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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:

  1. Maximize dry matter intake.
  2. Keep the DCAD low and minimize the risk of milk fever by providing the cow with feedstuffs low in calcium, potassium and other cations.
  3. Balance the ration for moderate energy levels (0.65 to 0.67 Mcal/lb. Nel) to maintain a stable body condition and limit the risk of subclinical ketosis from weight gain.
  4. Deliver crude protein levels of 12.5% to 13.5% to support fetal growth and milk production during lactation.
  5. Provide adequate and balanced levels of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E and selenium for mammary recovery and development.

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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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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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Electrolyte Use

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By Kelly Hubert, B.S.

Electrolytes are an important tool to use when supporting scouring and dehydrated calves. Scours are the leading cause of death in young calves, primarily because scours cause calves to rapidly dehydrate. It is important to monitor calves daily and treat them quickly when needed.  A calf needs to receive 10% of its body weight in fluids each day for maintenance, while a growing calf will require even more1. Scouring calves need the calories from milk feedings as well as the extra fluids and nutrition that electrolytes provide. Electrolytes should be fed between the normal milk feedings. Mixing milk and electrolytes together interferes with the clotting mechanism of the milk and is not recommended1. It is best to start with a higher feeding rate of electrolytes and reduce it as the calf’s condition improves. If a calf is not drinking on its own, the use of an esophageal feeder may be required.

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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

Click here to view as a pdf:  Vitamins And Minerals Are Key For Optimum Livestock Performance

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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