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Prevent Trouble This Year

Dustin Elkins, Feed & Animal Health Department Manager

As I write this article it appears mother nature is still trying to decide which season she wants this week.  We can at least be glad that she is leaning towards the warmer side this winter and has decided to pay her portion of the feed bill this year.

The USDA recently released their cattle inventory numbers showing that the total number of cattle and calves is at 87.2 million head.  This is the lowest it has been since 1951.  The beef cow inventory is at 28.2 million head which is the lowest since 1961.  These low inventory numbers and heifer retention down 1.4% in 2023 will hopefully continue to be bullish for the calf market during the next couple years. 

As we look forward toward calving and upcoming breeding season, now is the time to analyze both your supplementation and vaccine programs.  This is important to make sure you are getting the most pounds you can out of every calf born on your place this spring.  This critical period right before calving is the last chance you will have to increase the mineral status of the calf and improve their immune system until they start consuming mineral themselves a few months down the road.  In one research project at Oregon State, cows that were supplemented the Availa 4 trace minerals, like are found in our Payback Ultramin Elite line, weaned calves that were 53 pounds heavier than the control group. 

On the vaccine side of things, I would also encourage you to take some time and analyze any of the challenges you had last year, whether it be with hoof rot or sick calves.  We have many resources within our SWG locations and many supplier partners that can help you troubleshoot those issues and prevent them for the upcoming season.  One other issue to also keep in mind is if you have added any new cows into the herd and you are not sure of their previous vaccine program, be very careful introducing them to modified live vaccines.   If done at the wrong times, this can cause some open cows or abortions.  

Thank you for your business and if there is anything we can do for you please reach out to one of our locations or myself.

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