Category

Forage
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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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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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 in two days.  However, once in awhile when you check your email at 5 pm two days later and no reports have arrived in your inbox....
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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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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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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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Last week I attended both the Colorado Cattlemen’s Annual Convention and the Sandhills Ranch Expo at the Ward Laboratories Inc tradeshow booths.  At both locations, producers had concerns about nitrates.  The climate and weather however were contrasting conditions.  Colorado producers wondered how drought stress might affect the nitrate levels in their forages, while Nebraska and...
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Soon we will be entering forage grazing and harvesting season. Although many producers test their hay or silages when buying and selling, there is still a group who either only test for nitrate when they believe they may be having an issue or do not bother to test at all.  There are many benefits to...
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The function of carbohydrates in any animal’s diet is to provide energy.  Some carbohydrates are more easily digestible and provide energy to the animal, or in the case of the beef cattle, to the rumen microbes more rapidly.  These carbohydrates are Non-Fiber Carbohydrates (NFC). Examples of NFC are starch and sugars, such as glucose and...
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As they say, “spring has sprung!” That means the birds are out chirping, summer is on its way, baby calves are on the ground and lush, green pastures ready for grazing.  While this does paint a picturesque image, cattlemen know there’s a danger in those beautiful, green spring grasslands: a nutritional disorder known as Grass...
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Intermittently, I receive a phone call asking me about the interpretation of a feed analysis for wild animals as opposed to domesticated livestock whose nutrient requirements I am more familiar with.  These phone calls usually make me do a little more research and I learn something new about animal nutrition with each inquiry. The first...
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The state of Nebraska is in the center of the High Plains Region of the United States.  The states that make up this region are Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and the Dakotas.  I checked the current drought monitor and found that southern Nebraska and southern Wyoming are abnormally dry, and Kansas, Colorado and the Dakotas...
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When it comes to hay testing, producers commonly grumble about the variation in Relative Feed Value (RFV) and protein content, based on their observations and what the lab reported. Producers often have these concerns, because the RFV determines the price of a forage and how much customers are willing to pay.  An underestimated RFV can...
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