Daily Archives: October 6, 2006

Pre-weaning Calves: Decreasing Disease and Increasing Value

Pre-weaning Calves: Decreasing Disease and Increasing Value

Dr. W. Dee Whittier, Extension Veterinarian, Cattle, VA-MD Regional College of Vet. Med.

Calves that have been weaned before they are marketed are bringing premium prices in Virginia and across the country. This is at least partly due to the estimation of their increased health status but is probably also due to the perception that those who cared enough to market their calves this way probably cared about genetics and other factors that go into the production of high quality calves.

In a conversation with Bill McKinnon the other day he commented how easy it is to sell calves that have been pre-weaned. He also reminded me that in the relative few years since the Virginia Quality Assured (VQA) program was initiated the change in the percent being sold that are pre-weaned has been a flip-flop from few historically to most this year.

The increase in demand for pre-weaned calves comes along with some significant changes in the cattle industry. An increased number of calves have gone straight to feedlots in recent years. Feeders see lots of calves compared to many stocker operators. I’m convinced that they have been quick to recognize the decrease in disease seen in pre-weaned calves.


Purebred Risk Assessment

Purebred Risk Assessment

Written by Rob Carnie


The Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) has announced it has completed Phase I of the Purebred Risk Assessment (PBRA) project.

This perils/risks assessment project represents a step in the continued development of the purebred beef sector’s risk management process, and builds on the positive work the CBBC, and the entire industry, has already done in this area. The overriding goal of the CBBC, as it relates to the risk assessment project, is the growth and advancement of the use of Canadian purebred beef cattle genetics.


U.S. Beef Packers Avoid Trade With S. Korea

U.S. Beef Packers Avoid Trade With S. Korea

By Kim Souza

The Morning News (AR)

Despite the reopening of beef markets to South Korea almost one month ago, not a single U.S. packer has elected to ship product, according to the latest export sales data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The trade door was officially opened between the two countries Sept. 9, but U.S. packers have opted to sit out of the trade game until all the rules have been clarified.

Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc., the nation’s largest beef producer, said while it has product orders pending, the company is waiting for more clarification from the USDA with respect to South Korea’s zero tolerance policy.

“Our South Korean customers are anxious for us to resume beef shipments, however, they understand why U.S. companies such as Tyson have not yet done so,” said Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson.


US farmers get terror threat tips

US farmers get terror threat tips


Taipei Times

US farmers got a new set of tips from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) this harvest season: how to protect themselves from a terrorist attack.

Few were likely to worry much in the quiet rural communities that have so far been untouched by the low cloud of anxiety that has settled over urban areas with the dense populations, which offer anonymity to outsiders and potentially high casualty counts.

“Out here things are still pretty quiet,” said cattle rancher Rod Findley as he finished feeding his Hereford heifers. “I would think a terrorist would be a little out of place around here.”

But a recent E. coli outbreak that killed one woman and sickened nearly 200 in 26 states showed just how vulnerable the population is to a contaminated food supply.


Bovine Tuberculosis Found In 6th Minnesota Herd

Bovine Tuberculosis Found In 6th Minnesota Herd


(AP) St. Paul Bovine tuberculosis has been found in a sixth northwestern Minnesota beef herd, officials said Thursday.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health said that a 2-year-old cow tested positive for bovine. The animal was part of a Roseau County herd that had shared a fenceline with the herd where the outbreak was first found, the board said.

The six affected herds were all in Roseau and Beltrami counties.

The newly infected herd had fewer than 30 animals, with little movement in or out of the herd. The cattle will be destroyed and the farmer compensated with USDA funds, the board said.


Acorn Poisoning Could Cause Problems This Fall

Acorn Poisoning Could Cause Problems This Fall


Cattle will often head for woods and wooded lots around the farm in search of grazing or browse. However, that could be dangerous. Green acorns are plentiful this year. Hungry cattle love acorns that can quickly poison them. Green and ripe acorns contain gallotannins, which cause kidney damage and death. There does not seem to be as great a problem after a few hard freezes. The reduced palatability of acorns after weathering may be part of the answer.

To prevent acorn poisoning, cattle should be allowed access to abundant pasture and fenced out of areas with large amounts of oak trees until this winter. There are few other options as only a few pounds of acorns can cause enough damage to kill cattle. Outward signs of acorn poisoning are few but include weight loss and diarrhea, but often these are not noticed until other cattle in the herd have died.

