The good news is that you have plenty of solid options when it comes to managing your feeding program without changing a thing. Well, not really. In order to keep up, you must do some laundry at a minimum.
Recently on the TV show The American Rancher, Dan Dorn, the manager at Decatur County Feed yard in Kansas gave away the goods and voiced that feed conversion drives 43% of profitability. So how can you improve feed conversion?
Easy, you can start with this laundry list:
- Consider feeding better ingredients that optimize digestion and maintain or improve closeout for your next cycle
- Develop a disciplined management process in writing and stick to it
- Find what is and what isn’t providing value in your ration – run a split test
- Focus on animal health but stay away from too much “fairy dust”
- Make consistency key from mixing to timing to everything in between
- Make one small improvement every day
- Let performance drive your decisions
Let’s talk pellets
Ever fed them before? If you have, you’re probably used to this formula: low quality ingredients > mix > bind > pellet. The objective in the past has always been to meet a feed tag, make them more convenient than bulk, then tell a story of their uniqueness. Truth is, a majority of traditional pellets are not performance based in their manufacturing, which makes for an inconsistent fabric in your feed. Why? Because that is a needle that’s hard to thread. Here’s where the new dress comes in.
How do you feed today?
Now you might be in a pair of comfortable jeans right now and thinking, “I don’t wear dresses.” That’s OK. Neither do I, but in a world where organic, sustainable, hormone-free, non-GMO are all words that excite the next generation and have some credence in the markets, The Next Generation of Feed™ will allow you to step up your attire and finish your herd looking sharp. Not only will it benefit you, but it will also support our farming and domestic energy industries by upgrading the way we use what is available to us. This is where the dress gets a little shinier every time you look at it.
Take a look at your outfit?
As technology around us advances at rapid pace, there are companies that are finding special ways to do more with less and do better with what’s around the corner. We are experiencing another wave of technologies that will change the fundamental nutrition of what is being fed today as well as the way we feed. An example of this is the increase in livestock under roof in the past year. A company specializing in making better feed is Pellet Technology USA, based out of Gretna, Nebraska, with a flagship livestock feed production facility in York, Nebraska. This company has an innovative processing technology that takes excess and renewable crop residues, makes them physically and nutritionally consistent then cleans and packages them into a new type of pellets along with other key nutrients.
How pretty can it get?
On the Ag side, data indicates that the cornfields are improved from removing a sustainable amount of residue … 3% better emergence and stand from this year’s crop is just the start as well as a payment to the farmers that makes a big difference in today’s depressed markets. Many studies say that farmers can expect a yield bump upwards of 10%! An additional benefit is reduced fertilizer needs, which means less runoff, which is much better for the environment. The process allows domestic energy producers coproducts to be enhanced and used by animals more efficiently. Studies with local feeders have shown easier feeding, better profits and happier cattle, even in tough conditions.
If you were thinking this was a little new, the cattle industry has been a leader in using by-products from other industries for a long time. A few examples are molasses, beet pulp, soy hulls, soybean meal, distiller’s grains, and the list goes on. It is traditionally the early adopters that benefit the most from these types of innovations so the next time you are ready to select your feed, take the time to shop around; you may just want to get a new dress.
Dr. William C. Sadler
Sadler’s Natural Solutions