Cargill's Dusty Abney Talks with CAB About Profitable Herd Management and Cow and Heifer NutritionTue, 04 Jun 2019 17:17:08 CDT
Profitable herd management means tailoring cow and heifer nutrition to strike the right balance in body condition for their place in the production cycle.
How do you know if the cows in your herd are getting the right nutrition? Body condition is a great indicator, says Cargill’s Dusty Abney.
“In the nutrition industry as a whole as far as cattle nutrition goes, for years and years we've talked over and over about protein," said Dusty Abney, Cow-calf and Stocker Nutritionist, Cargill Animal Nutrition. "And protein is very important and for a lot of people, protein is the rate-limiting nutrient in their operation. But if you've got thin cows in a time of year they're not supposed to be thin, protein is probably not what's holding you back. In that scenario, and a lot of different scenarios, calories, energy, that's what's holding you back when she's thin. That's what puts fat on her back. I'm not necessarily telling you I want you to have a fat cow. I want you to have a cow that's in the appropriate body condition score for your environment, for the time of year that you're working on there," Abney said.
Watch a short video-clip featuring Dusty Abney, Cow-calf and Stocker Nutritionist, Cargill Animal Nutrition, shares his thoughts on profitable herd management by utilizing cow and heifer nutrition, by clicking or tapping the PLAYBOX in the window below.
Meeting each cow’s caloric needs ensures her continued productiveness in the herd.
“So, making sure that her needs are balanced and her requirements are being met in a balanced fashion, that's really where the rubber meets the road as far as nutrition and that cow, and body condition score," Abney said. "Getting her bred, fetal programming, all that stuff comes back in to how many calories a day does she need, versus how many is she getting."
On the other hand, feeding too many calories can lead to health problems, especially in heifers.
“A fat heifer does nobody any good," he said. "Especially if we paid to get her fat. There's a number of different things we can have happen there. We can have a heifer that's got too much fat packed around her repro tract, that can have dystocia problems for that heifer. We can put a lot of fat into her udder, and that means she doesn't milk as well, she can be tough to breed because she's too fat. None of that is what I want anybody to have in a cow or a heifer. So we've got to find that balance.”
Getting it just right makes Abney think of a scene from “The Three Bears” children’s story.
“So the Goldilocks scenario with heifers is we don't want her to be too fat, we don't want her to be too thin," Abney said. "We want to develop her into a cow, we want her to learn to graze, we don't want her to be dependent on the feed bunk. We want to develop the future of our herd. And most people are going to keep a heifer if they can for ten years, that's what we'd really like. That's what we'd like our goal to be. So the decisions we make all the way back to when that's heifer's in gestation inside the cow, decisions we make for her mom and for nutrition then, and then while we're developing her after we wean her to make her into a cow, to get her bred, to put enough ribs into her, enough guts into her so she has the room and capacity to support herself and her calf. That's the Goldilocks scenario. Not too much, not too little, just right.”
Source: Certified Angus Beef
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