Manage the Cattle for the Markets

In today’s market, cattle producers need to take advantage of every opportunity to increase the value and profit of their calves. Universities and cattle services have been reporting the economic effects of good and bad management practices for decades. One early report is a 1986 extension publication highlighting a sale barn survey that focused on the impact of selected characteristics on feeder cattle prices. Since then, numerous reports have been released to verify the difference in the value of good versus mismanaged calves. Using best management practices for genetics, nutrition and health is the best way to increase your calves’ value at marketing. When the cattle cycle dips, producers shouldn’t stop using these best management practices.

Cattle inherit the ability to grow and convert feed resources into highly valuable carcasses. Using proper nutrition, one can set calves up to make sure they reach their genetic potential. For example, recent studies have shown that proper nutrition during the last 90 days of pregnancy greatly influences the resulting calf crop’s performance. Meeting the needs of gestating cows, or fetal programming, is a powerful tool. Satisfying the cow herd’s requirements during pregnancy for energy, protein, vitamins and minerals has been shown to increase colostrum intake and calf health (reduced incidences of scours), weaning weight (by 40+ pounds), replacement herd fertility (up to 15% more pregnancies), feedlot performance, carcass quality grade (near 10% greater Choice carcasses)… the list goes on and on. Truly, the cow-calf producer is “large and in charge” of the lifetime performance of calves, often before those calves are even born.

Maximizing forage digestion during late pregnancy is an important part of fetal programming. There are several complementary management practices that can get the most nutrition out of primarily forage cow diets. For example, Amaferm®, a prebiotic included in all VitaFerm® products, enhances forage digestibility elevating the energy and protein of essentially all classes of forages. Providing protein supplements can further increase forage intake and allow cows to maximize their utilization of forages to meet their nutritional needs. Complementing with minerals, trace minerals and vitamin supplements completes the feeding program. Inclusion of complete mineral supplements give cattlemen the confidence their cow herds will remain fertile and healthy.

Well-managed calves give an operation the option of taking advantage of a variety of marketing opportunities. Sale barn and auction sales price analyses over the past three decades have repeatedly shown the value advantages of good management practices. Timely castration, dehorning, and vaccinations, along with maintaining the correct flesh and health have constantly demanded premium prices. Calves managed correctly continue to meet marketing opportunities for maximum profits as they develop, giving owners multiple selling opportunities from the time they are weaned until they are sold to packers.

Successfully raising and marketing calves is a system combining many elements of good management practices. Don’t stop using the best management practices along with solid supplementation programs during a down market. These two elements will help producers reach maximum profit potential. By utilizing VitaFerm supplements, producers can enhance forage digestion, providing needed minerals and vitamins, and maximize a cow herd’s potential and profit.

When Times Get Tough…Don’t Stop

Supplementation programs will always be important building blocks for cow herd nutrition programs. During “belt tightening” times, getting the most bang for your buck becomes even more critical when selecting which, how much and what supplements to feed. It has been repeatedly proven that proper mineral, feed additive and protein supplementation will economically increase beef production. Supplementation can increase the pounds of calves weaned through improved reproduction and by increased weight gains.

Cases in point:

  • Positive fetal programming increases calf weight gains, carcass premiums and reproductive rates.
  • Improved body condition score lends to increased pregnancy rates.
  • Higher fertility equates to more pounds weaned per cow exposed.
  • Increased immunity leads to decreased sickness.

For decades producers have known that supplementing gestating cow diets with the trace mineral zinc has reduced the number of retained placentas. The 2010 Beef Improvement Federation proceedings indicated that organic trace mineral supplementation can improve weaning weight more than 40 pounds, and Oregon research has also supported a substantial weaning weight advantage (nearly 50 pounds). A 2016 Journal of Animal Science article reported the treatment for bovine respiratory disease in feedlot calves was reduced by 50% when their mothers were supplemented in the last trimester with organic trace minerals. Research continually shows that increasing forage digestion unlocks dietary energy and protein that allow cows to increase body condition score, return to estrus and improve pregnancy rates.

