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Cow herds can excel with strong genetic selection and an excellent nutrition program.
Cosby says a nutritionist and veterinarian should develop a working relationship for their clients’ benefit, as well as their own.
“Nutritionists and veterinarians are interested in the long-term success of their clients,” Cosby says. “Having a working relationship could benefit all parties involved so the nutritionist can make a sound recommendation to help the health program, and so that the veterinarian is aware of the nutritional requirements that affect health.”
Spangler says a strong understanding of genetics is also important for a beef practitioner.
“The fact is, veterinarians become the on-site professional that deals with a wide array of questions regarding nutrition, genetics and management,” he says. “It’s important to have a strong, fundamental understanding of genetics. And it’s also important to realize when to turn to another source of information to fully and completely answer a client’s questions.”
He recommends the National Beef Cattle Education Consortium; the National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle; the University of Nebraska Beef Cattle Production; and other university experts for additional genetic advice and resources.
“There is a lot of information to be gleaned,” Spangler says. “If your questions are more difficult than what can be found through these resources, you need to turn to someone who spends all of their time in that area.”
Often, Spangler says, problems within a herd are attributed to genetics. And sometimes, genetics isn’t the culprit.
“I think it’s important to take a systems approach to evaluating problems and to developing a true understanding of the situation,” he says. “Study the nutrition. Study the genetics. And put all of the pieces together.”
By understanding the equation and developing a mind-set of cooperation and mutual understanding, everyone benefits. It’s truly a winning equation.
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