News / Blog

Upcoming Illinois & Wisconsin Barn Meetings to Focus on Mineral Program
June 19, 2015

In today’s dairy economy, nothing is more important than cutting costs where they can effectively be cut and saving money where it can be saved. This is the premises of a series of dairy and beef barn meetings being held next week in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

These meetings are designed to share the experiences of Idaho dairyman Eric Evans and Jason Swallow, a nutritionist in Pennsylvania. They will share their experiences with a mineral supplementation program that consists of Redmond Salt and Conditioner, which is mined from ancient underground sea beds that once supported life near Redmond, Utah.

Swallow admits that he had a healthy amount of skepticism when he first learned of the Redmond Mineral Program, and credited a visit to Idaho where he witnessed 60,000 cows on the program. “It didn’t take long to change my thinking,” he admitted, detailing how he went through the process of verifying the observations he had made in Idaho.

After the trip to Idaho, Swallow details how he took the program back to some herds he consulted for in Pennsylvania. One was the robotic dairy of Olivia Platt.

“Our somatic cell counts run consistently 60 to 80,000 and pregnancy rate is 37 percent,” she reported. Platt feeds the Redmond Salt and Condition both free choice and as part of her formulated ration. When they began the robotic facility they also began supplementing Redmond Natural in their ration. Later, they began offering it free choice in addition to the ration, also. The Platts reported seeing far fewer problems in their fresh cows.

Platt offered this advice, “If you are considering doing this, just do it,” said Platt. “It was a leap of faith we are glad we took. Our heifers that are now calving have only ever received Redmond Salt and Conditioner as their mineral program, and they come in looking great.”

Rusty Herr, of Oxford, Pa. has also used the program for over three years. “If I had one thing to do over, it would be to start 100 percent,” he said. Like many, he met resistance from his nutritionist, so he started by replacing just half of his conventional mineral with the Redmond Program, and began to observe the cows.

“Once I went 100 percent, that’s when I began to see the big differences,” Herr said. With two herds on two different programs, he had the data to make comparisons. “I looked at what my cows were telling me. The biggest difference is cows cycle right. I seldom see a cystic cow, and the embryos are of better overall quality.”

Herr noted that he saw very little edema in his close-up cows, even though they were receiving free-choice Redmond Salt and Conditioner as dry cows and pre-fresh.

For a third dairyman, Nelson Troutman of Richland, Pa., the change to the Redmond Program was complete from the start. “We had everything else taken out of the ration. By our first DHIA test after the change-over, we saw a positive difference in SCC and protein. Troutman is also feeding the Redmond calf formulation to his youngstock.

Troutman shared a story of how he had accidentally doubled the salt to 8 ounces instead of 4 ounce per head, per day and how that instance of human error turned out to be beneficial. Now he feeds the formulation at 6 ounces, and when he has a forage quality issue, he pushes the free choice Conditioner. The cows, he said, “really go for it for 4 days straight, and then quit as the forage catches up to them.”

Troutman said that his vet isn’t completely sold yet on offering Redmond Program to the dry cows, but he remains confident. “Not all salt is equal. The Redmond Salt is not like the salt in your shaker,” he said.

Swallow explained exactly what the Redmond product is: mined sea salt from an ancient sea bed, containing 60 trace minerals and elements in crystalline form. The Redmond Conditioner is a form of clay that is mined with the Redmond Salt in Utah.

Of all forms that minerals take, the crystalline is the most bio-available form. The interactions between the trace minerals that crystalize with the salt add to the unique functionality.

Eric Evans and Jason Nunes, both of Idaho, have been relying upon Redmond Salt and Conditioner for more than five years. Nunes operates a 1000-cow dairy, where milk production has increased to 80 pounds of fat-corrected milk over that time period. Nunes, noted that he has seen dramatic improvements in reproduction, culling rate and death loss on his dairy. This has given him the ability to sell more heifers than he has previously. Nunes noted that he is saving over $11,000 per month in his mineral costs for the 1,350 head he feeds each month from his previous mineral formula.

“We had an average pregnancy rate of 27.5 percent last year after being as low as 17 percent 5 years ago, and death loss dropped from 6 percent down to 3.25 percent,” said Nunes. “Our components range 3.85 to 4.2 fat and 3.25 to 3.5 protein, improving our milk price by $2 to $4 per hundredweight.”

The savings in mineral costs, along with the improved efficiencies in production and reproduction, increased premiums for components and a decrease in culling and death rates have impacted his bottom-line positively, allowing him to cash-flow and recover from very difficult times of the 2009-2010 price crash in the dairy industry.

“Living through 2009 and making the changeover to Redmond Salt and Conditioner have taught me that we don’t have to live in such a complicated world when it comes to feeding cows,” said Nunes. “I am keeping things simple instead of letting people complicate things. Our reproduction has dramatically improved, along with other benchmarks.”

Nunes feeds 8 ounces, per cow, per day of the blended Salt and Conditioner, in addition to providing both free-choice as well.

Evans experiences over the five years he has fed the Salt and Conditioner to explain his preference for the Redmond Mineral program, using them both in the ration as well as a free-choice offering. Evans noted that during the summer heat, he doubles the rate at which he feeds Redmond Conditioner.

He told of a five-day stretch in the summer of 2013 that saw temperatures climb past the 100-degree mark.

“When it’s hot, cows need more intake to maintain their production. Production held by rebounding faster after the heat, especially components,” said Evans.

“No one is here to say this is a silver bullet,” he added, “but for some of us, this has made improvements that
seriously affect how we view our dairies now.”

Swallow shared research on montmorillonite clay, showing the beneficial properties it has to combat changes in forage quality, consistency and issues like mycotoxins.

“We are still learning more about cows, every day,” said Swallow, noting that practices and feeding technologies have come a long way in the past 15 to 20 years.

“If we look at that, we realize there’s a lot we, as an industry, still don’t know, and there are trace minerals we, as an industry, don’t balance for. Things come full circle. These are former sea minerals that once supported life.”
Corn crop on a dairy farm in southern Lancaster
Your opportunity to learn more about the experiences the Redmond Mineral Program has to offer you take place June 22nd and 23rd.

• Monday, June 22nd, 10am-Noon (Dairy)
Hosted by Brian Holste, 815-238-7963
6307 E. McConnell Rd, Rock City, IL (South of Orangeville, on Rte 26 to McConnell Rd. East 5-6 miles to the farm.)
• Monday, June 22nd, 1:00pm-3:00pm (Dairy & Beef)
Hosted by Ron Fluegel, 815-238-1182 and Riley Fluegel, 815-990-9881
222 W. Railroad St., Lena, IL (Saparito’s Pizza, Downtown Lena, IL on Rte 73 West on Railroad)
• Tuesday, June 23rd, 10am-Noon (Dairy)
Hosted by Amy Ubersox-Reugsegger
17135 W. Roper Rd., Shullsburg, WI (South of Darlington on 23 to Roper Rd, West to the farm)

• Special Guests
Eric Evans, Idaho Dairyman, 801-430-2738
Jason Swallow, PA Nutritionist, 570-317-6672

• For more information, contact Ty Wingert, 815-291-6689


Summer 2018