Strong markets are good times to double-check other areas of the operation, too. For instance, if a producer has been changing the herd’s genetics to select for bigger calves, then the tried-and-true feed ration may not be optimized for the best gain.

Ensuring that cattle have adequate amounts of free-choice minerals is another area that requires labor and time. Recommending quality, consistent nutrition provides the foundation for all other aspects of an animal health plan, Sides says.

“It’s worth the extra time and labor to do it today,” Sides says. “You want cattle to have access to a good quality mineral, especially for cow-calf producers looking at cows during the last trimester of pregnancy.”

Often, traditional cattle marketing requires calves born in February or March, which places the highest nutritional needs of the cow against the period of time with the lowest quality forages. Providing supplemental forage and mineral can help invest in the future performance of both cows and their calves, he notes.

Reap the benefits

Cattle producers who trade with the same source each year are already primed to profit from these practices, Dr. Sibbel notes. When producers profit, it can help change the direction of the veterinary clinic.

“The incentives are arranged so it’s a win-win,” he says. “Cattle supply is down overall. We don’t have as many calves as we used to. I was a practicing veterinarian for a long time so I’m familiar with answering the phone because someone on the other end had a crisis. If we can move into a consulting arrangement where we’re finding out how to do it better, we can help our producers profit.”


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