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.