An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And for one progressive cattle producer, doing things the right way the first time is worth keeping his cow herd healthy and performing. The Boyd family has been raising registered cattle in north central Kentucky for more than a century. Charlie Boyd II along with his wife, Paula, and sons Blake and Logan take great pride in producing high-quality Angus and Hereford cattle. It is vital to them to keep their cows in top shape, get them bred, keep them bred and produce a thriving calf crop each year.
Good management and animal husbandry are the keys that make Boyd Beef Cattle at Mays Lick, Ky., one of the premier seedstock operations in the U.S. Charlie has learned to work smarter and more efficiently to keep his herd in good health, which starts with a good management and a good nutrition program.
In the rolling hills where the Boyd family lives, grass tetany can be a major concern. However, they have always added magnesium to their mineral program.
“We are very susceptible to grass tetany in this area, but we’ve had zero issues with it.” Boyd said. “We feed VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® Mag 5/S, and in this area, I feel producers need to feed Concept•Aid with high mag year-round.”
As a believer in the VitaFerm line of products, Boyd has been feeding Concept•Aid for several years, not just to keep his magnesium levels up, but also to increase his conception rates. Concept•Aid is a free-choice vitamin and mineral supplement for beef cattle specifically designed for reproductive success when fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding. It is especially beneficial in A.I. and E.T. breeding programs due to the Amaferm® it contains. Amaferm is a precision-based prebiotic 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 as well as to the ability to initiate and maintain pregnancy and fertility. It also 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.
“Concept•Aid is particularly beneficial in the rebreeding stage, preparing those cows for breeding all the way through post-breeding. Any time you try to cut a corner, the results won’t be very good,” Boyd said.
Four years ago, Boyd started using another VitaFerm product during the summer months to help improve his herd health and maintain pregnancy in his herd, when the VitaFerm HEAT® mineral was introduced. He feeds the free-choice mineral that contains capsaicin to help maintain circulation to support animal performance in both heat and fescue situations. Capsaicin is research-proven to lower body temperature, which can improve conception rates by maintaining pregnancy. HEAT also includes garlic, a natural insect repellent.
“We really see a difference in fly control with our cows. When it is really hot out, we see fewer cows pond up, and they are out grazing more frequently. Perhaps the biggest impact is the difference we see here where we graze on fescue. We have lost fewer pregnancies from fescue toxicity since we started feeding the HEAT mineral,” Boyd said.
Boyd typically puts the HEAT mineral out for his cows June 1 – Labor Day. He has noticed differences in his fly population, something he credits to both the mineral and his worming program. HEAT also contains Amaferm, research proven to help maintain body temperature, while increasing intake, digestion and absorption of available forages.
“I believe in Concept•Aid and HEAT, there is nothing that rivals those two products,” Boyd said.
Progressive cattle producers know that nutrition and health play critical roles in overall herd management and preventing challenges like grass tetany and fescue toxicity cost less than treating the herd, losing a calf or having an open cow.