Mark Werner, Livestock Production Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org (507) 990-8235
It’s the time of year where it starts to feel like summer is just over the horizon and we are starting to think about our livestock fair projects. Many in the beef projects have been hard at it since early winter and the swine, sheep and goat projects are in the peak of receiving those new project animals or the selection process is well underway.
Fair projects often receive that extra attention to detail over the other stock on our farms. This is often because they are the animals that will be displaying your farm/family name at your local, state and national competitions in the coming year. We want to focus on giving our project animals every opportunity to succeed. We want to minimize the bad days they experience and maximize the good days. They need to make the most out of the resources we provide them with to allow them to meet the goals put in place for them when initially purchased at the beginning of your project season. But in the big scheme of things, should that be any different from the animals in our feeder pens??
First off, what practices do we often hold ourselves to a higher standard to implement for our show animals that is different for our commodity animals? Minimizing overall stress, clean dry bedding, fresh palatable feed, planned rations and supplements to aid in maximizing performance and overall look of the animal, grooming, a comfortable environment, calm handling, planned animal health etc…
Just because the rest of the stock on our farms aren’t “show animals” doesn’t mean that we don’t want to give them every advantage to meet their optimal end point. In fact, seeing that these animals, in many cases are the lifeblood of your operation means we should do just that. Beyond the fact that show stock is managed individually in a micro-environment in comparison to our commodity stock and that no sane person is going to bathe and clip a pen of fat cattle; the other mentioned practices can be implemented to groups of stock of any size, just because they are good management practices Minimizing stress benefits any class of livestock. Stress from weather is something we constantly fight. Often, installing a fan in a shady spot on a warm day or walking them into a barn on a cold night makes controlling the environment doable for a couple of show animals. But for a commodity group, allowing access to shade/windbreaks and adjusting rations and delivery times help keep them as comfortable as possible during inclement weather. Transportation is a significant stress on any animal. Whether your animal is hauled in a cushy individual compartment in fancy trailer, or a pot loaded with 50,000 pounds of other animals, there is a level of stress that every animal endures. Heck, I think family trips sitting in the car for hours with the kids in the back seat causes me a level of stress that makes me want to look for a good meal and comfortable chair/
bed when we arrive at our destination!! A dry soft place to lay and a good palatable, fortified feed source is key. We don’t want to give the microbes in their gut any reason to falter. Clean water is a direct driver of feed intake. The more they drink, the more they will eat. If you wouldn’t drink out of it, then why would/should they. Adequate nutrition allows their immune system to function properly and fight off any microscopic invaders that your animals may have brought with them from their previous location, no matter if it was a closed herd premises, sale barn or livestock exhibition. Feed intake allows the gut population to keep working in a desirable environment with ample product to work with, and that is what keeps animals on feed!
Show animal diets are fortified with vitamins, minerals, protein and fat sources as well as probiotics and or yeast products. These diet additions aid in meeting/exceeding your animal’s maintenance and growth needs to ensure they get what they need to express the phenotype that makes them stand out in the crowd. Honor Show Chow and High Octane supplements are balanced to deliver what your show animals need at recommended feeding rates. Regarding your commodity animals; supplements and rations for different stages of production can be customized to help your commodity animals meet their full potential when they go to market, leading to more profit and a sense pride that is fetched with top quality animals.
The feed team at All American Co-op specializes in dairy and beef cattle, hogs, sheep and goats. We are a dealer of Honor Show Chow feeds and High Octane supplements. These products are developed at Purina Farms alongside ambassador producers that are out there feeding livestock on their own farms daily. These feeds are created to meet the elevated requirements of your high potential stock while maximizing the expression of their phenotype. Couple this with the experience our staff has utilizing these products on our customer’s and our own herds, and it’s a winning combination. We want you to be as proud of the animals that represent your farm for the next generation as the ones that represent the endless hours that you put into raising the ones that pay the bills every day