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Winter Tips For Livestock

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With winter fast approaching, it is time to prepare your livestock for the upcoming cold season. The following tips can help maximize the performance of your animals this winter:

Proper Feeding

The main goal of feeding in the winter is to maintain body condition and, in pregnant animals, provide adequate nutrition for the growing fetus. Cattle require 1% more energy from their diet for every degree that is below their (environmental) critical temperature.1 For beef cattle with a heavy, dry, winter coat, their (environmental) critical temperature is 19˚ F. The chart below demonstrates the relationship between temperature and energy needs.

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Cost vs. Value: Why Cheaper Is Not Always Better

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

With the large selection of products available to the farming community, knowing what is needed, what isn’t, and which product to buy can be difficult to sort out. Cost often plays a role in making the selection between different products and services. While cost is important to consider, looking at a product’s value is a wiser approach to efficient decision making.

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Calves, Cold Weather And Calories

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By Alex Austin, B.S.

It’s no secret that calves can be more prone to health issues when temperatures decrease. We know that proper bedding, calf jackets and avoiding drafts are all important in keeping calves warm in the winter. An often overlooked solution is providing the calf with additional calories.

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Understanding The Principles Of Calf Barn Ventilation

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By Jessica Getschel, B.S.

Understanding the basic principles of calf barn ventilation is essential in evaluating the many different ventilation options available today. There is no single ventilation system that will work for every situation because each calf barn is unique in its structure and layout.

The goal of a properly designed ventilation system should be to provide clean, fresh air at all times for healthy calf development. Ventilation is responsible for removing accumulated heat, moisture, air borne pathogens and noxious gases from the animal’s environment. These factors support the rationale behind ventilating year round, as moisture, pathogens and gases are constantly being released and a buildup of these factors leads to respiratory stress in calves.

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Improving Longevity In Your Dairy Herd

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By Teresa Marker, B.S.

Healthy cows tend to stay in the herd longer.  Currently, in the United States, the average productive lifetime for a dairy cow is 2.5 lactations. A cow does not mature until five years of age.  Many cows are involuntarily lost during the first two months of lactation. The majority of these animals are removed from the herd due to poor transitions, lameness, mastitis and reproductive issues. There are several ways to improve longevity of a dairy herd which will ultimately lead to improved milk production and profitability for the dairy farm. Strategies to improve longevity on the dairy farm include: cull based on parity, bring in less heifers every year, improve the transition into lactation, focus on colostrum management, feed quality forage, and provide proper nutrition for all groups.

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Straw The Counterproductive Ingredient In Dry Cow Rations

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

The Dry Cow Diet

The dry cow diet is arguably the most important ration on the dairy farm; setting the stage for a successful lactation. Cows that freshen with metabolic problems of ketosis, milk fever or a displaced abomasum cost time and money to treat; often preventing the cow from reaching her full potential for that lactation. The goal of the dry cow diet is to limit these metabolic issues and support optimal health and rumen function going into lactation. Dry cow diets should be balanced with the following guidelines in mind:

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Ask The Vet / Ask The Nutritionist

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“I would like to test some feed stuffs with Dairyland Labs.  Which test package do you recommend?”

-Wondering in Wisconsin-

Crystal Creek® recommends the Select Package. The Select Package (listed as N7 NIR Select on the Dairyland Labs Submission form) is recommended over the Basic Package because its analysis offers an evaluation of ash, TDN and NE values, where the Basic Package does not. Crystal Creek® considers these values essential for balancing a ration.

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A Poultry Success Story

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By Stephanie Hutsko, PhD

Crystal Creek® has many customer success stories, one of which belongs to an organic family farm in upstate New York. This producer started on the Crystal Creek® Poultry Program approximately three years ago and currently has 9,913 brown layers. The birds were brought in as pullets at 18 weeks of age and are housed in an unheated, open barn with 15ft peaked roofs and curtain side walls. They are allowed access to the outdoor pasture at least one day every two weeks in the winter months, as is required for his free-range market. Feeding occurs once per day, by hand, and barn walkthroughs are performed about 10 times throughout the day to monitor floor eggs and bird health. Birds are weighed weekly and feed intakes are closely monitored. There are electric lights that are used to supplement the natural daylight to give the birds at least 16 hours of light.

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Interpreting Key Values Of A Forage Test

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By Alex Austin, B.S.

Forage testing gives great insight into the quality and value of feedstuffs. Testing allows for a better understanding of the forage value, whether feeding it out or looking to sell. Understanding key feed test values can give a producer insight on how their current agronomy, harvesting and storage management plan is working.

 

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