Advantages of Omega 3 Products In Your Ranching Operation

Dec 29, 2023

Bob Meyers
CPM Livestock Consultant 

Breeding season will be sneaking up on us rather quickly, arguably the single most important time of the year for cow-calf producers. Some might say calving time is the most important, but if we don’t get them bred, we don’t have to worry about calving!

I want to touch on the advantages of feeding Omega 3 fatty acids in your ranching operation. Feeding Omega 3 fatty acids will have a positive impact on reducing fetal absorption and increasing viable embryos. The majority of the feedstuffs we feed are high in omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 6’s cause inflammation, which directly affect the fertilized eggs ability to attach to the uterine wall. They also are critical in the production of prostaglandin. Elevated prostaglandin levels can cause abortions. Omega 3’s are an anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation and they are essential in the production of estrogen and the reduction of prostaglandins.
CSU data would suggest that 40% of our open cows and heifers were cattle that were actually bred, but due to an unknown stress gave up that pregnancy, usually within the first 42 days. Omega 3 fatty acids help to suppress the production of prostaglandin, thus positively impacting embryo viability and maintenance. Research in dairy cattle shows a 15% increase in overall conception rates. The added source of a rumen protected Omega 3 source enhances follicular development and egg quality plus provides an optimal uterine environment to maintain the embryo. Our Omega 3 products are absorbed in the small intestine which increases blood lipid levels 3 to 5 times over non-bypass products.

The investment we have in replacement heifers is substantial as we won’t see a return until she is at least two and a half years old. That heifer will continue to be a negative on our balance sheet until she is in the fall of her third year. Getting her bred and then re-bred as a young animal is the only way to keep her in our herd where she eventually pays us dividends. We suggest feeding our omega mineral at least 30 days before we AI or turn out the bulls until 45 days post breeding. We also recommend feeding the bulls omega mineral for a minimum of 60 days before turn out, Spermatogenesis takes 54 days, so we need at least 60 days to positively impact sperm production. We will see an improvement in both motility and volume on our semen tests. Data from several universities indicates that the first 42 days of pregnancy are the most critical. After that the embryo attachment is elongated and maintenance of the embryo is easier. Research shows that feeding Omega 3’s reduces inflammation of the reproductive tract and actually increases the elongation of the initial attachment of the embryo. This drastically improves the viability of the embryo.

Producers who have started with the Omega 3 program on their heifers have quickly moved to using it on the entire herd. We see a reduction of third cycle pregnancies and open cows. I work with a lot of purebred operations, and genetics are the backbone of our industry, but when selling calves at either weaning or as 8 weights, age beats genetics every time. Getting more calves born sooner pays huge dividends.

Contact your CPM or Frontier Nutrition Advisor and ask about Omega 3 mineral.

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