Rumen stability must be properly managed for herd health and optimum efficiency. Feeding and nutrition management can improve production and fertility as well as reduce the length of time between calving. Learn more about rumen health and prevention methods for rumen acidosis in dairy cattle.
When should colostrum be fed to calves and for how long? When to adjust calf nutrition is determined by rumen development. Learn more.
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.
When calves are born, they start out as simple stomached animals. The change from one digestive method to another is a process that is called rumen development. The first two compartments make up one large fermentation vat, the third is an unusual-looking organ that absorbs water and minerals from digesta leaving the rumen, and the fourth is the true stomach that functions like the stomach of monogastric (people and pigs). All four of these stomachs are present at birth; however, only the abomasum is fully developed …
Goats are small ruminant animals that have no upper incisors or canine teeth but a dental pad instead. The rumen is the largest part of the four stomach compartments, with a capacity of roughly 2-6 pounds. Some bacteria and protozoa are normal habitants of the rumen which break down food into volatile fatty acids along with vitamins and amino acids. Daily feed take of goats ranges from 3-4% of body weight as expressed in pounds (dry matter/head/day).
Molds are fungi (fuzzy or dusty – appearing) that occur commonly in feedstuffs, including roughages and concentrates. Molds can infect dairy cattle causing a disease referred to as mycosis. Mycosis is most likely when cows may be immune-suppressed during stressful periods. A mycosis can occur in various locations such as lungs, mammary gland, uterus, or intestine. An intestinal infection may result in hemorrhagic bowel. Molds may also affect cattle by producing poisons called mycotoxins that affect animals when they consume contaminated feeds, resulting in a mycotoxicosis.
Horses are not ruminants, but still can live off of plant material. Horses are grazing animals with digestive tracts best suited for eating forages for 15- 20 hours per day. Grass and hay are the natural feeds for horses due to the structure and shape of the equine digestive tract. Unlike the cow, their stomachs are relatively small and can only hold about eight quarts. Their stomachs can actually hold more, but the stomach begins to empty when it is only two-thirds full.
Sheep nutrition should include water, energy (carbohydrates and fats), proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Sheep are ruminants so they eat grass, forbs, clover, and other plants found on pasture. Comparing a sheep to a cow, sheep tend to eat a greater variety of plants than cattle do. They particularly like forbs. Forbs are herbaceous (not woody), broadleaf plants that are not grass-like. Sheep prefer forbs as they are very nutritious. When pasture is not available, harvested feeds, such as silage, hay, green chop, and crop …
After seeing the success of a neighboring farm using the Midwestern BioAg program, Minnesota-based farmer, Darrell Luhman, decided to try the BioAg Way.
Reluctant at first, he split-tested his hay – applying BioAg product on only half of his hay field. He baled the hay off and was soon visited by his BioAg consultant who requested an experiment. Together, Luhman and his consultant, threw down two bales of hay, one from each side of the field.