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American Products and Services for American Cattlemen Vol. 44 • No. 1 • January 2018






Vaccine failure can be reduced by understanding cattle status, using good vaccination management using the right vaccines at the right time.

In this article it talks about the techniques of artificial insemination and how the cattle industry has been a shift away from hiring professional technicians to artificially breed cattle and toward artificial insemination by owner-inseminators.






Beefmasters are gaining attention as the beef industry begins to seek out efficiency genetics to bridge the gap to optimal, cost effective production practices.


In a perfect world, the first meal a newborn calf consumes would always consist of nutrient rich colostrum. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, sometimes it is necessary to use a colostrum supplement or replacer. Why not make your life and your calf’s life a whole lot easier.

Riomax enables ranchers to use the best of the best, for a low cost-to-feed…products that bring real value to their ranching businesses and that truly help them move the needle in terms of production, performance and profitability!



January 2018


Year in Review As I write this month’s Publisher Statement I find myself looking back and reviewing the year. It doesn’t seem that long ago I was writing my preview for 2017, but as they say, “time flies when you are having fun.” It has officially been a year since I made my return to the Livestock Media Group. It has been a roller coaster year full of ups and downs. It seems the lows were a little

American Products and Services for American Cattlemen

Vol. 44 • No. 1 • January 2018 President/CEO - Gale McKinney VP/CFO - Audra McKinney Group Publisher/COO - Patrick McKinney Publisher - Dustin J. Hector Associate Publisher - Lissa Baker Office Manager - Dawn Busse

lower this year with all the wild fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters Mother

Creative Director - Brandon Peterson

Nature threw our way. As always, the industry rallied and the good in people overcame

Advertising Account Executives Kathy Davidson Mary Gatliff Lori Seibert Irene Smith Joyce Kenney Ed Junker

the obstacles and we continue to rise above them. That seems to be the strength of the industry and American’s alike. When we are dealt a tough hand, we rally around each other and find ways to achieve the greater goal. As always, we have seen shifts in the market that continually leave us scratching our heads and asking why? When you are as passionate about an industry as you all are, you continue to roll out of bed and continue to push forward. Thank you to our loyal advertisers for continuing to trust in our products as a brand-

Circulation Coordinator Shawna Nelson Subscription Sales Kendra Sassman Jack Maggio Falon Geis

ing and selling tool this past year. Our partnership has been a huge part of our success and we value the conversations and information you give us throughout the year. We look forward to building on those existing relationships as well as starting new ones in the upcoming months.

Livestock Media Group 4685 Merle Hay Rd • Suite 200 Des Moines, IA 50322 877-424-4594

I also want to say thank you to our dedicated readers. Without you none of this would be possible. As we move forward into a new year we will strive to produce a quality and meaningful product that will help grow the industry that we love. I look forward to our continued growth in 2018 as we venture into a new year. We hope you will join us! From all of us at Twin Rivers Media and Livestock Media Group, we want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Cheers, Dustin Hector Publisher – American Cattlemen



January 2018

©Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recorded or otherwise without the prior written permission of Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018. The information and advertising set forth herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018 (“Publisher”) however, does not warrant complete accuracy of such information and assumes no responsibility for any consequences arising from the use thereof or reliance thereon. Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement or space reservation at any time without notice and for any reason. Publisher shall not be liable for any costs or damages if for any reason it fails to publish an advertisement. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their respective advertisements appearing in this publication and Publisher is not responsible or liable in any manner for inaccuracies, false statements or any material in such advertisement infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others. Advertisements appearing in this publication are not necessarily the views or opinions expressed by Publisher.




ithin the cattle industry there has been a shift away from hiring professional technicians to artificially breed cattle and toward artificial insemination by owner-inseminators. Such a trend should not suggest that artificial insemination (AI) is an easy technique or that all owner-inseminators are proficient in AI. The pregnancy rates achieved by owner-inseminators differ by as much as 23 percent. Obviously, not all inseminators have acquired the skill to obtain consistently high conception rates in their cattle.

Most breeding organizations offer instruction in AI technique, but the overall quality, intensity of training, and specific recommendations may vary considerably among instructional programs. Most agricultural colleges devote a whole course or part of a course to the technique of artificial insemination. In developing the manual skills needed for insemination, trainees should work with numerous reproductive tracts and receive considerable practice inseminating a variety of live cows. Developing the skill to thread the insemination rod through the cervix should not be the only objective. AI training programs should also emphasize the importance of sanitation and the perfection of skills to consistently identify the proper site of semen deposition and to accurately deposit

the semen. In addition, trainees should obtain a good understanding of reproductive anatomy and appreciate the essentials of a sound reproductive management program. While artificial insemination proficiency of professional technicians is monitored by nonreturn rates (calculated by the breeding organizations), the conception rate obtained by owner-inseminators is not monitored and routine retraining generally is not provided. The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide a review for those individuals already familiar with the AI technique, with special emphasis on reproductive anatomy, sanitation, and accuracy of semen deposition.

