Michael Fisher, Area Extension Agent (Livestock), Colorado State University Extension, Golden Plains Area
This morning I had a conversation with a colleague about the euphoric feeling that calving and lambing season can offer to the rancher. There really are not that many things that can match the feeling that one gets when he/she sees a group of strong, playful, and healthy newborn farm critters. That can be calves, lambs, puppies, foals, or whatever. Note that I used healthy as one of the criteria to reach that euphoric feeling. A pasture full of sick critters can be pretty disheartening.
One of the things that helps make our fresh crop of livestock healthy is colostrum. This is the first milk provided by the mother, assuming that it is provided within 4 to 12 hours of birth. Often times it will have a yellow or orange tint to it.
Lead Poisoning of Cattle Can Be Avoided
Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University
Recently a regular reader of the Cow Calf Corner Newsletter suggested that we alert cattle producers of a potential danger to cattle on their operations. He had encountered an unusual sudden death loss of over 10 young calves and had wisely sought veterinary help. The investigation and diagnosis revealed that old car batteries had been buried in a ditch in one of the pastures. The calves had died from lead poisoning.
Stockers Can Be managed for Quality
Cheap gains and maintenance-level nutrition are strategies from a bygone era of stocker management, according to Mark McCully, of Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB). The supply development director spoke Feb. 12 at the Mid-South Stocker Conference in Lebanon, Tenn.
“Research today is showing us that stocker operators play a critical role in determining beef quality, and ultimately consumer acceptance of our products,” McCully said. High-quality beef brands drive a need for coordinated focus from the cow-calf through feedlot stages, he added.
“Escalating corn prices and feedlot costs of gain point to longer stocker and grower phases to shorten that time in the finishing yard,” McCully said. “That means great responsibility but also a great opportunity for stocker operators who can provide value-added yearlings that fit the new quality-focused marketplace.”
Ranch women should be given their due
The Record Courier
I have a bone to pick. For the last couple of months a number of commercial and government agricultural extension publications have printed articles on ranch and farm labor. Whether this is because of the attention focused on the need for immigration reform or the ever increasing cost of labor on an agricultural operation it is missing a key component, us.
The ladies, the wives, girlfriends or significant others in the position as non-hired ranch or farm laborers are being ignored. Whether a small family ranch or a corporate-run operation, the ladies are not accounted for or given credit for their contribution as far as I read and understand these reports. It appears the ladies have been given a spot right next to must have own horse in the cowboy needed ads.
Managing The Environment For Controlling Scours
Calf scours is one of the most common animal health concerns of Ohio producers at this time of year. Various studies have suggested that scours are the cause of 15-20% of all calf deaths prior to weaning. Scours are caused by bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella spp., Clostridium perfringens), viruses (coronavirus, rotavirus) and protozoa (Cryptosporidium parvum, or “crypto”, and in older calves – coccidia of the Eimeria spp.). Most of these infections are actually carried and spread in manure and on body surfaces by healthy-appearing adult cows. Disease results when management and environmental conditions favor their transmission and the calf’s resistance is reduced. In fact many of these organisms are present on many, if not MOST, farms (dairy and beef) but may not cause enough loss to be recognized until conditions are favorable for an outbreak of scours. As an example, in an Ohio State study of Cryptosporidium on dairy farms, all four farms studied were infected, and over 85% of all calves on each farm became infected during the first 3 weeks of life. Calf scours were not identified as a significant problem except on one farm on which Salmonella in scouring calves was also identified. Other studies have revealed similar data. Reports of studies by the National Animal Health Monitoring System suggest that at least 40% of cow/calf operations have Cryptosporidia infections. Cold and wet weather, mud, overcrowding, poor sanitation, poor nutrition of the cows, and dystocia (or calving difficulty) are all factors that favor the development of scours.
Vaccine Technology Might Cut Beef Recalls
The Post Chronicle
U.S. scientists said a new vaccine technology designed to make beef safer from E. coli 0157:H7 bacterial contamination has shown great promise.
Associate Professor Dan Thomson and Professor T.G. Nagaraja at Kansas State University worked with West Texas A&M University Assistant Professor Guy Loneragan to examine the effects of the vaccine on its ability to decrease E. coli shedding in beef cattle.
Late Gestation/Early Lactation Nutrition
Recently I heard a conversation where a person was talking about calves that were being born dead or very weak. This person finished the conversation by saying that the cattle producer with the dead calves had been feeding only baled corn stalks to his cows. I hope that examples like this are the exception and not the rule in this year of short forage supplies, but it drives home the importance of nutrition and the hierarchy of nutrient use.
The maintenance needs of the beef cow, what is necessary to keep the animal alive and functioning, are always met before providing nutrients for fetus growth. In a pregnant heifer that should still be growing, the hierarchy of nutrient use is body maintenance, fetus growth/development and then body growth. When nutrients are not provided to the pregnant beef cow in sufficient quantity, fetal growth/development is going to suffer. Inadequate nutrition can lead to calves being born weak or calves being born dead.
