Fall could undeniably be one of the most complex seasons of the year. There are crops to harvest, calves to wean, some operations are calving and yet others are preparing for their next spring calf crop. All those production cycles have various nutrient requirements on the herd, all while forages are in varying stages. Add in the mood swing Mother Nature throws out with temperature fluctuation, and it can be a challenge to determine the best route to take nutritionally.
The cow’s nutritional requirements are the greatest during lactation through breeding, when she is raising a calf and also trying to get herself back into shape to breed back. Her lowest nutrient requirements will be post-weaning until about 60 days pre-calving when you will want to start gearing those nutrients again to ensure the final stages of gestation that the calf inside the womb is getting all the nutrition it needs.
With forage quality decreasing in the fall, if grazing is even an option in your region, it is always recommended to have your hay nutritionally analyzed. Hay testing is a complimentary service provided to BioZyme® customers.
Once you know what nutrients your cows are missing in their diets and what they need to maximize their performance at their given stage of production, you can choose the right mineral program for your program. BioZyme is the maker of the VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® line of vitamin and mineral supplements with the Amaferm® advantage specifically designed for reproductive success when fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding. All VitaFerm Concept•Aid products contain Amaferm, a precision prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying the nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to increase the energy available to the animal resulting in more milk production as well as to the ability to initiate and maintain pregnancy and fertility.
Let’s explore the variety of VitaFerm Concept•Aid products available, both in loose and tub forms, their unique properties and why they might be right for your fall feeding program. Although other options exist, these are some of the most popular that make the most sense to feed this time of the year.
- VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® 5/S HEAT® This loose vitamin and mineral supplement is ideal in the late summer and early fall or anywhere in the deep South where temperatures consistently stay above 70 degrees. This formula includes the HEAT pack to help support cattle during heat stress situations, and provides 5% phosphorus, the ideal level of phosphorus for use with average to good quality forages, to promote milk production and higher calf weaning weights.
- VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® 5/S This free-choice formula is much like the one above without the HEAT and is ideal for average to good quality forages. It contains 5% phosphorus, and like all Concept•Aid contains organic copper, zinc and manganese to ensure maximum bioavailability of nutrients to the animal, as well as high levels of vitamin E and selenium to promote optimized fertility.
- VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® 8/S This loose vitamin and mineral supplement is ideal for cows on low quality forages or mature, crop residue. This formula provides 8% phosphorus, the ideal level to promote milk production and higher calf weaning weights.
- VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® Protein Tub This combination of Concept•Aid and 20% natural protein is ideal for situations for when forage quality is low to very low, and you need the added convenience of tub, such as corn stalks or big country. It provides the convenience of the highly bioavailable Concept•Aid breeding mineral along with a natural protein in a 200-pound tub so there is no need for an additional vitamin and mineral source.
- VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® Protein Meal This 20% protein meal is ideal when forage quality is low. This is a loose mineral that combines the highly bioavailable Concept•Aid breeding mineral along with a natural 20% protein meal so there is no need for an additional vitamin and mineral source when forage quality is low.
You can see the complete list of Concept•Aid formulas at HERE and find a mineral that will compliment your program with the VitaFerm Concept•Aid Product Navigator. Various minerals might work for your operation at various times of the year, depending on your environment or production cycle.
Whatever your situation, whatever your herd’s production cycle, there is a Concept•Aid mineral that will work for your operation. From droughts to excessive rains, pasture conditions probably aren’t ideal in a lot of areas, and hay quality and quantity might not be premium either.