Reproductive anatomy

In the early days of AI there was con-

troversy among researchers about the optimum site for semen deposition. A study conducted in Canada provided evidence that fertility was highest when semen was deposited in the uterine body. Researchers currently are reexamining insemination technique to determine the proper site of semen deposition. Failure to understand the anatomical and functional relationships among the various tissues and organs of the reproductive system may lead to consistent insemination errors. Most AI training schools use excised tracts to illustrate reproductive anatomy. Often the tracts are dissected to allow students to view the interior of the uterus. This is a useful exercise; however, dissection can distort the relationship between various regions. Figure 1 is an illustration of the reproductive anatomy of the cow and a radiograph (photograph of an X-ray) of the cervical region and uterus. Radiography allows students to view the intact tract and simultaneously observe the interior of the uterine body and horns and, in many cases, the cervical canal. The uterine body is the area between the internal cervical os and the internal uterine bifurcation, where the uterine horns begin to separate inside the * Continued on page 14



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reproductive tract. In measurements taken from radiographs of 580 reproductive tracts, this distance averaged 5/8 of an inch. Two-thirds of the tracts had a uterine body length between 3/8 and 7/8 of an inch. Obviously, there is not much room for error in placement of the insemination rod tip. While palpating the reproductive tract to find the landmarks for insemination, the inseminator usually obtains an idea of the overall size of the reproductive tract. Some inseminators may have the impression that the larger the cervix or the longer the reproductive tract, the larger the uterine body. This assumption is incorrect. Insemination errors can result from such misconceptions about size of the uterine body in relation to the overall size of the reproductive tract.

Preparations for insemination and sanitation

Here are some important steps to follow and points to remember: • Ensure that the cow to be bred is truly in heat. Research studies indicate between 7 and 20 percent of the cattle inseminated are not in heat. • Restrain the cow first and then thaw the semen. The restraint area should be familiar to the cow and free of stressful conditions. Unnecessary excitement may interfere with physiological mechanisms important to achieving a good conception rate. • Develop good sanitary procedures and insemination practices. It is easier to learn good habits than to break bad habits. • Insemination supplies should be kept dry and clean at all times. Breeding sheaths should be stored in the original

package until used. • Once the insemination device is assembled it must be protected from contamination and cold shock temperatures. • Materials used to lubricate the rectum should not come in contact with the vulva region. Lubricants are generally spermicidal. Avoid using products that are irritating. • The vulva region must be thoroughly wiped clean with a paper towel. This is important in helping prevent the interior of the reproductive tract from becoming contaminated and possibly infected. A folded paper towel can be inserted into the lower portion of the vulva. The insemination rod can then be placed between the folds of the towel and inserted into the vagina without contacting the lips of the vulva. • Protective rods or sheaths are used in herds or for specific cows where vulvovaginal infection is a problem. When this system is used, the standard insemination rod and plastic sheath are inserted into the larger protective rod or sheath. This double rod combination is passed through the vagina to the external cervical opening. At the cervix, the tip of the protective device is punctured by the insemination rod, which is then threaded through the cervix. This technique should only be used following the recommendations of a veterinarian, extension specialist, or AI representative -- and only when specific diseases have been diagnosed or suspected.

General tips for insemination technique • To avoid the possibility of entering the urethral opening on the floor of the vagina, the insemination rod should be inserted into the vulva upward at a 30 ̊

to 40 ̊ angle. • The anterior portion of the vagina, termed the fornix vagina, tends to stretch rather easily when the insemination rod is pushed forward and beyond the cervix. This may give the false impression that the rod is advancing through the cervix, when indeed it is above, below, or to either side of the cervix. The inseminator should be able to feel the rod within the vaginal fold, but unable to feel the rod tip within the cervix. • Remember to place the cervix onto the insemination rod. Maintain slight forward pressure on the rod while manipulating the cervix slightly ahead of the rod. • The target for semen deposition, the uterine body, is quite small (Figure 1). Accurate rod tip placement is probably the most important skill involved in the whole AI technique. Inseminators generally identify this target area by feeling for the end of the cervix and the tip of the rod as the rod emerges through the internal os or opening. Depositing the semen in the cervix or randomly in the uterine horns may result in lower conception rates. • Once the rod tip is aligned with the internal cervical os, deposit the semen. Semen deposition should take about five seconds. Slow delivery maximizes the amount of semen delivered from the straw and minimizes the unequal flow of semen into one uterine horn. • During the process of semen deposition, take care that the fingers of the palpating hand are not inadvertently blocking a uterine horn or misdirecting the flow of semen in some manner. • Be careful not to pull the insemination rod back through the cervix while * Continued on page 16



