Archive for the ‘Cattle’ Category

Weaning: Avoid these Common Pitfalls

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

By Chris Forcherio

Have you defined what success and failure look like in your weaning program?

Success might look like live, healthy calves who put on weight with minimal intervention. On the flip side, failure may be calf mortality, sick or stressed, a high rate of treatment and less weight to sell. No matter your definitions, having a plan in place can help you avoid weaning pitfalls and, ultimately, failure during a critical time frame.

“Weaning shows how successful a producer has been for the past year,” said Chris Forcherio, Ph.D. and beef research manager with Purina Animal Nutrition. “For calves going to a market, it’s a producer’s payday. For calves staying in the herd, it’s a time for them to get ready for their next phase of production.”

Make plans now to avoid these common weaning-time pitfalls.

Pitfall #1: The plan is, there is no plan

“Too often producers just go out and wean. They find a break in the weather and decide it’s time,” says Forcherio. “The ‘just do it’ mentality may work out, but much like a producer plans for breeding and calving every year, they should plan for weaning.” Develop a flexible plan at least a month in advance. Planning ahead a month gives you time to order feed, work on your health program, order vaccines and more. Part of your health program may include pre-weaning vaccines that can be administered well in advance of weaning day to boost immunity.

Pitfall # 2: Facility Failure

Prepare facilities for calves trying to get back to their mothers. If calves are in a fenced area, check and reinforce fences as needed to prevent the calves from escaping. For corral areas, be sure gates are secured and without gaps. Another aspect of facilities is the environment. Small, tightly confined areas with mud are not ideal for calves. Give Calves a stress-free space with plenty of room and grass. Feed bunk placement and space are also critical. “Producers often put feed bunks in a place that convenient for them, not for their cattle,” says Forcherio. “Place feed bunks in an area where calves will run into them, not just in a place that’s convenient.” Bunks should be placed perpendicular to fence lines so calves can bump into feed as they are circling the fences. To prevent calves from competing for bunk space, provide 12 inches of bunk space for hand-fed feeds like Precon Complete Feed and six to eight inches of bunk space for self-fed feeds like Accuration Starter Complete Feed.

Pitfall # 3: The height of water and hay

Beyond making sure calves can find water sources and ensuring there is clean, fresh water available for all calves, another common pitfall is water accessibility. “Make sure your water trough is not too tall,” says Forcherio. “We tend to assume that 400- or 450-pound calves are going to be able to reach the same waterer set up for a 1200-pound cow when that may not be the case.” The same concept applies to hay feeders. “I often refer to hay out of reach of calves as the ‘devil’s tower of hay in the hay ring,’” says Forcherio. “The hay ring is out, and the round bale is in the hay ring, but the calves can’t reach the tower of hay in the middle.” Check your hay feeders to ensure they aren’t too tall for the shorter necks of calves. If hay is out of reach, do what you can to spread hay from the center towards the outside of the hay ring.

Plan to drive feed intake

What is Forcherio’s top piece of advice? Have a plan to maximize feed intake. “The end goal is to drive intake and get calves eating the nutrients they need to stay healthy,” says Forcherio. “Anything you can do to set calves up to eat at target intake levels will help them have a higher chance of success.”

Ask your dealer about starter feeds available through Purina All Seasons Cattle Nutrition Program.


Source: Purina Checkpoint

Hot Weather Alert: Help Your Cattle Beat the Heat

Friday, June 29th, 2018

By Kent Tjardes


If you’re a kid at the swimming pool, the heat of summer can be delightful. But for cattle, summer heat can be dangerous, even deadly. “Heat stress in cattle is not something to be taken lightly,” says Kent Tjardes, Ph.D. and cattle consultant with Purina Animal Nutrition. “A few precautionary steps are essential to help cattle through hot weather.”

