Hagerstown Named “Feed Mill of the Year Runner Up”

Hagerstown named a Feed Mill of the Year

On November 24, 2014, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) presented the Runner-up “Feed Mill of the Year” award to the Hagerstown Plant. This program recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations in the areas of employee safety, quality, regulatory compliance, efficiency, and feed safety. Ninety feed facilities submitted applications, and with the increased emphasis being placed on feed safety by the industry, the selection process for the award has become extremely competitive.

Cold-Weather Calf Feeding: Economics of Milk Formula 1 Winterizer vs. Milk Formula 1 Plus Milk Energizer

Rodney Dennis, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist

In cold weather, calves need more energy for body maintenance, depending on their age and environment. During the first three weeks of life, the maintenance requirement increases about 10% for each 10°F drop in temperature below 60°F. After three weeks, the maintenance requirement doesn’t increase until the temperature drops under 40°F.

Brood Cow Rules of Thumb for Mid- and Late-Gestation

Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

We are approaching the time of year when cow-calf producers are breathing a sigh of relief. They are weaning their calves, getting ready for harvest, and can let the cows make their own living for a few months.

While this is true to some degree, NOW is the time to put a little condition on the cows if they need it before we get to the cold days of winter. One body condition score added while the weather is still warm can be worth its weight in gold when the snow starts flying.

A Bale of Hay, a Bucket, and a Scoop

by Ed Creason, Western Region Beef Specialist

How much does a bale of hay weigh? How much can a bucket hold? How big is your feed scoop? Dr. Densil Allen, a retired veterinarian from Knob Knoster, MO recently said, “A bale of hay, a five gallon bucket, and a scoop are not standard measurements.” Just take a moment to think about that. We all get into “measuring” feedstuffs in quantities that are comfortable and easy for us. How do we know if our cattle are getting the proper nutrients when we use these measurements?

Subclinical Hypocalcemia

by Jim Moseley, KNG Dairy Nutritionist

The incidence of milk fever (clinical hypocalcemia) has dropped significantly on dairy farms over the last two decades. However, in many herds subclinical hypocalcemia continues unnoticed and may affect as many as 60% of all cows and 80% of third and greater lactation animals. It is defined as low blood calcium levels without the symptoms of clinical milk fever. Since it is often undetected, the economic losses resulting from subclinical hypocalcemia far exceed those from milk fever. The losses due to milk fever are estimated to be about $345 per case (Guard, 1996) and subclinical $125 per case.

A Review of Feedlot Data from Cattle Fed BoVantage (2007-2014)*

Steve Sachtleben, PhD, PAS – KNG Beef Research and Nutrition

We have had many questions regarding the use of BoVantage in beef cattle and the data that were generated from incoming calves through heat-stressed feedlot cattle. The following summary provides the data accumulated from KNG’s PDC as well as field trials conducted from Kentucky to northwest Iowa.

Butyric Acid in Pig Feeds & Water Supplements: Not Just Rotten Silage Anymore

by James Smith, Swine Technical Nutritionist

Butyric Acid is well known in the livestock industry as an indicator of poor fermentation in silages. It is produced by Clostridium in an aerobic environment when the pH of the silage does not drop fast enough to encourage the growth of lactic-acid-producing bacteria. High Butyric Acid in silages results in decreased feed intake by cattle and an increased risk of Ketosis, particularly in pre- and post-fresh cattle. However, in pigs, Butyric Acid is gaining acceptance as a nutrient to improve gut health and as an aid to reduce the effects of intestinal diseases.

Modifying Swine Grow-Finish Diets with Synthetic Amino Acids

Michael Edmonds, PhD, Vice President, Swine Nutrition

With the ever-increasing costs of soybean meal, it is very important to use diets like the example attached to help lower feeding costs. In research completed at the KNG Product Development Center, we showed that these diets with much lower soybean meal levels, along with much higher synthetic amino acids, perform equally.

The example in the file below is with NexGen® Premix LYS DDG200 (Product # 2092). By plugging in current feed prices in the spreadsheet, the calculations will show the differences between the NexGen® AA Pak diets and the SBM (on tag) diets. The key rule when using any of our other NexGen® premix programs is the following:

Benefits of Bovine Plasma in Calf Milk Replacers

Rodney Dennis, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist

The purpose of this article is to reinforce the safety of the use of spray-dried bovine plasma in Kent milk replacers. The recent incidence of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) led to some concerns that the use of porcine blood or plasma products in swine feeds might be contributing to the incidence of PED. Past and current tests indicate that spray dried porcine blood products do not play a role in spreading PED. In case the swine concerns may have spilled over into the calf area the following info will be helpful in dispelling those concerns.

Building Costs vs. Performance and Payback

Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

There have probably been more cattle buildings put up in the last five years than in the previous 40. This has been driven by several factors – EPA compliance, cattle profitability, and a drive for more predictable performance to aid in marketing.

Putting up a new slat barn and expecting to pay for it completely with improved performance over a well-managed outside yard with shelter and bedding is probably a mistake. However, the consistency and predictability of the performance in a total confinement slat barn, is a reality. These confinement cattle will also have improved feed conversion by about 10%.

Food Allergies in Dogs

Jeanne van der Veen, MS, PAS, Equine & Specialty Nutritionist

What is a food allergy?
A food allergy is the result of the immune system mistakenly perceiving a harmless substance, typically a food protein, as something dangerous to the body. The immune system then fights this protein, known as an allergen, by over-producing antibodies to attack it. The next time the animal consumes this protein, the immune system is ready, and it reacts by releasing histamine and other chemicals which trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction. The degree to which the immune system reacts during exposure to the allergen can vary from very subtle signs to life-threatening situations. It may also take years of repeated exposure to a specific food allergen before the immune system responds with an allergic reaction.

Fly Control – Now is the Time!

Jim Moseley, Dairy Nutritionist

It’s time once again to consider fly control options. Flies are not just irritating to cows; they transmit disease, reduce feed intake, and significantly reduce profitability. Heavy fly infestations have been shown to reduce milk yield by as much as 15%. Most often, the stress that cows are subjected to by flies is compounded by the effect of hot, humid weather. If you’ve been bitten by a fly, imagine what it would be like to be bitten hundreds of times. It has been estimated that horn flies alone can suck 1 to 2 gallons of blood per cow per year. It’s no wonder that we see cows bunched up in a corner or running to avoid these pests.

Dietary Vitamin C Helps Health-Challenged Pigs

Dr. Michael Edmonds* and Dr. Jon Bergstrom*

Increasing serum vitamin D levels with the use of a stabilized form of vitamin C is an important finding to help the pork industry make progress towards addressing many issues that may be associated with vitamin D status.

