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Change traditional practices for continuous improvement

By Dusty Abney 
Beef Technical Specialist / Cargill Animal Nutrition 

Upholding tradition is important, but when it comes to improving your cow-calf operation, sometimes traditions need to be evaluated and revised. For example, your nutrition program is an investment in the longevity and sustainability of your herd, and there is always room for improvement. 

Cows need to be bred and produce healthy calves for you to make a living. Some factors are out of your control, but there are twice as many common causes of reproductive failure in cattle that are directly influenced by your nutrition and health decisions. 

Take a close look at these five factors: 

  1. Don’t discount the importance of calories. Body condition is a major factor in reproductive success.
  2. Fetal programming matters. The better care we give to a cow during gestation, the more likely her progeny are to succeed.
  3. Don’t neglect a cow’s nutritional requirements. Match your supplementation program with her nutritional demands and her environment.
  4. Pay attention to heifers. Keep them in proper condition for breeding and calving success.
  5. Collect data and use it. Set goals for your operation and use the data you collect to measure against those goals.  

Look for problems before they happen and ask yourself: “What if?” If you aren’t 100% certain you have the right/best answers, engage with trusted experts. Your time is limited, and there are professionals with expertise in all areas of cow-calf production. Leverage them to understand more. 

If you’re willing to make continuous improvement a mantra for your operation, you will only get better from here.

Editor’s Note: To read the full article on maximizing your cow-calf operation by breaking from traditional nutrition practices, click here