Graze your way to success

Did you know there is more than one way to feed market livestock? The majority of people overlook some of the easiest ways to feed their meat animals. All they have to do is step outside and look. I am talking about grazing rotations with the land they already possess. There are numerous benefits of managing your pastures such as lowering feed costs, maintaining lush vegetation, reducing acidosis in the rumen, longer grazing durations, and limited soil erosion. Grazing rotation management for pastures and/or ranges is the control of the frequency and the intensity of animals that are consuming the forages. Basically, for the farmer to optimize herd performance and maintain forages, he or she has to keep a balance of where the livestock are grazing and how long they need to be in the area to consume enough nutrients without overgrazing the land. Overgrazing causes the farmer’s natural renewable feed source to be depleted. It costs more to regenerate the forages through the extra labor, re-seeding, fertilizers, etc. If herdsmen maintain their pastures at an appropriate level it will take little to no effort for upkeep. Having too high of a grazing intensity in a specific area will not only affect the health of the vegetation, but the performance of the animals. As the grazing pressure increases, the animal’s intake of nutrients is reduced due to lesser amounts of available nutrients. (Helpful tip: animal performance determines the amount of feed consumed per day. If you have high performance goals, then the animal will need to consume more to maintain the energy and nutrient requirements.) Livestock will consume the...

ANC helps Rosebud Dairy bloom to higher production yields

Ten years ago Jeff and Michelle Mincheski and their children Josh and Jenna, all thought their farm; Rosebud Dairy in Kewaunee, WI would always have herd complications. They suffered from numerous cases of ketosis, acidosis, and displaced abomasum. In addiction, the cows were averaging about 65 lbs. of milk per cow and had a 3.5% butterfat test. The Mincheski family did not trust many nutrition companies because “they were more focused on money and selling products.” Not knowing there was hope, one day Josh Mincheski met Kelly Ducat, Agri-Nutrition Consulting LLC (ANC) consultant after purchasing some beef cattle from him.  They discussed the challenges that Josh was experiencing on his farm. Kelly offered to take a look at what was going on. He and ANC Regional Manager, Tim Schamberger evaluated the farms ‘shortest staves.’ Shortest staves are the areas on the farm that are falling behind, which impacts the whole dairy program. Their first concern was the herd health and condition of the fresh cows. Kelly and Tim found that Josh’s herd could reduce ketosis and acidosis to less than 5% by simplifying the rations. They cut the ingredient list by more than half, which saved Josh several thousands of dollars each month. After a few months went by, herd health and milk production slowly improved. “ANC did not just push products to fix all the problems. Their goal was to educate us about improving and maintaining a healthy herd,” explained Josh. “They really look at what the farmer has to utilize on hand.” Josh was also impressed with the dedicated service of the consultants, and how they kept...

Summer months affecting your herd’s fertility?

Heat stress can occur in cattle at any time where the temperature is over 72°F and 45% humidity. Heat stress not only affects food intake and production, but many overlook how it can lower fertility and conception rates.  Several factors can contribute to fertility issues during summer heat. Shorter periods of exhibiting estrus Less mounting activity Exhibit estrus only after temperatures cool in evenings Higher internal body temperature Poor quality of semen, egg, and embryo AI conception decreases Greater chance of absorption during pregnancy All of these lead to much lower estrus detection during the hot weather. Detection may be improved with the use of mount detectors. Estrus synchronization protocols and timed insemination can improve conception rates with the help of proper management. The warmer temperatures can affect the viability of the egg during ovulation and the embryo after fertilization.  Even after implantation, production of progesterone, which is needed to maintain the pregnancy can be reduced.  Therefore can cause an increase in prostaglandin F2alpha production which can cause pregnancy failure. Semen quality can also be reduced in hot weather if natural service is being used. Bulls can have damaging effects from the summer weather by not being able to keep the testicles cool for sperm development. They will have a higher amount of unviable and deformed sperm. Cattle have limited ability to sweat and cool themselves by evaporative cooling. It is necessary for the herdsmen to take initiative and provide shade, housing, foggers or misters, and fans to help cool the animals. This helps livestock maintain cooler body temperatures and recover faster. More so, it will help maintain milk production...