Be Water Wise

The Most important essential is the availability of clean, fresh water for all cattle. “Cattle water intake can increase by up to 50 percent during extreme heat,” says Tjardes. “Water not only prevents dehydration, but many animals will place their tongue and nose in the water to help cool the body.” Here are some water Tips:

  • Consider adding trough space when cattle are crowding existing water sources. The recommended standard linear waterer space is about .75 inches per head. But increasing linear area to two or more inches per head has been show to decrease heat stress.
  • Monitor Calves carefully for water intake. Calves are small, and they get dehydrated quickly. Cows typically drink first, making calves second in line. Make sure there is enough water flow for the calves after the cows have been at the water source. After a few long hours in the heat, the last thing you want is calves to return to an empty waterer.
  • Ensure water sources are at an appropriate height for calves to access. The height of some waterers makes it hard for calves to access, discouraging water intake.

Control Flies

Controlling flies is another essential strategy.”Biting, irritation, and blood loss caused by flies adds stress to the animal,” says Tjardes. “To protect themselves from flies, cattle often group together. But this behavior can cause animals at the center of the group to become overheated.” Use fly control methods to reduce irritation, grouping behavior, and help alleviate heat stress caused by grouping. Here are some go-to fly control methods:

  • For pasture settings, offer Purina Wind and Rain Storm Fly Control Mineral with Altosid Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) to target horn flies.
  • In feedyard settings, consider a custom Purina supplement with ClariFly to control house, stable, face, and horn flies.
  • In any environment, cleanliness is critical. Scrape manure out of lots, remove excess feed along the outside of bunks and cut weeds to help reduce fly populations.

More Essentials

In addition to water management and fly control, here are a few more essential to help cattle beat the heat.

  • Offer shade: shade can’t always be provided but, when available, it can help cattle avoid heat stress.
  • Consider air flow: A five to ten mph wind helps to cool the animal’s body temperature. Avoid the use of pens with limited air flow (i.e., pens surrounded by tall cornfields or bales) or remove potential windbreaks. If you do use pens with limited airflow, build mounds within them to help raise cattle to an elevation of airflow.
  • Don’t handle the cattle in the heat: If possible, consider waiting until a cooler day. If you must work animals, do so in the morning when the temperature tends to be the lowest.

A few small changes can help keep cattle comfortable when the summer temperature rises.

Source: Purina Poultry

New! Hay-Rite Alfalfa Premium Cubes & Mini Alfalfa Cubes

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Hay-Rite Alfalfa Cubes and Mini Alfalfa Cubes now available at J&N Feed and Seed. At J&N we strive to bring you the freshest feed and nutrition options for your horse. Hay-Rite alfalfa cubes offer tremendous quality put in every bag to help your horse look and perform better.

HAY-RITE alfalfa is grown on high desert farms located in southern Utah, CERTIFIED Noxious Weed-Free and contains NO beetles. It’s always sun-cured, chopped and cubed in the field, the “Superior Way” to make cubes. Learn more here.

HAY-RITE cubes are 100% Natural with NO dyes, chemicals, mold retardants, preservatives or flavorings added; only sun-cured WESTERN alfalfa enriched with Bentonite minerals to increase absorption of nutrients, detox the digestive system and improve cube quality.

Hay-Rite AlfalfaGuaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein No Less Than 16%
Crude Fat No Less Than 1.4%
Crude Fiber No More Than 30%
Moisture No More Than 12%

Sun-Cured Alfalfa Hay
Bentonite Minerals Added

All Natural – No Chemicals – No Dyes

Feeding Guidelines:
Recommended feed amounts ar 1% to 2% of the animal’s total body weight, fed daily.

Feeding at ground level is recommended for horses. Cubes may be softened with water for seniors or animals with dental problems. Hay-Rite Premium Alfalfa Cubes can be used as a complete source of protein and roughage for most horses and other livestock. Stop by J&N Feed and Seed and find out more about Hay-Rite and grab some bags for your horses.

Winning The Battle With Horn Flies

Monday, January 29th, 2018

horn fliesThe coming of warm weather means the advent of troublesome horn flies for beef producers.  Get a jump-start on fly control with Purina Wind and Rain Storm Fly Control Mineral. This feed-through mineral is available in tub or granulated form, right here at J&N Feed and Seed.

Horn flies are annoying, to be sure.  But they are more than just pests, they are “obligate parasites”  that must stay with—and live off of—their hosts in order to survive.  They feed on cattle by cutting through the skin and sucking blood.  This is not only painful and distressing for the animal, but also has a direct impact on body condition and, consequently, on the producer’s bottom line.

