Usually, our first thought when we see a bug in a field is a pest. Pests can kill, defoliate, and consume entire leaves. If there is an abundance of pests they can do a bunch of damage to an entire field and drastically lower the yield of the field. There are many common pests to watch out for. A common practice to eliminate these pests is using pesticides. Unfortunately, there can be many negative effects when using pesticides.
Why We Ferment Forage
Fermenting forages is very beneficial to cattle nutrition and production-wise. When forage is fermented it causes a breakdown of forage material, making it easier for animals to digest. Since the fermented forage is easier to digest, the bodies can digest forage quicker and releases more energy for the animal. The cattle can utilize the feed more efficiently and this will result in less waste in the undigested material that they excrete.
Breaking it down to the molecular level, microbes multiply and break …
Calcium: The Trucker of All Nutrients
First, we need to start in the soil. Calcium has many roles in the soil. Calcium aids in maintaining soil physical properties, and in reclaiming sodic soils. Calcium contributes to soil fertility by helping maintain a flocculated clay and therefore provides more aeration. Soil structure and water holding capacity are improved when soils are rich in calcium. Calcium also stimulates the growth of beneficial soil microorganisms, including nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and helps counteract toxins in the soil and in the plant.
Vitamins are very tiny organic molecules, but play a huge role in livestock’s normal body functions. Vitamin A comes from beta-carotene, a pigment in green plants that animals convert into vitamin A. Cows need 30,000 to 50,000 IU of vitamin A per head per day. Vitamin D is formed from exposure to sunlight or other ultraviolet light rays that animals convert into vitamin D through their skin. Cows need 20,000 IU of vitamin D per head per day.
Microbes in the Rumen
We know ruminant animals can digest forages, but do we know how? Ruminant animals are cable of digesting forages, for their rumen is filled with microbes. These microbes play a big role in the rumen. The microbes break down feed to produce volatile fatty acids, which are used by the cows as energy for maintenance and milk production. The rumen microbes are also digested and absorbed in the small intestines as the main protein source for milk production – providing up to …
Spring Alfalfa Stand
Spring is here and if you look out into the fields, you will start to see some green popping up. Now is time to assess the alfalfa stand condition. First, you will need a square to measure a square foot; as in the picture below.
Just plop this down in a couple of random spots throughout the field and start counting. One way to count the alfalfa stand condition is to count the individual plant.
How Salt Benefits Cattle Nutrition
Salt is Sodium Chloride (NaCl). This mineral has a ton of benefits to cattle nutrition. One benefit is that salt helps cattle maintain normal appetite and body weight, as well as increasing feed consumption and weight gain. Sodium and Chloride aid in proper nervous and muscle functions, body pH regulation and water retention. Cattle on salt mixtures drink 50 to 75% more water than normal or approximately 5 gallons of additional water for each pound of salt.
Why feed kelp to your herd?
Kelp is a natural feed supplement that is packed full of bioavailable minerals and vitamins. Feeding cattle kelp is a great way to fill in trace mineral deficiencies. Kelp also has a great source of iodine, which can support thyroid and metabolic health. The benefits of feeding kelp to the herd include improved reproduction health, improved calf development, and preventing disease. Kelp enhances cattle performance in many ways. It includes selenium and zinc, which supports breed back.
In 1993, the team at R & G Miller & Sons, Inc. opted to make the switch to organic dairy farming. “We weren’t satisfied with the way things were going on the farm,” said Ron Miller, general farm manager. “After becoming organic certified on all 1,550 acres and feeding our cattle organic feed for a year, we became fully organic certified in 1997. Since the transition, our yields have gone up, and I’ve only seen one alfalfa field on the farm that could benefit from pesticide …
Let me start with the good news about today’s dairy markets: It’s time to evaluate. That is exactly what my family is doing on our own farm. What expenses can we eliminate or reduce? On most dairy farms, there are things one can do that won’t negatively affect today’s production (or future production) and cow health. But there are also areas where you can’t skimp.
What are the key things we must do to maintain our farms in the future?