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Articles from 2021 In January


This Week in Agribusiness, Jan. 30, 2021

Max talks about the ripple effect through the ag economy, and its impact on plant development. Cory Mills and Kenny Melton, BASF, share the innovations happening at BASF.

Duwayne Bosse, Bolt Marketing, talks with Mike about market volatility, South American soybeans and new-crop sales.

Duwayne Bosse is back, sharing corn market insight, including call options, as well as the wheat and cattle markets.

Chad Colby highlights weather technology and use   with Greg Sauder, 360 Yield Center.

Max talks with Robert Paarlberg about his book, Resetting the Table, focusing on busting modern ag myths.

David Jolly, Herschel Parts, joins the broadcast to talk about planter replacement parts.

Greg Soulje is in with a weather forecast for the week ahead, and an outlook for the next few weeks.

There's a 1950 Farmall H in Max's Tractor Shed.

Mark Stock, Big Iron Auctions, shares a preview of what's coming across the block.

The FFA Chapter Tribute salutes Molly Schempp, Illinois state vice president.

Orion talks about ag policy and trade agreements under the new administration in Samuelson Sez.

The Farm Progress Virtual Experience segment features the Balzer Field Floater 7 grain cart.

 

This Week in Agribusiness features market news, ag technology, weather and farm management and equipment information and opinions. This leading ag news program airs weekly on RFD-TV, and can be found each week on FarmProgress.com

Tough weather shows market challenges

vectorbomb-ThinkstockPhotos artwork of cowboy riding market
Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer and BEEF magazine.

The main topic of discussions this week is how much snow we all got. The storm forced auctions held early in the week here to be cancelled, and the runs were a little on the thin side later in the week.

Last week I mentioned it appears calving was already off to a rough start based on the number of open wet bag cows I saw. I am sure there will be even more now. These are probably good cows that lost their calf and it was no fault of their own.

Along with discussing snow fall totals there is an earful of stories about baby calves being brought into the laundry room. I have not heard a good reason for calving this time of year, and the people that do are not convinced by reasons why it’s a bad idea even after a week like this. So, I am going to put it a different way this time.

Female markets are discounting late calving cows. If you have cows that are close up, you can sell them and replace them with cows that will calve in May for a difference of $200-$500 dollars per head. You’ll still have the same number of cows, but now you will also have cash and calve in much easier conditions. No calves in the laundry room.

This week I read that its costing around $900 to keep a cow. The prices paid for calves under 600 pounds don’t cover that. So why do all this work calving in snow drifts? Why not trade out of that bad situation and grab some cash?

Here’s another thing to consider. What will happen to those cows that lost a calf? Will she be culled or kept? An open replacement heifer weighing 650 pounds costs more than a cull cow does in NE right now. Either way there will be production lag due to the timing of calving.

The premiums being paid for open replacement heifers was 7-10 dollars this week. This has been going on now for several weeks, so at this point I’ll call it a trend. I am not sure if this is a signal of herd building or rebuilding as the case may be now. Thing is it is something that cow calf producers have to contend with now. When I compare the price of the open heifers to bred heifers this week there is little to no appreciation value to be captured either.

Bred females held a solid $100 per year of age depreciation. The biggest difference in price was her expected due date. Pairs brought slightly more than breds this week

Cow health and marketing

After the first storm was over, I had a pen of seven-day weaned calves that looked like they were waiting for the reaper to take their ghost. I could tell they had not laid down for 24 hours and didn’t have much interest in eating, drinking or even moving. I got in the pen and started pushing the snow, exposing the dirt.

The calves started following the tractor, and eventually started to buck and spar. This lead to them getting a drink. I went and pushed snow in other pens and when I came back by that first pen their bunk was slicked. I often refer to stockmanship as taking the stress off cattle. By pushing the snow back that is what I did. It communicated to them that I care and they responded by doing the three things cattle need, exercise, drinking and eating.

This simple thing had a huge impact on those calves. I am a believer it is not weather that makes cattle sick, its people. Sometimes it's because of what we do that stresses them and makes them sick. More often than not it's what we fail to do that makes them sick.

