Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is arguably the most important mineral in the body because of its function in numerous body systems. Obviously, calcium plays a significant role in bone and teeth formation, but it also has a vital role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, milk secretion, hormone secretion, and numerous others.

As we head into spring and think about turning cows and calves onto pasture, we should also think about how to help those calves develop their digestive system. As most know, calves are born without a functioning rumen. In fact, they are technically born as a functional monogastric (single stomach). As the calf ages and begins eating solid foods, the rumen begins to develop and becomes a functioning organ.

Garlic is becoming an increasingly trendy ingredient in livestock feed due to its acclaimed ability to deter a number of pests. By reducing the insect load on an animal, you can significantly reduce the stress that hinders the animal’s performance. Aside from being an organic pesticide, there are other benefits that garlic can have when included in your livestock diets.

When discussing conception or pregnancy rates, the cow is often the center of attention. Usually, we are too quick to judge the dam, which can lead to unnecessary culling. But what if we stopped to consider the bull? After all, he is half of the equation. Bull fertility is paramount to a successful breeding program since an individual bull services numerous females. Thus, a deficiency in the bull has a greater impact on herd productivity than a single female.

Ranchers in the area have probably started their winter-feeding programs already. Just as they say in Game of Thrones, "winter is coming." I’ve mentioned feed testing in passing quite often over these last few months, so I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the topic in greater depth. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll say it again; feed testing is one of the most important management practices on the farm.