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Ranchers in the area have probably started their winter-feeding programs already. Just as they say in Game of Thrones, "winter is coming." I’ve mentioned feed testing in passing quite often over these last few months, so I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the topic in greater depth. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll say it again; feed testing is one of the most important management practices on the farm.

Vitamin E has become increasingly popular among horse owners, probably because of its ability to help performance horses recover from exercise quicker. This vitamin is highly effective in combating numerous effects of free radical products that can harm membranes and cell components. Unlike vitamin C, the horse's body cannot synthesize vitamin E, making it crucial to supplement it in the diet.

Zinc is regarded as one of the most important minerals in livestock diets. In the 1950’s, the importance of zinc was discovered when numerous disorders like skin, hair, and wool abnormalities, immune dysfunction, reproductive failure were observed in deficient animals.

Body condition scoring is one of the most useful tools for producers to evaluate the nutritional status of the herd. This hands-on assessment uses a numerical scale based on the feel of the animal in addition to a visual appraisal. Determining cattle condition using a hands-on method can be particularly useful in our harsh Canadian winters since the winter coat on cattle can be misleading.

As the days begin to shorten and the nights begin to cool, it’s a telltale sign that summer is starting to wind down. Although many producers in the area still have a few months of grass grazing ahead of them, strategizing for winter feeding is likely a thought in many minds.