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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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Gearing Up For Lambing And Kidding Seasons

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By Jessica Dercks, B.S.

Preparing for healthy kids and lambs starts long before kidding and lambing seasons begin. It is vital for gestating animals to have a well balanced ration that provides the appropriate minerals and vitamins not only for their own health, but for their developing young as well. Because sheep and goats have different nutrient requirements, Crystal Creek® offers both a Goat and a Sheep Mineral. Both formulas are packed with readily bioavailable vitamins and minerals specifically balanced for each species. The purchase of either mineral comes with custom ration balancing services that ensure quality, cost effective diets.

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Maintaining Your Pasture To Maximize Feed Quality

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

Pasture is a high quality, cost-effective feed that many producers rely heavily on during the summer months. Because pasture is such a crucial feed, it is important to manage it during vulnerable times to make the most efficient use of it when it is growing. Implementation of fall and spring pasture management practices can make a noticeable difference in pasture quality and in your pocketbook during the grazing season.

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Ask The Vet / Ask The Nutritionist

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How do you determine the right time to harvest corn silage and how long should I wait before feeding this year’s silage?”

The proper timing of harvesting corn silage is of the utmost importance. If corn silage is harvested when it is too wet, it can grow mold and/or clostridia and there is a greater chance that butyric acid will form leading to dry matter loss, poor feed quality and decreased feed intake. Harvesting corn silage when it is too dry will cause poor packing in the storage structure, poor fermentation and possible heating in the bunk. All of these factors can lead to an increased dry matter loss during fermentation, spoilage and poor bunk life. Dry corn silage is also less digestible. Harvesting corn silage at just the right time will produce high quality silage which will result in optimum animal performance. Factors to consider when harvesting corn silage include:

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Successfully Managing Internal Parasites In Sheep

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By Contributing Editor
Julie Wadzinski, B.S.

Internal parasite resistance is becoming a serious concern across sheep flocks worldwide.  Recent research has focused on different methods to minimize the genetic adaptation of internal parasites to survive deworming treatments (anthelmintic resistance). It is important to take a multi-faceted approach to create an Integrated Parasite Management (IPM) plan. One component to consider when creating an IPM is parasite refugia.  Parasite refugia is a population of parasites that have survived despite being exposed to unfavorable conditions. An effective parasite managment plan includes pasture management, proper anthelmintic selection, selectively treating animals, careful breeding/culling considerations, quarantining new animals and investigating treatment failure.

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Managing Mycotoxins In Feedstuffs: Mycotoxin Binder Strategies

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2013Dan  By Dan Leiterman

Mycotoxins are highly poisonous compounds produced by molds that can grow on livestock feeds both in the field and in storage.  Mycotoxins can seriously reduce production in livestock and can negatively affect the health of both livestock and humans alike. Stressful growing and harvesting conditions, such as drought or very wet weather, are conducive to higher mold growth resulting in more mycotoxins in the feed. Mycotoxins are common in livestock feedstuffs and it has been estimated that over one third of the global grain supply has mycotoxin contamination. Poor storage conditions, post-storage mishandling of feedstuffs and poor bunk management may encourage further mold growth once the crop is out of the field.

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Evaluating Dry Matter Intake From Pastures

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

Many producers we work with at Crystal Creek® utilize pasture as a valuable feedstuff in their ration during the grazing season. Pasture is a cost effective feed that provides great nutrition, supports rumen microbes, promotes animal health, and improves the profitability of many operations when utilized properly. While pasture as a feed can be very beneficial, it has one downfall.  It is difficult to measure the dry matter intake (DMI) of your animals when they are on pasture. Dry matter intake is a crucial piece of information for nutritionists when balancing a ration.  A balanced ration is essential for optimal production, reproduction, animal health and ultimately profitability.

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“Ask The Vet and Ask The Nutritionist”

Click here to view as a pdf:  Ask The Nutritionist


By Teresa Marker, B.S.


“Two years ago in Wisconsin we had drought-like growing conditions and I experienced molds & mycotoxins in my feedstuffs.  The 2014 growing season brought ample amounts of rain.  Are my worries about mold and mycotoxins over?”

J.S. from Central Wisconsin

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