Cold Stress Management for Young Calves

Rodney Dennis, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist

This winter (2013-2014) is turning out to be one of the coldest in recent years, which places special emphasis on cold weather management of young calves. A December 2013 Nutrition Notes article indicated that in cold weather calves need more energy for body maintenance, depending on their age and their environment. During the first three weeks of life the maintenance requirement increases about 10% for each 10°F drop in temperature below 60°F. Even after three weeks of life there is an increase in maintenance requirement as the temperature drops under 40°F. If you consider the five-year average ambient temperature for the colder states as well as the warmer states; calves could experience cold stress 180 to as many as 247 days per year.

Benefits of Higher Energy Finishing Diets

Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

If there is one good thing to come out of feeding $8 corn, it’s that even cattle feeders that grow their own corn became acutely aware of the value of feed conversion. Everyone knew that F/G was important, but when the price of every single ingredient was high, it really hit home. When corn initially got high priced, many co-products were still a couple dollars cheaper than corn on an equal moisture basis. This past year, that came to an end.

Complexed Organic Trace Minerals in Sentinel and Dynasty

Jeanne van der Veen, MS, PAS, Equine & Specialty Nutritionist

The trace minerals zinc, copper, and manganese, are essential nutrients that have been proven to positively affect many vital functions. Some of these functions include:

  • Immune system function and response
  • Hoof growth, maintenance, and integrity
  • Reproductive performance in mares and stallions
  • Joint and skeletal development, growth, maintenance and repair
  • Skin and hair coat production and maintenance

Cows, Like Us, Respond to Light

Jim Moseley, Dairy Nutritionist

It “dawned” on me this week that I seldom see the sun any more. It is dark when I drive to the office in the morning and dark when I drive home at night. In between, seems like it is always overcast. As I drive by dairy barns along the way, I can see lights on, but I know that most are not lit very well. Research tells us that these poorly-lit barns are having a negative impact on milk production.

Cold-Weather Calf Feeding: Economics of Milk Formula 1 Winterizer vs. Milk Formula 1 Plus Milk Energizer

Rodney Dennis, PhD, Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist

In cold weather, calves need more energy for body maintenance, depending on their age and environment. During the first 3 weeks of life, the maintenance requirement increases about 10% for each 10°F drop in temperature below 60°F. After 3 weeks, the maintenance requirement doesn’t increase until the temperature drops under 40°F. Kent offers several feeding options for dealing with cold weather. Milk Energizer is a 60% fat product that can be supplemented with any of the Kent Milk Formulas to supply the additional energy needed for calf maintenance requirements during cold weather. Generally 2-4 oz/calf/day of Milk Energizer is feed along with the regular amount of Kent Milk Formula. Kent also offers Milk Formula 1 Winterizer which is a 22% protein, 24% fat all-milk replacer that supplies equivalent energy and protein as feeding Milk Formula 1TM and two ounces of Milk Energizer per day.

Vitamin C Questions from the Field

By Michael Edmonds, V.P., Swine and Poultry Nutrition

With the recent addition of Vitamin C to our NexGen starter programs, there have been questions from the field that we will address in this Nutrition Notes article.

Automated Calf Feeding Systems (Part 1): Deciding If It Fits Your Operation

By Rodney Dennis, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist

The use of automated calf feeding systems has increased in recent years. Many producers have successfully used these systems with labor savings and other benefits. The successful use of these systems requires a refocus on management. If one is considering purchasing an automated calf feeding system, careful consideration must be given to what the economic and other benefits will be as well as the challenges of such a system for their operation.

Elevating Serum Levels of Vitamin D3 Metabolites in Pigs Post-weaning: The Effects of Dietary Supplementation with a Stabilized Form of Vitamin C

Swine producers are continually faced with the challenges of getting weaned pigs off to a good start. In addition to the normal stresses associated with weaning, pigs may be exposed to conditions and pathogens that may further compromise their health, feed intake and growth. After weaning, it is extremely important for pigs to begin eating quickly and have access to a diet that provides energy and essential nutrients for optimum health and growth performance. Therefore, we elected to evaluate supplementing starter diets with a stable form of vitamin C (Rovimix® Stay-C® 35). Vitamin C has multiple functions in the body, such as helping with enzyme systems that synthesize collagen, assisting with the absorption of dietary minerals, sparing vitamin E, as an antioxidant in helping to maintain the immune system, wound healing, and in helping convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (the storage form of vitamin D3) to 1,25- dihydroxyvitamin D3 (the active form of vitamin D3). The need for dietary vitamin C in mammals is usually limited to humans, non-human primates, guinea pigs and fruit-eating bats. Most mammalian species, including swine under normal conditions, can synthesize their own vitamin C. However, there are data suggesting that weanling pigs experiencing increased levels of stress can benefit from added vitamin C in their diets. Factors that may result in a conditional dietary requirement for vitamin C to optimize health and performance are younger weaning ages, genetics, decreased feed intake, diet changes, new environment, poor bio-security, new pathogens, comingling, vaccinations, and poor housing conditions. In addition, with the vitamin D issues plaguing the entire feed industry in the last four years, we believed it was important to not only look at performance, but to evaluate the blood status of vitamin D3 metabolites in pigs to determine if vitamin C supplementation could be beneficial. The objectives of our studies were to evaluate the effect of a stabilized vitamin C on the performance and serum vitamin D3 concentrations in two groups of pigs (healthy and challenged).

Dietary vitamin C helps health-challenged pigs

By Michael Edmonds and Jon Bergstrom
Originally appeared in Feedstuffs on October 28, 2013. Reprinted with permission.

Increasing serum vitamin D levels with the use of a stabilized form of vitamin C is an important finding to help the pork industry make progress towards addressing many issues that may be associated with vitamin D status.

Swine producers are continually faced with the challenges of getting weaned pigs off to a good start.

In addition to the normal stresses associated with weaning, pigs may be exposed to conditions and pathogens that may further compromise their health, feed intake and growth.

Elevating Serum Levels of Vitamin D3 Metabolites in Pigs Post-weaning: The Effects of Dietary Supplementation with a Stabilized Form of Vitamin C

Swine producers are continually faced with the challenges of getting weaned pigs off to a good start. In addition to the normal stresses associated with weaning, pigs may be exposed to conditions and pathogens that may further compromise their health, feed intake and growth. After weaning, it is extremely important for pigs to begin eating quickly and have access to a diet that provides energy and essential nutrients for optimum health and growth performance. Therefore, we elected to evaluate supplementing starter diets with a stable form of vitamin C (Rovimix® Stay-C® 35). Vitamin C has multiple functions in the body, such as in helping with enzyme systems that synthesize collagen, assisting with the absorption of dietary minerals, sparing vitamin E, as an antioxidant in helping to maintain the immune system, wound healing, and in helping convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (the storage form of vitamin D3) to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (the active form of vitamin D3). The need for dietary vitamin C in mammals is usually limited to humans, non-human primates, guinea pigs and fruit-eating bats. Most mammalian species, including swine under normal conditions, can synthesize their own vitamin C. However, there are data suggesting that weanling pigs experiencing increased levels of stress can benefit from added vitamin C in their diets. Factors that may result in a conditional dietary requirement for vitamin C to optimize health and performance are younger weaning ages, genetics, decreased feed intake, diet changes, new environment, poor bio- security, new pathogens, comingling, vaccinations, and poor housing conditions. In addition, with the vitamin D issues plaguing the entire feed industry in the last four years, we believed it was important to not only look at performance, but to evaluate the blood status of vitamin D3 metabolites in pigs to determine if vitamin C supplementation could be beneficial. The objectives of our studies were to evaluate the effect of a stabilized vitamin C on the performance and serum vitamin D3 concentrations in two groups of pigs (healthy and challenged).

