Click here to view as a pdf: 2017 December Newsletter
Click here to view as a pdf: Can Calf Barns Really Have Too Much Fresh Air In The Winter
By Ryan Leiterman, D.V.M.
Cold temperatures are here and winter is quickly approaching. As the temperatures drop, calf barns are closed up and the ventilation rates are turned down. As an industry we do this reflexively, but is it what’s best for the calves?
Studies show that pre-weaned calves raised in hutches have lower pneumonia rates when compared to calves raised in barns. Even calves raised in calf barns equipped with modern ventilation systems can experience increased respiratory disease rates when compared to their hutch-raised counterparts.
Click here to view as a pdf: Anti Nutritional Trends And Thoughts
By Dr. John Goeser, Phd, PAS & Dipl. ACAN-Rock River Laboratory, Inc.
Historically, mold, yeast and mycotoxins are thought of as the primary contaminants in feed that rob high performing dairy cattle of health and nutrition. More recently, stress and pathogenic bacteria have been better recognized as contributing factors that interact with fungal and mycotoxin contaminants. See Figure 1.
Click here to view as a pdf: The Importance Of Forage Testing
By Dan Leiterman
The age old question of “How often should I test my forage?” has a different answer for every operation. Field sizes, crop varieties, harvest timing, and storage methods play an important role in determining forage testing needs. It is important to watch for changes in forage quality by observing your cows. Dry matter is the one exception for testing needs, as this should be evaluated weekly. There are several low cost, on-farm testing options available to monitor the dry matter of forages, such as a Koster tester or a microwave.
Click here to view as a pdf: Reviewing Proper Milking Procedure
By Kelly Hubert, B.S.
There may be a time on every farm where the milking protocol is not implemented or followed properly. This could be the result of a person in a hurry to finish chores or a new employee still learning proper protocol. It is important to follow proper milking procedures which can lower somatic cell counts, increase milk production, help earn better premiums and increase overall profit.
Click here to view as a pdf: Give Your Beef Calves A Strong Start
By Erik Brettingen, B.S.
The stress caused by weaning decreases a calf’s immune function and makes them more vulnerable to disease. For many years it has been common practice to give medicated feeds, pellets, or additives around the time of weaning to decrease the incidence of disease. Treating with these medicated feeds can be expensive, counterproductive to rumen function, and now requires a veterinary prescription due to the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Crystal Creek® formulates products that have natural ingredients proven to support calves during the stress of weaning and do not require the need for a VFD. Crystal Pellets™ and Heifer Pride™ are two products that can help give your beef calves a strong start.
Click here to view as a pdf: Winter Udder Care
By Alex Austin, B.S.
Udder care is important year-round, but the winter months can present their own specific set of challenges. Low temperatures and cold wind chills can be brutal on exposed skin. Preventative measures and proactive treatments can make all the difference in udder health.
“We see sporadic outbreaks of ringworm in our livestock and can’t seem to get rid of it. What exactly causes ringworm and how can we prevent it?”
-Puzzled in Pennsylvania
There are many producers across the nation who experience bouts of ringworm and struggle to get rid of it. Ringworm is caused by a contagious fungus called Trichophyton verrucosum. This fungus spreads easily throughout groups of livestock, especially those housed indoors. The spores multiply and spread rapidly, and can be picked up anywhere in the environment. Once an animal comes into contact with the spores, they irritate the skin and cause an infection.
Ringworm is classically observed as a variety of circular, grey-white scabs. It is most commonly seen on the facial area and around the eyes but can be found anywhere on the body1. Ringworm will typically resolve itself without treatment; however, this can take up to nine months2.
Many sources suggest different home remedies to cure ringworm but the surest way to address it is through prevention. Crystal Creek® recommends an examination of the nutritional support of the livestock and an inspection of their surrounding environment. A balanced nutrition program with sound trace minerals, including selenium, and Vitamins A, D, & E, aids in supporting the immune status of the animal. A strong immune system makes it more difficult for the fungal spores to infect the animal’s skin. Crystal Creek® offers an entire line of calf products formulated with high levels of bioavailable vitamins and minerals to support the immune system such as: Swift Start® Texturized Calf Feed, Swift Start® Calf Pellets, and Swift Start® Calf & Heifer Mineral. Many producers have observed ringworm all but leave their youngstock after switching to the Swift Start® program due to the improvement in vitamin and trace mineral quality.
In addition to sound nutrition, regular sun exposure will help reduce the incidence of ringworm. It is also a good idea to routinely clean any equipment used to handle animals. It is especially important to thoroughly clean grooming and show equipment, as items like brushes and halters can harbor spores over the winter and infect new animals the following spring. Remember that an animal does not need to have visible ringworm scabs to be carrying the infectious spores.
Lastly, ringworm, as with any disease, can be introduced to the herd from incoming animals. Isolating new animals for a set period of time will help to ensure that they are not carrying any transmissible diseases that may present with clinical signs after arrival. Focusing on these key preventative strategies will save much time and effort down the road with reduced ringworm outbreaks.
By Jessica Getschel, B.S.
Please submit your animal health or nutrition questions in writing to:
Ask the Vet/Nutritionist
1600 Roundhouse Road
Spooner, WI 54801