If we would shop for supplements like we shop for television viewing packages, we would be looking for bundles of service, packages that put several items together for the best value. It should be the same with nutritional supplements. VitaFerm® supplements are formulated to address several needs at once. Amaferm®, found in all VitaFerm products, is a natural feed additive that acts as a prebiotic and increases forage digestibility. The increase in digestibility lowers the dependency on the amount of protein supplement often required and increases the energy and protein derived from the diet. VitaFerm supplements contain the appropriate type and amount of mineral, organic trace mineral and vitamin fortifications to balance diets; ensuring cow herds will remain productive, healthy and fertile. VitaFerm products give producers a cost effective “bundled” supplement program.

The cow-calf operations that continue using solid supplementation programs, regardless of the state of the cattle market, will be making management decisions that produce profits. Don’t stop supplementation because you think it will save you money down the road. By utilizing VitaFerm supplements, producers can enhance forage digestion, provide needed minerals and vitamins, and maximize a cow herd’s potential and profit.

Dealer Spotlight: Mid Nebraska Feeds

There is probably not a better example of customer service than at the little ole’ feed store in Grand Island, Nebraska.

It’s a place called Mid Nebraska Feeds that is managed by Amy Jo Kent. Amy Jo has been in this job for more than five years but has worked to enhance the concept of customer service for decades.

Since 2011, her day has been to open the feed store doors, smile, assist, call, text, order, lift, load and smile some more until the doors are locked at closing time. Amy Jo manages the entire business, ranging from cleaning the store to bookkeeping and accounting and everything else in between. And she keeps busy with customer service tasks and planning even when she’s at home.

Each day, Mid Nebraska Feeds has approximately 30 to 40 people in and out of its doors. This kind of traffic is attributed to Amy Jo’s keen ability to take care of her customers, no matter what.

“As manager, I do whatever it takes to service customers from farm deliveries, ordering special products or staying after hours for a customer pickup,” she says. “That’s what we’re known for. We bend over backwards to please people and do whatever it takes, over and above the call of duty.”

Mid Nebraska Feeds customers span a 150-mile radius and because of the distance, many need to meet to pick up product after store hours. This has never been a problem for Amy Jo. She has two full-time employees and people in the field who also share her belief in customer service and team work.

The store is also the main feed and supply source for Fonner Park and the Nebraska State Fairgrounds. When an event takes place at these Grand Island facilities, the store is called to make deliveries of feed, bedding and supplies for horse, cattle and goat shows, as well as the county and state fair events.

Amy Jo and her employees also take care of racetrack patrons by making daily deliveries to their tack rooms at no additional charge. “It’s there when they come back for evening chores,” Amy Jo says. “Whether it’s 10 or 120 bags we’ll handle anything they need with fast customer service.”

Amy Jo relies on her computer, smart phone and tablet to keep track of orders, event schedules and employees. She is constantly on her cell phone because she doesn’t want to miss a call from a customer who needs feed. If they can’t get ahold of her, they might go to another source, and she says that could throw their animals off feed by changing their diet.

“If someone needs a product they know to call me, and I’ll meet them at the store,” she says. “I have many customers I’ve never even met. They email, call or text me what they need, and I ship it to them. Some of my more long-distance customers call or text me with a group order, and I drop ship it to a central location and they go pick up their part. It saves each of them time by not having to drive long distances to the store to pick up feed and supplies.”

Amy Jo is not only a feed store manager but also consults on issues like hoof rot, scours and pink eye. She says she’ll drop everything to research products and make the right recommendations, even if she doesn’t make a sale. Amy Jo says her customers know they can count on her the next time they have questions.

“I love my customers and there’s a lot of smiles and laughter when they walk in the door,” she says. “I take a personal interest in all my customers and their animals. I recommend a feeding program for each animals’ needs whether they are domestic, farm or commercial. Some pets may be elderly, obese or have special dietary needs. I can recommend products that give them a better quality of life while still being cost effective for the owners.”