“Making blood is an expensive process,” according to Scott Boutilier, vice president of sales and marketing for Central Life Sciences (CLS) professional businesses.  “All that blood is lost body mass, weight, meat and muscle that could have been going on someone’s plate.”  As a result, Boutilier says, an estimated $800 million is lost each year to horn flies.

The gold standard in controlling these pests is S-Methoprene, the generic name for Altosid® IGR, which is registered to a subsidiary of CLS. The product, originally developed in the late 1960s for mosquito control, was registered by the EPA in 1975 as a cattle feed-through product.  Incorporated into cattle feed, Altosid passes through the animals without affecting them, remaining in manure to control horn flies.  It does this by mimicking a juvenile fly hormone that inhibits fly larvae from maturing.

“Methoprene by nature is very similar to juvenile insect hormones,” said Boutilier, who studied entomology, chemistry, and insect physiology in undergraduate and graduate school.   “It’s very complex chemically, but environmentally benign.  It breaks out into very simple compounds, so it doesn’t have negative effects on the environment.”

In fact, the EPA has determined that the use of methoprene is exempt from tolerance.  And, insects have not developed a resistance to Altosid, unlike many other insect control products that kill the adult. “At the same time,” Boutilier explained, “the product is sensitive to sunlight, so delivery and formulation is critical to its performance.  And, you have to make sure you deliver the correct amount to achieve the right effect.”

As a result, CLS has created a variety of formulations, all very specific to their intended uses.  In the cattle market, for instance, they created a formula that will pass through and remain in manure.  The dosage is low enough that it affects horn flies, but doesn’t inhibit dung beetles’ ability to break down manure.  The dosage is typically about 1.1 mg per hundredweight of animal, per day.

Boutilier described the work Purina has done on consumption and intake management as “elegant.”  It’s a method the company uses in its Wind and Rain® Fly Control Mineral tubs, which incorporate Altosid.  Through taste and physical properties, the method actually controls how much the animal consumes, keeping the nutrients at appropriate levels for the desired effect.

“They’ve made the product attractive, so that cattle will eat it, but only eat so much,” Boutilier explained.  “Then after a while, they will come back for more.  It’s an amazing level of sophistication that has evolved with Purina’s IM Tech (Intake Modifying Technology®) program.”  Boutilier says incorporating Altosid with pre-existing feeding programs is a very cost-efficient method of controlling horn flies.

“If you are going to feed an animal anyway, you have no additional labor cost to deliver the horn fly control with feed,” he pointed out.  “Plus, this method is so much easier than an ear tag or back rubber.  And every dollar you spend, yields 6 to 10 dollars in increased weight gain and faster weight gain, so it is a high value solution for cattle producers.”

Boutilier said producers should start administering the product about a month before horn flies start maturing until about 30 days after the first hard frost.  That way they can virtually eliminate the horn fly season.  He stressed that ranchers need to administer Altosid 30 days after the first frost to make sure the insects don’t go into pupae.

“Most cattle producers who start on the program stay on it, because it is effective and delivers a good return,” Boutilier concluded. “Customer satisfaction is very high.”

For more information about options for controlling horn flies through mineral supplements, contact us.

Article:  Purina Mills Cattle

Animal Feed Price Increase

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

animal feed price increaseThere have been significant changes in the global vitamin market which will impact the availability and price of vitamins and premixes used to manufacture animal feed starting in January 2018. Rest assured that we are committed to working with you to navigate this challenge while providing optimal nutrition from our suppliers. We’d like to share some details with you as to what is going on in the market.

Global supplies of vitamin A and vitamin E will be in short supply over the next few months, due to a manufacturing issue with one of the leading suppliers, BASF. Earlier this month, BASF declared force majeure for all its vitamin A and vitamin E and for several carotenoid products. This declaration is a legal clause that exempts them from fulfilling their contractual supply obligations for all their vitamin A and vitamin E products and several carotenoid products. It was made following a fire that reportedly damaged BASF’s citral facility in Germany. Citral is key to the manufacturing process of those vitamins.

