Summertime. For cattle producers the season means turning cows out to green grass, having cows bred, and backgrounding weaned calves. However, expecting young calves to gain in extreme conditions can sometimes be a challenge. That’s why providing them with the best nutrition possible is imperative during this most stressful time of their lives.
“During that period from weaning until they are turned out on pasture is the most stressful time in your calves’ lives. That’s where you can have the biggest impact on future performance, other than birth, during that really short window. If they are not in a good nutritional status going into weaning, they may not bounce back,” said Lindsey Grimes-Hall, Nutrition and Field Sales Support for BioZyme® Inc.
In addition to the stress of weaning and moving to a new environment, calves have several other factors that add to their stress. This in turn could cause them to go off feed and not gain and perform to their upmost potential. The travel, commingling with new calves, flies and the summer heat are just a few of those stressors.
Keeping calves healthy and growing starts with providing them with the best possible plane of nutrition, like the three-step VitaFerm® Gain Smart® Program. The program, designed to help reduce stress and keep calves eating and gaining is centered around Amaferm®, a precision-based prebiotic, research-proven to impact intake and digestibility while increasing absorption.
The first two steps of the Gain Smart program are designed for the first 14-21 days after the calves are weaned or when stocker calves are first received. Step 1 is the Vita Charge® Cattle Drench, administered on Day One. Step 2 includes putting out Vita Charge Stress Tubs for the first 14-21 days post-weaning when calves are received to their backgrounding location. Both Vita Charge products support digestive health and promote feed and water intake during times of stress and recovery. The Vita Charge products contain Amaferm to help combat stress and support the animal’s own immune system. The Stress Tubs contain MOS to trap and expel pathogens, limiting their ability to do harm. A new product, the Vita Charge￼ Stress Tub HEAT®, launched May 1, also contains MOS and Amaferm. Additionally, it contains plant extracts for maintaining body temperature and garlic, a natural insect repellant.
“BioZyme has again developed an even more dynamic product. The cutting-edge nutritional components of this product make it truly one-of-a-kind and the benefits to livestock are even greater than before. The high-quality fortification, MOS and the natural plant extracts have now equipped animals to literally be able to handle any stressor they encounter. We indeed have made the best, better,” Grimes-Hall said.
Step 3 includes one of four mineral options for the calves: Gain Smart Stocker, Gain Smart Wheat, Gain Smart Balancer RU 1600, and Gain Smart Stocker HEAT®. All minerals are designed to balance basic nutrient needs for maximum efficiency. Gain Smart Stocker is designed for those who are feeding a medium to high forage diet and works well for both cool- and warm-season grasses. It is the most versatile of the three and can be fed in multiple places under multiple conditions.
The newest option, just introduced in the Spring of 2018, Gain Smart Stocker HEAT contains plant extracts to help maintain circulation to support animal performance and gain in both heat and fescue situations. The plant extracts are research-proven to support an animals’ ability to maintain normal body temperature. This mineral is ideal in the hot summer months or any time fescue is grazed. It Includes garlic, a natural insect repellent. It is ideally suited for backgrounding and yearling cattle on grass, and will help calves beat the stress of summer heat.
“When you are in the beef business, you’re in the business of producing one of the highest-quality protein sources in the world, but you’re also in the business of harvesting forage – especially in the stocker and backgrounder phase we want to put on as many pounds possible in most cost-effective way possible,” Grimes-Hall said. “The Gain Smart products are meant to compliment the forages you are using, and the HEAT is extra product in there to help counter the negative impacts of summer stressors, while getting the most nutrients out of those forages.”
Growing calves in the summer isn’t always easy. Stressed calves don’t bounce back like they might in the cooler temperatures, but with a product like VitaFerm Gain Smart HEAT, you should see calves that consume forages, gain and grow while maintaining a lowered body temperature during the summer heat.