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Gearing Up For Lambing And Kidding Seasons

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By Jessica Dercks, B.S.

Jessi_2016_PREVIEWPreparing for healthy kids and lambs starts long before kidding and lambing seasons begin. It is vital for gestating animals to have a well balanced ration that provides the appropriate minerals and vitamins not only for their own health, but for their developing young as well. Because sheep and goats have different nutrient requirements, Crystal Creek® offers both a Goat and a Sheep Mineral. Both formulas are packed with readily bioavailable vitamins and minerals specifically balanced for each species. The purchase of either mineral comes with custom ration balancing services that ensure quality, cost effective diets.

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The Importance Of Calf Bedding

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By Kaylee Viney

Livestock Specialist

The investment made in young stock and heifers sets the groundwork for future herd performance. There is new research in the industry on how calf bedding not only affects the health and growth of young calves, but its significant impact on future milk production. Bedding type and management have higher importance when faced with cold weather challenges.

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Maintaining Your Pasture To Maximize Feed Quality

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

Pasture is a high quality, cost-effective feed that many producers rely heavily on during the summer months. Because pasture is such a crucial feed, it is important to manage it during vulnerable times to make the most efficient use of it when it is growing. Implementation of fall and spring pasture management practices can make a noticeable difference in pasture quality and in your pocketbook during the grazing season.

In the fall, it is hard to resist the temptation to use as much pasture as possible; grazing right down to the last inch of pasture to avoid feeding stored forages and go into winter with nice “clean” looking pastures. While this practice may save you forage in the fall, it will greatly reduce your pasture’s yield the following grazing season. It is important to know that plants store much of their energy reserve for the upcoming winter in the bottom three inches of the plant. Grazing too close to the ground in the fall greatly reduces the energy reserves of the plant needed for spring regrowth. The additional pasture growth in the following grazing season will more than make up for any hay fed to allow the pasture to stay at 3 inches.

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Ask The Vet / Ask The Nutritionist

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How do you determine the right time to harvest corn silage and how long should I wait before feeding this year’s silage?”

The proper timing of harvesting corn silage is of the utmost importance. If corn silage is harvested when it is too wet, it can grow mold and/or clostridia and there is a greater chance that butyric acid will form leading to dry matter loss, poor feed quality and decreased feed intake. Harvesting corn silage when it is too dry will cause poor packing in the storage structure, poor fermentation and possible heating in the bunk. All of these factors can lead to an increased dry matter loss during fermentation, spoilage and poor bunk life. Dry corn silage is also less digestible. Harvesting corn silage at just the right time will produce high quality silage which will result in optimum animal performance. Factors to consider when harvesting corn silage include:

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Successfully Managing Internal Parasites In Sheep

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By Contributing Editor
Julie Wadzinski, B.S.

Internal parasite resistance is becoming a serious concern across sheep flocks worldwide.  Recent research has focused on different methods to minimize the genetic adaptation of internal parasites to survive deworming treatments (anthelmintic resistance). It is important to take a multi-faceted approach to create an Integrated Parasite Management (IPM) plan. One component to consider when creating an IPM is parasite refugia.  Parasite refugia is a population of parasites that have survived despite being exposed to unfavorable conditions. An effective parasite managment plan includes pasture management, proper anthelmintic selection, selectively treating animals, careful breeding/culling considerations, quarantining new animals and investigating treatment failure.

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Providing A Clean Environment=Healthier Calves And Increased Profit

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By Lorrie Meister, CVT
Livestock Specialist

A clean environment is essential to successful calf raising. Housing, air quality and cleanliness of the surfaces the calf comes into contact with (hutches, panels, bottles, pails, feeders, etc.) all play a role in raising a healthy, robust animal. Many producers fall into habits of using certain products, or practices, to clean and disinfect surfaces because they have never considered, or have not taken the time to look for a better alternative.

For many years, bleach has been the most commonly used disinfectant on livestock operations.  While bleach is effective in some ways, it has several major downfalls. Cryptosporidium and giardia are two common pathogens that bleach will not control. A common misconception when cleaning facilities is if it looks clean, it is clean. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Studies of bacterial loads in dairy farm environments have shown that only 10% of bacteria present is free floating. That leaves the remaining 90% of bacteria attached to surfaces or trapped in biofilms.1 Biofilms are a group of microorganisms which stick to each other and adhere to a surface. This representation of bacterial distribution proves how important the steps of sanitation (past the removal of gross debris) are in our cleaning protocols. Finding a disinfecting agent that can provide a broad spectrum of protection for your animals can be a challenge. Some agents work well in certain settings but not others. New studies have shown that chlorine dioxide is the best choice for on-farm sanitizing applications.

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Maternal Colostrum Management

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By Kaylee Viney,
Livestock Specialist

Giving calves the best chance for a healthy and productive life starts with proper colostrum management. Calves that receive high quality colostrum obtain the passive immunity needed to protect them against disease. Properly managing colostrum will reduce calf treatment costs as well as increase average daily gain. Three areas to focus on when evaluating a colostrum management plan are:

  • Colostrum
  • Colostrum delivery time to the calf
  • Colostrum quantity

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