Beef Cattle Archives - Ward Laboratories Inc.

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Beef Cattle
Surveying the financial horizon may lead some cow/calf producers to determine feed analysis is an unnecessary cost. However, upon closer examination there is value in feed testing. Let’s see how knowing the actual protein content of feed-stuffs can pay off in just 1 week. The cost of the the feed and the analysis Of course...
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There are 5 principles of soil health as defined by the Natural Resources Conservation District. Armor the Soil (keep crop residue on the soil to prevent errosion)Minimal Soil Disturbance (No-Till)Plant Diversity (Grow more than just row crops, consider cover crop mixes)Keep a continual live root in the soil (again cover crops) But it is the...
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Brown mid-rib forage (BMR) varieties have been around since the early 2000s. Yet, I still find producers aren’t sure about what BMR means to their operation. Traits associated with BMR varieties can impact forage quality and animal performance. First, lets define what BMR really is. Then, we can examine how this trait impacts forage quality...
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I recently had the opportunity to attend the Western Canada Conference on Soil Health and Grazing on behalf of Ward Laboratories, Inc.  If you missed out, the video recordings of the conference will be posted here.  The event was packed full of knowledgeable speakers and eager to learn producers.  Here are the key messages from...
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Here at Ward Laboratories, INC. we have recently updated our fee schedule and website. One major change in the fee schedule is that we are asking clients to call and visit with our Professional Animal Scientist prior to sending samples to be analyzed for Prussic Acid in livestock feed. We have heard some of the...
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For many years I have seen producers bale their crop residue, specifically cornstalks and soybean stubble, after harvest. This practice has been driven somewhat by feedlot demand after the advent of distillers co-products from ethanol plants in the early 2000’s. Distillers co-products are high in protein and energy for livestock. Therefore,  there is a demand...
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I receive many phone calls about interpreting a feed report. The interpretation depends on the reason for testing. Some reports help formulate an animals diet. Other reports determine hay quality for buying and selling. At Ward Laboratories, INC. , we provide the Ward Guide to help producers interpret agricultural testing reports. Here are my tips...
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Recently, I attended the Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s Cattlemen’s Convention and Tradeshow in Gillette, Wyoming. While driving up I noticed the diversity in the livestock in rangeland grazing. Most grazers were beef cattle. I also saw horses, sheep with lambs and goats with kids. Additionally, deer and pronghorn were sharing many of these rangeland grazing...
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The removal of corn oil from distillers co-products resulted from livestock industry feed back. Interference of fat with rumen metabolism required low inclusion rates in the beef diet. Full fat DDGS had a negative impact on milk quality in the dairy industry. Swine fed co-products with full oil content resulted in soft bacon. The ethanol...
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As spring continues to progress into summer, many livestock growers will move herds onto lush green pastures, and toss out a mineral supplement. But what happens if that supplement doesn’t provide balanced mineral nutrition to those animals? The first major concern is magnesium deficiency referred to as ‘Grass Tetany’. However, that isn’t the only mineral...
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Even before the ‘bomb cyclone’ hit, it was a heartbreaking spring for livestock producers. I was receiving phone calls of late term abortions and lost calves and cows due to poor nutrition. Before these historic floods, Nebraska and surrounding states were already enduring unusually low temperatures and heavy snow fall. Producers were struggling with guidelines...
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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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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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It seems like the weather has been nothing but cold since thanksgiving. Unfortunately, that trend is only projected to continue.  That means it is important to feed beef cattle to protect them from the harsh elements. Cold stress occurs when the environmental temperature is below the animals lower critical temperature.The lower critical temperature is reached...
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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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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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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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