Archive for the ‘Cattle’ Category

Avoid the Summer Pasture Slump

Monday, July 19th, 2021

Avoid the summer pasture slump! The sight of fresh, green pastures as the summer months approach can be a welcome sight for many cattle producers. Especially after feeding costly forages throughout the winter.

However, just as quickly as that green grass comes, the pasture quality can diminish.  Subsequently, leaving both pasture and cows’ nutrient deficient.

These potential nutrient deficiencies come at a critical time frame when the cow likely has a calf at side. Most likely, the cow is either on target for re-breeding or is already re-bred and trying to grow her developing calf. Cattle nutrient requirements are high during this period. There are a few ways to prepare for a decline in pasture quality.

Forages mature as the summer goes on, losing nutrients, specifically protein, and allowing cows to lose body condition.

If forages are running under 7 percent protein, then you likely don’t have enough protein to support the cow and her calf. The majority of producers across the United States, unless they have some high-quality forages stockpiled, are not above that level and will need to find additional nutrient sources.

Additional nutrient sources:

Protein supplements can be used to help avoid this slip in condition. Especially late summer and into fall when cattle pasture grasses can be at their lowest nutrition value.

Adding protein tubs or blocks are two ways a producer can supplement their cow herd during this time of high nutrient requirements. Protein supplements can be fed from mid to late summer through mid-fall. During the winter months cubes can be added. This helps to meet energy requirements.

Protein supplements should be added before cattle start losing body condition. It pays to plan ahead for pastures that may become nutrient deficient. In most cases, pastures see a significant decline in nutrients in the August to September timeframe. Evaluating your pasture at various times throughout the summer, specifically mid- to late-summer, and adding a supplement before the pasture quality is too far diminished will help avoid a slip in body condition.

Protein deficiency may become a herd health challenge if pastures are not adequately managed. Symptoms include reduced intake and forage digestibility, reduced growth rate (both fetus and calf), loss of weight, inadequate intake of other nutrients, delayed estrus, irregular estrus, poor conception rate and reduced milk production.

It all narrows down to making sure your cows have what they need, when they need it. If they’re not getting the complete nutrition they need when the pasture is at its worst quality, you will likely see challenges develop.

These challenges may be easily avoided. Implementing a protein supplement program is the best way. Does your nutrition program stack up? Avoid the summer pasture slump by calling or visiting the Kissimmee Valley Feed Store #1 location. We are stocked with nutrients for your cattle.

11 Tips to Curb Heat Stress in Cattle

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

11 Tips to Curb Heat Stress in CattleWater, shade and the right nutrition can help mitigate heat stress in cattle.

The weather report says it’s going to be a scorcher, and sure enough – the temperatures start steadily climbing. Cattle start grouping in shady spots. A few cows start panting to stay cool. The flies settle in. And, suddenly, you’ve got a herd struggling with heat stress.

The heat may be unavoidable, but you can take proactive steps to mitigate its impact on your herd. First, let’s look at the dangers of heat stress in cattle.

When temperatures rise

Cattle have sweat glands, but it’s not a very efficient way for them to cool off. Instead, they rely on respiration, or opening their mouths and panting, to help them dissipate heat. When it’s 80 degrees or hotter out, their ability to regulate their own temperature becomes a big challenge. You start to see behavior changes – more time in the shade, less time grazing and increased water consumption.

To make the heat even more challenging:

  • A cow’s rumen activity naturally increases body heat. Fermentation occurs in the rumen, producing heat as bacteria break down and digest forages.
  • Cattle seek shade to help keep cool. Grouping up in the shade sometimes has the reverse effect and creates a lot of radiant heat between cows. The thermometer might read 90 degrees, but the temperature in the middle of the group could be much hotter.
  • Crowded cattle attract more flies, causing animals to move even closer together to protect themselves.
  • Animals with dark hides have a higher risk of suffering heat stress than those with lighter-colored hides.

Suddenly your herd feels overheated and cattle are less likely to graze.

When grazing stops

Forage is the number one nutrition source for cows on pasture. If they aren’t grazing as much during a heatwave, they’re probably not meeting their cattle nutrition requirements.

When cows don’t get adequate nutrition, they’re at risk of:

  • Losing body condition
  • Taking longer to rebreed
  • Producing less milk for their growing calf
  • Generating a weaker immune response to health challenges
  • Long-term fertility consequences

If cattle are too hot to graze, they may also be too hot to consume mineral at target intake levels. If you’re using a fly control mineral and intakes are below target levels, cows no longer benefit from it because they aren’t getting a full dose of fly control.

Curb heat stress in cattle by planning for proper shade, water and the right nutrition program.

