Anytime a backgrounder gathers up mixed calves from different farms of origin and puts them together, they are taking a risk. But, with a high-quality nutrition program in place, the risk can be minimized. That is what Kerry Vogt, Newton, Kan., discovered, as he backgrounds nearly 3,000 stockers each year.
Vogt, who was talking to his veterinarian a few years ago, took a chance on trying the VitaFerm® Gain Smart® Stocker Program on his high-risk calves. He backgrounds about 1,000 head at a time at his south-central Kansas farm, where he buys small groups of calves from various producers and through the sale barn to feed them until they are feedlot ready. With the combination of Vita Charge® products and Gain Smart mineral, he’s found his calves stay healthier and get started on feed more quickly.
“We buy a lot of high-risk cattle, and from what I’ve seen it’s really helping,” Vogt said. “We have fewer calves to treat, and the calves respond better if you give them Vita Charge. They just start eating better.”
The VitaFerm Gain Smart Stocker Program is a three-step approach to get calves eating and staying healthy during times of high stress. It includes two products to jump start appetite and a line of vitamin and mineral supplements with the Amaferm® advantage that promotes health and economically produced pounds by maximizing the natural energy and protein available in forage.
The first product in the program, is the Vita Charge Cattle Drench, which Vogt gives to all calves upon arrival. The Drench supports digestive health and promotes feed and water intake during times of stress and recovery. In addition, it maximized the effectiveness of vaccines.
Next, Vogt provides Vita Charge Stress Tubs to all the calves for about 10 days, or however long the tubs last. The Stress Tubs are a convenient way to provide Amaferm to the calves, promoting feed and water intake, while increasing digestibility to maximize the energy value of feed for more gains. The Stress Tubs also contain MOS to help trap and expel the bad bacteria in the gut, preventing those bacteria from doing harm to the digestive system.
The final product in the program is VitaFerm Gain Smart mineral. The loose mineral comes in four varieties to cover individual situations. Vogt uses Gain Smart Stocker and Gain Smart Balancer RU 1600, and notices how much more efficient his calves are. The vitamin and mineral supplement ensures that the calves are getting optimum nutrients, while maintaining digestive health.
“There’s a lot of mineral companies out there, but what I like best about these products is there are no generic ingredients. What they say is in there, is really in there,” Vogt said.
Backgrounding calves. That’s a risk. But you can be like Vogt and minimize that risk with the Gain Smart Stocker Program. Three readily available products will get your calves started right and keep them eating, meaning they are gaining.