Patz Blog

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UV Safety Month

With long, sunny days, it’s no surprise July is National UV Safety Month.

UV (Ultraviolet) rays from the sun are one of the causes of skin cancer because the UV rays actually damage the DNA in skin cells. These rays can also damage the sensitive tissues of the eyes.

There are 3 main types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

UVA rays cause long-term damage (think wrinkles and skin texture changes). These are the type of rays used in tanning beds and are associated with skin cancer.

UVB rays cause direct damage to the skin through sunburns. These rays have more energy than UVA rays and are also associated with skin cancer.

UVC rays are less powerful and usually found in man-made sources. These are not typically associated with skin cancer.

The best method to avoid potentially dangerous UV rays is prevention. Wearing hats, long sleeves and pants, sunglasses, staying in the shade and sunscreen are all recommended. There are even some clothes that are made with materials that block UV rays. Try to avoid being in direct sunlight between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm when the sun is strongest.

For sunscreen, try to get one that says “Broad Spectrum”. It will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Anything below SPF 15 will not actually be effective in protecting your skin. Be sure to get a water resistant one if you will be out in the water or working hard and sweating. Reapply as the packaging states.

“How Do I Protect Myself from UV Rays?”
Nguyen, Antique. “July is National UV Safety Month.” PreCheck

Feed Refusals – Don’t Leave Money in the Bunk

Feed is money!

Studies show that feed is averaging 64% of operating costs. Feed bunk management is crucial to plan and maintain a steady diet for cattle. It is typical for producers to have a 2-5% refusal rate. Any more than this and the refusals will start impacting your bottom line.

Beef Cattle – Cows will still get to their same finishing size if they are not eating to their full potential. It will just take a longer amount of time to get there with less feed.

Dairy Cattle – Cows not eating to their full potential will be affected negatively in their production. Cows are limited to the amount of time they are able to lactate. They are not able to “make up for lost time” by just milking longer.

There are several factors involved that can determine how well the herd feeds. Water is an important facet of diet. There should always be access to an ample supply of fresh water. Feed should not be limited and should be pushed up frequently so it remains within a cows reach. According to research, bunks should not remain empty for longer than 3 hours a day. Any spoiled feed should be discarded. Feed refusals that are still good quality can be fed to growing heifers or steers and beef cattle.

Environment is also important. Do the cows have enough space to move around? Is it a calming and relaxing atmosphere? Stressed cows may not eat as well as a happy cow. Cows also like to eat together in groups, often with some type of “pecking order”. You want to make sure that the feed going down the line is exactly the same from beginning to end so each cow is getting the proper ration.

How do you do this? One of the best practices is to feed your herd a TMR (total mixed ration). Cows sort through food and eat the “good stuff” first, whatever they find most appealing. Prevent this by having a thoroughly mixed TMR with quality (ex. Not moldy, spoiled) ingredients. The mixed balance of ingredients will be blended together and make sorting difficult for animals. They will be able to eat a nutritious diet, with forage cut to a size that is big enough to stimulate the rumen, but small enough to be mixed easily.

Ask your local dealer how to “Feed Your Potential” with Patz!


Grant, Rick. “Creating the Perfect Dining Experience: Inegrating Cow Behavior, Housing, and Feedbunk Management.”

Schroeder, J.W., “Dairy Focus: Managing Feed Refusals.” NDSU News

A Window into Healthy Cows

Cannulated cows, sometimes called rumen Fistulated cows have been used for research since the 1830s. Surgically fitted with a cannula (durable thick plastic “window” with a lid), these Fistulated cows offer insight into health and digestion of ruminants. The cannula allows the surgical opening to heal around it, forming a barrier to keep the outside world separate from the rumen, unless needed for medical or educational purposes. This is common practice at veterinary schools and some larger farm operations.

The benefit of having a Fistulated cow is tremendous. A procedure called rumen transfaunation can be performed to help cows suffering from indigestion or other digestive ailments. Fistulated cows are watched closely for optimal health. They have a wonderful microbiome of healthy bacteria in their rumen that can be transferred into sick cows. These sick cows’ bodies are then able to utilize the healthy bacteria to improve their own health. Transfaunation can even work with sheep and goats because they have similar digestive systems to cows.

Contrary to popular belief, Fistulated cows are not in any pain. They are able to live full, comfortable, and long lives. In fact, some are spoiled more than regular cows because of wanting to keep their rumen microbiome healthy and active.

For more information on the transfaunation process, visit our previous blog post at


O’Brien, Anna. “Holey Cow: The Wonderful World of a Fistulated Cow.” Modern Farmer