Better Than Mediocre

Every once in a while, we all just have those days, right. Those days where I just need to saddle up and let the horse take the lead. Where I just want to walk out in the pasture and let it all out at the top of my lungs. Then I gotta turn around and get back to work…

My boss told me the other day. “Right now you want to solve everything, but one day you’ll get over that feeling.” That’s all fine and dandy, but right now I don’t want to be mediocre, average, or anything less than I have the capability to be.

I’m in the middle of calving season and I’m having some problems with my heifers having stillborn calves. So far it’s 5 out of the first 50, with others having trouble calving and with retained placentas, but it still bothers me that I can’t figure out what is wrong. I debated whether to share this, because someone will think “Geeze, this kid is doing something wrong!” or “Worry-wart,” but you can guess which side won out. It’s only a problem in our heifers and three year-olds where we are feeding extra supplements to maintain weight.

My theory is that the cattle could have a copper deficiency. Copper plays a vital role in Iron absorption and reproductive efficiency. Our supplement, dried distillers grains with solubles, is high in sulfur, which acts as an inhibitor to copper. One plus one equals two, right? Several of the calves are not as thrifty as I would like to see in the first few days of life and the cows do have a slight rusty tint to their hair coat (a tale-tale sign of copper deficiency). This year’s hay crop was not as high-quality due to poor growing conditions. Our mineral supplement does not have a chelated source of copper, which would allow for easier absorption. And the stillborn calves to seem to have a more pale color to their gums and skin.

I know I am fresh out of college with all of this book knowledge stored up and I am itching to try it out. I have done pretty much everything short of taking samples to measure mineral levels to try to convince my boss this could be a possibility for calf loss and calving troubles in these young cows. He just says “Hmmm…” and it frustrates the crap out of me. I am not afraid to be wrong. If I do turn out to be wrong, its better than sitting back and doing nothing at all.

Anyway, I’ll try to quit being an Ag Nerd and get back to taking care of the cattle. I’m not looking to solve the world’s problems. I just want to be better than mediocre…

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