An implant program undoubtedly is the most important factor for improving margin in cattle. Before cattle arrive at a feedyard, managers need to decide if they want to implement an aggressive strategy or a more conservative one.
There are two old sayings that fit when you are deciding on an implant strategy: 1) “Buy with the end in mind,” and 2) “The eye of the master fattens the calf.”
The receiving process — one of the most important aspects of feeding cattle — provides the feedyard with the opportunity to start cattle correctly, with the goal of achieving the highest possible margin. All the decisions in the feedyard should be made with the idea of maximizing the health of the rumen and immune system of these cattle. To achieve maximized production, everyone in the feedyard must work as a team to improve the processing procedures for animal handling, feeding and health.
Calving season — a demanding time for producers — is an eventful period that may cause stress and several health concerns for the herd. For optimal herd health this spring, it’s essential for producers to follow a few steps — proper nutrition and vaccination; proactive newborn calf health; and pasture turnout health protocols.
Backgrounding — a process that begins after weaning and ends at the placement of thriving cattle in a feedyard — adds pounds to calves by paying special attention to their health and nutrition in the hopes of higher returns. Some cow/calf producers may decide to incorporate a backgrounding program within their operation. For those who do, Eric Moore, D.V.M., Merck Animal Health, reminds these producers that backgrounding brings another set of issues to manage.
At Foster Feed Yard, transparency is more than just a popular buzz-word, and Jesse Larios eagerly describes how the operation walks-the-walk. “The feedyard is a nutrient recycling enterprise,” Larios says. “Corn, wheat, alfalfa and sugar beets raised on Foster land are fed to the cattle to make protein for human consumption.”