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Spring Pasture: A Great Asset

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

The spring flush of pasture is a great resource for producer profitability, animal health, and productivity. While pasture can provide a great deal of opportunity as an economical feed source, it is important to ensure the proper management of this resource. Waiting until the forage is adequately established before allowing grazing and keeping up with the fast growing flush, is critical to maintaining pasture health. Taking steps to prevent common pasture diseases like bloat and grass tetany will allow grazing animals to thrive on the new spring grass.

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Improving Reproduction In Your Dairy Herd

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By Kelly Hubert, B.S.

Reproduction plays a crucial role in the profitability and sustainability of a dairy farm. Finding ways to improve the reproduction of a herd can be challenging because there are many variables that can affect a cow’s ability to get pregnant. The waiting period before first service, ability to accurately detect heats, cow comfort, nutrition and the presence of mycotoxins in the feed are all factors that need to be evaluated when looking to improve the reproductive performance of your dairy herd.

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Give Your Beef Calves A Strong Start

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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.

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Ask The Vet / Ask The Nutritionist

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.

1  Purdue University Cooperative Extension Services
2  Langford Veterinary Services, University of Bristol

By Jessica Getschel, B.S.

Please submit your animal health or nutrition questions in writing to:

 

Crystal Creek®

Ask the Vet/Nutritionist

1600 Roundhouse Road

Spooner, WI 54801

OR

askthevet@crystalcreeknatural.com

Vitamins And Minerals Are Key For Optimum Livestock Performance

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By Jessica Getschel, B.S.

The conversations between producers and nutritionists regarding livestock mineral intake generally focus on two areas: 1) What mineral blend will most efficiently balance the dietary and performance needs of the animals and 2) How that mineral will be fed. When it comes to mineral delivery, special attention should be paid to how the mineral is physically consumed by the animal and, just as importantly, how the individual mineral components are utilized inside the body, i.e., the bioavailability of the mineral ingredients.

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Hoof Defense™-A New Approach To Hoof Health

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By Kaylee Viney

Livestock Specialist

Digital dermatitis, more commonly referred to as hairy heel warts, is the most common infectious cause of lameness in dairy cattle1. The painful lesions are a result of compromised hoof or skin condition leading to an infection of the skin surface.  The most common location of heel warts are on the back feet, between the claws where the hoof heels meet the skin, below the dew claws. Lameness caused by hairy heel warts often reduces feed intake, subsequently negatively impacting milk production. Affected cows increase their laying time in the stalls, and are less likely to compete at the bunk.

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Understanding Biofilms In Agriculture

Click here to view as a pdf:   Understanding Biofilms In Agriculture

By Jessica Dercks, B.S.

In agriculture today, sanitation technique and protocol implementation have become more important than ever before. An increased awareness of health benefits gained from a clean environment has stimulated a higher standard of cleaning expectations. Many producers not only strive to remove organic matter from surfaces, but also microbial buildup; more accurately, biofilms.

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Feedstuffs

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TeresaBy Teresa Marker, B.S.

Dairy producers spend a lot of time, energy and money to grow, harvest and store quality feedstuffs that will be used to feed their livestock. Optimizing those feedstuffs by feeding a balanced ration will make the rumen more consistent and provide a stable environment for rumen microbes to grow which will help improve herd performance, productivity and profitability. Evaluating silage management, TMR mixing and bunk management on the farm are all useful areas that can be evaluated to help maximize the full potential of homegrown feedstuffs.

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