Elevated Vitamin D Serum Levels in Health-Challenged Pigs Fed Rovimix® Stay-C® 35 Found by Kent Nutrition Group, Inc. and DSM Nutritional Products

Elevated (14 to 46%) serum levels of three key vitamin D metabolites and improved performance were achieved in health-challenged nursery pigs during extensive nutrition research conducted at the Kent Nutrition Group’s Product Development Center. The research conducted by Dr. Michael Edmonds (Kent Nutrition Group, V.P., Swine and Poultry Nutrition) and Dr. Jon Bergstrom (DSM Nutritional Products North America, Sr. Technical Support Manager, Swine) involved 1,464 pigs and uncovered several benefits with using a stable form of vitamin C (Rovimix® Stay-C® 35) in NexGen® pig starters, particularly when fed to health-challenged pigs. Rovimix® Stay-C® 35 (ascorbyl-monophosphate) is a phosphorylated form of vitamin C that has excellent stability and retention in finished feeds. Besides demonstrating that supplemental vitamin C increased the serum levels of important vitamin D metabolites, other benefits included significant improvements in gain, feed intake, feed efficiency and economic returns. Kent Nutrition Group, Inc. of Muscatine, Iowa introduces new NexGen® pig starters with NutriVantage® technology effective November 18, 2013.

A New Technology for the Limiting of Feed Intake in Diets for Cattle on Pasture

Steve Sachtleben, PhD, PAS – KNG Beef Research and Nutrition

The issues with traditional intake limiters for cattle on pasture or in drylot are cost and availability of ingredients. About two years ago, KNG set forth to provide our customers with a new feed-intake-regulating program that was competitive yet approached the opportunity from a different direction.

BoVantage vs. Hydro-Lac for Holsteins During Heat Stress

Field Observation Trial – Paynesville, MN

By Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

Heat stress in the Midwest is a common occurrence, but not necessarily a consistent one. We are subject to periods of hot weather, but the heat index can be quite variable, depending on the humidity and wind speed. Any aid to maintaining feed intake during heat stress must be effective when applied at the first onset of heat yet economical enough to use for an extended period. A producer would probably leave it in the ration during periods when the heat index is not necessarily oppressive.

Supplemental Paylean® in Late Finishing Pigs

By Michael Edmonds, Ph.D., Vice President, Swine and Poultry Nutrition

Many research trials have been conducted over the years at the Kent Nutrition Group Product Development Center in which performance, carcass, and economics were all improved with supplemental Paylean. This article contains additional research conducted in 2013 in which Paylean was fed during the last 28 days of finishing via a “step-up” program at 4.5 grams per ton (Days 0-14) followed by 9.0 grams per ton (Days 14-28).

BoVantage Technology in Dairy Calves: Additional Observations

By Rodney Dennis, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist

BoVantage Technology (BoVantage) was introduced into the Kent dairy calf program in 2008, based on consistent positive responses in dairy calves at the Kent Product Development Center. Those trials demonstrated better feed intake and gains, responses which were also demonstrated in Kent cattle feeding tests. When all of our data are evaluated for death loss, BoVantage demonstrates a very positive effect on mortality.

The Rains of 2013 and Effect on Forage Quality

Jim Moseley, KNG Dairy Nutritionist
It goes without saying that so far the late spring and summer of 2013 have been very wet; much different from what was predicted. The experts were warning that if the drought of 2012 continued, 2013 crop yields would again keep the cost of corn and soy high. Now, due to late planting, yields may again be depressed, resulting in continued high prices. The problems for the dairy industry, however, will go beyond commodities. Have you heard the expression, “A dry year will scare you, but a wet year will starve you?” Well, we may test this during the 2014 winter feeding season. Despite some new seedlings never getting into the ground, 2013 will probably yield a bumper hay crop. Silos will be filled to capacity, but much of what has and will be chopped or baled will be harvested at an advanced stage of maturity. This means poorer quality! At feed-out it will not contribute what it would have if harvested at proper maturity. To keep cows producing, more nutrients will need to come from those expensive commodities.

Dairy Calf Weaning/Co-Mingling Practices for Better Profit

By James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist
Weaning and/or co-mingling are probably two of the most stressful times in the early life of dairy calves. Many things change for calves at this time, causing stress that can compromise the strength of their immune systems. To improve this process, I’ve outlined some practices to keep in mind:

Make Hay While the Sun Doesn’t Shine

By Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

After last year’s drought, who would have thought we would struggle to put up hay this year because it’s too wet? But, here we are, and KNG has a product to help manage the situation. CULBAC may very well be one of our most overlooked products. Many producers look at hay acres as more of a hassle than anything else, but with hay prices at historical highs, getting this crop harvested as efficiently as possible is very important this year.

The Use of Rumensin in Pasture Minerals

By Steve Sachtleben, PhD, PAS – KNG Beef Research and Nutrition
The ionophore Rumensin® (monensin sodium) has been cleared for use in beef cattle for over 35 years. Depending on the feeding situation, the FDA has approved claims in beef cattle for improved feed efficiency, increased rate of weight gain, and the prevention & control of coccidiosis caused by Eimeria bovis and Eimeria zuernii.

Dynasty Performance Horse Feeds

Jeanne van der Veen, M.S. PAS, Equine and Specialty Nutritionist

The look in their eye says it all… the focus, the determination, the will to win.

Supporting this focus with precisely balanced nutrition and proper strength conditioning, horses can achieve remarkable performance.

No matter what the goal… successful trail riding, top competition, progressive training, developing a young athlete or a lifetime of good health, superior nutrition is a key factor in achieving that goal. The body needs nutrients to grow and develop, to progress to gain strength and stamina, and to maintain tissue integrity. The right nutritional program will help equine athletes improve performance and prevent body breakdown when engaging in athletic activities. Dynasty Horse Feeds will provide horses with that nutritional edge.

