Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Pastures Harbor Parasites
Cattle acquire parasites through exposure to environmental contamination – for the most part, from pastures. And the practice of pasture rotation adds yet another dimension to parasite control. Rotational grazing often forces cattle to eat grass closer to the ground and fecal pats, where most infective larvae are. Research suggests that rotationally grazed cattle may have higher parasite burdens than those continuously grazed.
There are two parts to creating safe pastures: 1) reducing contamination during periods of peak egg shedding from cattle; and 2) allowing pasture larvae to die off while the pasture is empty.
Part one is the most important. It is addressed by treating cattle with a broad spectrum, long-acting endectocide, which controls liver flukes, kills adults worms and kills all ingested infective round worm larvae for 21 to 28 days after administration. Maximum reduction in egg shedding is achieved by treating in spring, midsummer, and fall in the North, and spring, midsummer, and midwinter in the South.
Three MGA-based synchronization systems can bolster your AI results.
Melengestrol acetate — commonly known as MGA — is the common denominator in three widely used systems for synchronizing and artificially inseminating (AI) cows and heifers. MGA, which is fed with grain or protein and often top-dressed on other feeds, suppresses estrus and prevents ovulation in cows and heifers. It’s fed at a rate of 0.5 mg/ animal/day in a single daily feeding.
“While the duration of feeding MGA may vary, it’s critical that the daily intake be consistent,” says Dave Patterson, state Extension beef reproduction specialist at the University of Missouri-Columbia. “Animals that fail to consume the required amount of MGA on a daily basis may prematurely return to estrus during the feeding period. Therefore, adequate bunk space must be available so that all animals consume equal amounts of feed throughout the MGA feeding period.”
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Keep Replacement Heifers Growing
Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University
Replacement heifers that have just reached puberty and started cycling may be vulnerable to any drastic change in feed intake. A small trial conducted at Oklahoma State University illustrates the impact that sudden severe reduction in energy intake can have on cycling activity in replacement heifers. Nineteen heifers were divided into two groups. Both groups were fed at 120% of the maintenance requirements needed for yearling heifers. By the use of hormone assay and ultrasonography, it was determined that all heifers were cycling when the treatments began. Nine of the heifers were continued on the 1.2 X maintenance diet. The other ten heifers were placed on a diet that was 40% of the requirement for maintenance. They remained on this diet for 14 days. At the conclusion of the 14 day treatment period, only 3 of the feed restricted heifers were still cycling, whereas all of the heifers receiving the 1.2 X maintenance were still cycling.
Can you save time and money?
by Bill Beal, beef cattle reproductive physiologist, Virgina Tech
Getting cows bred early in the breeding season at the least cost and with less labor is a common goal. There are limits on how to cut corners when setting up synchronization and prebreeding vaccination programs. Knowing the limits is important to ensure that costcutting measures don’t decrease the reproductive performance of the herd.
Changes Which Affect Your Profit
Dr. Robbi Pritchard, South Dakota State University
Feedlot profits change dramatically from year to year. Weather and competition are the driving forces behind the annual swings shown in Figure 1. Since you can’t change the weather or the competition, you have to manage around them. Facilities can be improved to reduce weather effects on cattle performance and diets can be changed to take advantage of low cost weather-damaged feeds. Beyond that, the principle strategy is to make enough money in the good times to allow you to survive the tough times.
Making enough money to survive is easier said than done. In the Iowa Feedlot Enterprise Record Program, the high 1/3 of producers made money in 12 of 15 years (1977 through 1991)1. The low 1/3 of producers made money in only 5 of those 15 years. The membership in this low 1/3 group is constantly changing because these producers either have to get out of the business or join a more profitable group. Every time this happens, somebody else becomes a new member of the low 1/3 group. It’s the competition component of the system.
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Running The Genetic Reverse
By Wes Ishmael
“As demand goes, so goes opportunity in the beef business,” says Ben Brophy, director of genomics commercialization for Cargill. “Our focus is on tools to improve beef demand.”
Consequently, he explains the bottom-line efforts of Cargill’s cattle-feeding and beef-processing enterprises — they’re among the nation’s largest — are to increase consumer acceptance of beef products by increasing the consistency of products that consumers want.
Cow Calf: How Much Is A Bull Worth?
Performance information along with and expected progeny differences (EPDs) give an indication of the expected performance of a bull’s calves for particular traits such as growth performance relative to the performance of calves sired by another bull or group of bulls. Using this information, educated purchasing decisions can be made regarding the purchase price differences that can be justified when comparing bulls.
To illustrate differences in bull value, here is an actual production scenario. Bull A and Bull B were exposed to cows of similar genetic merit. Bull A sired calves that weighed on average 536 pounds at weaning. Calves sired by Bull B weighed 643 pounds on average at weaning.