Click here to view as a pdf: August 2023 Newsletter
Click here to view as a pdf: Eggshell Quality Problems In Layer Flocks
The purpose of any layer flock is to produce one of America’s favorite protein sources: eggs.
Eggs are a unique food in the fact that they go from farm to the consumer’s table largely unaltered. Therefore, any egg with visible imperfections of the eggshell needs to be sorted out and cannot be sold as is. Producers keep a close eye on the appearance of their eggs. While many deformities might look scary and immediately raise the concern of a serious issue like diseases, they very often have benign or easy to fix causes.
The main factors that affect eggs are most often nutrition, maturity of the bird, management factors like lighting, and stress. Infectious diseases are a rarer cause of eggshell deformities.
This article will help you to identify the kind of deformity, the cause, and offer problem solving strategies.
Click here to view as a pdf: Protocols For Weaning Beef Calves
Weaning calves takes planning. There is a lot to consider. Every farm is different with their facilities, management, type of cattle, diseases, and climate. As a veterinarian and beef producer, I understand some of the challenges beef raisers face. Below is a summary of how I wean my beef calves. It is not the only way to do things, but it is what works for our operation.
Click here to view as a pdf: Dairy Goats: A Growing Industry
The dairy goat industry in the U.S. has grown significantly in the past 20 years. Between the growing trend of homesteading and producers looking to expand into more diverse markets, many are seeing the benefits goats bring with their smaller, easy-to-manage size. More consumers are also discovering the diverse products dairy goats produce such as their milk, cheese, lotion and more.
Although we have seen the number of dairy farms shrinking in Wisconsin and other states, the number of dairy goats has been on the rise. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s last census done in 2017, dairy goat herds have increased in all 48 states, with the number of operations more than doubling. The number rose 61 percent between 2007 and 2017. Out of all the states, Wisconsin had the largest increase with 47,000 animals.
Click here to view as a pdf: Focus on Profits For Dairy Success
When sitting down with current and prospective dairy clients, the conversation regularly revolves around farm goals and benchmarks. This is important to make sure the dairy is headed in the direction the owners are striving for. Different dairies may have different goals, which is just one reason the dairy industry is so amazing. It is not unusual though, to find that farms may be scope locked on milk production as a goal without other context to go along with it. Milk production is very easy to measure daily, it has long been a metric of success, and let’s be honest, it is a lot of fun when cows are making a lot of milk. However, milk production alone does not equal profitability for the farm. Profitability, or at least income over feed cost, should be the focus on dairies and is what truly measures success. Profit is harder to measure and track but yields more positive results. Crystal Creek® works with clients to track profitability and comb through data to find opportunities for improvement. This includes tracking and monitoring feeding software programs, understanding of herd management software, DHIA report review and analysis, and diet evaluation to maximize profitability, not just milk production.
Click here to view as a pdf: Free-Ranging Your Family Flock
Raising and keeping your own small flock of poultry has grown in popularity over the last few years. These small backyard flocks are often allowed out of the chicken run to free-range around the property. Free-ranging is believed to improve chicken welfare as it provides the opportunity to move freely outdoors, increases exposure to sunlight, and provides greater opportunities for natural behaviors. Although there are many benefits to free-ranging chickens, it is also important to be aware of some of the challenges faced when doing this.
Click here to view as a pdf: Livestock Nutrition Fundamentals That Can Have Big Returns
In any life endeavor it is critically important to get the fundamentals done right, or else the whole project is at risk, no matter how much added effort and resources are applied. This is true in any business and is definitely the case in an agricultural business.
When it comes to livestock nutrition, meeting the basic nutritional needs of the animal at the right time of need is fundamental to the success of a livestock enterprise. This is true no matter what the species. In this article I will use dairy cows and calves as my example of concepts that would apply to all livestock.
Click here to view as PDF: Water: The Forgotten Nutrient
Water is the most vital nutrient for livestock and crucial to many functions in the body. An animal’s body is made up of 50-80% water and it helps regulate temperature, spread nutrients throughout the body and eliminate waste. Several factors affect an animal’s water requirement including weather, age, production level and life stage. Despite the importance of water, water quality is often overlooked. Offering easy access to clean water is an important factor when considering the health and productivity of your animals. Just ask yourself…would you drink out of your animal’s water cup or water trough?
Click here to view as a pdf: Mineral Nutrition: Advancements Over Time
The use of minerals in livestock feeds is constantly evolving. The English word mineral comes from the Latin word minerale, which means “to be mined from the earth”. The first livestock minerals were rocks mined from the earth, then ground up, processed, and fed to animals. These minerals are referred to as inorganic minerals and they are still used in livestock feed; however, they have limitations. Due to scientific advancements, many minerals are now available in multiple forms beyond mined rock. One of the most advanced types of livestock minerals, chelated minerals, have many benefits. As a farmer and producer, it sometimes can get overwhelming when looking for the right feed and mineral to choose for your livestock. This article will address many commonly asked questions regarding mineral sources and nutrition, as well as provide guidance when reading feed tags.