BoVantage and its Effect on Heat Stress in Feedlot Cattle – 2013

Steve Sachtleben, PhD, PAS – KNG Beef Research and Nutrition

Cattle producers are faced with multiple challenges today when attempting to be profitable, such as high ingredient costs, high fuel prices and seemingly upward feeder calf prices. The environment can be extremely cruel at times when nature throws extremes into the picture. Heat stress, combined with high humidity and no air movement, can be lethal in a matter of hours if management practices cannot correct the situation. Feeding the majority of the diet at night can help the situation as can the use of sprinklers and strategically placed shades. In addition, sparse information has suggested that dairy cows consuming diets with humates (a carbon source in BoVantage®) may stimulate consumption and decrease uneasiness (and death) in animals exposed to high temperatures, humidity and little air movement. Broussard and coworkers (1994) reported that dairy cows under heat stress, when fed humates, were found to graze longer compared to before, and when brought into the milking parlor did not pant as hard or frequently. Regarding milk production, the humate tended to limit the negative effects of heat stress.

Importance of Consistent Mixing of Milk Replacer

By Rodney Dennis, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist

Raising healthy, high-performing calves without digestive upsets, bloating and diarrhea requires attention to detail that includes providing the required amount of a properly mixed milk replacer.

NexGen 12-17 Mixer Program vs. Competition

Michael Edmonds, Vice President, Swine and Poultry Nutrition

Due to a large price discrepancy between our NexGen 12-17 Mixer program and a major competitor’s grind-and-mix program, we elected to do a product comparison at the Kent Nutrition Group’s Product Development Center. The NexGen 12-17 Program consisted of 965 lb of corn, 550 lb of soybean meal, 450 lb of NexGen 12-17 Mixer and 35 lb of animal fat. The Competitive program utilized 1090 lb of corn, 360 lb of soybean meal and 550 lb of a Base product. The Kent grind-and-mix program cost $750 per ton compared to $610 per ton for the Competition.

NexGen 12-17 Mixer Program vs. Competition

By Michael Edmonds, Vice President, Swine and Poultry Nutrition

Due to a large price discrepancy between our NexGen 12-17 Mixer program and a major competitor’s grind-and-mix program, we elected to do a product comparison at the Kent Nutrition Group’s Product Development Center. The NexGen 12-17 Program consisted of 965 lb of corn, 550 lb of soybean meal, 450 lb of NexGen 12-17 Mixer and 35 lb of animal fat. The Competitive program utilized 1090 lb of corn, 360 lb of soybean meal and 550 lb of a Base product. The Kent grind-and-mix program cost $750 per ton compared to $610 per ton for the Competition.

NutriVantage Poultry Pack for Commercial Poultry Operators

By Michael Edmonds, Ph.D. Vice President Swine and Poultry Nutrition

In the last seven years we have developed excellent data regarding the benefits of our proprietary products called NutriVantage® and BoVantage®. These products have shown benefits in young pigs, grow-finish pigs, sows, broilers, starting and finishing cattle, dairy cattle, dairy calves, and show animals. In 2012, we had an opportunity to work with an Integrated Layer Operation in Iowa during the summer months to determine if added NutriVantage would benefit layers. The results and graph are shown below:

NutriVantage Poultry Pack for Commercial Poultry Operations

Summary

  • Added NutriVantage® clearly showed a positive improvement in egg production

Making More Profit with Holstein Steers

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist

With the drought of 2012 changing our markets both positively and negatively, the question remains how one can profit in 2013. I will discuss a few practices that will help the potential for profitability in 2013 and beyond.

To get started, we must understand our true production costs. The most important cost and most difficult to determine is the feed cost per pound of gain. It should be simple, just take the feed fed and divide it by the amount the steers gain. Then, divide the cost of that diet fed by the weight gain of the cattle. However, this is often hard to do because cattle may be moved from pen to pen, and feed fed is not always measurable and recorded due to a lack of scales.

Rockford Plant Receives Feed Mill of the Year Award

AFIA (American Feed Industry Association) and Feedstuffs Magazine representatives presented the Runner-up “Feed Mill of the Year” award to personnel at the Kent Nutrition Group (KNG) manufacturing plant in Rockford, Illinois, today. The Feed Mill of the Year program recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations, emphasizing safety, quality, regulatory compliance, operating efficiencies and overall industry awareness of feed safety.

“The key to our success is our people,” according to plant manager Tom Smolen. “The employees at the Rockford plant have taken to heart what is required to be considered a top notch feed mill,” he said.

Take Time to Evaluate Current Ingredient and Ration Costs

Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

Last fall, we looked at creating silage grower rations with reduced value drought silage. Since then, corn has gotten cheaper and most byproducts have not followed suit. I have spent a fair amount of time with my feedlot customers discussing what kind of feed conversion improvements it would take to feed more corn than we have in the past.

Introducing the ecube Equine Feed Product Line

Kent Nutrition Group and Blue Seal introduce ēcube™, equine nutrition made naturally simple! ēcube™ is a forage-based total mixed ration (TMR) for horses. The soft, easy-to-chew cube is designed to be fed 24/7 – continuously throughout the day – as the only feed source. No other hay or grain is necessary. A new, modernized method for feeding horses, ēcube™ is a complete feed consisting primarily of alfalfa and grass in a soft, easy-to-chew cube form. A unique process combines quality forages with minerals and vitamins in three different formulations — COMPLETE GROWTH, COMPLETE HORSE and COMPLETE SENIOR, to meet all the horse’s nutritional requirements for various life stages. ēcube™ provides a continuous source of feed to the horse’s digestive system. A steady intake of high-quality forage promotes a stable digestive environment by providing a consistent feeding solution for the challenging lifestyle of today’s horse.

Introducing Dynasty XT Equine Performance Feeds

Kent Nutrition Group and Blue Seal introduce the Dynasty XT line of textured equine performance feeds. No matter what the performance or activity goal, the horse needs nutrients to grow and develop, to progress, to gain strength and stamina, and to facilitate healing and repair. The right nutritional program will help equine athletes improve performance and prevent body breakdown when engaging in athletic activities. Dynasty Horse Feeds exceed the need and will provide horses with a nutritional edge. Starting with pure and natural compounds, Dynasty’s high-quality ingredients are specifically balanced and formulated in a variety of products to provide optimum nutrition for every life stage and every activity or performance level. Inspired by years of research and dedication, Dynasty provides essential nutrients for:

Effect of NutriVantage Technology on Broiler Performance and Economics

Michael Edmonds, Vice President, Swine and Poultry Nutrition

Chickens on Day 1Our broiler/poultry research effort for the last two years has been to identify and evaluate functional natural compounds that improve performance and economics. Our objective was focused on developing “a NutriVantage® Technology formulation” for poultry much like we have done in swine.

