in place to really impact the livestock nutrition business, and I’m excited to work with them to develop even more new ideas and programs beneficial to ANC, Form-A-Feed, and our customers.” Form-A-Feed, Inc., is a family-owned business founded by Buzz Nelson and sons in 1973. Form-A-Feed has served the...
The Power of Trust on a Dairy Farm

The Power of Trust on a Dairy Farm

Early on a Monday morning, I received the phone call every nutritionist dreads. The message was, “I hate to call you so early on a Monday but the cows are crashing. Milk is dropping fast,and the cows aren’t eating the TMR. We need to fix this!” After taking a message like this, many thoughts raced through my mind, but the primary one was, “This is not normal; something is very wrong.” This call initiated a series of phone calls back and forth with the dairy farmer, the feed mill, the veterinarian and other key advisers to the farm, all in attempt to gain insight as to the cause of the problem. There was a race to get to the bottom of this predicament quickly. In general, there are two outcomes of a situation like this one. The first being the all too often situation, that can only be called the “blame game.” The farmer blames the nutritionist, the nutritionist blames the feed mill, the veterinarian may place blame on nutrition or management, and other advisers find fault with what someone else has done. In essence, no one is stepping up to take any personal responsibility. It can take days to resolve the issue, and the longer it takes to resolve the problem, the more likely relationships between the farmer and key advisers and partners are severed. Some of these relationships may never heal. An alternative outcome from a crisis like this is the building of trust within the producer-advisory team relationship. In this scenario, the producer and all of the key advisers start by examining their roles. Each of...

Cold Stress: Are Your Cows at Risk?

I make several adjustments to my routine during the winter months. I wear warmer clothes. I park my car in the garage at night. I make sure I have a hat, gloves and boots available to protect me from the elements. I do all of these things so I can stay comfortable as the temperature falls below my “comfort level.” Most people are comfortable at a temperature between 68 and 77 degrees. Adult cattle are comfortable at temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees, and calves between 55 and 68 degrees. This “comfort zone” is also referred to as the thermo-neutral zone.  Today, on January 6, 2014, it is about -15 degrees with a wind chill dropping below 40-50 below zero.  I don’t think any living being is in their “comfort zone” today! When warm-blooded animals’ environment becomes colder than this comfort range, their body responds in an attempt to protect them. Typical responses to cold temperatures include: hair standing up straighter, restriction of blood flow to outer extremities such as ears and limbs, shivering and metabolism of stored body fat. These changes either prevent the loss of body heat or increase the production of body heat in an effort to maintain core body temperature. In most cases, a cow’s innate ability to regulate her body temperature is adequate to keep her comfortable even at very cold temperatures.    However, her response to cold weather can impact her level of milk production and/or her rate of growth. In some situations, a cow cannot adequately regulate her own body temperature to protect herself. If so, there will be dramatic drops in milk...