Prime Cuts: Beef on Dairy I: Building the Ideal Holstein Steer
Raising Holstein steers for beef continues to be a valuable market for these “dairy industry by-products.” With no differences detected in taste panels or tenderness between Holstein and Angus meat, there continues to be a demand and place for Holstein beef in the marketplace. However, getting healthy calves to raise can sometimes be an issue….
Prime Cuts: Considerations for Beef on Dairy II: Crossbreeds & Marketing
With more dairies choosing to breed only their genetically superior animals for heifers, the remaining cows are increasingly being bred to beef sires. This has opened another opportunity to increase the value of these crossbred steers. It also provides a chance to increase the value of dairy bulls calves that have traditionally very little value…
Prime Cuts: Grass Tetany
Grass tetany, also called grass staggers, wheat pasture poisoning, or hypomagnesemia, is caused by low blood magnesium. It is most common in late gestation or heavy lactation cows and ewes grazing lush spring pastures. Occasionally, cases present in fall as well. Forages growing rapidly tend to have low levels of magnesium. This is compounded by…
Evaluating Water Quality
Water is simultaneously the most important and most overlooked nutrient for all livestock. Poor water quality can negatively affect multiple animal aspects including growth, general productivity, and reproduction. Death is also a possibility if water is severely contaminated and/or restricted. It is critical that water quality is monitored regularly to support optimal animal performance. Many…
Essential Oils for Poultry
Antibiotics have traditionally been used in the poultry and livestock industries to both treat illness and as growth promotants at subtherapeutic levels. However, with the rise in concern over antibiotic use and resistance, the acceptability of antibiotic use has dwindled. In response, essential oils have grown in popularity as an alternative option to traditional medications….
Prime Cuts: Slick Bunk Management
Nutritionists and cattle raisers alike focus heavily on balanced rations, getting right down to grams of X and Y nutrients, but delivery of that feed is just as important. Successfully feeding cattle relies on walking the line between over- and under-feeding. Underfeeding limits performance and overfeeding is expensive and wasteful. Commercial feeders have turned to…
Acidosis: An Overview
As the name suggests, Rumen Acidosis affects ruminants such as cattle, sheep, goats, etc. It is the most common nutritional disorder seen on cattle operations. However, there are simple steps we can take to prevent acidosis from occurring. The normal pH of the rumen sits around 6.0 – 7.0. Acidosis occurs when the pH of…
Acidosis: Meet SARA
Sub-acute rumen acidosis, also known as SARA, occurs when the rumen pH drops below the normal range for extended or frequent periods. Normal rumen pH run 6.0 – 7.0, while SARA occurs when the pH drops below 5.8 – 6.0 for an extended duration. After a high concentrate meal, rumen pH typically drops under 6.0…
Acidosis: Acute Development
Acidosis boils down to two main issues: the overproduction of acid within the rumen and decreased buffering of the rumen due to decreased saliva flow. The causes of these issues can vary and are cumulative. It is the most common nutritional disorder seen on cattle operations, while also being one of the easiest to prevent…
Protecting Your Backyard Flock: Avian Influenza
As the name suggests, avian influenza (AI) affects birds, both domestic and wild. Being natural hosts, migratory birds can carry and shed the virus without showing clinical symptoms. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is a devastating disease that is highly contagious and almost always fatal (except in ducks and geese). Affected domestic birds include chickens,…
Breaking Down Milk Fat
After years of focusing on low fat, fat free, and other “health” trends, fat has made a comeback. There is renewed favor for full fat milk, cheeses, and butter. Now is the time to key in on milk components, with special focus on fat. Milk fat comes from preformed fat (dietary fat or body reserves)…
Condition Scoring: Sheep & Goats
Body condition scores (BCS) have widely been used across species to monitor body fat coverage. BCS plays an integral role in nutritional management decisions. Like dairy cattle, sheep and goats utilize a 5-point scale to evaluate BCS. A score of 1 indicates an animal that is emaciated and a score of 5 is an animal…
White Muscle Disease
White muscle disease (WMD), sometimes called nutritional myopathy or nutritional muscular dystrophy, is typically associated with a selenium and/or vitamin E deficiency. WMD appears more frequently in regions with selenium deficient soil. WMD can affect both youngstock and mature animals. Newborns may be stillborn or too weak to nurse due to selenium deficiency. WMD can…
Poultry Quick Tips: Egg Color & Consistency
Chicken enthusiasts look forward to that perfect farm fresh egg – the deep golden yolk, the egg white that stands up to support the yolk creating the perfect sunny-side up egg. We can control some aspects of egg appearance by nutrition, but not all of it. Here are some ways to help you get the…
Evaluating Hay Quality: Relative Feed Value or Relative Forage Quality?