So what is NutriVantage® Technology for poultry (broilers, layers, turkeys, game birds)? It is a mixture of a specific organic acid along with proprietary natural chelating agents. This composition can promote both a healthier gut environment, along with providing immune system support. In addition, the use of NutriVantage® Technology can aid in improving nutrient availability along with helping in combating stress. This report will cover the research conducted with chicks at the Kent Nutrition Group Product Development Center during the summer of 2008.

Feeding Cattle During Drought Conditions

Dr. Steve Sachtleben

This year has proven to be one of the driest and hottest growing seasons in recent history in the middle of the United States. As a result, pastures are going bare, hay crops are short and the potential for a “normal” corn harvest is dissipating. With roughage being the staple for cow-calf producers and backgrounders, the search is on to locate “fiber” that can replace the disappearing pastures. The Kent Nutrition Group has recently offered commodity pellets and cubes aimed at reducing the dependence on pastures and harvested roughages. These products will provide limited energy and protein but are basically devoid of macro-minerals, trace minerals and vitamins. These nutrients are the backbone of reproduction and growth and must be provided by alternative routes, i.e. good nutritional products. Without these nutrients cow reproductive performance will decline, calves which are born will be weak and backgrounders will supply calves to feedlots with compromised immune systems and reduced growth potential due to prolonged nutrient deficiencies. Kent Nutrition Group products to use in combination with commodity products:

Summer Heat Management in Grow/Finish Barns

By Dan Cudmore*, Western Region Swine Specialist
*Adapted from Brumm (Farms.com; June 26, 2012)

It’s hot and miserable in most hog barns, so here are some management tips for summer heat.

Most customers don’t completely understand the impact of heat on grow/finish pigs. Last year, the week of July 18th showed a reduction in sale weights of nearly three pounds MORE than normal during that same time frame over the previous five years.

Pasture – A Missed Opportunity?

Jim Moseley, Dairy Nutritionist

I’ve been surprised over the past few weeks by the number of requests to update dairy diets due to the addition of pasture. Although many of our customers feed total mixed rations (TMR), even these are being supplemented with pasture. The changes create challenges, but if properly managed, present opportunity for economic gain for the dairy operation.

Managing Summer Heat for Holstein Steers on a Self-Feeder

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist/Commercial Account Manager

Summer temperatures are already here or right around the corner, so now is the time to start getting feedlot cattle ready for the heat. Holstein steers actually take the heat well, but still require the right management to give the best performance and prevent losses due to poor feed conversion.

For cattle on a self-feeder, consistent intake is a major factor in good performance. To get the most consistent intake, we need to follow some good management practices:

Managing Heat Stress in the Feedyard

Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

I’m sure most of us remember the extended period of hot weather we had in the summer of 2011. While our market area south of Interstate 80 deals with heat quite frequently, those of us in the northern market area are not used to long-term periods of heat. However, heat is not the only factor to worry about, since humidity and lack of air movement make heat stress more severe. The “heat index” is a better indicator of stress than the simple reading on the thermometer.

Anaplasmosis in Beef Cattle

Steve S. Sachtleben, PhD. PAS, KNG Beef Research and Nutrition

What is Anaplasmosis?
Anaplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by a protozoan parasite that is spread by ticks and biting insects. Needles, dehorning, castrating and other medical-type equipment can also spread it. During the incubation period within the animal (3-8 weeks), the parasite slowly reproduces in the blood stream. Symptoms are not obvious during this time but the parasites continue to develop and reside attached to the red blood cells of the host. At some point, the animal’s own immune system senses the infection and attacks its own red blood cells. This attack destroys the red blood cells and when the host cannot replace these cells as fast as they are destroyed, anemia occurs. After the animal is exposed to the pathogen, it takes 3-6 weeks for clinical signs to be manifested.

Tools for Selling Kent Beef Programs

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist

As costs of cattle feeding rise, customers are requesting additional profitability information, and rightfully so. What type of information are customers asking for? What is the best way to deliver the product or service advantage? KNG Feed has developed several key programs to support the professional customer’s sales experience with beef products.

Protimax Plus for Calves

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist

Protimax Plus is designed to assist young calves through the health and nutritional challenges they face the first days and weeks after birth. It is added to milk fed to 2- to 3-week-old calves. It is a product available to order only from our plants. I work with a veterinarian from the University of Minnesota Diagnostic lab who has found that if we feed better-quality ingredients to stressed calves we can reduce scours and other health concerns. How do we do this? In addition to good management, medication, and vaccinations we can take advantage of products like Protimax Plus to improve the environment in the calf’s developing stomach. Based on my experience with clients using this product in the past six months, Protimax Plus works very well in the right situation.

The BoVantage/Optaflexx Advantage

By Dr. Steve Sachtleben, Kent Beef Nutritionist

Both field trials and research data from the Kent Nutrition Group (KNG) Product Development Center have shown that stressed calves benefit when fed KNG’s BoVantage®. Intakes are stimulated and average daily gains enhanced, while morbidity and mortality decrease. Next, we looked at the response of growing and finishing cattle to this natural nutritional package.

In the initial study, data were examined to determine the effect of BoVantage® on overall feedlot performance. Cattle fed BoVantage® from Day 1 of the grower phase until slaughter were observed to gain faster due to stimulated dry matter intake. Cattle fed BoVantage® throughout the trial (157 days on feed) were 25.12 lb heavier at slaughter than control, non-BoVantage® steers.

Poison in the Garden?

Horses will usually avoid toxic plants, but if they are hungry, bored or curious enough, they might be willing to try something new.  Good pasture management, including regular mowing and smart planting, along with common sense can eliminate many potential hazards.  Plenty of good forage will help deter a horse from sampling toxic plants, chewing fences or picking up vices.  It will also help maintain normal gut function.
Below is a brief (i.e. not all-inclusive) list of some of the common plants that have the potential to harm horses, along with symptoms of toxicity.  The information was summarized from the Horse Owner’s Field Guide to Toxic Plants by Sandra Burger.

Horses will usually avoid toxic plants, but if they are hungry, bored or curious enough, they might be willing to try something new.  Good pasture management, including regular mowing and smart planting, along with common sense can eliminate many potential hazards.  Plenty of good forage will help deter a horse from sampling toxic plants, chewing fences or picking up vices.  It will also help maintain normal gut function.

BoVantage/Optaflexx for Finishing Cattle

Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

After reviewing my presentation at the recent sales meeting with a few of my peers, I wanted to follow-up and emphasize the major points that will help sell BoVantage/Optaflexx (BVT/OPT).