11 hot weather tips for cattle

  1. Ensure access to fresh, clean water. A brood cow drinks 25 to 30 gallons of water on a normal day. She’ll drink even more in hot weather.
  2. Check water tanks often to make sure they are clean and free of contamination (algae, feces, organic material, etc.). You might need additional portable tanks to ensure adequate access.
  3. Place water tanks in shaded areas to keep water cool if possible. Keep waterers several feet away from buildings or fences, so cattle can access water from all sides.
  4. Offer supplements to help cows make the most of their forages. Accuration® Supplements with Intake Modifying Technology® helps feed necessary rumen microbes to keep cattle eating and encourages snack eating behavior.
  5. Choose a mineral designed for consistent consumption during hot weather, like Purina® Wind and Rain® Summer Season Mineral.
  6. Control flies to prevent further stress and grazing disturbance. Purina® Wind and Rain® Fly Control Mineral contains Altosid® IGR, an insect growth regulator offering a beneficial mode of action to deliver fly control via cattle nutrition. Consider Purina® Wind and Rain® Fly Control Mineral to stop the horn fly life cycle by preventing pupae from developing into biting, breeding adult flies.
  7. Supply ample shade. Whether it’s provided by trees, a manmade building or portable structures, shade is critical. It might be necessary to move cattle to a pasture with trees or additional shade.
  8. Strategically move rotational grazing herds to fresh pastures in the late afternoon/early evening instead of the morning. Cows will have access to fresh grass when temperatures are beginning to cool and will be more likely to graze.
  9. Work cattle as early in the day as possible when temperatures are lower.
  10. Don’t graze pastures short before moving cows to another. Pastures with taller, thicker grass feels cooler than pastures with short grass where more soil surface is exposed.
  11. Observe cattle frequently and take precautions when hot and humid weather is forecast.

Call or visit Kissimmee Valley Feed to find the right cattle feed and management plan for you!

Article sourced from: Purina

Don’t set and forget self-fed cattle supplements

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

self-fed cattle supplements | Kissimmee Valley FeedBetter management of self-fed cattle supplements could improve consumption and optimize performance.

Self-fed supplements are commonly used to deliver essential nutrients to cattle and to meet their nutritional requirements. However, use of a self-fed supplement does not translate to a self-managed supplementation program. Proper management of self-fed supplements is important to achieve desired intake and cattle performance goals.

One of the biggest challenges producers face with self-fed supplements is consumption,” says Christina Hayes, Ph.D., beef product manager with Purina Animal Nutrition. “When intake isn’t within the expected range, cattle performance may suffer. For optimal performance, management of self-fed supplements is essential.”

Many things can influence consumption, from forage quality and amount to supplement location and water availability. But you can take steps to help manage supplements and optimize intake.

The first step to becoming a better supplement manager begins with measuring intake.

 

Determining Consumption

“Calculating consumption can help you get a baseline intake for your herd, which you can then compare to target intake levels for the supplement,” says Hayes. “If your herd’s intake is below or above target intake levels, then you know it’s time to make adjustments.”

The following calculation can help you measure herd intake:

(Pounds of supplement distributed / # of cattle) / # days supplement was available

When making this calculation, don’t forget that calves will consume some supplement as well.

“If a supplement is not being consumed at target intake levels, it’s time to start troubleshooting,” says Hayes. “What is the forage quality? Where is the feeder located? Have there been weather challenges? What is the overall feeding program?”

If consumption is a challenge, there are strategies you can implement to help achieve the desired intake.

 

Managing Supplements

Implementing some simple strategies can go a long way toward ideal supplement consumption.

Here are a few tips:

  • Look for a high-quality supplement that includes protein, energy, calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals
  • It is best to start supplementing early to ensure cattle requirements are being met. If you wait too long to supplement and cows have to play nutritional catch-up, you may experience supplement overconsumption.
  • Initially, place supplements near a water source or in loafing or grazing areas. Cattle frequently visit those spots, giving them more opportunity to consume as they adjust to using the supplements. As the cattle become more comfortable with supplements, you can gradually move supplements further from those areas to entice them to graze underutilized pasture.
  • Ensure fresh, cool water is available, preferably in the shade during the warm, summer months. As temperature and humidity rise, cattle will require more water. Poor water quality, or lack of water, can cause cattle to go off feed quickly, which can limit feed intake and overall cattle performance.
  • Do not move a full bulk feeder. The feed may pack, which can compromise flow, especially if the feed is oily.
  • Clean feeder troughs regularly to remove any compromised product and help keep product fresh. When it rains, feed behind an adjustable gate can become wet, causing feed to swell, and preventing the flow of fresh feed. Removing wet feed will also prevent mold and rot.
  • For supplements with Intake Modifying Technology, consumption will adjust with changes in forage quantity and quality. Expect higher consumption with lower quality/quantity forage and lower consumption with higher quality/quantity forage. Be aware that in times of lower quality/quantity forage, cattle may consume supplements rapidly.

