Imagine the anticipation of calving season to get one calf from your entire herd. The next year isn’t much better, but you double your pregnancy rates, and get two live calves on the ground. However, those two calves represent a small fraction of your herd. You’d probably start looking for a few answers.
That’s exactly what Hailie Hubbard did. She had her herd evaluated. All the cows were fine from a reproductive standpoint, and the herd bull passed a breeding soundness exam. So, she started looking for other answers, and she found them online.
“I started doing my research and came across some Facebook threads and conversations where different cattle men and women were throwing out different minerals and VitaFerm® was mentioned. I hadn’t heard of it at that point. It was kind of a foreign name to me,” said Hubbard, who owns and manages, Copper H Cattle Miniature Herefords with her husband Brad, in Brownwood, Texas.
After reading about VitaFerm online, Hubbard contacted a sales rep, who sold her on the benefits of VitaFerm, explaining the research that backed it and the science behind the products. The Hubbards decided it was worth a try if it would help get their cattle bred and keep them bred.
“We put it to use in Spring last year and within two months, almost on the dot, of switching to the VitaFerm® HEAT® IGR, our bull was out in the triple-digit heat in the middle of the day working, so we know it made a difference. The bull was visibly working, and we had never seen him work before. We had actually questioned his libido, wondering if he was fertile, but if he just wasn’t in the mood,” Hubbard said. She added they assumed he had been working in the cooler evenings since they never saw him breeding.
This spring, approximately nine months after Hubbard witnessed her bull servicing cows last year, she started calving and this year experienced 100% conception rates. All but one calf was born within a 12-day window without the aid of synchronization or coordinating their cycles. Hubbard also notes that last summer was one of the driest on record, with limited feed resources and extreme heat and drought, so their tanks were dried up, eliminating the option for the cows to cool off in the water.
She also attributes the Amaferm® in the VitaFerm products to helping her cows perform as well as they did during last summer’s drought, knowing that the precision-based prebiotic helps the cows get the maximum nutrient value from increased intake, digestion and absorption of available feedstuffs.
“VitaFerm HEAT was a complete turnaround and not just with the fertility or cycling. We’ve also seen a difference in our cow’s body condition. Our mineral is the only difference. We haven’t changed hay or how we feed or location or anything like that. The difference in a year’s time is unbelievable. The only thing we’ve changed is adding the VitaFerm,” she said.
More AND Healthy Calves
Hubbard adds that the VitaFerm products have not only improved the reproductive status of their herd and added some condition to the cows, but she feels that the calves they had this year have been higher performing and healthier.
“We haven’t had any health issues. It’s been a really wet spring, and I’ve heard a lot of ranchers talking about pneumonia with all this wet weather. We’ve had healthy calves, none of them have gotten sick. Nobody’s needed antibiotics, not my cows, not my heifers and not my calves. They are healthy. I do feel like the mineral is contributing to their overall health as well as their nutrition and gains,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard said although they don’t have a lot of numbers, they have focused on raising quality registered polled Miniature Herefords. With a quality mineral program like VitaFerm, she knows they are getting off to a good start by getting their cows bred and having healthy calves that grow.
“I really can’t say enough good things about VitaFerm. It’s one of the first things I will advise any of my customers or any fellow breeder looking for advice. A good mentor, a good vet and VitaFerm, those are my three top bits of advice I can give anyone, and it makes all the difference,” Hubbard said.
Research paid off for Hubbard, and now she wants to make sure other cattle producers will find the same answers as she did when it comes to the value of a high-quality mineral program.