Evaluating your Herd's Mineral Program
Cattle nutrient requirements can vary by season and stage of production. Now is a great time to evaluate your cattle mineral programs and map out a plan to maximize impact.
While minerals are a relatively small portion of the diet, they control many vital functions in cattle and impact everything from cattle reproduction to feed efficiency and overall herd health. That's why it’s so important to make sure the mineral needs of your cattle are being met year-round.
Digital Dermatitis, commonly referred to as hairy heel warts, poses many threats to a dairy herd in terms of health, productivity, and longevity. Hairy heel wart typically presents on the back of the heel and can look red and raw initially. The area may have raised, hair – like projections and can extend to the front of the foot. Factors such as stress leading to decreased immunity, poor micronutrient intake, wet and muddy environment, exposure to infected animals, inadequate foot bath and hoof trimming can all lead to DD (digital dermatitis) infections. Unfortunately, this is an industry – wide battle. According to a recent study by the USDA, over 70 percent of dairies in the United States had reported cases of DD. In this article we will go through key factors to prevent and treat digital dermatitis.
Managing Winter Calf Barn Ventilation
Temperature fluctuations during winter tend to present challenges for calf raisers across the Midwest and many farms will see an uptick in respiratory issues. More calves are being raised in barns or other housing with greater protection from the elements and these structures rely on natural ventilation to provide clean, fresh air to the calves. This works well in the summertime; however, as doors, windows and curtains are closed in the winter, providing sufficient air exchanges to keep calves healthy can be challenging.
Preparing for Breeding Season - Male to Female Ratios
Breeding season will be here before we know it and with it, bull turnout. In our area, we are fortunate to have many outstanding registered seedstock breeders who will be marketing bulls this Spring. The opportunity to invest in genetics to improve the profit potential of your operation may have you wondering what exactly you should be looking for.
Feeding for Butterfat
This sensitivity analysis considers the portion of palmitic acid fed as a dietary supplement that ends up as butterfat and energy for body utilization. It assumes that:
The Top 3 Reasons to Switch to Propane Autogas
With diesel prices continuing to rise, there's no better time to rethink how you're fueling your fleet. Propane Autogas can save money, save time, and keep your students safer. Here's the top 3 reason why you should make the switch to Propane Autogas.
Properly Delivering Additional Energy to Dairy Calves
Winters in the Midwest pose many challenges to dairy farmers. One common challenge being how to keep calves not only healthy but also growing through this stressful time. As we know, calves use the energy they take in for maintenance first, then growth last.
January Feed News
Each winter, Premier joins our trade partners to host meetings on beef information to help your herd. This year is NO exception! We’ll be joined by Elanco to discuss feed conversions, Rumensin (a big player over the years in our programs) and the resulting return on investment. We’ll also feature a presentation from Corteva.
Long Day Lighting
Photoperiod is the duration of daily light exposure in a 24 hour period. When the photoperiod has been manipulated to 16-18 hours of light exposure; research has shown an increase in milk production, feed efficiency, reproduction, and heifer growth.
Fall Beef Herd Tips
Pasture conditions are variable in southwest Wisconsin this fall, and how you manage this with your cows can have an impact on winter-feeding costs and cow performance next year. What are some things to assess right now?
Energy or protein, do you know what you need?
Harvest is in full swing and soon mother nature will be presenting us with colder temperatures and the white stuff we all have grown to have a love-hate relationship with as livestock producers. With these changes also comes a change in how we manage our beef cattle, transitioning from stored pasture forage to perhaps grazing of corn fodder to feeding of stored feeds.
DIY Colostrum Thawing & Heating Unit
As producers are beginning to focus a lot more on their calf health, lowering excess heifer numbers and raising only what they need for replacements, I have been asked a lot about how to properly store, warm, and feed colostrum. Refrigerating or freezing excess high-quality colostrum (greater than 22% Brix reading) is a great way to ensure each newborn calf receives this vital nutrition at birth. Because high temperatures can destroy immunoglobulins (IgGs) and other nutrients, colostrum should be carefully thawed and warmed before feeding it to the calf. Producers can easily build their own colostrum thawing and heating unit to accomplish this task.
Propane Autogas: The Safest Way to Get Back to School
Propane Autogas is the not just the best economical choice you can make for your district, it's also the safest for your students. Here's why:
Do you allow your cows to reach their potential?
This topic is one of the most talked about items by dairy cow nutritionists and dairy producers. I wanted to add to prior newsletter articles written by my colleagues where they talked about setting the table for fresh cows by ventilating dry cows and feeding dry cows for success. Building from that I will add on how handling postcalving animals is crucial to those lactating animals reaching peak milk.
2021 Corn Silage Harvest
I don’t know about where you live but in my area in the SW corner of WI a majority of the corn tasseled on or near the July 7-11th this year. Easy rule of thumb is the corn is close to ready or ready to be chopped for corn silage 45 days after tasseling. That means some people could be chopping corn silage around August 18. Yes, weather has a big impact on the time of harvest time. A week ago, I’d say it’d be earlier due to drought conditions and now with rains it may mature normally. The good news is we don’t have to guess about this.
Are you setting your dry cows up for success?
We often focus on the ROI of additives in lactating cow diets as they are the ones currently earning their keep, but without a smooth transition period, they cannot reach their potential. Two of the most important metabolic shifts that occur at calving are calcium and fat mobilization to support milk production. Clinical milk fever is relatively easy to identify, but subclinical milk fever is a pervasive, and often unrecognized problem. Low calcium impacts muscles, the immune system, and the digestive system. The high prevalence of subclinical ketosis has also gotten a lot of attention in the past few years with the introduction of reliable cow side blood testing capabilities and the recognition of the associated decreased milk production. Today, we have research proven feed additives (ex. negative DCAD, choline) to help alleviate these metabolic issues and provide a good ROI to the farm.
Should you Cool your Dry Cows?
Warm weather is upon us, and with that heat stress enters your mind. The effects of heat stress are obvious in your lactating cows with decreased milk in the bulk tank, but may not be as obvious in your dry cows. Heat stressed dry cows can have a much bigger effect than you may have thought possible. Cows that have heat stress leads to lower production throughout the entire lactation, decreased ability to fight off infections, and affects the potential for their offspring to compete in the herd.
Dairy Financial Drivers
There is no question that the state of the dairy industry, as it has been since my time began at Premier in 2017, has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. While there are plenty of moving parts not in a consultant’s or producer’s control, there are still several ways to improve profitability on our dairies today.
Have No Doubt If There's A Drought
Conditions have been very favorable for a successful calving season this year. Not having to battle mud and the associated challenges that present themselves when we calve in wet, damp, cold environments can lead to some benefits. However, our mindset will soon shift as concerns of plentiful precipitation, pasture quality and longevity may be of greater concern. This month we take a look at a few decision-making opportunities when our region is challenged with drought conditions.
DRP & Driving Production Webinar
Delivering more dollars & protecting your investment
June 30th we hosted a webinar with Dr. Tom Overton (Cornell University) and Jessica Sarbacker (State Bank of Cross Plains) on the Dairy Revenue Protection program and driving components and pounds of solids.