Amy Jo prides herself on knowing her customers by name and taking an interest in their lives. She attends their 4-H and FFA livestock shows and spends time walking around visiting with each customer to see the animals she helped feed. She celebrates with them when they win that ribbon or trophy and supports them any way she can.

Because Amy Jo’s mentality is all about the customer, she does ask for and receive feedback from them. She keeps her prices intentionally lower so they won’t go to the big box store for feed and she price matches her local competitors to keep her customers happy. Amy Jo says there may be moments she can’t please the customer or that she gets taken advantage of, but it’s all part of the feed store business.

“Running a successful business isn’t always about meeting a volume or monetary goal,” she says. “It’s all about the customers. They are the life-blood of this and every other business. Most of my customers are as loyal to me as I am to them. I’ve worked hard to earn that loyalty, and I appreciate each and every one of them.”

10 Ways to Thank Your Customer

While simply saying, “Thank you” is an essential part of good customer service, words don’t always carry the same significance as actions. It is important to continually strive to show your gratitude to your customers in fun and memorable ways.

We decided to feature these 10 ways to show appreciation to your customer. Each idea for giving thanks must be relevant, noticeable and sincere. If you focus on these simple gestures, your show of gratitude will be a huge hit with your customers.

  1. Write a Note
    There is still nothing more powerful than a handwritten note. It’s surprising how rarely this proven way of showing gratitude is actually used. Your note should be specific and personal and will be sure to brighten your customer’s day.
  2. Start a Loyalty Program
    Invite your most loyal customers into a VIP rewards program. Customers love the red carpet treatment, which is why prime and VIP membership programs have become so popular. Your rewards program doesn’t have to be complex; it can be as simple as offering customers an annual discount on their anniversary.
  3. Send a Treat
    Cookies are a winning idea – liked by all and easy to share. But consider your audience: if your customer is more health conscious, a fruit bouquet might be a better fit.
  4. Show You Value Feedback
    Reach out to customers to tell them how you have implemented their suggestions. There is no better way to communicate with a customer than to show you were listening. Let the conversation also be an opportunity to gather more feedback. You want customers to feel they have an open line of communication to you at all times.
  5. Offer a Surprise Upgrade
    The element of surprise is a powerful thing. Thank customers with a free spontaneous upgrade. You can pick customers at random to receive a free tube of Vita Charge® Paste or Vitalize® Recovery Paste if they buy more than $XX. Not anything that is advertised, just a nice surprise to say thank you and a great way for customers to try new products.
  6. Honor an Achievement
    Make your customers feel like they are a part of a big family. Recognize special events in their lives by sending small gifts or handwritten notes. The event could be a major birthday, conclusion of a production sale, etc. The thoughtful timing of your gift communicates volumes and is a gesture that won’t soon be forgotten.
  7. Hold In-Store Events After Hours
    Give frequent customers that VIP feeling with an invitation-only after-hours event in your store. Provide drinks and snacks, and use that time to introduce new products or answer questions about products you already carry. For an extra special treat, consider including your favorite local singing talent to setup in the corner of the store and entertain your guests. Note: this event could be considered an Open House or Producer Meeting. Talk to your ASM about scheduling and help with preparations.
  8. Give Some Swag
    Customers love promo items, especially those that can be reused like coffee mugs, t-shirts and caps. If you don’t already have promo items with your store logo, BioZyme® apparel makes great customer gifts and can easily be order by visiting the Online Dealer Center at www.biozymedealer.com
  9. Spend Quality Time Together
    There is no need to break the bank with a lavish gift to thank a customer. Schedule a lunch at your customer’s office/farm/ranch or invite them out as a time for you to just sit and listen. Going out of your way to meet people and hear about what they do every day could be a critical learning experience for your business.
  10. Excel at Customer Service Daily
    Nothing says thank you for your business better than a friendly, informed service representative. Make sure your sales staff is informed on the products and as ready to help as you are personally when answering the phone or working on the floor.