Here’s why I bring up stockmanship in a marketing blog, it’s a little easier to make money if we keep them healthy. It's much easier to make money if we keep them alive. That goes for feeder cattle and baby calves.

Feeder markets were mostly mixed as some weights were up, and some were lower this week. This really influenced the value of gain. VOG really got squeezed hard this week, and with rising feed costs it's difficult to find highly profitable trades. There are a few small margin trades that are possible. There were possible leapfrog trades this week as well, where we could buy 100 pounds for less dollars per head.

Three to four weight cattle and seven to eight weights had the highest VOG this week. Feeder bulls were 20 back and fleshy cattle took a 10 dollar hit.

Identity of primary plant-based food consumers may surprise

FredFroese/iStock/Getty Images woman grocery shopping while on mobile phone

Despite use of plant-based meat or dairy products being highest among those following vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian diets, it’s omnivores and flexitarians who make up the lion’s share of consumers who eat these products due to their sheer numbers, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the report “Vegan, Vegetarian, and Flexitarian Consumers”. This reveals that both the current and addressable market for plant-based products depends on omnivores and flexitarians using more of these products, especially beyond this month’s Veganuary campaign encouraging people to try a plant-based diet.

“Although plant-based meat and dairy alternatives do appeal to some vegans and vegetarians, they are more targeted toward the preferences of omnivores and the more plant-focused flexitarians who are most open to replacing animal products in their diet with other foods,” said Jennifer Mapes-Christ, food and beverage publisher for Packaged Facts. “Vegans and vegetarians make up just a small portion of the population, while omnivores and flexitarians combined account for the vast majority. Thus, these large groups represent a larger potential market for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives than the vegans and vegetarians these products were first developed for decades ago.”

Packaged Facts survey data reveals that protein from plant sources is considered healthy by 69% of U.S. consumers, compared to just 42% of consumers who think animal protein is healthy. People who have recently started to be vegan or vegetarian after eating meat or dairy may find these alternatives pleasing if they miss the taste or texture of meat or dairy, whereas experienced vegans and vegetarians may not miss these products and have often adapted their diet and lifestyle around plant-based foods that look and taste like plants. Some vegans and vegetarians simply find the idea of meat or dairy repulsive and thus have no interest in products that attempt to replicate their characteristics.

Many companies in the plant-based meat alternative space openly state their goal is to create an alternative that meat eaters will eat instead of meat. Companies may tout many reasons they make their products as an alternative to meat, such as being better for animal welfare or lessening the environmental impact of raising animals for slaughter.

Additionally, although some vegans and vegetarians may be interested in plant-based alternative products, those that have chosen their diet and lifestyle for health reasons are likely to reject many of these products because they tend to be highly processed and may have ingredients with an unhealthy perception that many consumers try to avoid, such as preservatives, soy, or gluten.

To those who are health-focused, foods that are more “pure” instead of “processed” are most appealing, meaning that alternatives that are engineered as a substitute for another product may be disregarded in favor of other foods. This is especially true of the clean label movement, which rejects foods with “unpronounceable” ingredients and looks for products that are unadulterated and wholesome.

In addition to vegans and those who are simply trying to consume more plant-based foods, plant-based dairy alternatives are also targeted at people who have dairy allergies or are otherwise sensitive to the lactose found in conventional dairy products. Lactose intolerance is increasingly common – or at least people are more aware of it – driving people who are otherwise omnivores to plant-based “milks”.

Farm Progress America, January 29, 2021

Max Armstrong looks at the future of farm shows including the vintage farm equipment shows. Max shares insight from Curt Arens, Nebraska Farmer, who discussed what farmers can learn by visiting those shows where older equipment is put to work. One lesson? Farmers work hard, and still do. And tech revolutions aren't new to this industry.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Curt Arens

7 ag stories you might have missed this week - Jan. 29, 2021

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Missed some agricultural news this week? Here are seven stories to catch you up.

