There are a lot of variables to turning a profit in the cattle business. But, one thing is certain; if you don’t have a healthy calf born during calving for each cow exposed at breeding time the odds are already stacked against you. North Dakota rancher Wade Wilson was facing these very challenges and more just a few years ago, but thanks to a change in his herd’s nutrition program, he’s found that it is possible to make a profit and enjoy his ranching lifestyle again.
“We experienced scours, coccidiosis, weak calves, cows that wouldn’t breed, you don’t even know all the problems I had. I was a schoolteacher and would come home and treat sick calves at night from 4 to 9 p.m. One year we lost 35 calves,” Wilson said. “It was to the point, I questioned myself, thinking if I have to ranch like this for the rest of my life, there is no way I can do this. It was awful.”
That was more than two years ago when Wilson, who owns the 400-cow registered Angus ranch, Wilson Angus Ranch, with his dad Cecil Wilson Jr., at Watford City, North Dakota, started doing some research. He searched the internet and then started talking to a BioZyme® dealer, Randy Quam, who after hearing his challenges recommended the VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® to Wilson.
After two years of feeding VitaFerm products year-round, Wilson has witnessed a compete shift in his herd, both increased conception rates and decreased sicknesses, meaning more and healthier calves to market when it comes sale day.
“Think of the live calves I am taking to the sale barn. And think of the bull calves I am saving that I can sell for $3,800 to $4,000 and selling registered heifers for $1,200 to $2,000. Look at the calves that I’m saving and having the availability to sell. It’s just a no-brainer. Since I went to VitaFerm our cattle are just nicer. Nice hair coats on them, healthy and calves that are healthy when they are born and stay healthy,” Wilson said.
This year, out of 400 cows that were bred either via A.I. or covered with a high-performing Angus bull, Wilson said only four cows came in open. He calves in March and April, and no longer has to worry about spending thousands of dollars at the vet on medicine to treat sick calves. And he enjoys the ranching way of life again.
VitaFerm Concept•Aid is a vitamin and mineral supplement for beef cattle specifically designed for reproductive success when fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding. It is especially beneficial in A.I. and E.T. breeding programs. Concept•Aid contains high concentrations of vitamin E and organic trace minerals, coupled with the Amaferm® advantage, which supports quick repair of the reproductive tract and more energy for reproductive success. Additionally, increased nutrient absorption and digestion from the Amaferm leads to healthier and heavier calves on sale day.
Wilson said he feeds his cows Concept•Aid from Fall all the way until the Summer, offering both the loose mineral and the VitaFerm Concept•Aid Mineral Tub. However, when the temperatures start warming up in the summer, he switches his mineral to the VitaFerm® HEAT® mineral. VitaFerm HEAT is a line of vitamin and mineral supplements for beef cattle used to reduce heat stress during temperatures of 70 degrees and above, or anytime cattle are grazing fescue. It also contains Amaferm and Capsaicin, both research-proven to lower body temperature, which can improve conception rates by maintaining pregnancy, and includes garlic, a natural insect repellent.
Since Wilson started feeding VitaFerm HEAT, he has noticed that his cows are out grazing rather than huddled in the corner. The mineral also helps maintain pregnancies, as heat stress leads to decreased conception rates.
“Most of the cattle are out grazing during the heat of the day. I know the mineral works, so I feed it,” he said.
More live calves mean more calves to sell and more profit for Wilson Angus Ranch. And, thanks to the Amaferm advantage, one North Dakota rancher can get back to enjoying the way of life passed down to him from his dad.
“Thank God I found VitaFerm, and I will never leave it. Ever. I’m excited about ranching again. I wasn’t excited when I wasn’t feeding my cattle the right mineral for them. I didn’t know at the time, but the cheap minerals weren’t cutting it. Amaferm year-round makes the difference,” Wilson said.
The combination of VitaFerm Concept•Aid and VitaFerm HEAT will help your cows get bred, stay bred and deliver healthy calves. The Amaferm advantage will help you turn a profit and that is something you can bank on.