This global supply issue and very limited availability of the impacted vitamins have resulted in significant price increases in the animal nutrition market. You will begin to see those prices reflected in the pricing of animal feeds starting in January 2018. These price increases from manufacturers will impact the prices of feed in businesses across the country. We are doing what we can to mitigate the impact and will stay in close contact with you as we manage through this until supplies are restored.

Our number one priority is to continue to provide you with the quality products you and your customers expect from us. Thank you for working through this global industry challenge with us.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.

J&N Feed and Seed

Don’t set and forget self-fed supplements

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Self-Fed SupplementsBetter management of self-fed supplements could improve consumption and optimize performance.

Self-fed supplements are commonly used to deliver essential nutrients to cattle and to meet their nutritional requirements. However, use of a self-fed supplement does not translate to a self-managed supplementation program. Proper management of self-fed supplements is important to achieve desired intake and cattle performance goals.

One of the biggest challenges producers face with self-fed supplements is consumption,” says Christina Hayes, Ph.D., beef product manager with Purina Animal Nutrition. “When intake isn’t within the expected range, cattle performance may suffer. For optimal performance, management of self-fed supplements is essential.”

Many things can influence consumption, from forage quality and amount to supplement location and water availability. But you can take steps to help manage supplements and optimize intake.

The first step to becoming a better supplement manager begins with measuring intake.


Determining Consumption

“Calculating consumption can help you get a baseline intake for your herd, which you can then compare to target intake levels for the supplement,” says Hayes. “If your herd’s intake is below or above target intake levels, then you know it’s time to make adjustments.”

The following calculation can help you measure herd intake:

(Pounds of supplement distributed / # of cattle) / # days supplement was available

When making this calculation, don’t forget that calves will consume some supplement as well.

“If a supplement is not being consumed at target intake levels, it’s time to start troubleshooting,” says Hayes. “What is the forage quality? Where is the feeder located? Have there been weather challenges? What is the overall feeding program?”

If consumption is a challenge, there are strategies you can implement to help achieve the desired intake.


Managing Supplements

Implementing some simple strategies can go a long way toward ideal supplement consumption.

Here are a few tips:

  • Look for a high-quality supplement that includes protein, energy, calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals
  • It is best to start supplementing early to ensure cattle requirements are being met. If you wait too long to supplement and cows have to play nutritional catch-up, you may experience supplement overconsumption.
  • Initially, place supplements near a water source or in loafing or grazing areas. Cattle frequently visit those spots, giving them more opportunity to consume as they adjust to using the supplements. As the cattle become more comfortable with supplements, you can gradually move supplements further from those areas to entice them to graze underutilized pasture.
  • Ensure fresh, cool water is available, preferably in the shade during the warm, summer months. As temperature and humidity rise, cattle will require more water. Poor water quality, or lack of water, can cause cattle to go off feed quickly, which can limit feed intake and overall cattle performance.
  • Do not move a full bulk feeder. The feed may pack, which can compromise flow, especially if the feed is oily.
  • Clean feeder troughs regularly to remove any compromised product and help keep product fresh. When it rains, feed behind an adjustable gate can become wet, causing feed to swell, and preventing flow of fresh feed. Removing wet feed will also prevent mold and rot.
  • For supplements with Intake Modifying Technology, consumption will adjust with changes in forage quantity and quality. Expect higher consumption with lower quality/quantity forage and lower consumption with higher quality/quantity forage. Be aware that in times of lower quality/quantity forage, cattle may consume supplements rapidly.

Here are some general rules of thumb by self-fed product:

Wind & Rain Storm Mineral:

  • Put fresh, non-medicated mineral out once per week.
  • Use a covered mineral feeder to help protect the mineral.
  • Know if your mineral is complete or non-complete. Complete minerals include salt, which helps drive intake.

Accuration Block or Tub Supplement:

  • In contrast to a plastic tub, blocks have corrugated cardboard sides. Initially, in smaller pastures, more than one big block can be placed in a feeding location. When consumption is determined, then the blocks can be relocated or separated.
  • Cows per block is a function of block size and pasture size.
    • 500 lb. block: One block per 20 to 25 cows
    • 200 lb. block: One block per 10 to 15 cows

Accuration Liquid Supplement:

  • All storage tanks and lick tanks must be cleaned prior to adding liquid.
  • At the end of the feeding season, tip tanks on their sides so the remaining liquid will flow out from the wheel slot. This prevents the remaining liquid from gelling, separating or molding inside the tank and keeps rain water from entering the tank.
  • Accuration Liquid is a suspension product. Without agitation, it can become thicker over time, so it is important to move the liquid on a regular basis to maintain the free-flowing state. If forage quality is meeting cattle requirements and liquid intake is low, it is a good practice to more the lick wheels manually. That should be done weekly to keep the product from thickening in the tank.


