The start of a new year means setting new year’s resolutions. But if you are in the beef business, you are probably already used to setting goals throughout the year, based on the production cycle, not solely based on the flip of a calendar page.
One thing that should be more consistent than most people’s new year’s resolutions is a cow herd’s nutrition program. The cow is an impressive animal and the heart of the herd, so making sure she stays healthy and reproductively sound is of upmost importance.
Kevin Glaubius, BioZyme® Inc. Area Sales Manager for Nebraska, offered some key tips to helping cow-calf producers keep their herd healthy with a quality nutrition program from the diverse VitaFerm® line of products.
All VitaFerm products contain Amaferm®️ is a prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying the nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to increase intake, digestion and absorption.
- Know your goals.
Glaubius suggests that it is important to know your operational goals, but also know the goals you have for your herd in its current production cycle. As many producers are preparing for calving, they should be accessing their cows’ body condition score (BCS) 60 days pre-calving to make sure they are in proper shape at calving time, and not trying to make up lost ground a week before those calves hit the ground.
“As you get closer to calving, seedstock producers probably want their cows at least a BCS 6 with a little extra insulation on them. Commercial producers might go a half to a full point lower (BCS 5). You don’t want to jump into calving with cows that are visibly thin because thin cows lead to more calving problems. Typically, the more calves you have to pull, the more rebreeding problems you’ll have,” Glaubius said.
By analyzing your cows 60 days prior to calving, you still have time to give them some high-quality forage or added grain to get them on track prior to calving. That is also when it is recommended to add one of the VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® formulas to your herd’s diet to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need, as well as the Amaferm advantage.
- Know your feed content.
“It’s hard to hit your goals, if you don’t know what you don’t have,” Glaubius cautioned.
If you aren’t sure what you are feeding, it is hard to know what nutrients are missing from your cows’ diet. BioZyme offers complimentary forage analysis and technical expertise to develop feeding programs that cost-effectively achieve the goals that fit individual management scenarios.
- Develop a relationship with your ASM.
Even if you have a great business relationship with your local BioZyme dealer, it never hurts to get to know your Area Sales Manager, like Glaubius. BioZyme has qualified men and women around the country who work with dealers and customers to answer their questions and help them with questions about product lines, forage samples and analysis and more. A complete list of ASMs and the states they represent is online at: https://biozymeinc.com/our-staff/.
- Learn about BioZyme’s nutrition experts.
Just as it is important to know your BioZyme dealer and ASM, Glaubius also suggests getting to know the technical staff who you might be working to develop feed regimens with. Susan Day, Senior Manager of Formulation & Regulatory, has more than a decade of experience at BioZyme and is very helpful at looking over feed analyses and helping develop feeding programs that will ensure herds are getting what they need based on the feedstuffs available to the producer. Chris Cassady, Technical Sales Field Manager, is new to the team, but will be able to offer expert advice as well.
- Make sure your energy and protein are right.
“You can feed the best mineral in the world and still starve a cow to death,” Glaubius reminded; maintaining proper energy and protein levels align keeping your cows in proper condition and knowing what you’re feeding them.
Although it is important to provide a good mineral program to get a cow bred, he said that if the energy and protein levels are not fixed, other problems become more prevalent and are more likely to cause breeding challenges than a mineral deficiency.
- Match a VitaFerm mineral to your program.
Once you have accomplished the first five steps, you are ready to discover which VitaFerm product is right for your herd. The VitaFerm Concept•Aid line is designed to help producers with effective, easy breeding. The vitamin and mineral supplement should be fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding. High concentrations of vitamin E and organic trace minerals coupled with the Amaferm advantage supports quick repair of the reproductive tract and more energy for reproductive success. Additionally, increased nutrient absorption and digestion leads to healthier and heavier calves giving you added performance.
There are numerous formulas of the VitaFerm Concept•Aid available in booth loose mineral and in tubs with various levels of added phosphorus, no phosphorus, added protein, some with HEAT® to maintain normal body temperature during excessive temperatures or fescue situations and some with ClariFly®, a four-fly fly control. For a complete list of VitaFerm products or to determine which Concept•Aid formula is best for you, visit: Concept•Aid Navigator.
In addition to the Concept•Aid formulas, VitaFerm offers various options of VitaFerm Conserve®, an economical vitamin and mineral supplement that supports the health and condition of the herd. Consult your dealer or ASM if you have questions.
- When feed prices are high is when Amaferm will make the biggest difference.
Finally, it is important to not skimp on a quality mineral program with Amaferm when feed prices are high. That is when you will see the biggest difference in the Amaferm doing what it is supposed to do.
“You shouldn’t cut out something that can save you money,” Glaubius said. “Amaferm’s payback is greater then, than when feed prices are cheap.”
Because of the increased digestion and absorption, you should be able to feed less and still get the same benefits with the Amaferm advantage during these times of higher prices, making the ROI on Amaferm in the VitaFerm “sort of a no brainer!”
At BioZyme, we provide care that comes full circle, from caring for the people who feed our products to the animals who eat them. We know that resolutions are not always made to last, but we hope that the production goals for your cow-calf operation include a quality mineral program offered by people who care for you and your operation.