1. A new form of African swine fever is circulating in China and it's been linked to illicit vaccines. More than 1,000 sows have been infected on farms owned by New Hope Liuhe, China's fourth-largest pork producer. These strains don't kill hogs, instead, it's a chronic condition. When ASF first hit, China had half the pigs in the world and lost 40% of them to African swine fever. – Reuters, Farm Futures

2. Thought the WOTUS ordeal was over? It's not. Republican members of the Senate are backing the Trump administration's Navigable Waters Protection rule, which replaced the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. rule. Over the past four decades, all three branches of the executive government have struggled with how to interpret the meaning of WOTUS.  – Farm Futures

3. A team of scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have created the first anatomical map of the corn ear that shows where and when genes turn off and on during development. The scientist say what they've learned will help plant geneticists in their efforts to sustainably improve crop yields. – Phys.org

4.The changes COVID-19 brought to the agriculture industry were among the topics discussed during a recent webinar with Cargill executive Joe Stone. Stone thinks there is pent-up demand, with people eager to return to sit-down, in-restaurant dining. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted at-home food consumption to rates not seen since the 1980s. – Farm Futures

5. Growth Energy says that transitioning to higher blends of ethanol would lower greenhouse gas emissions by 17.62 million gallons per year, the equivalent of removing 3.85 million vehicles from the road. Meanwhile, Terry Branstad, ambassador to China in the Trump administration, says China has not fulfilled its commitment to reduce retaliatory tariffs on ethanol and DDGs, which were part of the phase one agreement. – Farm Futures

6. The final USDA hemp farming rules appear positive for farmers, but it will be a few years before the industry finds stability. Hemp is said to have 25,000 uses, but before making plans to grow it, have a plan where to sell it, Corbett Hefner says. – St. Louis Public Radio, American Agriculturalist

7. In India, protests continue as farmers demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdraw legislation that will change how Indian farmers market their crops. Top leaders in Modi's government say the laws are much-needed reforms for the farm sector. – Los Angeles Times

And your bonus.

In Illinois, a 27-year-old donkey gave birth to twins. It's rare for donkeys to birth twins and even more rare for both to survive. The owners are natives of Ireland who immigrated to the United States in the late 1980s. – Kankakee Daily Journal, That's Farming

Biden takes on climate challenges with greater urgency

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images President Biden greets John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate.
President Joe Biden greets Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry as he arrives to speak on climate change before signing executive orders on Jan. 27, 2021.

In comments made Wednesday, President Joe Biden says his climate team plans to deal with the issue of climate change with a “greater sense of urgency” as the nation has already “waited too long to deal with this climate crisis.” He says this is why he signed the executive order to “supercharge our administration’s ambitious plan to confront the existential threat of climate change.”

The executive order also makes it official that climate change will be at the center of the Biden administration’s domestic, national security and foreign policy. 

Last year, wildfires burned more than 5,000 acres in the West. More intense and powerful hurricanes and tropical storms pummeled states across the Gulf Coast and along the East Coast. Historic floods, severe droughts have ravaged the Midwest, Biden says.

“When we think of renewable energy, we see American manufacturing, American workers racing to lead the global market.  We see farmers making American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions and gaining new sources of income in the process,” Biden says.

In a follow up press briefing, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry discussed the path forward they see to tackle what they view as a climate crisis.

McCarthy explains the executive order establishes a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. “It directs everyone who works for the President to use every tool available at our disposal to solve the climate crisis, because we’re going to take a whole-of-government approach,” she says.

Kerry says Biden rejoined the Paris agreement quickly, but “he also knows that Paris alone is not enough — not when almost 90% of all of the planet’s emissions — global emissions — come from outside of U.S. borders.  We could go to zero tomorrow and the problem isn’t solved,” Kerry says.

Kerry notes China is 30% of the emissions of the world; the United States contributes about 15% of the emissions of the world.  You add the EU to that, and you have three entities that are more than 55% or so.

A White House fact sheet says: “In signing this executive order, President Biden has directed his administration to advance conservation, agriculture and reforestation.

The order commits to the goal of conserving at least 30% of our lands and oceans by 2030 and launches a process for stakeholder engagement from agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, tribes, states, territories, local officials, and others to identify strategies that will result in broad participation.

Stakeholder feedback

The order directs the secretary of agriculture to collect input from farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders on how to use federal programs to encourage adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices that produce verifiable carbon reductions and sequestrations and create new sources of income and jobs for rural Americans.

