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Forage Digestibility: How It Affects Your Bottom Line

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

Forages have traditionally been tested for Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) and Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF). While these values determine how much of each type of fiber there is, they do not give any information as to how digestible, or actually useable, the fiber is to the cow. A more accurate measurement in predicting how well cows will perform on a particular forage crop would be Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility (NDFd) and Undigestible Neutral Detergent Fiber (uNDF). The digestibility of NDF is a critical piece of information for balancing rations to maximize cow performance, improve cow health, and minimize ration costs by relying on as much home-grown forages as possible.

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Improving Butterfat: Using Components To Drive Profitability

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

With the economic challenges facing the dairy industry today, farmers are looking for any and every way to increase profit and maintain sustainability. We are currently in a market where the volume of milk is exceeding the demand.  In this situation, striving to produce more milk can be expensive and often have a minimal return. An alternative to increased volume is increasing the nutrient quality of the milk through higher butterfat content. This can make a large impact on a farm’s bottom line. In July of 2019, the average national price paid for butterfat was $2.69 per pound.1 A cow producing 75 pounds of milk could increase income by $0.30 per day if butterfat content was raised from 3.6 to 3.9%. Along with the economic impact, higher components are also a sign of good rumen health indicating efficient digestion. Increasing butterfat is not always easy, but there are strategies that can help improve milk components to drive a farm’s profitability.

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Milk Or Profit: A Case Study

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

Rolling herd average or milk production per cow are numbers commonly referred to when discussing the success of a dairy farm. Milk production is an easy number to identify but the actual profitability of an operation is a much more complex topic. A dairy herd’s income is simple to see by reading the milk check. Determining the real profit of the herd cannot be so easily evaluated as it takes time to assess the expenses involved in making the milk and running the operation.

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Interpreting The Value Of A Livestock Mineral

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Customer Favorite This article was originally published in the April 2012 Issue of the Crystal Creek® Newsletter

By Dan Leiterman

The goal of this article is to offer insight in determining the value of a livestock mineral. The value can be determined by combining the information supplied on the label and visual observation of the mineral itself, along with some basic ingredient knowledge. A critical analysis will consider ingredient quality, nutrient bioavailability and possible negative, unintended consequences associated with poor ingredient quality or inappropriate formulation techniques.

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Crystal Creek® Foundation Grain Mix: Innovative Nutrition For All Livestock

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By Alex Austin, B.S.

Crystal Creek® is excited to offer an innovative approach to providing quality nutrition to your livestock. Crystal Creek® Foundation Grain Mix is a new product offering high grade grains resulting in excellent performance nutrition. Pairing Crystal Creek® Foundation Grain Mix with the appropriate Crystal Creek® mineral will provide a superior quality complete feed.

 

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Ask the Vet/Ask the Nutritionist

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“There are times we need to drench our calves or adult cows but no one on the farm is comfortable performing this procedure.  Are there any tips that could help us?”

-Unsure in Iowa-

There are many reasons for having to administer a liquid by mouth into the rumen or abomasum of an animal. Supplying the correct quantity of colostrum to calves or giving an electrolyte solution for rehydration are a couple common examples. Making sure that drenching is being performed correctly on your farm is crucial, as incorrect drenching can cause aspiration of fluids into the lungs leading to pneumonia, choking and even death. Training livestock handlers on the procedure will help set up your operation for success. Drenching requires skill, knowledge, strength, patience and the right tools for the job.

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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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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.

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