Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Loss of Gain Due to Mud

Have you seen the forecast?  Did you see a 5 in front of that temperature?!  We can finally get outside to complete those tasks we have been putting off and maybe even do something enjoyable.

Temperatures warming up also bring challenges.  Not only does it flare up my allergies, it also brings the looming threat of mud.  Melting snow, a thawing ground, and manure create a headache for most everyone.

Moving equipment, keeping livestock areas clean, and even getting yourself across the yard become a challenge.  These conditions affect livestock as well.  Kansas State University conducted a study to find how different levels of mud at temps between 21 and 41 (our current temps this week) affect cattle.

They found, even being in dewclaw deep mud could have a loss of gain of 7%.  If you ADG (Average Daily Gain) is 2 pounds, 7% translates into almost a pound a week they are losing.  This quickly affects the whole herd.  In belly deep mud, there is a potential loss of 35%.  With the same ADG, that is losing almost 5 pounds a week in gain.  Reaching target ADG rates is one of the most common measures of herd performance.

Mud and waste management may seem like an avoidable chore that you put off until absolutely necessary to clean, but studies are continually showing the importance of a clean and safe environment.

We need to be diligent about scraping out pens, cleaning up our bed packs, and rotating pasture feeding locations.  These tasks paired with providing adequate bedding and solid paths for your livestock to walk on will give you a leg up on getting out of the mud.  Increasing your average daily gain and meeting your herd goals will happen when they have the environment to improve.

Of course I will plug in our own solution for this.  Top-Spread Bale Spreader spreads nice even bedding for your livestock without having to bring equipment into the pens.  You can drive along your bed pack or down your alley where the ground is more solid and not tear up your livestock area.  Taking every advantage you are able to when market prices are lower will give you the edge and may make the difference before prices pick back up again.  Not only will they reduce the amount of mud and waste your livestock is exposed to, it will aslo save you on bedding material costs.

Check out more ways to Save on Bedding by downloading your FREE copy today.

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