Daily Archives: July 13, 2006

Lead Poisoning of Cattle Can Be Avoided

Lead Poisoning of Cattle Can Be Avoided

by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University, Cow-Calf Corner

Cattle producers need to watch for a potential danger to cattle on their operations. A year ago, a rancher reported 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. After an internet search we find several important keys to prevention:

1. Very small amounts of lead can cause poisoning. Calves licking crankcase oil, grease from machinery, lead pipe plumbing and batteries can be in danger.

2. Small calves represent the greatest percentage of lead poisoning cases because they are curious eaters. Other cattle however can also be affected.

3. Junk or garbage in pastures can be a source of lead. Example sources include: some crop sprays, putty, lead-based paints and painted surfaces, roofing materials, plumbing supplies, asphalt, lead shot, leaded gasoline, and used oil filters.

Symptoms of lead poisoning are often similar to other diseases and require a veterinary diagnosis to accurately confirm. Clinical signs of poisoning normally precede death, nonetheless, in many cases animals are simply found down or dead in the pasture. Observable signs vary from sub-clinical to very dramatic and take from just a few days to as many as 21 days to develop. Initial signs include depression, loss of appetite or occasionally diarrhea. The central nervous system may be affected and cause cattle to grind their teeth, bob their head, or twitch their eyes or ears. Some animals may circle, press their head or body against objects, or become uncoordinated and stagger. Muscle tremors, excitement, mania, blindness or convulsions may also be seen.

Treatment of lead poisoning can be costly and ineffective if not started quite early after ingestion of the lead. Successful treatments are usually started before the symptoms begin to appear and are often reserved for very valuable animals.

Prevention is the key. Be aware of any old or new machinery in pastures. Avoid junk or debris that could be a source of lead. (This could really be an issue after a severe thunderstorm or tornado with wind damage which results in roofing debris spread across the pasture.) Above all, DO NOT dispose of old car batteries in pastures where cattle have access to them.

Source of information: “Lead Poisoning in Cattle” Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development. Alberta, Canada.


Ohio Beef Newsletter now available

The July 12, issue # 495, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at: http://fairfield.osu.edu/ag/beef/beefJly12.html

Selling more weight per calf, and/or selling the calf for more per pound are often times the first two thoughts that come to mind as we think about adding “value” to the cow herd enterprise. This week, we take a look at what may be a couple of less obvious management opportunities that will add to the bottom line.

Articles this week include:
* Late-calving Cows Can Be Costly
* Farmer Frank and the Tale of the Bull Calf Dilemma
* Forage Focus: What is that plant with the yellow flower in my pasture fields?
* Potato Leafhopper
* Weekly Roberts Agricultural Commodity Market Report

Stan Smith
Program Assistant, Agriculture
OSU Extension, Fairfield County
831 College Ave., Suite D
Lancaster, OH 43130

e-mail: smith.263@cfaes.osu.edu
voice: 740.653.5419 ext. 24
fax: 740.687.7010

NIAA: Need Cattle ID Info? Plan To Attend ID/INFO EXPO 2006

NIAA: Need Cattle ID Info? Plan To Attend ID/INFO EXPO 2006


BOWLING GREEN, KY – Confused about cattle ID? You’re not alone. In fact, hundreds of other stakeholders affected by the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) will be convening in Kansas City at the annual ID/INFO EXPO 2006 to hear the latest developments on this important animal agriculture issue.

ID/INFO EXPO, a conference and trade show, sponsored by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), will be held August 22 – 24 at the Westin Crown Center. ID/Info Expo serves as the premier national meeting on animal ID. In attendance will be leaders and stakeholders from government, industry, producer organizations, and academia.


2005 National Beef Quality Audit Ask, Answers Questions About U.S. Beef

2005 National Beef Quality Audit Ask, Answers Questions About U.S. Beef


RENO, Nev. (July 11, 2006) – Initial results from National Beef Audit 2005, funded in part by checkoff investments in the Beef Quality Assurance Program, are in and offer U.S. cattlemen insight into beef quality successes and future challenges over which they have some or all control.

Identified in the new audit as the top three quality successes since the 2000 audit were: (1) improved microbiological safety; (2) improved cattle genetics and beef of higher quality; and (3) fewer injection-site lesions. The rankings are from interviews with beef end-users, including exporters, purveyors, foodservice and retail channels.

Of note to producers, as more foreign markets reopen to U.S. beef, was the response from beef exporters on the question, “What one quality attribute could U.S. cattlemen change to make it easier for you to export beef products?.” Exporters’ response: “source and age verification,” followed by “more marbling.”


Huntsville ranch to increase herd by 3,000 head of cattle

Huntsville ranch to increase herd by 3,000 head of cattle

By Amy Compney/City Editor
Moberly Monitor

The Circle A Ranch near Huntsville is looking to expand its 6,500 acre beef farm operation by 3,000 head of cattle.

The farm currently contains 2,000 beef cows on pasture; the upgraded operation would include 3,000 head of finishing beef calves in a bedded pack farm. Permits for the operation will have to be approved by the Department of Natural Resources.


Wisconsin premise registration succeeds

Wisconsin premise registration succeeds
by Bob Meyer and Amanda Davenport, student internBrownfield Network
Audio related to this story (image placeholder)(Audio: Robert Fourdraine with WLIC speaks about premise registration in Wisconsin. 2:30-MP3). Over the past six months Wisconsin livestock producers have been registering their premises under the Wisconsin Premises Registration Act. Robert Fourdraine with the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) discussed the program’s progress as well as future plans in a Brownfield interview. Seventy percent of premises are currently registered in the state, according to Fourdraine. He says it has been a very busy time for WLIC, but now, they are focusing on the remaining thirty percent. There are still those who have yet to hear about premise registration, Fourdraine says. Although some farmers may refuse to register, he believes the majority of them may just have some misunderstandings or confusion concerning the issue, which needs to be cleared up.




WASHINGTON, July 12, 2006 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today released a guide entitled “Pre-Harvest Security Guidelines and Checklist 2006” to help agricultural producers enhance security at the farm level. These practical measures help to protect against natural disasters, as well as the unintentional or intentional introduction of plant or animal diseases.

“We work on many fronts to ensure that our nation continues to provide the safest food supply in the world,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner. “While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to protecting agriculture, recommendations in this guide can be beneficial to a variety of types and sizes of agricultural operations.”

Food and agriculture biosecurity is an important component of USDA’s mission. Improving awareness through enhanced outreach and communications is a key element of USDA’s homeland security efforts. The voluntary guidelines and checklists were developed based upon recommendations made by producers throughout the United States. Guidelines have been developed for general agriculture; dairy; crops; cattle and poultry security.