First, the Optaflexx clearance relates to both performance and economics. If the producer feeds more days or fewer days than the approval, while not legal, the cattle will not explode or crash. After about 35 days, cattle start to become desensitized to the effects of ractopamine, so the response begins to diminish until it hits the baseline of the control cattle (no Optaflexx). YOU DO NOT LOSE THE RESPONSE YOU GAINED – YOU JUST DO NOT RECEIVE MORE. The advantage in performance simply goes to zero, so the longer you feed it, the less return ($$$) you capture on your investment.

Rumensin – Efficacy and Toxicity in Beef Cattle

Steve Sachtleben, PhD, PAS

It’s been over 35 years since Elanco Animal Health (Indianapolis, Indiana) registered Rumensin® (1975) for use in beef cattle for the improvement of feed efficiency through its modification of rumen fermentation. Subsequently, additional claims have been approved by the FDA for use in lactating dairy cattle and meat goats.

Heart of a Horse

Basics of the Equine Heart

The cardiovascular system is a dynamic one, designed to transport water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, energy fuels, electrolytes, hormones and other metabolic products throughout the body [1]. At the center of the system is a muscular pump known as the heart. In Thoroughbreds, the average weight of the heart is 1% of mass, or approximately 9-11 pounds [1]. Weight may vary depending on training status, size of horse or breed. (Note that in comparison, a human heart weighs somewhere in the range of 0.5 – 0.8 pounds, and is about the size of your fist [3])!

Equine HYPP Recommendations

By Jeanne van der Veen, MS, PAS

Equine Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) is an inherited muscle disorder characterized by abnormal muscle movement or activity. The disorder is found primarily in Quarter Horses with a genetic link to the stallion ‘Impressive’. Impressive was used extensively as a sire in many breeding programs for over 25 years, leaving many descendants potentially affected with HYPP.

E-Collar Control for Your Hunting Spaniel

Article originally appeared in Quail Forever magazine.

The e-collar is a useful and powerful tool that can greatly extend your reach as a trainer. When used correctly, an e-collar can be a great aid in the training and control of your hunting spaniel. Incorrect use, though, can do more harm to your dog than you can imagine. For this reason, it is important to train yourself on proper e-collar usage before you introduce one to your dog. 

Winterizing Your Horse

By Greg Powers, Regional Sales Manager

As the leaves turn color and autumn heads towards winter, now is a good time to make a list of things to do to properly winterize your horse.

  • Float teeth
  • Body score
  • Pregnancy check
  • Insulate water tank
  • Test forage
  • Provide shelter
  • Check blankets
  • Provide mineral
  • Group animals
  • Deworm

Ribbons for the Trail

By Theresa Cannavo, Marketing Manager

Styling a horse’s mane and tail is fun and a great way to spend quality time with your horse. But did you know that you can tie a ribbon to your horse’s tail for safety reasons?

Following are some universal color guides that you can apply when you hit the trail.

A Red Ribbon in a horse’s tail is a warning to the other riders that your horse might kick. As we all know this does happen and if you are behind a kicker you know that you need to keep a pretty safe distance between you and the horse with the red ribbon. This ribbon tied near the top of the tail is a safety precaution that visually says my horse may kick if you get too close.

Pre-Season Conditioning

Article originally appeared in “On the Wing”, a monthly email newsletter by Pheasants Forever.

Health & More Birds

With the hunting season just around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking about conditioning your canine athlete for early season performance. We wouldn’t think about going out and running ten miles one day without some prior physical training and it doesn’t make any more sense to expect it from our dogs. By getting our dogs in shape before the season, we go a long way toward ensuring a healthier and more effective hunting companion.

The 3 Types of Upland Sporting Dogs

Article originally appeared in Quail Forever magazine.

An Extension Of You

There are many sporting breeds for upland bird hunting and everyone has a personal preference. In my experience, many types and breeds of dogs can be effective hunters. Most sporting breeds produce well rounded companions with the genetics to excel while hunting in the field or on the lake. A good bird dog, regardless of breed, will give you a longer reach and the ability to find, point or flush and retrieve more birds than you could on your own. The shooting part, though, is up to you.

Dehydration Evaluation and Treatment in Dairy Calves

By Rodney Dennis, Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist

Evaluating and monitoring dehydration in dairy calves is an important task for good calf performance and survivability.  This requires good management – careful observation, attention to individual calves and the ability to monitor dehydration.  Sick calves may lose up to 10% of their bodyweight in a single day when they are scouring.  When a calf losses 14% of its bodyweight, death occurs and it is the dehydration, not microorganisms, that typically kills these scouring calves (Table 1).  Early identification and treatment of dehydrated calves will help increase calf survival rates.

Choosing The Right Dog For You

Article originally appeared in Pheasants Forever magazine.

Match Your Style

Certain things just go together well, and that applies to hunters and dogs. Dogs and their owners begin to resemble one another over time and take on characteristics of each other’s personalities. There’s some truth to that, but there are also mismatches that take place. Some dogs and hunters should not be together because there is too much difference between performance and expectation.

Seasonal Feeding Programs

Article originally appeared in Quail Forever magazine.

Feeding For Performance

As a breeder and trainer of canine athletes, we’ve spent many years refining our feeding program to ensure peak performance and condition throughout the year. Consequently, we get a lot of questions about the feeding regimen in our kennel. Following is a summary of some of the key points to consider regarding daily feeding requirements.

Particle Size Of Swine Diets

Michael Edmonds, Ph.D., Vice President, Swine Nutrition

We have generally recommended a particle size of 750 to 850 microns in growing-finishing diets.  Compared to a coarse grind (i.e., 1000 to 1200 microns), the finer grinds do require checking feeders more often because there can be some bridging of feed in the feeders.

Is it worth taking a little time each day to make sure a feeder is flowing?  Or should the easier approach be taken and grind feed at 1000 to 1200 microns which flows freely through bins and feeders?  To answer these questions, compare the effect on feed efficiency of 800 vs. 1100 microns by using the following equation which was developed in university trials involving finishing pigs from 120 to 240 pounds. 

Feeding the Thin Horse

By Carol Reynolds, Marketing Manager

When determining how to feed your thin horse, knowing the current body condition score and estimated weight of your horse can be very helpful. When we see our pasture partners every day it is difficult to monitor changes in weight or condition. Weight tapes are a good tool to estimate weight. Following are some ideas for feeding the thin or recovering horse once you have a good assessment of its condition.

  • Provide plenty of clean, fresh water and approximately 1%-2% of your horse’s body weight in good quality forage. Having access to ample quality forage spread out in 2-3 feedings will minimize gorging.

Top 5 Tips to Getting Ready to Show and Win

By Theresa Cannavo

Getting the horse ready – Have you started to remove the winter coat and increase your training regiment? Now is the time to do so. Using our Omegatin product helps renew that hair and coat just in time for your first show. This product is great for enhancing body condition. www.omegatin.com

Get the trailer ready – Check the tires, breaks, registration, lights and floors. Make sure everything is going to provide safe transportation for you, your family and equine friends. Clean out the tack area and update your supplies to fit your travel needs.