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ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION the semen is being expelled. • If the cow has moved during semen deposition or you think the rod has moved, stop the semen deposition and correctly reposition the rod tip before continuing semen deposition.

Accuracy of insemination

Critically evaluating the accuracy of insemination has been difficult. For many years, the dye method was used to evaluate the proficiency of professional technicians. Excised reproductive tracts were inseminated with a biological dye in place of semen. In some cases, live cows were inseminated with dye and the tracts were examined immediately after slaughter. The location of the dye within the tract indicated the site of semen deposition. Below summarizes the results of dye inseminations in live cows and relates the results to the field performance of technicians (60- to 90-day nonreturn ratings). Nonreturn rate is an indirect measure of fertility. Technicians with a nonreturn rate greater than 78 percent achieved 86 percent of their dye depositions in the uterine body and they had no extrauterine inseminations. Inseminations by technicians with nonreturn rates below 70 percent resulted in only 34 percent of the dye depositions in the uterine body and 31 percent extrauterine inseminations. It appears that accurate semen deposition is correlated with successful conception rates. The dye method has some limitations. The location of the insemination rod tip cannot be determined, and manipulation of the reproductive tract during slaughter or dissection can distort the distribution of the dye. Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University have used radiography to evaluate insemination technique accuracy. This method allows the interior of the tract to be viewed without dissection and the location of the insemination rod to be easily seen. Twenty professional technicians and twenty owner- inseminators were evaluated by this technique. Each participant inseminated twenty reproductive tracts. Two radiographs were evaluated for each insemination. The first was taken after insemination rod placement and the



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second after semen deposition. Placement of the rod tip was assessed from the first radiograph and distribution of semen from the second. Analysis of radiographs of all inseminations indicated that only 39 percent of the rod tip placements were within the uterine body. Placements in the cervix, right uterine horn, and left uterine horn were 25, 23, and 13 percent, respectively. Semen distribution, determined from the second radiograph, showed that 40 percent of the semen was located in the uterine body or equally distributed in both uterine horns. The remaining 60 percent was located in the cervix or disproportionately in one uterine horn. Accurate distribution of semen was significantly related to proper placement of the insemination rod. No differences were found between professional technicians and owner-inseminators in their abilities to place the rod tip accurately or to distribute the semen properly. However, considerable variation was found among all inseminators in their ability to position the insemination rod correctly. Among all the participants in this study, the percentage of correct placements within the uterine body ranged from 0 to 85 percent of the insemination attempts. These individuals are probably a representative sample of professional technicians and owner-inseminators breeding cows throughout the country. The results clearly indicate that consistent placement of the rod tip within the uterine body is a difficult task. Accurate insemination technique requires mental concentration, attention to detail, and a clear understanding of reproductive anatomy, as well as the ability to identify the target area and properly position the insemination rod. The variation seen in this study and in other studies suggests that certain individuals have acquired or perfected these skills to a much greater degree than others. It further demonstrates the need for routine retraining and updating of both professionals and owner-inseminators. Subsequent to the Penn State study, research from Washington State University showed that retrograde movement of sperm into the vagina was 2-fold greater following cervical semen

deposition compared to uterine deposition. Cervical semen deposition results in significant loss of sperm.

Evaluating success and need for retraining

Owner-inseminators should calculate the first-service conception rate for their herds during a 6-month interval. They should review breeding charts and consider only those cows that have been bred long enough to have been pregnancy checked. Strive for a goal of 45 percent first-service conception rate. In smaller herds there may not be enough first service during a 6-month period to determine the conception rate accurately. In that case, inseminators should summarize first services over 12 months or calculate the percentage of cows pregnant after three breedings. In very large herds, calculate conception rate more often than every 6 months. In any size herd, services per conception is another index of breeding performance related to the effectiveness of insemination technique. A reasonable goal is to maintain a rate of fewer than 1.8 services for pregnant cows. Livestock producers must realize that other factors in addition to AI technique can affect conception rate and services per conception. If an evaluation of your records indicates that your insemination technique may be a problem area, then you should consider attending an AI retraining session. The effectiveness of retraining can be seen in Table 2. If the magnitude of improvement is 8 percent for professional technicians, it may be even greater for owner-inseminators. All inseminators should periodically attend a retraining course to review their technique, learn new developments, and obtain recommendations regarding AI technique.

