Chances are if you are a cow-calf producer, you are constantly looking for ways to stay profitable. With uncertainties in markets, environments and climate, there are several challenges that exist to getting a handle on your bottom line. However, following a few best management practices will help your operation thrive during the summer and help you stay profitable.
Reproductive Performance that Pays
Heat stress can wreak havoc on your cow herd’s conception rates during the summer months. Temperatures above 70-degrees Fahrenheit can shock the embryo in the cow, causing it to die, and therefore lowering your herd’s conception rates.
To help mitigate heat stress in your herd and help retain pregnancies, especially in the first trimester, you should consider a high-quality reproductive mineral program like VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® 5/S HEAT®. VitaFerm Concept•Aid is a free-choice vitamin and mineral supplement with a focus on reproductive performance. It contains organic copper, zinc and manganese to ensure maximum bioavailability of nutrients to the animal and high levels of vitamin E and selenium to promote optimized fertility. In addition, the HEAT package is a combination of plant extracts designed to help prevent heat stress during temperatures of 70 degrees and warmer, or anytime cattle are grazing fescue. HEAT also contains garlic to deter insects.
Getting your cows bred and keeping them bred through the summer months, means more calves at calving time and more live animals means more profit potential. The ROI is minimal for a nutrition program that will increase your conception rates and help mitigate heat stress while helping control flies.
Maximize your Forages, Feed Less
In addition to the added reproductive benefits that the VitaFerm Concept•Aid line offers, all VitaFerm products contain a proprietary prebiotic called Amaferm® that is research-proven to increase the intake, digestibility and absorption of nutrients, meaning you can get more nutritional value from your forages.
Amaferm is designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to increase the energy available to the animal resulting in more milk production, which also leads to higher-performing, growthier calves.
The longer you can get good nutritional value from your forages and native grasses, the shorter amount of time you will need to supplement your herd with feed or hay, adding some savings to your bottom line.
Keep Your Herd Healthy
Herd health and nutrition are often synergistic; however, taking a proactive approach to your herd health is often the best way to save money and add to your profit potential when it comes to health.
To be proactive, keep your calves healthy and reduce any sickness before it starts. This also includes a good nutritional program like the VitaFerm line, or a product from the Vita Charge® line for fresh-weaned calves. Like all of the VitaFerm products, Vita Charge contains Amaferm and also includes MOS to help expel bad pathogens.
In addition, always make sure your cattle have access to fresh, clean water. Check on your cattle daily to look for signs of a sick animal and treat it before it gets really sick. If you need to work calves or cows, do so early in the morning or later in the evening, to avoid working them in the heat of the day, putting additional stress on them. Each stressor has the chance to cause them to go off feed and water, lowering their performance and lowering your profit opportunities.
Time is Money
The one thing most of us are short on is time, and unfortunately, we can’t clone ourselves. But there are young people looking for summer experiences on livestock operations. Perhaps you work off the farm and ranch and don’t have time to check for herd health or put out mineral on a regular basis. Chances are there is a young person looking for experience or an internship who you could hire for seasonal help.
High school and college age students make good seasonal help because they often have flexible schedules; they are wanting to learn more about beef production; and they are licensed to drive, if you have a larger area to cover. Sometimes you can exchange their labor for a place to keep a show steer or even a minimal fee and some knowledge. Remember, you don’t have to do everything, and yet there is a way you don’t have to hire a full-time herdsman either.
Summer offers enough stress with heat, insects and weather uncertainties. Don’t let the opportunity to grow your financial resources on your cow-calf enterprise stress you out too. Follow these nutritional, herd health and best practices to help you stay profitable in the summer and all year long.