Proper Milk Replacer and Water Feeding

By Rodney Dennis, Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist

Why should milk replacer be mixed and fed according to directions?

Nutrients are absorbed by osmosis. In mammalian physiology, all body fluid compartments contain 300 milliosmols of osmolarity. So for optimal absorption (osmosis) of nutrients by the calf, the milk replacer should be around 300 milliosmols. Properly mixed calf milk replacer will contain 260-280 milliosmols of osmolarity, which is ideal for best absorption and digestion of the milk replacer.

What occurs if calf milk replacer is mixed too concentrated?

  • If calf milk replacer is mixed more concentrated than labeled mixing directions (for example 10 oz. in 1 quart of water instead of 2 quarts), the resulting mix will be too concentrated (500-520 milliosmols, well above 300 milliosmols).

Basic Care Guidelines For Dairy Beef Calves

By James Groethe

We are getting close to the end of a long, hard winter that has tested all of us in some way.  With that being said, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss some basic care recommendations that help maintain healthy calves.

Bed calves for comfort – Calves need help staying warm with good bedding such as small grain straw.  Because of the hollow stem and other characteristics of straw, it has better insulation potential for calves than sawdust or corn stalks.  A calf that is wet or covered in mud and manure gets cold quicker because the matted hair provides less insulation.  Also, when the calf’s bedding is clean and dry, the calf is clean.  When dirty, the calf licks itself and ingests the mud and manure on its hair coat; we all know about the resulting health problems that could occur.

Basic Care Guidelines for Dairy Beef Calves

James Grothe – Dairy Beef Specialist

We are getting close to the end of a long, hard winter that has tested all of us in some way. With that being said, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss some basic care recommendations that help maintain healthy calves.

  1. Bed calves for comfort – Calves need help staying warm with good bedding such as small grain straw. Because of the hollow stem and other characteristics of straw, it has better insulation potential for calves than sawdust or corn stalks. A calf that is wet or covered in mud and manure gets cold quicker because the matted hair provides less insulation. Also, when the calf’s bedding is clean and dry, the calf is clean. When dirty, the calf licks itself and ingests the mud and manure on its hair coat; we all know about the resulting health problems that could occur.

Tips for Beginning Retriever Training

Article originally appeared in “On the Wing”, a monthly e-mail newsletter by Pheasants Forever

Train To Your Expectations

There are many schools of thought regarding the best methods for training a finished retriever. The extent and style of training will often depend on the activities you plan to perform with your dog. For example, your standards of acceptable training may be very different if you plan to do a lot of Hunt Tests or Field Trials versus an effective dog for recreational hunting. We tailor our training to the individual needs of the dog owner.

It’s The Training, Not The Tool!

Article originally appeared in “On the Wing”, a monthly e-mail newsletter by Pheasants Forever

While on a radio show, I was told of young pointing dog that was taken out to hunt his first birds, the owner relying on an e-collar (electronic collar) to help keep the dog close.  The dog hit the open field and was gone.  The owner called the dog and pressed the transmitter button to no avail. Their day of “hunting” came to a close with only one find…the dog 4 hours later. Many unsuccessful e-collar stories take on a similar theme and often the collar or dog is blamed for the failure.  As owners and trainers we must understand that our equipment is only as effective as the operator and the training.   

How About A Pager For Your Dog?

Article originally appeared in “On the Wing”, a monthly e-mail newsletter by Pheasants Forever

It Works For People

For years, business people have used pagers to maintain effective communication while out of the office. Through sound or vibration, a pager has proven an effective way of letting them know when someone needs to communicate with them. In the dog world, many brands of electronic collars have recently begun to feature a “page”, or vibration, function that can be selectively used by the trainer. At the press of a button, the box on the collar will vibrate, rather than producing the more traditional stimulation. Why not make use of this new technology to improve communication with your dog? 

Tips for New Field Trialers

Article originally appeared in “On the Wing”, a monthly e-mail newsletter by Pheasants Forever

Maybe you’ve done Field Trials & Hunt Tests before, maybe not. As a beginner you’ll make mistakes and not remember everything that you’re supposed to do. The more prepared you and your dog are before you get to the event, the better off you’ll be. To help you along the way, I’ve put together a short list of key factors in performing well in dog competitions. 

Evaluating Water Quality for Dairy Cattle

By Brad Oldick, Ph.D. Dairy Nutritionist

Water quality is becoming a greater issue for dairy producers as they continue to grow and put additional stress on their water resources.  Water quality within a water source is not necessarily a constant over time.  Pulling additional water from a well, weather patterns and fertilizer application are all items that can influence water quality within a well.  Some producers have found that managing water quality is better left to local municipalities and have started purchasing water for their cattle rather than pulling water from a private well.  For producers using a private well, a water quality control program should be in place.

Sulfur Toxicity in Feedlot Cattle

By John J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Professor & General Manager, Southeast Colorado Research Center
Colorado State University, Lamar, Colorado

The Need for Sulfur

Sulfur is an important component of many functions in the body and is an essential nutrient for beef cattle.  It is an important part of the amino acids methionine, cysteine, and cystine.  The B-vitamins thiamine and biotin also contain sulfur.  Rumen microbes require sulfur for their normal growth and metabolism.  A large portion of the sulfur found in typical feedlot diets is a component of the natural protein and most practical diets are adequate in sulfur.  However, feeding diets high in non-protein nitrogen or high in rumen undegradable intake protein may reduce the amount of sulfur available for rumen microorganisms, thus increasing the need of supplemental sulfur.  The requirement for sulfur (National Research Council) is 0.15% of diet dry matter and maximum tolerable level is listed as 0.40% of diet dry matter (NRC, 1996).

Molds and Mycotoxins

By Steve Merriam, Vice President, Animal Care Brand Manager and Bruce Arentson, V.P., Regulatory Affairs, Equine & Companion Animal Nutritionist

This year (2009) continues to be an economic challenge to agriculture but fall has brought another serious obstacle for farmers; cool and wet weather for harvest.  It has been nearly impossible to get into the fields and, if one is that lucky, moisture levels in the corn are generally in the 30-33% range.  Along with these two challenges comes a third, mold and mycotoxins.  The presence of mold (fungus) does not necessarily mean that toxins are present in amounts to cause issues within livestock.  However, in today’s environment, mycotoxin screens, and if needed, mycotoxin analyses need to be conducted.