References • Peters, J. L., P. L. Senger, J. L. Rosenberger, and M. L. O’Connor, (1984) “Radiographic evaluation of bovine artificial insemination technique among professional and herdsmen-inseminators.” Journal of Animal Science 59, 1671. • Gallagher, G. R., and P. L. Senger, (1989). “Concentrations of spermatozoa in the vagina of heifers after deposition of semen in the uterine horns, uterine body, or cervix.” Journal of Reproduction Fertilization 86,1






all vaccinations are a vital part of a successful health program for beef herds. This includes preconditioning programs for feeder calf sales as well as maintaining an effective health status in the cow herd. Sometimes you hear a producer remark about cattle or calves that get sick anyway following being vaccinated. The usual answer is “that vaccine was no good.” There is a lot more to vaccine failure than just the stuff that comes out of the bottle.

The failure of a vaccination program to prevent disease can be outlined in three parts: the animal, the people, and the vaccine. As described by Thayer (2011) there are “broken animals.” Despite administration of a good vaccine, the cattle will still get sick. The causes are numerous, but are usually confined to the environment for the animal, the parasite and other health status, stress, and the nutrition status. Healthy cattle, primarily calves that are under some form of stress from the environment will not respond properly to vaccines. This includes extremes in weather, dehydration, or other environmental factors. Stress from

transportation, weaning, castration, comingling, or simply handling can reduce the ability of the animal to develop the desired immunity to a disease from the vaccine because these activities are additive sources of stress. When weaning calves this fall, either vaccinate ahead of weaning or wait several days until the stress has subsided. Combine as few other management activities as possible with vaccinations. When receiving cattle, the 24-hour rest period before handling new cattle will allow the transportation stress to subside and the cattle to rehydrate. Cattle that are already sick will not respond well to vaccines. If there is some indicator

the cattle are sick, first use a treatment for the disease to correct the problem. This feature also includes heavy parasite loads. Cattle obviously in a malnourished state will not respond well to vaccines. The immune status of young cattle can also be decreased from maternal antibodies for very young calves. Generally calves under 3 months of age are still under the protection of the colostrum antibodies received at birth. The immune system in these animals either may not be fully developed or may be protected from the vaccine challenge and not respond. Cattle beyond 90 days from their last vaccination begin to decline in the level of their protection. Vaccines also fail because people do not use them correctly. Understanding the causes of stress already outlined should be considered when handling the cattle and planning vaccinations. The protocol for the use of a vaccine is on the label of the product and should be followed exactly. * Continued on page 20



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Vaccines that are not mixed correctly, usually modified live vaccines, will not work under the best of conditions. Mix only the amount of vaccine you are going to use within the next hour, keep a cold cooler at the chute side to hold the mixed product, do not shake the mixed product harshly and use a transfer needle for mixing. Don’t ever wipe the top of a modified live vaccine bottle with an alcohol swab. Never mix different vaccines in the same syringe. Storage of any vaccines in the pickup is another source of failure. Vaccines may become overheated or freeze, or be exposed to sunlight. Mix, handle, and store vaccines according to the label. A good general rule is to use a new needle for each animal. Needles used on multiple animals can distribute diseases through the herd. This includes but is not limited to bovine leucosis virus for which there is no vaccine. Sometimes the vaccine just does not get in the animal properly. The desired route of administration is outlined on the label with subcutaneous being the preferred method. Products requiring intramuscular(IM) administration can fail from leakage at the vaccination site. Also by not injecting the product deep enough into the muscle to allow vascular contact generally resulting from using the wrong size needle. In most cases an 18 gauge needle 1 ½ inches long should be used for IM vaccinations. Needles that are too short do not deposit the product correctly and those too big cause injuries and bleeding that will disrupt uptake of the vaccine. The main reason the vaccine itself fails is because it is the wrong product for the disease. Most of the time, however, vaccines contain most of the