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall appreciated the desire to seek input from America’s farmers and ranchers as the administration works on new climate solutions. The Executive Order outlines broad goals without details of how they will be achieved. AFBF says it will be closely monitoring federal implementation efforts to ensure all proposed policies and programs are responsible, fair-minded and enable farmers, ranchers and rural America to thrive.

“It’s crucial that as new strategies are implemented our leaders listen to the people who will be affected the most. While the president has invited us to the table, we’d like to invite him to the table we’ve already set through the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA),” Duvall says. Co-chaired by AFBF, FACA has outlined more than 40 recommendations to guide the development of federal climate policy founded in policy that is science-based, voluntary and market-driven programs.

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew also welcomed the economy-wide climate plan laid out by Biden. In a statement, Larew notes National Farmers Union is especially encouraged by the administration’s focus on climate-smart agriculture, whose capacity for mitigation and adaptation has been largely overlooked until recently.

“We are also pleased that President Biden has instructed the USDA to solicit input from farmers and other stakeholders as they develop and carry out climate programs; though lawmakers and administration officials are generally well-intentioned, they may not always recognize policies’ unintended consequences,” Larew adds. “By offering food producers a seat at the table, they can ensure that programs are feasible and beneficial for all parties involved.”

As the administration works to carry out the executive orders, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Associations says it remains committed to ensuring that cattle producers have the resources and freedom they need to continue producing the world’s most sustainable beef.

"NCBA looks forward to working with President Biden and his Administration as they recognize the positive role agriculture plays in addressing climate concerns. U.S. cattle producers use advanced technologies, genetics and grazing management to make their herds the most sustainable in the world," said NCBA CEO Colin Woodall. "We appreciate the outreach and opportunity to provide feedback, demonstrating U.S. cattle producers are the model for global, sustainable beef production.”

Chris Gibbs, board president of Rural Voices USA (formerly Rural America 2020), notes as the Biden administration begins their effort to address climate change, he’s pleased that they are prioritizing soliciting the input of rural Americans whose jobs and income are on the line.

“We must be valued and vocal partners for this effort to have any chance at success,” Gibbs says.

“At Rural Voices USA, we will be working to ensure the conversation on climate and rural America explores a range of options, everything from different agronomics practices to carbon sequestration. A smart climate policy can provide new sources of income to our farmers – helping us to continue farming and get paid to sequester carbon,” Gibbs notes. “We will also be fighting to ensure that low carbon biofuels like ethanol play a prominent part in climate solutions. Prioritizing low-carbon biofuels an obvious and important way to protect rural income and jobs while adopting climate-smart agricultural policies.”

Tracking transboundary and emerging diseases

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Transboundary and emerging diseases are constant threats to the livestock industry. Even as biosafety measures have evolved, there is always the lingering threat of highly contagious or newly discovered diseases impacting animal health.

Through a newly funded project, researchers from Cornell University’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) and the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) aim to mitigate risks certain diseases pose to the cattle industry by developing technology to detect diseases before outbreaks occur or become widespread.

Diego Diel, DVM, Ph.D., associate professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, will serve as project director, and Kiril Dimitrov, DVM, Ph.D., TVMDL virology diagnostics section head, will co-lead the $1 million project. The project will be implemented in collaboration with the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, NIFA.

Using next-generation sequencing (NGS), the project’s goal is to develop new methods of early detection for transboundary and emerging diseases within the cattle industry. For this project, research will target the viruses responsible for foot-and-mouth-disease and those within the bovine respiratory disease complex – bovine viral diarrhea virus, bovine coronavirus, bovine respiratory syncytial virus and bovine parainfluenza virus Type 3.

One of the overarching goals of this project is to develop consistent procedures and protocols when using NGS technologies and train professionals from NAHLN laboratories. Once complete, the results of this project will be implemented across the NAHLN.

“The completion of this project will enhance the NAHLN’s diagnostic capabilities and emerging disease preparedness,” Dimitrov said. “The developed assays and staff training will facilitate the implementation of NGS diagnostic methods across the NAHLN.”