Show customers your thankfulness today by acting on one (or more) of these ideas or by incorporating your own.

Article Curated from HelpScout.Net

Customer Service Strengthens Relationships and Your Bottom Line

We don’t have to tell you the importance of customer service. You already know how vital it is to the success of your business. But did you know it is crucial to your bottom line as well? Businesses spend a lot of time and effort trying to cut expenses and increase profits. However, a December 2014 article on
Taskle.com says that a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%. Therefore, companies need to focus a lot more on improving customer satisfaction.

The best part of increasing your customer satisfaction levels is that customers keep coming back. These retained customers cost less than new customers. Why? Because you aren’t spending marketing dollars trying to get them in your stores – services you’re already providing are convincing them to come back.

Just what is that returning customer worth? According to an online article on Lireo.com:

  • Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase your profits up to 125%
  • Loyal customers are worth 10 times as much as their first purchase on average
  • Companies who make customer service a priority make 60% higher profits than their competitors

How to Improve Your Customers’ Experiences and Retain Them

  • Ask your customers for feedback. When you show that you care and that you’re willing to listen to your customers, they will appreciate it and want to give you their business. Really listen and try to implement their suggestions and
    feedback, and then show what changes you have made based on their suggestions.
  • Offer a good mix of products. Make sure you have the products that your customers use the most on-hand for the time of year and the animals’ nutritional development.
  • Keep your store easy to navigate. Keep your aisles clear and set up a good flow. Keep like or complimentary products together so your customers don’t have to go from store corner to store corner to get the two products they came for.
  • Train your employees to handle complaints better. Negative interactions spread to twice as many people as positive interactions. If an employee handles a complaint well, the chance of the dissatisfied customer spreading his or her discontentment decreases.

Customer service – it is something we strive to perfect each day, but now that you know it can help your profits, be sure to give a little extra attention to the customers. Your customers will surely notice, and your bank account will too.

Sources:
http://www.taskle.com/how-does-
customer-satisfaction-affect-sales/
https://www.lireo.com/how-customer-service-can-impact-your-business-infographic/#keytakeaways

Listen to Customers to Know Their Needs

Kari Schultz of Spring Canyon Feeds knows how important it is to listen to her customers as part of the keen service she provides. And she doesn’t let their words fall on deaf ears. She takes what she hears to BioZyme® to make sure her customers have what they need so they don’t go buying feed at one of her competitors.

“It’s nice because BioZyme does listen to us and our concerns,” Schultz says. “I try to bridge that gap between the company making the product and the producer using it because if we don’t have the right products, our customers will go elsewhere.”

Schultz recalls an instance where several of her customers requested a mineral tub with a different formulation, including higher levels of magnesium to prevent grass tetany during springtime grazing. Her goal is that the BioZyme R&D team will have this ready to go by next spring so her customers in Eastern Colorado will know that when they speak, Schultz and the BioZyme staff truly do listen.

It’s not just the challenges that Schultz’s customers share with her. She had one first-time customer tell her how pleased he was with Concept•Aid® after he had 100% conception rate on his two-year-old heifers, an affirmation that Schultz was sure to share with BioZyme and other cow-calf producers wondering about the product.

As an additional resource, Schultz has created a customer information card that she keeps handy for each of her customers that has important information such as herd size, breeding season, calving season, forage availability and other questions she might regularly ask to help customize a feeding program. She says the cards help her know important information about each customer and has allowed her to begin making customized feeding plans for her customers based on their individual needs and other available resources. She says the cards also help her with inventory control by keeping her in the know about her customer needs by time of year so she can have the right product on hand.

Although listening to her customers is just one side of the communication stream, Schultz says she has built trust with many customers because she too is a producer and does a lot of research on her own time.   

“Not all products work in certain circumstances, but we have experience and can show the customers first-hand how to make products work for them,” Schultz says. “Because we are producers and BioZyme backs the products, we have built trust with our customers.”