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major serotypes for the disease they are intended to control. If there is a disease issue in the herd, use the best vaccine for that disease by making sure you know from tests what disease is present. A vaccine can fail when the disease challenge is greater than the level of immunity, and this occurs most often when proper boosters were not given or the stress challenge occurs shortly following administration and the immunity has not developed. Again, the label will describe the timing and the need for boosters. Some boosters are recommended for multiple times each year depending on your particular level of exposure. Timing of vaccination is critical in some cases. For example, pinkeye and scours vaccines must be administered ahead of a challenge. Modified live vaccines for cows should be given after calving and before the breeding season starts to prevent abortions. Vaccinations and boosters will be needed prior to transportation, weaning, and other high-stress activities for feeder cattle if the stress is going to occur 90 days following the last vaccination. No vaccination program will prevent 100% of disease challenges, but the odds can be improved by understanding the status of the cattle, using good vaccination management technique, and using the right vaccines at the right time. References • Mass, J. and J. M. Harper. 2011. Quality Assurance and Vaccines. University of California-Davis. • Rice, D., E. D. Erickson, and D. Grotelueschen. 1986. Causes of Vaccination-Immunization Failures in Livestock. University of Nebraska, Lincoln. • Thayer, T. 2011. When Vaccines Fail. Dairy Today Healthline, August 1, 2011. Prepared by Dr. John Comerford, retired Penn State professor





he United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) conducted a feed efficiency evaluation at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Neb., on 18 beef cattle breeds. The feed efficiency test results ranked the Beefmaster breed second for Average Daily Gain (ADG) and Dry Matter Intake (DMI) in both steers and heifers.

The USMARC study evaluated a group of 5,606 head of cattle and the group was composed of both finishing steers and growing replacement heifers. The study collected data for DMI, ADG and Post Weaning Gain (PWG). DMI and ADG data was recorded over 62 to 148 day periods for both steers and heifers. PWG was calculated by dividing gain from weaning

to yearling weights by the number of days between the weights. Individual animal feed intake data was measured daily, as a key component of the evaluation. All animals used were from the USMARC germplasm evaluation project. Using the Angus breed as a base of zero (0), the other 17 breeds were compared back to Angus as a baseline for both

steers and heifers, and then were evaluated for efficiency using ADG and PWG during feed intake data collection. Beefmasters ranked second for ADG in both steers and heifers, thus proving that Beefmaster cattle excel in feed efficiency. The impact of feed efficiency on cattle feeders is significant and identifying genetics that gain more, while eating less feed is a recipe for profitability. “Beefmasters are gaining attention as the beef industry begins to seek out efficiency genetics to bridge the gap to optimal, cost effective production practices,” says Beefmaster Breeders United Executive Vice President Bill Pendergrass. “Beefmasters have been long regarded as a versatile maternal breed, but this feed efficiency study points out that Beefmasters bring significant value drivers to the cattle feeder as well.” For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, follow us on Instagram, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, as well as receive our news updates through joining our mailing list. Beefmaster Breeders United (www., located in Boerne, Texas, is a not-for-profit breed registration organization that provides programs and services for its members. Beefmaster, Beefmaster Advancer and E6 cattle are selected on the “Six Essentials” of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.



January 2018





ome years back, a North Dakota rancher was talking about using lick tubs for his cattle, when out of the blue he said, “I feed Riomax. It’s the cheapest tub in America. It costs me $275!” Say what? That purchase price is certainly not cheap, not when other brands on the market cost less than half of that! What does he mean? As he continued with his story, we found that as a rancher who had seen the benefits of the concentrated, low consumption lick tub, with a very low cost to feed, he meant exactly what he said! “I feed Riomax. It’s the cheapest tub in America!” By factoring in the high concentration, coupled with low consumption and a consumption guarantee, the bottom line is that the cost-to-feed is usually considerably less than those so-called ‘cheap tubs’ offered by reputable feed companies. As Trevor Greenfield, founder and owner of Rio Nutrition, so often says, “Not all tubs are created equal, and that’s Ok. Ours are highly concentrated with a low consumption and a strong focus on improving digestion. While we are providing our clients with the best of the best, the Cadillac in the industry, our cost-to-feed is certainly not anything like a Cadillac price!”