Succesfully Receiving Holstein Feeder Steers

By James Groethe

A good receiving plan for Holstein steers can pay big dividends of $5 to $30 or more profit per steer. This approach involves a number of practices that can greatly reduce problems while improving the bottom-line with overall better feedlot performance and health. Our transportation network for moving cattle today doesn’t think twice about moving cattle 20 plus hours on trucks to feed yards. With that length of time on the truck, cattle are exposed to a lot of stress. One of the biggest stresses can be the one we can’t control – the weather. As a result, we need to have the feed yard ready. One factor in preparation is getting some of the history of the cattle, such as how the ration was fed, what was in the ration, and what vaccinations were administered. After this information is gathered, prepare for the unexpected and start a fresh feeding and vaccination program:

Count Pennies to Cut Cow Costs This Winter

By Dr. Steve Sachtleben, Kent Beef Nutritionist

In today’s economic picture for commercial cow/calf producers, the measure of profitability can be tied to small changes. This segment of the market has enjoyed profitability for many recent years due to cheap feed costs and being paid a premium for their product, a live calf. With the advent of high feed costs and a softening of the feeder market, cow/calf producers must rethink their production strategies. There are numerous ways to cut costs and for the sake of this article most will pertain to feed inputs.

The Story of Mickey

By Janet Plave-Gross

Mickey“Mickey”, a 38 year old Morgan gelding, rests on his laurels since retirement at the Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center, in Lansing, Michigan. Today we are all so grateful to have such a wonderful horse in our presence. He is still alive and well and ambitiously serving in our therapeutic program! For this, we give credit, with deep gratitude; to the Kent Feeds product Dynasty Senior for Mickey’s continued superior health and longevity.

Determining Factors In Bird Dog Abilities

Laying A Genetic Foundation

In more than fifteen years of breeding dogs, we have taken great care in selecting traits for hunting, conformation, and overall health in order to ensure a quality household and hunting companion. We have learned that breeding opposites together will not necessarily produce “happy mediums” nor does the “give and take” method used by convenient mating make consistent litters of individual offspring.

Reading a Feed Tag

By Theresa Cannavo, Marketing Manager

How long has it been since you really looked at the content of your horse’s concentrate feed? Like most  of us, you probably stand in line at the feed store, ask for “three bags of the 12%,” load into the back of your truck, and drive on home without as much as a second glance at the ingredients or the nutrition in that ration.

Each tag attached at the bottom of each bag of KENT horse feed can supply a wealth of information to the consumer who reads the fine print. Learning to interpret the information can tell you whether the feed you’re buying is truly the best choice for your horse.

Dairy Beef Feeding Opportunities

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist

As corn harvest approaches, it looks to be a good one as far as yields – I think we have a very good opportunity to gain some new business and clients. In this market of livestock production where it is tough to maintain good profits, we have a new but old opportunity. The opportunity is with Dairy Beef, and not with the typical Dairy Beef clients we have called on over the years, but with new ones. These new prospects are dairy clients that are quitting milk or looking for additional profit and grain farmers.

Considerations when Feeding Commodities

Brad Oldick, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist

As poor economic conditions continue for dairy producers, more of them are asking questions about feeding on-farm commodities. I have had this question resurface on several midsized dairies with high producing cows (average 85 lb+); these dairies had made the decision in the past not to switch to on-farm commodities for one or more of the reasons listed below. These can serve as a starting point for discussion when this question is asked.

Dairy Beef Summer Feeding and Mixing Guidelines

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist

As the warm and humid days of summer approach, we need to pay close attention to corn and pellet diets. Because of the method, these are usually fed in a self-feeder. We need to monitor that everything for the steer is proper due to the heat adding additional opportunity for stress to change behaviors. The water and feed needs to be clean, fresh and of the best quality. To do this, we have a set of guidelines to follow:

Receiving 200-600# Holstein Feeder Steers

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist

A good receiving plan for Holstein steers can pay big dividends of $5 to $30 or more profit per steer. This approach involves a number of practices that can greatly reduce problems while improving the bottom-line with overall better feedlot performance and health. Our transportation network for moving cattle today doesn’t think twice about moving cattle 20 plus hours on trucks to feedyards. With that length of time on the truck, cattle are exposed to a lot of stress. One of the biggest stresses can be the one we can’t control – the weather. As a result, we need to have the feedyard ready. One factor in preparation is getting some of the history of the cattle, such as how the ration was fed, what was in the ration and what vaccinations were administered. After this information is gathered, prepare for the unexpected and start a fresh feeding and vaccination program:

Unusual “Case Studies” from the Autumn of 2008

Brad Oldick, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist

I recently wrote an article for The Redline that discussed “Corn Silage Slump.” Since then, corn silage has been busily fermenting in silos across our trade area. In many instances, cows have been switched to a 2008 crop high-moisture or dry-corn grain, as well as 2008 crop corn silage. I have had a handful of experiences with this year’s switch to new crop feeds that are unusual enough to justify sharing them.

Fine-tune the Feed Yard with Self-Audit for Peak Performance

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist

As we deal with market changes and profitability, we can work with clients to ensure that they avoid any unnecessary losses due to missed management opportunities. A self-audit is one that the client can perform by examining his feedlot and working facilities to see if improvements can be made for cattle comfort. We all know that with improved comfort comes less stress, improved health and better performance. One other factor that is sometimes not discussed is the stress and safety on the people working with the cattle can also be improved.

Economic Factors of No-Roughage Feeding

James Grothe, Dairy Beef Specialist

Corn has been at a record high value over the past few months; consequently producers are considering other types of feeding programs rather than the Precision Dairy Beef (PDB) or NRB programs for dairy beef. Before the decision is finalized, there are number of factors that need to be considered. In this process, remember that each operation has different goals and what might work for one will not for another. Factors to consider are:

Feeding Programs for Beef Cows

An Alternative Using Kent Beef Cow Co-Product Minerals

Steve Sachtleben, Ph.D., PAS, Kent Feeds Beef Nutritionist

Along with corn, hay and co-products, dicalcium phosphate has become scarce and expensive. Generally, beef cow diets include hay, corn, maybe corn gluten or distillers, and a conventional free-choice mineral. These free-choice minerals contain a high concentration of dicalcium phosphate, thus added phosphorus. In diets with corn gluten feed or distillers grains, supplemental phosphorus is not necessary as these co-products are very high in this mineral. Additionally, producers are being challenged by their state governments regarding phosphorus loads on crop and pasture acres.

Staying Competitive During Less Favorable Markets

Michael Edmonds, Ph.D., Vice President, Swine Nutrition

Helping pork producers improve their growing-finishing efficiencies is especially critical when market hog prices are low and corn, soybean meal and other feedstuffs are exceedingly high. Listed below are some growing-finishing strategies you can use to help your customers make the most from their operations:

  1. Corn particle size should be 750-850 microns. Feed efficiency is dramatically affected by particle size (Nutrition Notes, 11-22-97).
  2. Minimize feed wastage by properly adjusting feeders. Also, check water flow rate (Nutrition Notes, 6-18-94).