Thanks to Nick Simmons, Escambia County Extension, for sending in this week’s featured video to share. In the video, “The Feed Man” Micah Thomas, Purina Animal Nutrition, shares some important observations that can be made from evaluating the shape and fiber content of cattle manure piles. Yes, this is a serious video about evaluating cow poop. Just like body condition scores (BCS 1-9) that quantify the fat cover of cattle, manure scoring quantifies how dry manure is, with a 1 being fluid to a 5 of hard and dry. As you can see demonstrated in the video, there is a lot you can tell about cattle diets based on their manure piles. The key concept is that you can observe changes in manure much faster than changes in body condition, which provides an opportunity to correct the diet before significant weight loss occurs.
The following is an excerpt from a Noble Foundation newsletter article on Manure Scoring that also includes some photos with examples of Manure Scores.
A manure score of 1 is of cream soup consistency. It can indicate a sick animal or a highly digestible ration that contains excess protein, carbohydrates or minerals, and low fiber. Manure score 3 is ideal and will typically start to take on a normal pat form. The consistency will be similar to thick pancake batter. It will exhibit a slight divot in the middle. The pat will be deeper than a score 2 pat, but will not stack. This diet is not lacking nutritionally, yet is not in excess for the cow and her physiological stage.The highest and least desirable score is 5. This manure is firm and stacks over 2 inches in height. It will also have clearly defined segments and is very dry. This manure indicates the cow is eating a poor quality forage diet that is inadequate for protein and carbohydrates, and high in low quality fiber. Rate of passage has slowed down to the point that excess water has been reabsorbed in the intestines.
Robert Wells, Noble Foundation
If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out others from the video archives: Friday Feature Archive
If you come across an interesting, inspiring, humorous or something new and innovative related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Use the share button from the YouTube or Facebook video you like and send the link via email to: Doug Mayo
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