Animal ID: Get HB 1129 passed
Kimmi Clark Lewis, Las Animas County rancher, mother & vice-pres. of the CICA Muddy Valley Ranch
Rocky Mountain News
CO children’s beacon HB 1129 will fix what’s wrong. Funded by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture grants, Colorado State University Extension set an October 1, 2007, deadline for all 4-H youth to have National Animal Identification System premises registrations — though canceling the county fair mandate — targeting children to implement a suspect agenda, one touted as “voluntary.” Colorado State Fair required this “first step” of “NAIS” for all 4-H and FFA youth attending the state fair — unenforced until the market sale. Corruption infiltrated the Colorado Department of Agriculture, State Fair, Farm Bureau, Beef Task Force and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association at the highest levels. If premises registration numbers stop increasing, the money stops. Using children to artificially drive up publicized sign-up numbers is wrong.
Panel grills meatpacking chief on beef recall at Chino plant
Los Angles TImes
The president of the Chino meatpacking plant that triggered the largest beef recall in U.S. history admitted Wednesday that crippled cows, which are more likely to carry disease, probably entered the food supply at his company.
“Obviously my system broke down,” said Steve Mendell, president of Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., once a major supplier to the school lunch program.
Mendell initially told a House oversight subcommittee that “downer” cows at his plant “were not slaughtered, ground or sold.”
Cotton Joins AHA, Hereford World Staff As Field Rep
KANSAS CITY, Mo – The American Hereford Association (AHA) and Hereford World is proud to announce Adam Cotton, Wichita, Kan., has joined the Hereford team and will serve as the Southwest region field representative.
In this position, Cotton will attend Hereford sales and events as well as assist breeders with marketing and genetic selection. He will also assist in educating members and commercial producers about AHA programs and other beef industry opportunities.
Cotton will serve as the communications link between the AHA and breeders in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Meatpacker consolidation worries state cattlemen
By ROD WALTON
Oklahoma’s cattle producers will find out if leaner, meaner days are ahead as a Brazilian company makes a bold move to the top of the American slaughter and meat-packing industry.
What that era might hold — whether it be less competition, lower feedlot prices or greater market efficiencies — is still the billion-dollar question.
At issue is JBS SA’s agreement to buy National Beef Co. and Smithfield Beef Group, currently No. 4 and 5 among U.S. processors.
“We’re not saying we’re opposed to this, but we’re not saying we’re in favor,” said Scott Dewald, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.
Pocket guide new tool for Alabama beef producers
Southeast Farm Press
Alabama’s beef producers have a new tool available thanks to a collaborative effort between the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association. The “Alabama Beef Cattle Pocket Guide” covers a wide range of topics crucial to successful management.
Diego Gimenez, an Extension animal scientist who was the coordinating author, says the new guide will be a valuable new tool.
“Beef cattle are a critical element of the state’s economy,” says Gimenez. “We think this comprehensive publication will put important information right at growers’ fingertips.”
Topics covered in the guide include a management calendar, forages, genetics, health, reproduction, carcasses and cuts, and contact information of experts available to help Alabama producers.
R-CALF: Cattle Producers To Department Of Justice – Block JBS Purchases
Washington, D.C. – In a letter sent today to the U.S. Department of Justice regarding JBS Acquisitions’ plans to purchase National Beef Packing Co., Smithfield Beef Group, and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding, R-CALF USA expressed concern that such transactions would cause injury to competition in both the U.S. cattle industry and the U.S. beef industry, which would result in harm to both independent U.S. cattle producers and U.S. consumers.
JBS Acquisitions would become the largest beef packer in the U.S., and R-CALF USA explained that JBS likely would capture over 35 percent of the domestic cattle slaughter – based on evidence that indicates Tyson Foods already controlled that amount of the market in the mid-1990s.
Cutting edge agriculture research pursued in Lamar
By Aaron Burnett
Lamar Daily Ledger
Cutting edge agricultural research is underway in Prowers County. The Colorado State University Southeastern Colorado Research Center (SECRC) conducts between three and four research experiments at a time said Dr. John Wagner, director of the research facility.
SECRC, which can handle up to 1,500 head of cattle at a time, is located at the far east end of Colorado Beef Feedyard. Wagner said the facility is currently conducting an experiment involving the use of wet distiller’s grain for cattle. Distiller’s grains are the by-product of ethanol production.
He said researchers are currently testing to determine the effectiveness of a direct fed microbial product when fed with wet distiller’s grains. “We’re testing it in rations that contain distiller’s grains because that’s something new in the industry that a lot of people are using,” said the researcher.
Calf Nutrition: Got Milk?
Regardless of the endpoint at which calves are sold, pre-weaning calf nutrition can have a major impact on profitability. Quality and quantity of colostrum and milk are directly tied to both performance and health, and these effects can carry all the way to slaughter.
IT STARTS WITH THE FIRST MEAL
Research done with range beef cows at Clay Center, NE clearly shows the value of receiving adequate colostrum those first few hours after birth. Blood samples taken 24 hours after birth from more than 250 calves were analyzed to see how much passive immunity they had received via colostrum. Individual growth and health were then monitored all the way to slaughter.