Oftentimes the release of new herd care line products means a reliance on GENEX employees to get early photographs of the product in use. When Push™ calf nutritional paste came out, Director of Beef Genetics Brad Johnson was up for the task. Here is his account of how picture-taking went and, more importantly, how he found the product to work.
My wife, Lindsay, and I have a small herd of Angus and Red Angus cows outside of Shawano, Wisconsin. Since I work for GENEX and they needed a couple pictures taken to advertise the co-op’s Push™ paste, I thought it would be no problem to have the photos taken at our place. I took home two tubes of Push™ during calving season and my talented wife took on the role of photographer. Sounds easy, right?
We calve our heifers in February and the cows primarily in March and April. February in northeast Wisconsin is cold and snowy while March and April are cold, wet and muddy; neither time is ideal, that’s for sure. In fact, Lindsay has occasionally threatened to find a more patient A.I. technician so we can calve when it’s warmer! We build a few temporary calving pens in a pole shed and rotate cows in and pairs out. It works okay as long as we’re prepared.
Heifer #351 decided to calve outside on a cold, windy January day, about 10 days early! Upon noticing the newborn, I quickly shuffled the new pair to the shed, snapped on a LIFEJACKET™ calf coat and began my normal new calf processing routine. I remembered the tube of Push™ stowed in the back pocket of my coveralls, so I gave it to the calf. Either it was too cold and windy for the photographer or two young kids were occupying her time, but we didn’t get a photo taken.
In short order the calf was up and nursing and showing great vigor, so I felt pretty confident I’d gotten to the new calf in good time. About two weeks later, the calf’s ear tag fell completely out as her ears continued to get shorter and shorter from the frostbite she’d suffered. It was then I finally realized how much stress the calf had experienced. One tube of Push™ left.
Heifer #312 spent several nights in the calving shed because the vet called her A.I. bred, but it soon became apparent she must have been bull bred. She was the last heifer to calve. I was tiring of 2 a.m. checks, so I was glad to see when she started calving at 10 p.m. I went back inside with intentions of giving her two more hours. After the two hours it was clear I’d be assisting this delivery.
Long story short, #312 delivered an 87 lb. bull calf with moderate help. Not the worst pull ever but stressful for the calf nonetheless. While Junior, the newborn calf, laid there sprawled out not doing much of anything, I again thought of the Push™ tube in my back pocket. He looked like a calf that could use a pick-me-up.
Should I text the sleeping photographer to wake up, get dressed and come out into the cold to take our picture? What would any sane husband do? I opted to let Lindsay sleep.
Fast forward 10 minutes and the calf was up drinking happily, thanks in large part to that tube of Push™. I consider Junior a great advertisement for Push™ and for using proven A.I. sires on your heifers! Zero tubes of Push™ left.
The next morning, I called and ordered a box of Push™. While these two examples aren’t the most difficult calving experiences I’ve ever seen, I am confident Push™ works, and it helped these two calves get up and going.
I’m going to make sure I’ve always got a tube of Push™ in my back pocket when calving season rolls around. Now if we could just get that darn picture taken…