Driving performance

No matter the product form, a self-fed supplement should not be approached with a “set it and forget it” strategy. “Small things like adjusting tub location and cleaning out a feeder can work together to help you achieve desired intake levels,” says Hayes. “And more desirable consumption can, potentially, lead to improved cattle performance.”

The extra time spent calculating supplement consumption and making adjustments may be well worth it.


Article Attributed to Purina Mills and Christina Hayes, Ph. D.

Summer Mineral Minute – Cattle Mineral Program

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Mineral ProgramQuick and timely considerations for your mineral program.

  • If using a mineral form of fly control, consistent intake is key. Consider using Wind and Rain Storm Fly Control Mineral with Altosid (IGR) in either granular or tub form.
  • To help achieve consistent mineral intake, use enough mineral feeders for your herd size. A good rule is to use one feeder for every 20 to 30 head.
  • Make sure all cattle, including calves and timid cows, have equal access to feeders. Placing feeders in multiple locations helps provide all cattle the opportunity to consumer the mineral
  • Use water as a tool to adjust intake. If mineral intake is lower than desired, move feeders closer to water sources. If intake is higher than desired, move feeders further from the water.
  • As grasses start drying, antagonists can block absorption of minerals. If antagonists are a concern, consider using a mineral with Availa 4.
  • If you plan to use a mineral with chlortetracycline to control anaplasmosis, a VFD will be required.

Article Attributed to Purina Mills.

Control Cattle Parasites With VetGun

Monday, June 26th, 2017

VetGunJ&N Feed and Seed now carries the VetGun by Agrilabs,for cattle parasite control. The VetGun Insecticide Delivery System is a unique system for delivering insecticide-filled gel capsules (AiM-L VetCaps, sold separately) to control horn flies and lice on cattle. AiM-L VetCaps burst upon contact to deliver the insecticide. The VetGun is powered by CO2 and can be utilized from 15′ – 30′ away. Simply aim, shoot, and treat. It’s easy to operate, accurate, and reliable. Cattle are easily treated while milling around or feeding, without added stress or labor. Allows one person to easily apply insecticide from horseback, pickup, ATV, or while on foot. Saves time and puts you in control of when and where you treat your cattle.  It’s more efficient, plain and simple.

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Three Things to Look for in Cattle Mineral

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Whether you buy a cattle mineral off the shelf at a retail store, walk into your local dealer and request their ‘standard’ mineral or work closely with your nutritionist to select a mineral supplement for your herd, sorting through the various mineral types can sometimes be a daunting task.

It may even be a purchase decision that’s so complex you simply cling to the generic or most popular cattle mineral available in your area.

But, the generic or popular option may not be the best choice for your herd’s mineral requirements. If you’re not feeding a quality supplemental mineral, you may see the consequences of mineral deficiencies later in the form of decreased calf weaning weights, small or weak calves, decreased milk production, reduced or delayed conception and even poor immunity.

Not all cattle minerals are created equal, and it’s important to recognize the differences in minerals that are out there. Even though mineral nutrition is complicated, you can easily evaluate or ask questions about a few different elements of a mineral supplement.

Here are three things to look for in your cattle mineral:

1. Balanced cattle mineral nutrition
A complete mineral should contain the proper balance and ratios of all 14 essential cattle minerals. Those minerals include: calcium, copper, cobalt, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulphur and zinc.

A proper zinc-to-copper ratio is one of the biggest considerations when choosing a mineral, with a ratio of 3-to-1 being preferable. Zinc and copper are commonly deficient microminerals in cattle, and the ratio is critical because of how closely zinc and copper absorption are tied.1

2. Large particle size ingredients and rain protection
Rain and other elements can quite literally wash a mineral investment down the drain, or can alternately turn your mineral into a brick-type substance which cattle often refuse to eat.

