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Working Ranch - March 2016

require additional calcium for the correct phosphorus-calcium ratio. Second in importance to phosphorus are the trace minerals, copper, zinc and manganese. McPeake recommends feeding a combination of organic and inorganic traces. The more digestible organic form leaves the rumen to be absorbed in the gut, 42 | WORKING RANCH | MARCH 2016 providing vital nutrition to the animal. Plus, organic trace minerals are not affected by antagonists, such as iron, sulfur and molybdenum. However, inorganic traces are also necessary because they feed the rumen’s microbes, which in turn produce additional energy for the animal. “The beef industry is diverse in terms of production and environments, but there’s one thing to remember,” McPeake advises. “We’re all in the output business. We sell pounds to pay the bills. Increased performance tends to result in bigger cows with greater milking ability. Meeting nutritional demands of the cowherd is essential to optimize the growth and performance of calves without sacrificing reproductive efficiency. Matching genetic selections with nutrition and environment is the key.” HEIFERS NEVER MORE IMPORTANT Tom Troxel, PhD, Professor at the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, recommends a good vaccination program for the herd. He says a local veterinarian will develop a customized vaccination program for each cattle operation. For instance, a commercial cattleman may require a different vaccination program from a purebred cattle producer. A trusted veterinarian can advise producers as they develop replacement animals on a good health program. Establishing heifers has never been more important— they are instrumental for rebuilding cowherds. “Selecting heifers from dams that have a good reproductive history, and good performance traits that are important to you and your cattle operation, is CAM RANCHES (L) Charles and Sandra McPeake, son Andrew and his wife Julie with their children CAM and Naomi. CAM RANCHES


Working Ranch - March 2016
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