Hay quality is highly variable. Understanding how to evaluate quality is critical to making the best economic decisions when purchasing hay. Overall, high quality hay should be high in crude protein, energy, and minerals, and should also have high intake potential. Hay should be free of dust, musty odors, weeds, etc. Hay quality can be…
Prime Cuts: When in Drought, Feed Cattle Cake
Cake has largely been a western ranch program with limited use in Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, drought conditions can quickly impact forages leading to lower harvest yields. Thus, hay will be expensive, some will be poor quality, and all will be hard to find. Cattle cake may be one answer to this problem. What is…
Bovatec and Deccox
Bovatec and Deccox are both routinely fed to calves for control of coccidiosis. The modes of action of these two products may be different, but they have both been shown to provide excellent coccidiosis control. One of the greatest difference between these 2 products is currently the price.
Also Known As:KetosisLambing/kidding sicknessTwin lamb/kid diseaseWho:Pregnant ewes and doesTypically seen in ewes and does carrying multiplesOften affects those that are markedly over or underconditionedWhen: Typically reported in the last month to two months of gestation and is often fatal.Types:Chronic – dams are chronically underfed or undernourished during pregnancy. This may be attributed to highly restricted feeding, competition at the feed bunk, or poor nutritional management. Of t…
Poultry Quick Tips – Clipping Wings
It is a common misconception that chickens cannot fly. The truth is most chickens can fly for short distances to escape predators or to find a high place to roost. While this might aid in avoidance of predators, it can lead to unhappy neighbors (when your chickens hop the fence) or lead to them flying into unsafe situations.
Poultry Quick Tips – Spraddle Legs
What is it? Spraddle leg, or splay leg, is a deformity occurring in the chicken’s legs. It is characterized by the feet pointing out to the sides, instead of forward. This limits mobility and makes walking nearly impossible.
Prime Cuts – Nitrates
Nitrates are normally use by plants for metabolism and growth. However, when the growing season is adverse (drought or freeze), nitrates can accumulate within the plant. Some plants are better at utilizing these nitrates than others.
Prime Cuts – Under Pressure: Types of Bloat in Cattle
Bloat is simply a buildup of gas that cannot be expelled. Amazingly, this trapped air can be fatal to both calves and adult cattle. As gases begin to accumulate, the abdomen becomes hyperdistended which can easily be spotted during herd checks.
Prime Cuts: Urinary Calculi
Urinary calculi refer to mineral deposits in the urinary tract that can eventually block the passing of urine. These stones are common in cattle, sheep and goats. Obstruction by urinary calculi can cause urine retention, bladder distention, abdominal pain, and ultimately bladder rupture leading to death.
Prime Cuts: Feedlot Foot Problems
Hoof problems can occur at any time of year in the feedlot, though we typically associate them with the warm, muddy conditions of spring and early summer. There are various conditions that cause hoof problems and lameness in feedlot cattle, not all of which are responsive to antibiotic treatment.Causes of Lameness:Foot RotCaused by Fusobacterium necrophorum, which is common in mud and manure.Foot rot can occur year-round. Bacteria rely on skin breakdown to penetrate the foot to attack deeper tis…
Prime Cuts: Ringworm
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the hair and skin occurring in many different species including humans. These fungal infections typically look worse than they are and cause little, if any, permanent damage. However, show animals displaying active lesions are barred from shows and exhibitions due to the highly infections nature of the disease.PresentationIn cattle, ringworm lesions typically occur on the head and neck, but in more severe cases can be found over the entire body.
Prime Cuts: Calf Creep Feeding
There are not many management tools that are as economical as creep feeding. Commonly used by cow calf producers, creep feed is provided to nursing calves in a manner that does not allow for the adult cows to access it. The nutrients supplemented by the creep feed allow calves to grow at a rate closer to their genetic potential.
Prime Cuts: Calf Creep Feeding Strategies
Creep feeding is an economical practice designed to close the nutritional gap that exists for calves consuming pasture and milk. Because of larger birth weights and a greater potential for gain, pasture and milk can no longer nutritionally support the genetic growth potential of today’s calves.Starting Calves on Creep FeedEncouraging creep feed intake early on in young calves is beneficial to their growth potential as feed conversion is greatest in younger cattle. However, young calves can…
Hoof Health in Dairy Cows
At times, hoof health can take a back seat to the numerous other tasks going on during the average day on the dairy. However, hoof health should always be a top priority day to day. Hoof problems cause a domino effect, ultimately leading to lower production and profitability.
