Two Areas You Shouldn’t Cut Due to Low Market Prices

Posted: November 1, 2016 | Written By: Michael Ringgenberg, Form-A-Feed Nutrition and Production Specialist

silage pile

There has been a lot of discussion with producers recently on cutting costs due to the lower cattle market. However some cost-cutting efforts can do you more harm than good in the long run.

Silage Inoculants

Maintaining quality feed stuffs and eliminating waste are huge opportunity areas that I see on a lot of operations. The use of a quality silage inoculant, proper packing of the silage and covering it with an oxygen barrier will return dividends for a producer. The return on investment for inoculants is 5:1, and with proper packing density and an oxygen barrier it is 15:1. A silage pile with one inch of spoilage is equal to 10 inches of shrink. The spoilage will result in decreased performance and efficiency of your cattle. The shrink will also cost you money in lost feed.

Ensiled feedstuffs comprise a large portion of many operations feed inventory. Inoculants are essential to enhance the value of these feedstuffs. They help to:

  • Improve dry matter recovery
  • Preserve dry matter intake
  • Improve animal performance per ton of crop ensiled
  • Extend face and bunk life
  • Reduce spoilage mechanisms

Mineral/supplements

Another area I see producers wanting to cut costs is in their supplement purchases. Using a cheap mineral may cost less but will affect performance and affect your pocket book in the long run. Utilizing a quality mineral in a balanced ration will maximize performance of your cattle. There are cheaper minerals out there that utilize less than optimum available sources.

Chelated minerals support increased growth and improved efficiency, reproduction and immunity. Chelated minerals are readily available to the animal when ingested. They consist of one metal ion bound to one amino acid molecule. This stable bond allows performance minerals to remain intact as they pass through the volatile stomach environment so they can reach the small intestine where they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and then transported to tissues and organs for utilization.

Ordinary minerals prevent deficiencies and provide for normal growth and reproduction. When an ordinary trace mineral – such as zinc sulfate or zinc oxide – is fed, there are three possible outcomes:

1.    It is bound to an antagonist and not absorbed. (Antagonists are other components in the diet that may interfere with mineral absorption.)

2.    The ordinary mineral remains in its original form and is excreted.

3.    The ordinary mineral is bound to a complexing agent, which serves as a carrier to drive absorption into the small intestine.

Another factor to consider in trace mineral nutrition is bioavailability – how well a mineral is absorbed and utilized in an animal. Chelated minerals are designed for optimum absorption, so they easily enter the bloodstream and affect numerous metabolic functions.

Contact your Form-A-Feed representative to help you determine ways to get through the low markets, without sacrificing profitability.