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Lameness is something that can be prevented and managed. Taking the time to set up a regular hoof maintenance schedule with a trimmer is worth the cost of a lame cow. Experts recommend twice a year trimming, typically done mid-lactation and at dry-off. However, create a schedule that works best for your animals and operation. Cows that are in pain won’t get up to walk and eat as much. Therefore, they won’t produce as much compared to when they are healthy.
A cow’s hooves are designed to spread the weight of the animal as evenly as possible. Unfortunately, there is a very small surface area that holds the entire weight of the animal. Unevenly worn hooves won’t balance their weight, which may cause pain or lameness issues. Keeping animals in a clean, dry environment is essential to hoof health. Comfortable bedding makes animals want to lay down and get off their feet.
Trimmers examine hooves, remove excess growth, and create an even surface to walk upon. There are two different styles trimmers will utilize on cows, either a flat or angled sole. This is based on preference and geography of the region. There is no scientific evidence supporting one method over the other. When cows walk, most of their weight is focused on the outside rear claws and inside front claws. A good trimmer will pay extra attention to these areas, as they are the greatest point of support for the animal.
If left in wet or muddy conditions, hooves will soften, making them easier to damage or become infected. Soft hooves bruise easier under the weight of the cow if she spends a lot of time on her feet. Digital dermatitis (hairy heel wart) infection can occur under these conditions. Warts cause tenderness and are highly contagious. Copper foot baths and antibiotics are the best methods of treatment.
Keeping hooves trimmed regularly allows a close-up view of potential dangers that are brewing. Use this opportunity to treat any arising issues before they have a chance to develop.
“Hoof Care for the Dairy Cow” Farming Magazine
The cold and wet spring this year led to many delays for farmers to get their fields prepped and planted. Consistent, heavy rains left fields in standing water for days on end. The extra moisture kept fields too wet to have machinery run through without getting stuck.
It took until the end of June for most farmers in the US to get their corn or soybeans in the ground. Surprisingly, 56% of the nation’s corn is rated good to excellent and 54% of the soybean crop is rated good to excellent. However, it will be difficult to predict if the yields are affected until harvest time.
Several acres are eligible for prevented planting payments if the farmer took out corn crop insurance. In fact, some farmers are opting not to plant at all and submit an insurance claim. Claims this year could reach over $1 billion.
For the latest crop progress report, click here.
“Ground Truthing USDA’s June Acreage Report.” FB.org
Laca, Anna-Lisa. “Corn, Soybean Conditions Hold Steady.” Agweb
Free choice feeding for Beef herds has been a standard practice for a long time. But is it the best choice? Free choice offers limited dry matter intakes and unlimited food waste. Free choice round bale waste is often estimated at 25% with seasonal highs at >30% when manure and matted feed spawn mold.
Long hay stored in round bales—dry or baleage—provide affordable, effective fiber for maximum rumen health. Effective fiber forms the rumen mat and stimulates cud-chewing, providing a natural buffer to manage hourly rumen pH.
Round balers are now equipped with knives to pre-cut hay at 3” to 8” lengths to increase bale density. This is optimal for maximizing vertical Total Mixed Ration (TMR) mixer capacity. Ideally, dry and wet round bales should be pre-processed to save fuel, time, wear, and waste in TMR feeding.
Following management objectives, beef producers want to make sure their cattle have a healthy body condition at calving for effective calf Rate of Gain. Feeding your beef herd a consistent TMR will improve cow condition for re-breeding, increase weaning weights, and increase Average Daily Gain (ADG). Getting a consistent meal of the proper nutrients as recommended by a nutritionist throughout the growth process will allow your herd to make continuous gains. Weaners will transition into feeders quicker when fed a balanced TMR.
With a mixed ration, the producer can control ingredients going into the mixer (sometimes at a cost savings) while maintaining a proper nutrient and feed intake. The ability to use alternative ingredients that will get mixed into a ration helps eliminate feed waste because animals won’t be sorting their feed.
The average US beef cow weighs 1,390 lbs. and consumes 19 lbs. of dry matter (DM) to produce 1 lb. of calf. Increasing DM intakes 10% in adult cows with TMR feeding could increase weaning weights up to 50 lbs. per calf while saving feed!