The steps to making high value hay are straightforward. We can control most of these steps with the exception of the weather. Long periods of warm, rainy weather in the spring can be problematic, causing the alfalfa to mature beyond the ideal bud stage. It’s also a challenge in the Midwest and Northeast regions to bring in the first cutting without early season rain damaging hay while lying in the field. However, the other factors are under human control, and if we do the best we can at each phase, we are well on the way to making high value hay.
What causes fats to oxidize? Time of storage, application of heat and the mixing of different lipid sources all have an impact on fat quality, and specifically on influencing oxidation. Oxidation is an irreversible, naturally-occurring process where fatty acids are attacked by free radicals resulting in production of harmful byproducts, including peroxides and aldehydes. This process reduces the energy value of the fat and can have deleterious effects on growth performance. Once oxidation starts, the damage cannot be undone, so preventing oxidation should be a top priority for producers.
Summer heat and humidity provide several challenges for dairy producers. One important challenge often overlooked is heating of the dairy ration. Dairy cattle rations, even when sitting in the bunk for just a few hours, may experience secondary fermentation due to continued bacterial growth because of high heat. Secondary fermentation causes a reduction of feed quality, generates undesirable odors and may result in reduced intake. To help restrict secondary fermentation, control growth of undesirable microbes, keep rations cooler, and maintain feed quality, producers often add mold and wild yeast inhibition product to the total mixed ration (TMR).
The corn growing season in 2018 was very similar to 2017 across much of the U.S. – nearly ideal. There were pockets in the southern corn belt which experienced drought and the northeast states had too much rain, but overall the growing season was excellent for another bin-busting crop. Then, in September, just as the harvest started, the rain started. In the Northeast, where the growing season was saturated with rain, the fall was a continuation of excessive rain. In the Upper Midwest, harvest delays pushed the completion of harvest well into December as growers waited for fields to dry.
Delayed harvest of corn and soybeans in 2018 across the midwestern U.S. are raising concerns about grain quality and how well this crop will store long term. With commercial grain facilities holding a large carryover from the big 2017 crop, some 2017 carry-over corn and much of the 2018 corn crop will end up in outdoor piles again. Managing grain in outdoor piles was the subject of a previous grain operations article (see World Grain February 2017, pages 78-83). This article focuses on managing stored corn and soybeans long term in permanent structures such as bins, silos, tanks and horizontal sheds where managers have more tools available, including coring, controlled aeration, temperature and moisture monitoring, and partial unloading.
Mycotoxins are toxic and/or carcinogenic molecules produced by growing fungi, specifically the various mold species which grow on plants. The toxigenic fungi involved in the human and animal food chains belong mainly to three genera: Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium. Each of these molds can produce more than one toxin and some toxins are produced by more than one mold. Once we have mycotoxins in our crop, what options exist for livestock and poultry producers?
The 2018 corn harvest season will certainly remain in our memory for a long time. Drought conditions during the summer in the southern corn belt, along with flooding in the north, had many forecasters wondering if we would have another record large corn crop in the U.S.A. This all changed in September when, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we experienced the third wettest September on record.
The hot summer weather is beginning to wind down now – but it’s always a good time to ask, “how is my fat looking?” Monitoring the quality of your incoming fat sources is the primary step in effective fat management. The impacts of oxidation are irreversible, so it is crucial to begin with high-quality fat and then maintain that quality. Oxidized fat that has been negatively impacted by heat, light and oxygen can have a damaging impact on your animals. This impact can be seen across performance, health and nutrition through decreased growth, immunity challenges, loss of energy content in the fat itself and an array of other issues.
On August 3, 2018, China reported its first case of African Swine Fever (ASF). The first outbreak of the deadly disease (found in the country’s northeast region), was a wake-up call for the North American pork industry. As expected, China immediately implemented a number of restrictions and management tactics to contain the spread of the disease. However, as history has shown, despite good management practices, the spread of disease can still occur – even across oceans.
Knowing the quality of the components going into your livestock feed is crucial to the success of your operation. Most formulation software packages assign standard nutritional values for the components in a diet. But, what happens when the quality of these components does not match that assigned by the software program? You may not see the impact of nutritional variability of the diet in your day-to-day livestock performance, but it can ultimately manifest itself in feed intake, daily gain and animal health over time.
Mold and mycotoxins in the corn crop are a perennial concern for livestock and poultry producers, and the performance implications they can have on animal production cannot be ignored. Growing conditions during a specific year can dramatically impact the mold and mycotoxin levels in grain. To better help producers understand the current year’s situation, Customer Laboratory Services (CLS) at Kemin analyzes corn samples for customers. Through these analyses, valuable information is gained which can help livestock and poultry producers make better management decisions to ensure they are providing high-quality and clean feed for their animals.
Water. It is a major part of our everyday lives. It is one of the most essential components to our survival, and we take our access to a clean and safe water supply very seriously. The question is, do we put that same amount of emphasis on the quality of water we are providing to our livestock and poultry? Is the quality good enough to make you want to drink from your animals’ waterer?
Livestock and poultry producers are all aware of the presence of potentially-harmful mycotoxins in grain. It seems every day there is a new report declaring the newest hot spot for mycotoxin contamination. So, why does it suddenly feel like mycotoxins are found everywhere? A large reason for the increased focus on mycotoxin contamination is reporting. There is a growing database related to the detrimental impact that even low levels of mycotoxins can have on livestock production. With this increased awareness, the focus now shifts to signs and symptoms of mycotoxin contamination and what producers can do to mitigate their impact.
Energy provider, cell growth supporter, organ protector and vital component for nutrient absorption and hormone production. FAT plays a starring role in animal production and performance. So, it's likely you think about it all the time. Like the excitement experienced by a child on Christmas morning, you anxiously await the sound of the fat truck pulling into the feed mill, right?
Feed represents the largest expense in the yearly budget for livestock and poultry producers. To control feed costs, feed ingredient buyers often seek the best price for these inputs. The best price for feed ingredients may not always be the best value. The quality of individual feed ingredients delivered to livestock and poultry production complexes need to be more fully scrutinized to determine the value of individual ingredients. The quality of feed components should be subject to review by purchasing staff; however, to ensure quality is monitored closely, purchasing and production staff must be closely aligned. Feed ingredient buyers need to be aware of quality when purchasing the feed ingredients for a livestock and poultry operation. The profitability of the business depends on it.
If you asked any farmer, they would agree that harvest is one of the best times of the year. Nothing brings that overwhelming feeling of satisfaction quite like watching the combine hopper fill with the fruits of their labor. During this time of "harvest celebration" it may be easy for one to think all the work is done. However, when it comes to maintaining the quality of grain after harvest, the work hasn't even started.
Times are changing for swine and poultry producers. Driven by consumer demands, animal production practices are now seeing a reduction in the amount of antibiotics used. With this reduction in antibiotic usage, producers are discovering a new set of management challenges which can have implications on animal health and performance. When using medications, at times, feed and water quality problems can be disguised. However, in today's production systems, those previously low priority concerns are now becoming increasingly important issues.
Throughout much of the U.S. corn growing region, 2017 was best characterized as a mixed bag. Conditions in the spring allowed for early planting and some regions of the country hadideal rain, while large portions of the country experienced near drought conditions. Then, when harvest was ready to begin, the rains began. Delayed harvest was common and slow dry-down resulted in even more delays. Despite all these challenges, corn growers produced more than 14.5 billion bushels of corn. But what was the impact of the late season rain on quality?
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