Even with solid growth and a product that is bringing the best of the best to the market, it hasn’t been all easy. Greenfield says, “You need to understand…it all started with a backdrop of adversity and frustration. Back in the early-to -mid 2000’s, Rio Nutrition was selling a ‘middle- of-the-road’ brand of tubs. Like everyone else out there, we competed on upfront cost. Our tubs were simply like all of the others out there, bringing no real value to our cli-



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ents…absolutely zero protected (chelated) trace minerals, no digestion additives, and quite often uncomfortable situations with over-consumption… which meant unhappy customers” He adds squeamishly, “All we had to sell on was cost per ton.” Naturally, Greenfield was not at all comfortable with this. “We were frustrated because we were feeling our customers’ pain. As an old Native American once said, ‘To know how someone feels, you’ve got to walk a mile in their moccasins.’ So, while we were the norm, we were not helping ranchers move the needle in terms of improved fertility, conception rates and calf health. There were no digestion benefits to help ranchers stretch their grass, no tools to help producers get more out of their resources, their forages, their genetics. The pain that Rio Nutrition was feeling for their customers motivated them to think way outside of the box,

and to ask themselves several “what if” questions: “What if we created an option that was best of the best in lick tubs?” “What if we could offer 100 percent protected minerals that actually gets into the bloodstream, and that would help impact fertility, conception rates and immune status?” “What if we added 16 digestion enhancing ingredients (yeast, enzymes and probiotics) to increase the TDN value of the forages and help cows get more mileage out of every mouthful and every acre?” As the “what if” questions simmered restlessly in their minds, the answers became clear. It was time to make drastic changes and do the things other tub companies wouldn’t do, couldn’t do… or didn’t want to do! Greenfield says, “It all seemed to make sense. We created the formulas we had dreamed of, and the core changes that we made in 2006 took us right away from what was considered as acceptable in the industry. Everything was geared around results - what the ranchers wanted in terms of breed up, stretching the forages and getting more out of their land base. In feeling their pain, we built formulas to a ‘re-

sults’ benchmark rather than merely an upfront cost benchmark. What we didn’t realize is that we were in for a pleasant surprise.”


Certainly, there were hurdles along the way. According to Greenfield, one of the drawbacks to this new philosophy was that the cost per ton was between two to three times more than the “middle of the road” product that they had offered before. Yes, it was going to be an upfront sticker shock. However, the surprise was that even though the cost per ton was more, the low, controlled consumption ensured that it WAS ACTUALLY CHEAPER TO FEED! By using the high levels of top quality ingredients, the cost-per-day or the cost-to-feed was typically lower than the ‘cheaper’ products. The main focus was now no longer upfront cost. Rather, it has become performance, results and, of course, a low cost-tofeed. Then based on the cost-to-feed, ranchers can figure out their cost per head per day, or per month, or per year. As Greenfield says, “Cost-to-feed is your true cost…it is where the rubber meets the road! Our job was to share our pleasant surprise with the ranching industry. It would be a no brainer to anyone watching their performance – and their dollars” Certainly, it took time for this new concept to take hold, but steadily over the years more and more ranchers have rallied to the idea and have become loyal customers who enjoy using top-notch nutrition technology for a low cost. No complaints there. Greenfield talks about an older man, who had been involved with cattle all his

life. “When the concept was explained to him he looked up at me, his old face almost expressionless, without any visible emotion and just nodded his head slowly, then shrugged, ‘Well, that’s just common sense.’” Greenfield adds with a smile, “Unfortunately common sense is not always common practice.”


Riomax is the Cadillac of lick tubs, but it does not have a Cadillac price tag, enabling ranchers to be able to get their hands on the best of the best for less. Why wouldn’t you if you could be assured of better production, better performance and better profitability? “As the founder of Rio Nutrition, I am living the vision: to enable ranchers to get more out of their own resources, their forages, their grass, their land base,

their genetics. And the beauty of this is, it’s not out of reach for any rancher! The price is right and we deliver it right onto the ranch, anywhere in North America.” Greenfield empathetically shares a story one of his longtime rancher customers told. The rancher is from western Wyoming, and when things got tough and the money got tight, they looked to find ways to cut costs. With the higher upfront cost of the Riomax lick tubs, the rancher decided to switch to a so-called “cheaper” tub to reduce expense. Greenfield recounts their discussion. “Well, I asked him how things had gone. The ranch manager just rolled his eyes and said to me, ‘Terrible! I got a product that cost half of what yours cost, upfront. The cows over-consumed on this cheaper tub - a ton would last 48 hours for 300 cows (it cost six times more than Riomax would have!’) It almost brought tears to my eyes”, says Greenfield, “yet it really underscores the

message we are trying to share, that Riomax is the best of the best – for less (in this case six times less!)” When the Rio Nutrition team engages with ranchers, they want to learn what their challenges are or identify the pain points relevant for that time of year. “We offer a range of tub formulas. For instance, this time of year, ranchers might be wanting to get the cows in good shape going into winter, or wean off strong healthy calves, or stretch their forages and delay their hay-feedingdate, or lower their wintering costs… we have formulas and options that are specific and that fit these needs.” Another rancher from New Mexico talks about the Rio Nutrition team. “You are so much more than product, so much more than a company. I watch your videos, I hear you speak, and I say now there is a man that cares.” Greenfield acknowledges this and says, “Well sure! Living in today’s fastpaced society, a family business with old-fashioned values and ethics is a rare find. Yes, we are foreword-thinking and progressive, but at the core of our business is none other than customer experience…our number one priority!”