Common Calfhood Diseases
Diarrhea causing pathogens tend to strike at different ages, therefore, the age at which diarrhea strikes provides a clue as to what disease we are dealing with. The chart below indicates what pathogen is likely to present itself in preweaned calves. By determining the likely pathogen, the correct course of intervention can be utilized.
Caring for Calves in Cold Weather
Calves are very susceptible to the stresses of cold weather. At birth, calves only have about 3% body fat! Getting and keeping them warm from birth to weaning is critical to their survival.
Feed Tags: Reading Between the Lines
Looking at feed tags can be overwhelming. The technical jargon is seemingly designed to confuse and frustrate all who dare to read the tag. To help you navigate your feed tag, here is a list of commonly used feed additives and how they are defined within the ingredient statement.
Umbilical Uproar: Why Dipping Navels is Worth Your Time
The cow has successfully calved. You’ve brought her water, you moved the calf into her own clean pen, and then what? The answer should be…dip the newborn calf’s navel.
Walking the Calf Barn: What to Look for
A lot can be learned from a simple walk through your calf barn, but how do you know what to look for? Here is a simple checklist to help you better read your calves. Remember, when walking through your calf pens, start with the youngest animals first and move through pens from youngest to oldest so that the risk of disease transmission from older to younger animals is diminished.
Prime Cuts: Consideration for High Moisture Corn, Ear Corn and Snaplage
The popularity of high moisture corn and high moisture ear corn has been consistent for some time. Snaplage has had renewed interest as harvesting equipment, like snapper heads and kernel processors, have improved. Each of these has their advantages and disadvantages which should be weighed against what is feasible for your operation and what your specific goals are.
Prime Cuts: Lick Tubs & Blocks
Types Lick tubs and blocks are designed to accommodate livestock species ranging from sheep and goats, to cattle, and horses. Tubs and blocks are designed to complement the feeding strategy currently in place and are available in various formulations to meet the needs of your program. There are 4 main types of tubs and blocks used: Low Moisture Formed by heating and rapidly cooling molasses that is then mixed with a designated premix before pouring into tubs to cool; creates a very hard e…
Prime Cuts: Why Minerals Matter
It is well established that livestock have certain mineral requirements; however, it is important to understand what those minerals do when choosing a program. Understanding how minerals affect the body may also help in spotting deficiencies and areas of improvement. Cobalt – Necessary for vitamins B12 synthesis by rumen microbes.
Prime Cuts: Preventing Diseases During Calving Season
The last thing any producer needs in the middle of a busy calving season is a disease outbreak. As always, prevention is better than any medicine. To help you prepare and survive this next calving season, here is a checklist of what to consider: Sanitation – Make this a priority not only before calving starts, but throughout the season, as well.
Prime Cuts: Don’t Skip Brood Cow Minerals
Extensive work has been conducted showing the importance of energy and protein intake for late-gestation beef cows; however, mineral supplementation is often overlooked. Adequate mineral supplementation is necessary throughout the year, but is especially critical in the 60 days prior to calving through the end of breeding season. Not only does supplementation of minerals support the health and reproductive efficiency of the cow, but new research has suggested that resulting calves also experienc…
Prime Cuts: Utilizing the Sandhills Calving Method
In preparation for calving season, procedures to promote calf health need to be top priority. One of the main causes of death in young calves is diarrhea. Because of the incubation time for many diarrhea-causing pathogens, death loss typically occurs in 10 – 17 day old calves.
When properly managed and cared for, upright silos provide excellent storage for fermented feeds. By combining the use of gravity for tight forage packing and a small area exposed to air, forage quality is preserved and waste is minimal. However, when poorly maintained they can quickly become a headache.
Forage Management V: Fermentation
Ensiling is a common way to store forages for dairy cattle. When done properly, ensiled forages can be stored for long periods of time and still maintain their quality. However, the ensiling process must proceed correctly in order for proper storage to be possible.
Forage Management IV: Kernel Processing
Corn silage is typically one of the main components of dairy cattle diets, often comprising between 20 to 40% of the diet dry matter. Since corn silage makes up such a large proportion of the diet, the quality of the corn silage is very important and can have a substantial impact on milk production levels. Corn silage quality can be affected by dry matter at harvest, packing density, and bunk covering but can also be altered by kernel processing.
Forage Management III: Bunk Management
Silage is the cornerstone of many conventional dairy rations. Maintaining quality through proper harvest, storage, and feedout is key for a successful feeding program. Once the silage is properly tucked away in the bunker and thoroughly covered it can be stored for extended periods of time until it’s opened up.