Schultz adds that those dealers who are not producers should take advantage of the opportunities to learn from and listen to their customers. She suggests digging deeper than a casual conversation – walk the bunkline with them, drive a pasture with them and ask them about their forages, and ask what your customer really wants and needs when it comes to a nutrition program.

A customer information card similar to the one Kari uses is now available for you. Visit the Online Dealer Center at www.biozymedealer.com and go to Marketing – Request Center – Marketing and Merchandise Requests to get yours today.

The Important of Mineral Supplementation During Breeding Season

In a beef herd, profitability is determined by several factors, including the total weight of calves sold, cost of maintaining the cow herd, percentage of cows bred that wean a calf, and the price received for calves. The most critical times to influence these factors are the two months prior to calving and through breeding. A cow’s nutrition during this critical stage of production also has a direct impact on the ability of the cow to rebreed in a timely manner.

Failure to manage the nutrition of the cow herd during these critical times can hurt productivity, and profitability. Supplementing the herd with important vitamins, minerals and proteins before calving and through breeding has been research-proven to improve a cow’s body condition and conception rates and, in turn, overall calf health and survival rates, making this an important time for supplementation.

“Research by the University of Nebraska with heifer offspring from cows grazing a dormant range, showed that in areas where protein was deficient in the forage, protein supplementation to the pregnant cow in late gestation resulted in heifer offspring that were heavier at weaning, pre-breeding, first pregnancy diagnosis, and before their second breeding season, as well as had greater pregnancy rates and calving 21 days earlier than heifers from non-protein supplemented cows,” said Kevin Glaubius, BioZyme® Director of Nutrition and Technical Sales. “These recent studies clearly show that there are areas where many beef producers lose productivity in the normal production settings that are never measured.”

It is important to make sure feed rations are formulated to meet or exceed the nutritional requirements of the cow during early gestation (roughly the first 60 days). While the particular vitamins and minerals fed during this time are very important, BioZyme stresses to its customers that it is also imperative to ensure that the proper amounts of energy and protein are supplied. These are needed to meet the increased demands during lactation and subsequent breeding.

Energy is probably the most important nutritional consideration in beef cattle production. Cows need energy to maintain milk production and to initiate and maintain pregnancy. Energy requirements increase significantly during the last third of pregnancy and while the cow is producing milk. Protein is the second limiting nutrient in most rations. Without adequate amounts of protein in the diet, daily feed consumption drops off, feed passage rates decrease and overall digestive efficiency declines.

Research has proven that feeding Amaferm, found in BioZyme’s highly fortified Concept•Aid product line, can increase energy production by 16% and microbial protein by 34%. In addition, Concept•Aid is formulated at 250% of nutritional requirements to ensure the highest producing 25% of the cowherd is not nutritionally challenged. Concept•Aid contains proteinated copper, zinc and manganese to ensure maximum availability to the animal.

Mineral supplementation may not replace all of a cow’s winter supplement needs, however, it will reduce energy and protein supplementation costs and the average number of days from calving to rebreeding. Supplementation should increase profit potential, increasing the total pounds of calves weaned  and leave producers more time to focus on their breeding strategies.

November 2016 – Letters from Lisa

Thanksgiving is all about thanks.

In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.” The age of this holiday tells us its relevance to all times and its purpose is extremely valuable in our present time.

At BioZyme®, our goal is to observe the purpose of Thanksgiving every day. When we think about the things we acknowledge with grateful hearts, we think of you and our working partnership with you. We appreciate each and every time you think of our brands, we appreciate your understanding when we don’t meet your expectations and we are humbled by your amazingness in your market. The last three years have been a phenomenal success for us–thanks to your efforts and commitment. And for that we are very thankful.

“As we express gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

At BioZyme, we try to live by this quote in our commitment to increase market share so your sales go up each year. We work to do this by:

  • Creating and offering research-proven products that do what they claim to do
  • Investing in consistent, relevant marketing
  • Providing on-time, frictionless delivery
  • Handling customer concerns quickly and compassionately

If we are not living by this quote, in your opinion, please call, text, email or communicate to us, and we will thankfully get to work.

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