As cattle prices remain strong and the market outlook continues to paint a positive picture, what better time than now to look at opportunities that could increase efficiency, immunity, performance and reproduction in your cattle herd. With this goal in mind, we would like to introduce a new product line that is not only research tested, but cost effective as well.
We all recognize that forages cannot meet the mineral and vitamin demands of your cowherd. We have discussed in past articles the importance of providing complete mineral and vitamin supplements to your herd. It has been proven that cattle suffer from reduced fertility, growth, and immunity when not provided a proper mineral/vitamin supplement.
Furthermore, it has also been proven that reproduction is most compromised if copper, zinc, manganese, or selenium levels are marginal to deficient. Proper mineral nutrition has been shown to improve fertility, increase conception rates, and reduce time to breed back and heavier calves at weaning. Each of these factors will add dollars to your bottom line at sale time. In conclusion, we can be confident in the statement that cattle on a marginal mineral program will experience poor reproductive performance while calves will experience an increase in death, reduced growth, reduced immunity, and poor production efficiency.
With all these factors in mind, we are introducing a new mineral line with the addition of Tasco™. Tasco™ is a marine plant derived feed ingredient made of pure Ascophyllum nodosum
harvested from Canada’s cold, clean North Atlantic coastline. Tasco™ is an all-natural feed ingredient regarded as safe in animal feeds. There are no withdrawal times and it is legal to feed in all classes of livestock including lactating dairy cows. Over 15 years of research shows that feeding Tasco™ to livestock can improve production resulting in better livestock producer profitability. Research at Mississippi State University has shown that Tasco™ can lower body temperatures and respiration rates of heat stressed cow/calf pairs when it was included in the spring and summer mineral mixes. Reduced body temperature and respiration rates should lead to improvements in conception rates and in reduced calving intervals. These cattle will also spend less time in the shade and ponds and more time grazing. This product would be very beneficial to those producers who predominately graze fescue.
Research has also shown that immune response was enhanced when stressed calves were provided Tasco™ in their diet. Receiving cattle go on feed quicker, have fewer pulls, respond better to treatments, and see an overall improvement in health and immune function.
We recommend that Tasco™ should be included in the mineral program of cows and bulls, starting a month prior to breeding season. In the case of spring calving, also feed through the heat season. We would also recommend the inclusion of Tasco™ in the diets of weaned calves.
At this time, we will offer two products with the inclusion of Tasco™. AFC Cattle Mineral and AFC Grazing Mineral will be available with or without the addition of Tasco™. AFC Cattle Mineral w/ TASCO™ is a complete mineral/vitamin supplement that will meet the daily requirements of your cattle during times when you have a reduced concern of grass tetney. AFC Grazing Mineral w/TASCO™ is a complete mineral/vitamin supplement with higher levels of magnesium designed for times where there is an elevated concern for grass tetany.
The addition of Tasco™ will cost the producer an extra $6.83 per cow per year. That breaks down to less than two cents per head per day for all the benefits that we have discussed. The additional cost of this product can easily be recovered by increasing your calf crop 1% or by reducing your average calving interval by a few days.
These minerals will be available in April and a minimum order will be required to purchase minerals with the addition of TascoTM. As always, you will be able to continue to purchase the AFC Cattle Mineral and AFC Grazing Mineral without Tasco™ in any quantity that you would prefer.
I hope that you will consider these new products as a supplement to your current program. AFC continues to be committed to providing you the very best products available to help you be profitable. Information concerning Tasco™ is available at www.acadianagritech.com
Jimmy Hughes is AFC’s animal nutritionist.