As a livestock producer, you understand the importance of getting the most out of your animals, whether it is performance, profit or both. If your animals don’t have value, you can’t have a profitable farming venture, and making a profit off the farm or ranch is every stockman’s goal. But what if there were some ways for you to get even more value out of your herds than you already are? By utilizing some different management and marketing techniques, you can make your livestock work for you – and your bottom line.

Sheep are becoming a popular choice for small livestock due to the demand for lamb and mutton in the meat market. Sheep are good grazers, and do well in a multi-species grazing system, such as following cattle with sheep.
“A greater variety of grazing animals will generally better utilize a more broad spectrum of plants,” said Cody Holmes, Missouri stockman and author of “Ranching Full Time on Three Hours a Day.”
Better utilization of all the plants in pastures leads to greater value in your herds, and a better bottom line at the end of the year. Sheep can also have a lot of worth come processing time – creating unique, value-added products like lamb bratwursts and ground lamb can boost sales at niche selling venues like farmers markets and health food stores.

Goats are another species that benefit from a multi-species grazing program.
Goats will eat forages that other livestock won’t – like multiflora rose and honey locust saplings. Many farms have a small herd of goats strictly to clear brush – but you can also capitalize on these four-legged mowing machines by marketing their highly-sought meat to ethnic communities, or by investing in the fiber industry with a herd of Angora goats that can be sheared twice a year.
Treating goats for health issues using herbal or natural remedies instead of conventional treatments can help your herd values as well, by still caring for the goats and keeping cost low – Lesley and Barry Million, owners of Terrell Creek Farm, an Animal Welfare Approved dairy goat farm in Fordland, Mo., choose to use several different kinds of herbs in their program.
“Some are fed weekly to control parasites and some are used as needed for other issues (immune boosting, anti-bacterial or anti-fungal),” Lesley Million explained said. Supplemental herbs fed at Terrell Creek Farm include black walnut hull, garlic, ginger, pumpkin seed, fennel, dandelion, oat straw, apple cider vinegar and kelp, to name a few.

Cattle have a variety of options for added value – but one of the best ways to get more out of cattle is by supplementing, especially through the winter months. If you are short on forage, or have to resort to feeding less than stellar hay to get through the cold season, you will want to consider a supplementation program to keep your cattle in good condition and to maintain their value.
Even during a good year, supplementing can help boost productivity and profit margins.
Shea Barber, regional sales manager for SmartLic Supplements in South Dakota and Feed in a Drum Supplements in Oklahoma, says that “Supplements enhance the digestibility of poor quality forage.”
He also notes that “supplementation improves rumen function, provides more energy through dry matter intake, and leads to better semen quality.”


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