Forage Management II: The Harvest
Determining when to harvest your forages is critical for the success of your forage program. Harvesting at the correct dry matter and maturation is necessary for proper fermentation and quality forage. These values differ between forage types.
Forage Management I: Preparation
The summer is going by quickly, and before we know it, this year’s corn crop will be ready to harvest for silage. Planning ahead can help to make sure that everything is ready for the silage harvest and makes certain that the best job possible is being done to reduce shrink and ensure that the stored crop will be a great source of feed. Preparing the Storage Site Is there a clean, open area that will allow for easy filling and packing of the silage?
Hot & Humid I – Cows
If you walk into your dairy barn and you can smell burgers grilling and hear steaks sizzling it might be time to look into methods to cool those girls down. As we head into the summer months and the temperature starts rising, we need to consider methods for heat abatement for our cattle. Heat stress not only affects intake, but immune function, growth, fetal development, and rumen health as well.
Hot & Humid II – Calves
Calves are susceptible to heat stress as well, though it might not be as apparent as it is with older cattle. Higher temperatures can lead to decreased feed efficiency and average daily gain. Calves can also experience a lowered immune status due to the added stress of hot weather.
Milk Replacer vs. Milk
Debating over milk or milk replacer is much like debating which came first, the chicken or the egg. Everyone has an opinion but is there really one right answer? Maybe not.
Proper Handling of Forage Inoculants
Forage inoculants are products that contain specific strains of anaerobic bacteria that promote forage fermentation. The premise behind forage inoculants is that they help to ensure adequate amounts of the correct types of bacteria to expedite the fermentation process. Using a microbial inoculant can be a great management tool to improve forage quality.
Summertime Feed Management
Rising temperatures and increasing humidity can make feeds and feeders mold growing machines and can degrade pellet quality. Proper storing of feeds and maintenance of feeders will help prevent mold growth and reduce fines. Considerations for storing grain-based feeds Molds grow in warm, wet environments making the heat and humidity of summer the perfect season for mold growth.
Transition Periods – Change is Tough
Coming home from a two week vacation can be a painful adjustment back to real life. For dairy cows, transitioning back into the milking herd after a 55 – 60 day vacation can be even more stressful. She won’t be worried about office gossip she missed; she is adjusting to the rigor of producing upwards of 80, 90, even 100+ lbs of milk/day.
Are Worms Eating Your Profits?
Internal parasites can cause significant decreases in productivity in both beef and dairy operations. Instituting a timely and effective deworming schedule will keep cattle healthier and increase profitability. Safe-Guard is a highly effective dewormer that can be fed at the bunk or dosed orally.
Upon birth, calves have little to no circulating immunoglobulins (also known as antibodies). Calves acquire immunoglobulins through the ingestion of colostrum during the first 24 hours of life with the greatest rate of absorption occurring in the first 6 – 12 hours. For a Holstein calf, recommendations indicate that they should consume, at minimum, 1 gallon of good quality colostrum.
Fly Season is Coming
Flies are a nuisance to animals and people alike, but they can be controlled. Good sanitation combined with fly abatement products can help suppress a fly infestation. Most flies reproduce in the manure.
- 08/02 | Prime Cuts: Grass Tetany
- 06/24 | Evaluating Water Quality
- 06/16 | Essential Oils for Poultry
- 06/10 | Acidosis: An Overview
- 06/10 | Acidosis: Meet SARA
- 06/10 | Acidosis: Acute Development
- 06/01 | Breaking Down Milk Fat
- 06/01 | Condition Scoring: Sheep & Goats
- 06/01 | White Muscle Disease
- 03/29 | Bovatec and Deccox
- 10/15 | Pregnancy Toxemia
- 01/17 | Prime Cuts – Nitrates
- 05/02 | Prime Cuts: Urinary Calculi
- 03/02 | Prime Cuts: Ringworm
- 02/02 | Prime Cuts: Calf Creep Feeding
- 01/02 | Hoof Health in Dairy Cows
- 12/09 | Common Calfhood Diseases
- 02/24 | Prime Cuts: Lick Tubs & Blocks
- 02/17 | Prime Cuts: Why Minerals Matter
- 08/31 | Upright Silos
- 08/01 | Forage Management I: Preparation
- 07/01 | Summertime Feed Management
- 07/01 | Milk Replacer vs. Milk
- 07/01 | Hot & Humid II – Calves
- 07/01 | Hot & Humid I – Cows
- 06/01 | Colostrum
- 06/01 | Are Worms Eating Your Profits?
- 04/01 | Fly Season is Coming