I’ve heard that when confronted with a problem, a New Zealand farmer will first look for a no-cost solution. If he cannot find a no-cost solution, he will look for a low-cost solution. If he cannot find a low-cost solution, he will go back and see if he really has a problem after all.
When you have a problem, I suggest you look at your management first! Are you the problem? Are you making a mistake in management? In many cases you are. Okay, in what way? Too much feed and care? Trying to kill every pest with a chemical? Thinking the more you do for your cows, the better you are at management? The list goes on.
Cattle survived thousands of years without man, just as all wild animals. Then man came along – thinking he was smarter than nature. Feed this, kill that pest, make a cow look a certain way. Most of this was wrong.
How did cattle get along without us? Strong genetics! Survivability was bred into them through natural selection. This was greatly diminished by MAN’S selection criteria and inputs that allowed the genetically weak to survive and reproduce.
Do not follow the advice of Land Grant Universities. They are driven by research showing every problem has an input solution. Why? Because most of their research money comes from the input industry. Universities seldom consider if the extra costs are economical. For the most part, universities do not consider genetics, except in making cattle larger. The genetic survivability of a cow is NOT in their “book.”
Example: Your breed up is 90%. The university says it should be 95%. A mineral salesman says you need more minerals. The university says you need to feed more. Do you? Can you trace the problem directly to a feed shortage or mineral imbalance? Why feed more when 90% of your cows do not need more? If 90% can do it, they all should be able to do it!