Greenfield aptly describes his passion for what Rio Nutrition can do for ranchers. “My desire is to humbly serve the ranchers of North America, whether you are a commercial cattleman, a mom-and-pop outfit, or a run purebred operation… I am not in this game to be the cheapest or the most expensive, BUT I am in this game to enable ranchers to use the best of the best, for a low cost-to-feed… products that bring real value to their ranching businesses and that truly help them move the needle in terms of production, performance and, yes, profitability!”

844.375.9080 •

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t’s 2:30am and one of your heifers just delivered her first calf. This newborn must learn how to use muscles it has never stretched, breathe air into lungs that have never before expanded, and by instinct



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alone, find its first meal - quickly. The mother has been preparing this meal for the past several weeks. This is no ordinary meal. It’s colostrum, and it is the most important meal of the calf’s life.

As warm colostrum flows into the calf, it provides the heat necessary to get it going. Vitamins A and E are present at levels 6-10X higher than that of regular milk, (See Colostrum Contents chart) and it provides a depot of other minerals as well. Fat and protein levels far exceed that of a normal meal, dispensing the needed energy to get all systems up and running. Most importantly for the calf, the colostrum contains maternal antibodies, or immunoglobulins (Ig), and other critical immune factors that will serve as the defense system for the calf through the first months of life. Without these immunoglobulins, the new baby has no immune system to combat bacterial, viral and parasite challenges. This process is called Passive Transfer and life for the calf depends on this wholesale stockpiling of nutrients and immune factors.

There are 4 key factors that contribute to the goal of successful passive transfer of immunity:

1. QUALITY - Feeding high quality colostrum with a high immunoglobulin concentration 2. VOLUME - Feeding the correct volume of colostrum 3. SPEED - Feeding colostrum promptly after birth (ideally within 1-2 hours and by 6 hours maximum) 4. BIOSECURITY - Minimizing bacterial contamination of colostrum

Colostrum Quality

Many things can influence the mother’s ability to produce and deliver high quality colostrum such as; Adequate Nutrition, Properly Timed Vaccination Programs, Udder Development. Even in a healthy cow, colostrum quality decreases by about 3% ev-

ery hour that she is not milked. A 10-12 hour delay can mean as much as a 35% reduction in the amount of Ig her colostrum contains, and each subsequent milking produces fewer Ig benefits as it transitions from colostrum to milk.

Colostrum Volume

Volume of colostrum is critical since only 35% of the immunoglobulin (Ig) will be absorbed. For the calf to have functional passive immunity, it needs 10-20 grams of Ig in each liter of blood. With less than this amount, the calf will remain highly vulnerable. The math is pretty simple. The calf must consume 3X more Ig than it can absorb.

Speed of Delivery

Immunoglobulins are the basic/ building blocks of immunity for all mammal babies. Although some are able to absorb these important proteins while still inside the mother’s womb, the calf is not so lucky. Mother Nature dictates that immunoglobulins are transferred from mother to her calf via the colostrum it consumes in the first feeding. These immunoglobulins are transferred through specialized cells in the calf’s small intestine that temporarily allow the absorption of large molecules and carry them to the blood stream. This has to happen quickly because these cells are only open for a short time. The intestine is most receptive during the first few hours after birth and steadily declines to nearly 0 at 24 hours after birth. By the end of that first day, the specialized cells are replaced with normal epithelial cells and the opportunity for Ig absorption of immune factors is over.