Here are some general rules of thumb by self-fed product:

Wind & Rain Storm Mineral:

  • Put fresh, non-medicated mineral out once per week.
  • Use a covered mineral feeder to help protect the mineral.
  • Know if your mineral is complete or non-complete. Complete minerals include salt, which helps drive intake.

Accuration Block or Tub Supplement:

  • In contrast to a plastic tub, blocks have corrugated cardboard sides. Initially, in smaller pastures, more than one big block can be placed in a feeding location. When consumption is determined, then the blocks can be relocated or separated.
  • Cows per block is a function of block size and pasture size.
    • 500 lb. block: One block per 20 to 25 cows
    • 200 lb. block: One block per 10 to 15 cows

Accuration Liquid Supplement:

  • All storage tanks and lick tanks must be cleaned prior to adding liquid.
  • At the end of the feeding season, tip tanks on their sides so the remaining liquid will flow out from the wheel slot. This prevents the remaining liquid from gelling, separating or molding inside the tank and keeps rainwater from entering the tank.
  • Accuration Liquid is a suspension product. Without agitation, it can become thicker over time, so it is important to move the liquid on a regular basis to maintain the free-flowing state. If forage quality is meeting cattle requirements and liquid intake is low, it is a good practice to move the lick wheels manually. That should be done weekly to keep the product from thickening in the tank.

 

Driving performance

No matter the product form, a self-fed supplement should not be approached with a “set it and forget it” strategy. “Small things like adjusting tub location and cleaning out a feeder can work together to help you achieve desired intake levels,” says Hayes. “And more desirable consumption can, potentially, lead to improved cattle performance.”

The extra time spent calculating supplement consumption and making adjustments may be well worth it.

 

Article Attributed to Purina Mills and Christina Hayes, Ph. D.

Sunglo Show Feed Event

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
Aug ’19
29
6:30 pm

Sunglo Show Feed EventMake plans to join us for a Sunglo Show Feed Event! On Thursday, August 29, stop by the store at 6:30 for a presentation by Pete and Jeff. They are our very own Sunglo representatives and are looking forward to talking with you. They are very knowledgeable about the industry and are prepared to answer all of your questions. Don’t forget to bring a notepad and pencil so you can jot down anything new you learn!

This beef show feed clinic covers the fundamentals of preparing for the upcoming fair season. It’s important to learn as much as you can before your project begins so you can start off on the right foot…or should we say hoof. Also, feeding and nutrition are two major topics that are covered in the workshop. Understanding the important balance between the two will equip you with the tools to be successful all the way into the show ring. Pete and Jeff are also discussing how to care for the health of your steer. They take pride in educating their customers with helpful information and examples to make your outcome better. Take it from us, you do not want to miss out on this information! You have the unique opportunity to ask questions from the experts, so take advantage of that.

There will be exclusive Sunglo prizes up for grabs as well as light refreshments. So mark your calendars so you don’t forget! To RSVP for our Sunglo Show Feed Event, see below.

    Cattle Mineral Tips for Fall

    Saturday, August 10th, 2019

    preparing your cattle for fallFall is approaching, which means it’s time to prepare your herd for the months ahead. Cattle nutrient requirements vary from season to season, so it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of your feed program. Check out these tips for creating a healthy mineral program and preparing your cattle for fall.

    Quick, timely considerations for your Purina cattle mineral program.

    • Understand your phosphorus levels as grasses dry down. For grass low in phosphorus, consider a high-phosphorus cattle mineral to meet animal needs.
    • Continue using Purina® Wind and Rain® Storm® Fly Control Mineral with Altosid® (IGR) 30 days after the first frost to prevent flies from overwintering and jump-starting spring populations.
    • Building base mineral and vitamin stores pre-weaning can help calves stay healthy. Provide Purina® Stress Tubs for calves in the creep feeder cage. If you don’t creep feed, make sure calves have access to a cattle mineral feeder with the rest of the cow herd.
    • Cows may crave salt more as grasses dry down. It can be helpful to provide additional salt in a granular mineral mix. Provide free-choice salt if using a cattle mineral tub that does not contain salt (i.e. non-complete).

    Try Purina® minerals today through the Feed Greatness® Challenge and prepare your cattle for fall.

     

    Source: Kent Tjardes, Ph.D., Field Cattle Consultant

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