BioAg Blog

From the Desk of Gary Zimmer

Dear farmers and agriculturalists,
 
I have been at a few events this fall and there sure is a lot of interest in carbon, quality feed/food, and soil regeneration. High fertilizer, especially nitrogen, and chemical prices have also been farmers’ concerns. No-till constantly comes up – it is a practice, not a farming system, that may help or may not lead to improved soil health and sequester carbon. Having said that, why would you till if you don’t have to?

Vitamins’ Role in Animal Health | Bailey’s Bit About Nutrition

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.

Bridging the Yield Gap with Soil Productivity

As farmers navigate the reality of higher production costs, the biological farming space will continue to draw attention. Many farmers identify yield gaps as a significant concern looking forward to 2022.
 
Yield gaps are those differences between what is applied vs. what is realized. We often think yield gaps are negative; however, yield gaps present opportunities for soil productivity. Opportunities for nutrient management recovery through enhanced soil productivity and biological farming systems.

Liquid Carbon-Based Fertilizer: A Spring Soil Starter

As we all know, spring weather in the Midwest can be really variable. Rain, snow, and cold soils are all things we deal with during the planting season. Getting the seed in the ground under the right conditions is the first step in fulfilling yield potential, but unfortunately, there isn’t always time to wait until those conditions occur. There’s not a crop grower out there who hasn’t had to plant under less than ideal circumstances; it’s just a call that has to be made sometimes.

Cleanliness on the Farm | Bailey’s Bit About Nutrition

The best way to prevent cattle from catching illnesses and diseases is cleanliness. Keeping cattle clean starts with their bedding. Nice, dry, clean bedding prevents the cattle’s coat from being covered in manure and mud. Many benefits come from clean, dry bedding as the insulation properties of the cattle’s hair coats are enhanced due to them being clean and maintained. In cold weather, a clean cow coat helps cattle use less energy to stay warm, and more energy goes into immune function growth.

Egg Production | Bailey’s Bit About Nutrition

The Effects of Sunlight on Laying Hens 
As the days get shorter, egg production starts to decline. Hens need a certain amount of daylight in order to maintain peak egg-laying. A hen’s reproductive cycle is controlled by photoperiod, or light exposure. Hens require at least 14 hours of light per day to lay eggs. Chickens produce eggs at a maximum rate with 16 hours of light exposure. Once daylight is less than 12 hours, egg production slows down considerably if not ceasing completely.

Probiotics for Dairy Cattle | Bailey’s Bit About Nutrition

A probiotic is defined as “live-organisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health effect on the host.” There are two general classes of probiotics: fungi and bacteria. Fungal probiotics are primarily live yeast. Probiotic yeasts work within the rumen to improve fermentation, scavenge oxygen, stabilize rumen pH, improve fiber digestion, and increase microbial growth. Probiotic yeasts remove oxygen (scavenge oxygen) from the rumen and provide a better anaerobic environment for bacterial growth. The anaerobic environment helps in the protection of rumen bacteria from damage …

Are Your Forages the Best They Can Be?

After your forages are harvested is a good time for you and your BioAg consultant to evaluate your forage program and your crop ration.
Evaluate Your Forage
It takes some time to evaluate what you have for forages and to what groups of animals they would best be fed. Some dairy producers have had the experience of feeding more alternative annual forage varieties due to the improved crop rotation and soil health. These dairy producers have been pleasantly surprised by the digestibility of their crops if …

Internal Parasites in Sheep & Goats | Bailey’s Bit About Nutrition

Gastrointestinal parasites cause significant economic losses and are listed in the top three fatal conditions in sheep and goats. Internal parasites in sheep and goats cause disease when they are present in large numbers or when the host animal is weakened by another disease or by poor nutrition. Damage to the host occurs when parasites attach to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and ingest blood – large numbers of parasites can create anemia from blood loss.

Honoring Mike Lovlien, BioAg Consultant for 30+ years

If you’ve heard Mike speak, you’ll know his slogan is, “don’t guess, soil test.” He advises against assuming that you know what is going on with your soil – wisdom he has collected from his career.
 
Starting from the beginning, Mike always had a passion for agriculture since being raised on a dairy farm. He went on to school at Winona Tech in 1975 where Gary Zimmer was one of his instructors.