During the process of Ig absorption, some pathogens have learned to take advantage of the security breech in the intestine. It is a free ride into the bloodstream of the calf with potentially life-threatening consequences. We have all seen these calves. They are the ones with severe diarrhea

January 2018



INDUSTRY INNOVATION lostrum quickly. There is no need to wait until the cow is milked. The bag of colostrum is then fed directly to the calf via an attached tube or nipple. No clean up. While this process works very well on a dairy, it fails on a ranch. It simply is not practical to collect and treat beef cow colostrum and total replacement programs are too costly to be the norm. Oxford Ag’s primary purpose has been to develop a high quality colostrum supplement and replacer that capitalizes on the easy-to-use Perfect Udder® Feeding System.

and death at day 3-5 from E.coli and Salmonella; the calves with swollen joints all over their bodies by the time they are 20 days old due to mycoplasma; and the sick calves at 2-3 weeks of age without the nourishment and immunity to keep crypto at bay. Calves without colostrum, what we call Failure of Passive Transfer (FPT) are 3X more likely to become ill and require medical intervention, and unbelievably, they are 10X more likely to die before they are weaned1. Furthermore, there is good research to show that calves with FPT are more likely to be chronic poor-doers with reduced productiveness for their entire lives (See Colostrum & Performance chart). The lost ground can never be regained. When the calf gets little to no colostrum, we as the caretakers must offer a supplement, or even a complete replacement product, to help it achieve its full potential. This investment is also simple math and it’s where Oxford Ag Calf Health Solutions, in the patented Perfect Udder® Feeding System, help make this stressful situation easier to handle.

Colostrum Supplements & Replacers

There are many great products on the market, but if you’ve ever tried to mix powdered colostrum in the middle of a cold, wet night, you already know the hassles that go with them.

What is the Perfect Udder®

Oxford Ag represents the Beef division of Dairy Tech, Inc., a pioneer in on-farm pasteurization of milk and colostrum for dairy calves. Dairy Tech is the creator of the patented Perfect Udder® feeding system currently used for colostrum management on dairies worldwide. The simple, but unique design allows raw colostrum to be collected, heat-treated, cooled, stored, warmed and then fed to the calf all from the same, single-use, bio secure bag. When a calf is born, a bag can be removed from the freezer or refrigerator that it is stored in, then warmed to the perfect feeding temperature. This ensures that each calf can receive the correct amount of high quality co-

“Calves without colostrum, what we call Failure of Passive Transfer (FPT), are 3X more likely to become ill and require medical intervention, and unbelievably, they are 10X more likely to die before they are weaned”



January 2018

10 Steps to traditional colostrum feeding on a ranch

Step 1. Check cows and discover the calf in need. Step 2. Return to the barn and look for your old favorite pouch of colostrum. Step 3. Find a bucket. Step 4. Go to the house for the warm water … remember the whisk or the blender … do not announce the use of the whisk or blender to other family members. Beat the product into solution. Step 5. Find the calf bottle. Likely in the bed of the truck from the last time you used it. Step 6. Clean the bottle and look for a new nipple since the dog ate the last one. Step 7. Fill bottle and return to the calf. Hope that it drinks. Step 8. Return to barn for a feed tube even though now the colostrum is cold and won’t be absorbed worth a hoot. Step 9. Scramble for safety from the cow who has seen enough torment for one night. Step 10. Wash your dishes: Tube, nipple, bottle, pail and whisk.

It’s Simple Step 1. Fill the bag to the mark with warm water

Step 2. Shake to mix

Step 3. Attach to the included feeding tube and Feed. That’s it. Throw it all in the trash when you darn well feel like it. Get some sleep. No mess. No dishes. Convenient and immediate.

Oxford Ag Colostrum100 Supplement and Oxford Ag Colostrum150 Replacer are both derived from high-quality dried colostrum, not serum or blood, and specially formulated to allow complete mixing without the whisk workout. What really makes their products special is that they are packaged in the patented Perfect Udder® Feeding System which makes them ridiculously easy to use.

When to use Colostrum100 Supplement: ● Twins ● Heifers that might need time to learn mothering ● Extreme weather when nursing might be difficult to assess ● Heifers with questionable volumes

When to use Colostrum150 Replacer: ● Cow is injured or otherwise unable to feed calf

● Heifers that refuse the calf initially ● Cows with mastitis or extreme swelling making nursing difficult ● Lost calf or other scenarios that might delay nursing in the first day In a perfect world, the first meal a newborn calf consumes would always consist of nutrient rich colostrum that transfers immunities and other growth factors from its dam. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, sometimes it is necessary to use a colostrum supplement or replacer. Why not make your life and your calf’s life a whole lot easier. Try a bag of Oxford Ag and you’ll never want to tear the top off another foil bag ever again. Just Fill, Shake and Feed. It really is that simple. For more information about these and other Oxford Ag Calf Health Solutions, please visit 1. Stilwell, G et al., Can Vet J. 2011 May; 52(5): 524-526 Courtney, A et al., Defining FPT in S Dakota Beef Calves

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January 2018

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January 2018




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January 2018 American Cattlemen  
January 2018 American Cattlemen