Source: John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Virginia Tech.

Buying Quality Hay

Buying Quality Hay

American Cowman

Ryan Reuter, Noble Foundation livestock specialist, Ardmore, OK, offers these hints to ensure the hay you buy is a good value.

Buy dry matter (DM). Before you buy, have a test done to measure moisture content. Most hay will average 85-90% DM.

Next, determine the bale weight using a scale, then compare different hay sources on the basis of dollars per ton of DM, not dollars per bale.


Cattle Protozoa Help Shift Antibiotic Resistance

Cattle Protozoa Help Shift Antibiotic Resistance

By Luis Pons


Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Ames, Iowa, have made another big finding about protozoa—single-celled predatory organisms—found in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle. They’ve discovered that the protozoa can facilitate the transfer of antibiotic resistance from resistant bacteria to susceptible types.

Veterinary medical officer Steven Carlson at ARS’ National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames is the first scientist to document the role rumen protozoa play in transferring this resistance within cattle. Rumen protozoa live in the first stomach (rumen) of cattle. They engulf and destroy most bacteria.


October Beef Management Calendar

October Beef Management Calendar

Spring Calving Herds

* Give pre-weaning injections to calves not already weaned (VQA )

* Wean calves this month or early next month

* Market calves at VQA sales, graded sales, telo-auction or as off-farm truckloads

* Make arrangements for backgrounding calves

* Feed replacement heifers to gain 1.5 – 1.75 lbs per day or use the Target Weight method to calculate rate of gain

* Pregnancy check cows

* Body condition score cows at weaning and separate thin cows

* Cull open, old and very thin cows; check feet and legs, udders and eyes.

* Switch to high magnesium minerals to prevent grass tetany

* Inventory feed supplies and secure feed for winter

Fall Calving Herds

* Continue calving

* Move pregnant heifers and early calving cows to calving area about 2 weeks before due date

* Check cows 3 to 4 times per day, heifers more often – assist early if needed

* Keep calving area clean and move healthy pairs out to large pastures 3 days after calving

* Body condition score cows at calving; plan nutrition/grazing program based on BCS

* Ear tag and dehorn all calves at birth; castrate male calves in commercial herds

* Give selenium plus vitamin E and vitamin A & D injections to newborn calves

* Feed cows extra energy after calving; some protein may be needed also if good pasture is not available. Cows calving at BCS

* Keep high quality, high magnesium high selenium minerals available

* Reproductive tract score and measure pelvic areas on yearling replacement heifers; RTS should be 3 or better and pelvic areas should be >150 sq. cm

* Purchase estrous synchronization supplies; line up AI technician or AI supplies

John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Virginia Tech.


Body-condition-score research (Reproduction)

Body-condition-score research (Reproduction)


In an effort to evaluate the effects of prepartum energy balance and postpartum fat supplementation on perfor-mance, University of Wyoming researchers managed 3-year-old crossbred cows to achieve a body-condition score of either 4 or 6 at parturition. At 3 days postpartum, cows within each BCS group were fed either hay plus a low-fat control supplement or hay plus high-fat safflower seed supplements. Diets were equivalent in energy and protein.

BCS had no significant effect on first-service conception rate, but overall pregnancy rate was greater in BCS 6 cows (88.9 percent vs. 63.9 percent). BCS did not influence calf birth weight or calf average daily gain. Dietary fat supplementation did not affect cow weight change, BCS change, rib-fat thickness, milk yield, milk composition, cow reproduction or calf performance.


Scotch Highland Cattle

Scotch Highland Cattle

Chris Gallegos


Have you ever wondered what those big, brown, wooly mammoth-looking things are just as you enter the Dakota Zoo? Those are the Scotch Highland Cattle, a fairly unusual animal to North Dakota. We got to the zoo this week around feeding time, so it gave us a great chance to get up close and personal with the Scotch Highland Cattle, without making them feel uncomfortable.

“The Scotch Highland cattle are one of those that people took an interest in early on, probably 30 to 40 years ago,” said Terry Lincoln, Director at the Dakota Zoo. “We do have registered stock here at the zoo and one of the few places in North Dakota that actually raises Scotch Highland. You can see how big and shaggy they are. They`re just well suited for this type of environment.”

They look much bigger in person, but they are surprisingly one of the smaller types of cattle.

“When you compare them to Angus, another beef cattle, they are a little smaller,” said Lincoln. “But this could be because we are only ten feet away.”