A weatherized mineral should not just be water-resistant, it should be wind-resistant as well. You don’t want the particles to be so small that the wind picks them up and blows them away. A weatherized mineral that includes a larger particle can remedy this problem.

The biggest drawback of a non-weather resistant mineral is that cattle just aren’t going to consume it. Daily mineral needs to be consumed, and if you’re not seeing consumption because the mineral has been turned into a hard block or because the particles are being blown away, then your investment is a loss.

3. Organic, bioavailable mineral sources
Another important aspect when choosing a mineral is to make sure it has bioavailable mineral sources. The bioavailability of a mineral source alters the absorptive ability of the trace minerals eliciting their full benefit.

Mineral sources that are more bioavailable may be a bit more costly, but they can be a good fit for herds with marginal trace mineral status, consistent reproduction issues, overall herd health problems, foot problems or in areas with forage or water issues.

Some key trace minerals that you might look to for bioavailability would be zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt. These minerals are required for a variety of functions including, but not limited to, immunity, reproduction, growth and fiber digestion.

Watch the video below to see the difference between Wind and Rain® Storm® cattle mineral and a non-weatherized version.

cattle mineral

Ted Perry

– Purina Animal Nutrition, Lead Nutritionist, Beef Technical Solutions

Horn Flies: the $1 Billion Bite at Cattle Profits

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Can you imagine being bit 120,000 times per day? It might be hard to imagine what this feels like, however during peak timeframes, as many as 4,000 horn flies can call a cow’s hide home.horn flies

At 30 blood meals per day, that adds up to 120,000 bites per cow. Not only are these bites irritating your cows, but with production losses for the U.S. cattle industry are estimated at up to $1 billion annually, they’re also biting away at your profits.

High horn fly populations can cause blood loss and increased cattle stress or annoyance. Annoyance can cause cattle to use their energy to combat flies, change their grazing patterns and cause cattle grouping. Ultimately, it can lead to decreases in milk production, causing a reduction in calf weaning weights.

From ear tags and pour-on to mineral or feed supplements with fly control, there are a lot of different ways to manage flies and each solution has a place in the industry.

But, the best places to start is by breaking the horn fly life cycle in the manure.

Making manure magic
One of the most convenient and consistent ways to control horn flies in cattle is giving them a mineral supplement that contains an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). An IGR passes through the animal and into the manure, where horn flies lay their eggs. It breaks the horn fly life cycle by preventing pupae from developing into biting adult flies.

Using mineral supplements with an IGR can help reduce expenses, labor, and stress on your cattle that other methods can cause. Cattle don’t need to be rounded up or handled since IGR is consumed by the animal and fly control is spread through its manure as it grazes.

It also provides consistency, as cattle are regularly consuming IGR through their mineral.

In like a lion, out like a lamb
Fly control mineral should be fed 30 days before the last frost of spring, before fly emergence. This 30-day window at the beginning of spring is critical because temperatures can fluctuate to levels that cause flies to emerge. Once those flies are present, you want to have fly control in the manure.

While heavy emphasis is placed on controlling flies in spring and summer, it’s important to finish strong in the fall. Horn flies overwinter in the pupal stage, which can jump-start adult populations in the spring. Using fly control mineral longer in the fall decreases the opportunity for flies to overwinter in the soil and reduces large fly populations the following spring.

Mineral should continue being fed through summer and 30 days after the last frost in the fall.

Don’t let it wash away
There are many forms of fly control mineral available, but it’s important to choose one that can stand up to the unpredictable weather that spring brings. Rain and other elements can quite literally wash your mineral investment down the drain, or turn your mineral into a brick-type substance which cattle often refuse to eat.

Look for a fly control mineral that can withstand the weather. A weatherized mineral should have a large particle size and adequate water and wind resistance.

Using a fly control mineral this spring can help keep fly populations down, but only if cattle are consuming it. If you’re not seeing consumption because the mineral has been turned into a hard block or because the particles are being blown away, then your investment is a loss.


Ted Perry

– Purina Animal Nutrition, Lead Nutritionist, Beef Technical Solutions


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