When you raise livestock, you take a risk every day. But sometimes when you take an extra chance, that chance will pay off in rewards, including a confidence boost. That’s the case for Long Livestock, Vernal, Utah. Jeff and Nikki Long, along with daughter Kallie, own the operation that includes about 50 club lamb mamas, where they use artificial insemination, embryo transfer and natural service to breed their ewes each summer.
Jeff Long recalls that he started using the DuraFerm® Sheep Concept•Aid® in 2016.
“I read up on the different mineral options, thought we’d chance it and never have looked back,” Long said. “If I can get one more lamb out of that A.I. group and get $1,500 out of that particular one, that pays for our entire mineral and tubs for the entire breeding season. If we can get 10-20% more lambs, that stuff pays you back every time.”
That is exactly what Long has had happen. From his last year with no DuraFerm Concept•Aid to his first year feeding the breeding mineral, his A.I. conception rates jumped from 65% to 78%.
DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid is free-choice vitamin and mineral supplement for sheep specifically designed to target cycling, embryo production and conception when fed 30 days prior to lambing through breeding and is especially beneficial in A.I. and E.T. breeding programs. DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid contains Amaferm®, a precision-based prebiotic that impacts intake, feed digestibility and nutrient absorption for amplified breeding performance. This breeding supplement includes organic trace minerals for more stability and higher bioavailability, the balanced levels of high-quality vitamin and minerals required for growth, breeding and lambing and organic zinc and manganese, selenium yeast and high levels of vitamin E to support maximum reproduction and health.
Since his first few years on the DuraFerm line, Long has discovered another product in the line and has adjusted his program even more to see better results. He feeds the free-choice DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid year-round and now adds the DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid Protein Tubs to their regimen 60 days prior to breeding through 60 days post-breeding.
“These products keep the ewes bred. We’ve had great success on them. We went 94% on A.I. last year, which is the highest we’ve ever had. The last two years, we’ve been able to go above 85%, which in the sheep world, breeding them in August, with heat and long summer days, that is really exceptional. We’ve had great luck with the DuraFerm products, and we’re really excited to see the new HEAT mineral come out,” Long said.
Since the Longs have started using DuraFerm, they have also started exploring the world of embryo transfer. He says he’s had a good embryo stick rate and his need for covering ewes with a clean-up ram has decreased as well. He also has decided to move up his breeding dates a little earlier this year because he knows his nutrition program will guild him through the hot temperatures.
“Here in 60 days we’ll start to A.I. and we’ll set up some flushes. We definitely don’t go into breeding season, whether it be natural bred, A.I. or an E.T program without using these DuraFerm products. I’m pretty religious about having them out there and I don’t think we’d get the same benefit without using them,” Long said. “With these products, we can get the ewes to cycle a little earlier, get them bred and keep them bred. It makes us feel more confident, so we are going a little earlier this time.”
Confidence in a nutrition program is key when it means getting one more lamb. One more lamb can pay for that program. One more lamb could mean further investment in your seedstock. And one more lamb could mean the difference in having enough lambs to satisfy all your customers for another show season. When getting them bred and keeping them bred matters, make sure you have the confidence to take a chance in the high-quality nutrition program for your flock like DuraFerm.