By

Rebecca Kern, MS, PAS Animal Scientist Consultant
I don’t like political topics; however, with the buzz surrounding the new green deal, those of us in the beef industry need to speak up. Beef producers truly do provide a nutrient dense, environmentally responsible product. North American beef producers have made strides toward increased efficiency and environmental responsibility. Greenhouse Gasses In the past 20...
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Often when a producer is determining the cause of an abortion storm, they look to the feed as a potential cause. While feed can potentially contain toxins which cause abortion, working with your veterinarian is key in determining the cause of an abortion. Toxins in the Feed Nitrates are often the first thoughts when an...
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The thoroughbred racing season at Fonner Park is quickly approaching. That means feeding race horses for optimal speed. Like other athletes, energy, protein and micro-nutrients are key for optimal performance. Nutritional requirements of horses vary by age, growth stage and training intensity. Maintaining a Body Condition Score of 4-5 throughout development, training and racing is...
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As the animal scientist here at Ward Laboratories, INC. my blog posts typically focus on how feed and forage testing can help producers reach animal production goals. However, at the American Foarage and Grasslands Council Annual Conference, soil sampling pastures came up as one of the top ways producers see as economically beneficial. So, this...
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Last week was the American Forage and Grasslands Council (AFGC) held their annual conference in conjunction with the NIRS Feed and Forage Consortium (NIRSC). I attended the NIRSC workshops. During these workshops, presenters spoke about proper sample preparation for NIRS analysis and how to create and maintian good prediction model equations. Ward Laboratories, INC. strives to consistently...
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I have received several phone calls from producers with concerns about toxic plants or noxious weeds in hay. Most of the time grazing animals avoid these toxic plants, and prefer to as weeds are typically unpalatable. However, when the animal is consuming hay or a mixed ration contaminated by these toxic plants, it is difficult...
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When temperatures dip, it is important to provide extra nutrients at the right time to help livestock fight cold stress.  Cold stress occurs when the environmental temperature is below the animals lower critical temperature. The lower critical temperature is reached when the animal can no longer maintain their internal body temperature through behavioral modifications such...
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This year’s Swine Day at Kansas State University, like previous years, was a tidal wave of information.  So, here are some of the highlights I found to be most interesting.  Dr. Joel DeRouchey gave two interesting research summaries one on the effects of Bacillius probiotics fed to sows and the second on iron injection supplementation...
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Recently, I attended the University of Nebraska State of Beef Conference. One of the speakers was Rick Funston, a reproductive Physiologist at UNL. Dr. Funston reminded producers that when we feed the gestating cow, we aren’t just influencing her performance, but also the future performance of the calf.  This concept is called fetal programming, it emphasizes...
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You may notice that when you drop off a sample for NIRS analysis, you are told the results of hay, forage, silage, or corn grain samples will be done the next day.  However, once in awhile when you check your email at 5 pm the next day, no reports have arrived in your inbox.  Many...
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With Halloween being over, you might start to wonder what happens to all the pumpkins left in the field that weren’t chosen to be carved into Jack o’ Lanterns or set out as a fall decoration. As it turns out pumpkins are great to supplement a livestock diet! They are also cost-effective as they become...
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As we move closer and closer to winter and some producers still  haven’t put their hay up, I have received a growing number of questions about windrow grazing.  The typical question I am asked as a feed testing consultant is how sitting in the windrow through the fall and early winter affects the forage quality...
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I have received many phone calls asking about the optimal time to chop corn silage based on moisture.  Unfortunately, this late in the chopping season, most corn crops are too dry to meet the guideline of between 33-38% dry matter as covered at the Silage for Beef Cattle 2018 Conference.  A lot of the green...
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Last Saturday I spent the day in a classroom at the US Meat Animal Research Center learning about sheep production and tools put out by University of Wyoming Extension to help producers make the best possible management decisions. The meeting was a cooperation between the University of Wyoming Extension, Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, Nebraska...
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Every once in awhile I get asked if soybean plants or stubble should be tested for nitrates.  Soybeans are legumes like alfalfa, and like alfalfa, under stressed conditions can accumulate a toxic concentration of nitrates.  Soybeans are listed as nitrate accumulators by the Iowa Beef Canter.  Therefore, if you are having doubts, send a sample...
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Last week was the 18th Annual Nebraska Grazing Conference.  The theme this year was being a steward of the land and managing for diverse plant and wildlife populations through the incorporation of multiple grazing species. There were three speakers this year that spoke about how bringing sheep, goats or both species into their cattle operation...
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Often, Ward Laboratories, Inc receives sorghum samples and producers want us to test prussic acid and nitrates.  My recommendation would be to send two separate samples when testing for grazing purposes because prussic acid and nitrates accumulate in different parts of the plant. Prussic acid accumulatesin the leaves of the grass in contrast to nitrate...
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We’ve all heard the Luke Bryan song “Rain is a Good Thing”. While it may be a catchy lyric, lack of rain can cause livestock producers to suffer from drought and heat stress issues, while too much rain can leave farmers dealing with flood damage.  This year has been especially testing from those aspects.  The...
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Here at Ward Laboratories Inc there is always something happening.  This past month and the coming months include construction projects and new lab equipment.  This past week, we also became a zoo, I kid of course. In the lab we are adding new fume hoods and expanding for new stations and lab equipment.  Once the...
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The other day while it was raining cats and dogs outside, a customer asked how that rain would affect his freshly cut alfalfa hay.  Unfortunately, rain after cutting and before bailing only decreases the nutritional value of the hay. As the freshly chopped forage lays in the field getting rained on, water soluble compounds leach...
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