Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Banding Vs. Cutting
It is not unusual to find 60 percent of the male calves that arrive at the sale barns have not been castrated. The least stressful time to castrate a bull calf is during the first week of life, but that may not be the most practical time. Nevertheless, all bull calves should be castrated.
Both banding and cutting techniques work well, and selection is based upon the preference of the producer. Cutting works better with smaller calves.
It is important to make sure that the cutting instrument is cleaned with a disinfectant between animals. When cutting larger calves, the cord to the testicles should be crimped to avoid excessive bleeding.
Cattle Identification: Experience With How Systems Work In Livestock Markets
By working closely with five Kansas Pilot study livestock markets as they adopted NAIS compliant reader systems, a number of things have been learned. All five livestock markets had unanticipated problems they had to overcome to develop a successful system. Initially, a wide range of ID tag read rates on individual animals was experienced among the livestock markets during their first reading cycle. If a livestock market had unsatisfactory ID tag read rates, the facility worked with the technology provider to fix the problems.
Several of the livestock market managers included in the study were concerned prior to installation that the RFID system would slow down the rate of their sale. After completing actual sales at five livestock markets using the new RFID technology system, managers at all five livestock markets indicated they have experienced little to no change in the speed of sale when using the RFID system.
Purdue Outlook: Beef Sector Must Pass-On Higher Feed Costs
Beef producers seem to understand that they will have to reduce the number of females in the herd in order to reduce beef production by 2009 and thereby pass higher feed costs to beef consumers. That process appears to be started, but will take some time.
For now, there are more cattle in feedlots than had been expected. On April 1, the USDA estimated there were 11.6 million head of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or greater capacity. This is the second highest April total on record. Placements into feedlots during March were up by seven percent. The large placements appear to be related to the low number of smaller calves put into feedlots last fall and winter. Those calves have now grown and are entering feedlots at heavier weights. As an example, from November 2006 through February 2007 placements of calves weighing less than 600 pounds were down 21 percent as corn prices were booming. The data for March show that placements of calves weighing over 700 pounds were up 11 percent. In addition, lower corn prices may have helped stimulate March placements. May corn futures, for example, dropped $.61 per bushel in March, although $.20 came on the last day of the month. Of equal importance was the strength of live cattle futures. August futures were as low as $88 in early February, but rallied to highs above $95 in March.
Last month we discussed fly control methods. One of the important aspects of fly control is decreasing face fly infestations as a method of helping to prevent pinkeye in cattle. Another aid in the prevention of pinkeye is to clip the pastures if grass is too long and headed out. This will decrease much of the irritation to the cattle’s eyes that can initiate the beginnings of a pinkeye outbreak. The irritation of dust, plant pollen, or weed seeds will promote the heavy shedding of the pinkeye bacteria (Moraxella bovis) by a few “carrier cows” in the herd. These carriers spread the organism by contact and face flies to the rest of the herd and the susceptible animals will become infected and have clinical pinkeye.
If pinkeye cases do occur, what are the treatment options? One of the professors in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis has completed several years of research on this subject. Dr. Lisle George has examined several methods to treat pinkeye and these and other methods are summarized below.
First, if you are going to examine the eye for a foxtail or other weed—use disposable latex exam gloves. You can obtain these from your veterinarian or other animal health product source. After you have touched the eye (extracted the foxtail or treated the eye) or nose area, throw the gloves away. They are badly contaminated with the pinkeye bacteria. If you used a halter or nose tongs to restrain the animal, disinfect this equipment. Nolvasan® disinfectant is a good choice for this procedure. For treatment, use disposable needles and syringes for any treatments.
Mineral program choices for Oklahoma Cow Herds
Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University
Mineral nutrition for many cow herd operators remains a mystery. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Integrated Resource Management data, mineral costs per cow per year vary from zero to $44. Occasionally mineral programs are purchased with the hope of solving deeper problems. No single recommendation for minerals can be made for all situations. As decisions about mineral programs are being made, an important suggestion to remember is ‘IF IT IS NOT BROKEN, DON’T FIX IT’. If reproductive rates and health in the herd are quite high (greater than 90% weaning rate for cows exposed to bulls), adding additional expense by choosing a more expensive mineral program has little chance of improving net income.
Nervous Cattle Wreck Profit Potential
The Bottom Line
The relationship between disposition and postweaning calf value illustrates the economics of attitude. Calm cattle reduce injuries and facility damage, stay healthier, perform better on feed and earn higher grid premiums. Their more aggressive pen mates are leaner, but producers pay for higher death loss, carcass quality discounts and higher feed-to-gain ratios. Temperament is affected by human contact, handling technique and facilities, and subject to rapid improvement by genetic selection.
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Advanced reproductive technologies open breeding and marketing
Many registered Angus breeders have elite females from which they can market valuable genetics and offspring. With the use of advanced reproductive technologies, more offspring can be propagated to help multiply the success of breeding and marketing programs. While many breeders are familiar with embryo transfer (ET) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), they may not be aware of new technologies that advance the opportunities available with IVF.