Trace minerals directly affect unborn calves

If the cow isn’t getting sufficient minerals calf development and strength suffers

Within the next few months, there will be a lot of newborn calves on the ground. Fair- to good-quality forage is quite plentiful this year and grain is a reasonable price, so most of the cow herds I have seen across Western Canada this winter are in good body condition for calving. But one area […] Read more

Poor corn residue may need supplement

The wet fall can reduce feed quality of corn residue, create mould

In the last few years, many beef producers have taken advantage of corn residue as part of their cow herd’s overwintering feeding program. It’s a low-cost feed and for the most part, because early-gestating cows are allowed months of grazing without much trouble. Unfortunately, this wet fall has presented many challenges in feeding lower-quality corn […] Read more

Pre-weaned calves need extra water

Dairy Corner: Satisfying thirst also promotes good dry calf starter intake

Feeding milk replacer or whole milk does not provide enough water for growing pre-weaned dairy calves. Young calves have a natural requirement for water which is often higher and separate than what is provided by most milk-based feeding programs. By providing all the water needed, calves adapt to dry calf starter quicker, grow faster and […] Read more

Dairy Corner: Don’t overdo palm fat in dairy cattle rations

Palm fat can help increase milk fat, but more isn’t necessarily better

There has been an explosive use of palm fat in many dairy diets. This growth has been fuelled by the numerous incentive days issued by milk marketing boards to increase milk fat production in lactating dairy cows. On the plus side, I see a profitable milk fat increase on many farms because some bypass palm […] Read more

beef on a winter pasture

Important to maintain proper BCS

Cattleman's Corner: Cows looking good going into winter still need to be fed

Warm temperatures and lots of rain right into fall regenerated pastures producing plenty of nutritious grasses for cattle. Many gestating cows are going into the winter, healthy and in decent shape. By feeding them well-balanced overwintering diets, we can continue this momentum, so these beef cows can get through a typical cold winter and be […] Read more

corn silage chopping

Right and wrong fermentation

Dairy Corner: If silage moisture is too high going in, it can affect feed quality and palatability

This autumn, I have seen a variety of corn fields being chopped into silage for dairy cattle. While some of this corn was dried enough to make some good quality corn silage, I was surprised when I saw some producers literarily harvested green chop. After all, they were faced with another rain shower, which forced […] Read more

Preconditioning calves still pays this fall

Pencil out the costs and consider other marketing benefits as well

The weaned calf market reached a peak in the fall of 2014. Since then, mixed with lots of volatility, the value of weaned calves this fall is roughly half that nearly two years ago. Many cow-calf producers who sell weaned calves to feedlots are asking if preconditioning calves is really worth it. Yes, I believe […] Read more

Brown young calf in barn pen.

Dairy Corner: Good starter provides a good start

Make sure the starter has proper nutrients but also great taste

In recent years, I have seen a lot of pressure on dairy producers to feed more whole milk or milk replacer to their pre-weaned calves. University trials show baby calves fed high levels of milk turn it into superior bodyweight, girth and height at weaning, which make better future-lactating cows. Not to be overshadowed, there […] Read more

cows eating pelleted feed

Elements of a “good” winter mineral

Cow-calf mineral requirements vary with time of year

It won’t be long before most cow-calf operators will be bring their cow herd home from pasture to overwinter. They should also be shopping for a good beef cow mineral. I think of a “good” overwintering cow mineral as one that helps meet the mineral and vitamin requirements of the early- to mid-gestating beef cow […] Read more

dairy cattle in a pasture

Dairy Corner: Twofold impact of heat stress

Reproduction setbacks may take longer to correct than milk production problems

This summer in the eastern Prairies seemed to be hotter and definitely more humid than in previous years. I noticed this year in particular had many August nights when the humidex barely fell below 25 C. In talking to dairy producers, some had the same experience and also noticed their heat-stressed cows’ milk production as […] Read more