During the first two years of this project, the research team will develop and optimize targeted and random NGS diagnostics workflows for early detection and characterization of current, transboundary, and emerging pathogens in cattle. Also during the first two years, highly skilled bioinformaticians will develop rapid, semi-automated bioinformatics pipelines for data analyses. The third, and final, year of the project will involve training NAHLN laboratories on NGS procedures and processes the team develops.

What is next-generation sequencing?

Next-generation sequencing is a broad term to define the use of modern high-throughput methods of DNA sequencing. These methods allow for quicker and more cost-effective detection of DNA and RNA in biological samples and pathogen characterization.

Currently, real-time polymerase chain reaction, rtPCR, assays are most widely used in diagnostic laboratories for rapid pathogen detection. These assays are useful but are based on existing genomic information and may fail to detect emerging pathogens or variants of known pathogens. Additionally, rtPCR assays do not yield specific genomic information needed to track the source of disease outbreaks and differentiate strains — critical information necessary in developing corrective epidemiological action.

Although NGS technologies exist, widespread application across diagnostic laboratories is hindered. Currently, NGS use is bottlenecked by the lack of standardized protocols and procedures and the need for highly specialized methods to analyze biological data, known as bioinformatics, and the scarcity of NGS training scaled for diagnostic purposes.

The role of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network

In recent decades, diseases such as avian influenza, African swine fever, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and swine influenza have spread across various animal industries. These instances severely impeded animal commerce and production and led to implications outside of their respective animal industries.

NAHLN, established in 2002, is a nationally coordinated effort to mitigate the effects that highly contagious disease outbreaks have on animal health, public health, and the nation’s food supply. The network is composed of 60 state and university veterinary diagnostic laboratories across the U.S. Each laboratory is capable of testing large numbers of samples for specific disease agents. These capabilities are imperative during animal disease outbreaks and support response methods.

Pathogens represent significant losses

Bovine diseases are costly across every segment of the cattle industry. Specifically, bovine respiratory disease is associated with over $800 million in economic losses annually.

“The U.S. is the largest producer of beef and cow milk in the world,” Dimitrov said. “Approximately 20% of the world’s beef is produced in the U.S. The exported beef and dairy products amount to over $8 billion and $6 billion annually, respectively. These enormous industries have vast socioeconomic significance and keeping them safe from transboundary and emerging pathogens is of utmost importance.”

Court wants EPA compliance report on lost RFS blending

Jim Parkin iStock ethanol plant

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to submit a status report every 60 days “on its progress in complying with the court’s remand” stemming from the July 2017 ruling in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA.  The 2017 ruling required EPA to address its improper waiver of 500 million gallons of 2016 renewable fuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The order from the D.C. Circuit was in response to a motion filed in December 2020 by biofuel and farm organizations, in which the groups asked the court to enforce its 2017 decision by requiring EPA to fully restore the 500 million gallons that were inappropriately waived from the 2016 RFS requirements. While the court denied the motion, the groups welcomed the court’s requirement that EPA provide status reports every 60 days on its progress in responding to the court’s decision.

Related: Supreme Court will review case on small refinery exemptions

The coalition, which includes the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and National Sorghum Producers, say in a statement that while they are disappointed by the court’s order on our motion, they are glad to see that the court is holding EPA accountable by requiring it to submit a report every 60 days on the status of the court’s remand on the improper waiver.

“This time of transition provides EPA the opportunity to move boldly and address prior missteps when it comes to the need for a low-carbon future for our nation’s fuel supply; adjusting quickly for the court-ordered remand would do just that. America’s biofuel producers, rural communities and farm families look forward to working with EPA and the Biden administration to make progress on restoring integrity and growth to the RFS,” the groups say.

Related: Ethanol small refinery exemptions dilemma left to President-elect Biden

In the July 2017 ruling in the case Americans for Clean Energy et al. v. EPA et al., the court invalidated the EPA’s improper waiver of 500 million gallons in the 2016 RVO rule and ordered EPA to revisit the rule. The court held that EPA’s interpretation of the “inadequate domestic supply” waiver provision “runs contrary to how the Renewable Fuel Program is supposed to work.” To date, EPA has failed to complete any proceedings to reconsider the 2016 RVO and has not restored the 500 million lost RIN gallons.

Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and National Sorghum Producers, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Farm Progress America, January 28, 2021

Max Armstrong reports on the rise of sorghum as a major crop as global market opportunities rise. Max shares insight from John Duff with the National Sorghum Producers who shares there's a rising demand for this grain crop. As grain demand rises, sorghum can help fill that need. And farmers are position to supply the global market for this crop.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Calves need colostrum quickly after birth

P.J. Griekspoor Cow in pen
HEALTHY BABIES: Cattle producers and veterinarians agree that the single most important factor in the health of baby calves is getting them up and nursing quickly while their gut can absorb the nutrition and antibodies from their mothers.

If you could pick any one thing to ensure good health for the newborn calves hitting the ground over the coming couple of months, it would the importance of getting them up and nursing as quickly as possible to fill their little bellies with warm colostrum, veterinarians and cattle producers agree.

“Most of the time, it’s not a problem for us,” said Debbie Lyons-Blythe, who raises cattle in the Flint Hills of Kansas, advocates for agriculture and writes the Kids, Cows and Grass blog. “Most of the time, the mama cow works hard to get that baby up and nursing in minutes. It’s rare that they don’t get it done on their own. We actually select for that, and if we get a cow who isn’t a good mama, she goes away.”

Lyons-Blythe said that there is another element to colostrum that is not as well publicized as the need for quick nursing.

“Not all colostrum is of equal quality,” she said. “A few years ago, I attended a workshop where they talked about the variability of the colostrum quality within a herd. Some of it relates to the health and nutrition of the cow in the months before birth. If she’s been sick or off feed, or the weather has been really brutal, the colostrum can have fewer of the antibodies the calf needs.”

Calves not born with immunities

Dr. Peggy Thompson, a veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim, said that unlike many other mammals, calves do not have any immunity to disease when they are born and are wholly dependent on getting antibodies from their mothers. The problem is that their ability to absorb those antibodies from colostrum begins breaking down as soon as they are born, making it essential for them to get colostrum quickly.

In a recent news release, Thompson laid out both the importance of colostrum and the need for speed.

“Receiving adequate colostrum during those first 24 hours will have a lifelong impact on a calf in terms of its ability to fend off disease, put on weight, and in the case of heifers, calve early,” she said. “And when it comes to transferring maternal antibodies from the cow to the calf, 24 hours is even too late.”

Thompson stressed that producers should do their best to ensure calves are up and nursing within two hours of being born.

“After just six hours, a calf’s gut begins to change, making it more difficult to absorb the immunity-boosting antibodies found in colostrum,” she said. “As we’ve learned more about colostrum over the years, the general practice has gone from making sure calves are nursing within the first 24 hours, to 12, to six and now the recommendation is two hours.”

Lyons-Blythe said she also vaccinates cows at pregnancy testing to ensure that they have abundant antibodies to pass along in the colostrum and that after learning about the variability of quality between cows, she has added a colostrum bolus replacement that is fed to every baby calf when it is tagged, usually within 24 hours of birth.

“We hope the calf gets a good boost from the mom, but we have learned how important those antibodies are and we think it is worth the investment to give them the bolus and ensure that they start life with the best immune system possible,” she said. “We know that the health and performance of that calf for all of its life hinges on them getting the nutrition and antibodies from that first colostrum.”

Greg McCurry, a partner in McCurry Brothers Angus at Mount Hope, agrees that getting colostrum quickly is probably the most important health factor for a newborn calf.

“I’d say, you need it up and nursing in minutes, not hours,” he said. “The sooner the better. You don’t want a calf born in the afternoon still on the ground when the sun goes down.”

He said McCurry Brothers vaccinate all their cows to ensure that they will have strong antibodies in the colostrum.

“We also really watch their nutrition to make sure they are in as good a shape as we can make them before they get to late pregnancy. And we do keep some replacement products on hand in case we have a cow that has some kind of problem at birth. But my experience has been that the substitutes are better than nothing, but not as good as the real stuff.”

This article contains information provided by Boehringer Ingelheim.