Monthly Archives: May 2007

Effect of Breed, Feeding Regime and Weather on Feeding Behavior and Performance of Cattle

Effect of Breed, Feeding Regime and Weather on Feeding Behavior and Performance of Cattle

Ropin’ the Web

            Feedlot cattle are comprised of both beef and dairy breeds. Differences in carcass characteristics, body size, and efficiencies of gain between these breeds have long been noted. One study reported that Holsteins are 13% more efficient than Herefords and another reported that there was a 13% reduction in gain/unit of feed for Holstein over Char steers. Other researchers concluded that the beef progeny of holstein cows required 27% more feed per kg gain than beef progeny.

However, differences in breed feeding behaviours and how these differences might affect production efficiency in the feedlot are not well known. Restricted feeding of feedlot steers is a common practice which can result in increased efficiency of feed conversion but the comparative efficiencies of different breeds on restricted versus ad libitum fed diets has not been closely examined.

Despite the tremendous impact that management can have on animal performance, surprisingly little is known about the feeding patterns of individuals within a pen and how specific factors such as weather, amount of feed presented, frequency of feeding, or time of feeding may affect intake and performance. For example, a large amount of anecdotal evidence suggests that cattle consume large amounts of feed prior to storms, yet little concrete evidence has been gathered to test these claims. Other studies that attempt to correlate weather patterns with eating behaviour show that strong relationships exist at extremes in barometric pressure and ambient air temperatures.


Selecting Replacement Heifers

Selecting Replacement Heifers

Dr. Clyde Lane, Professor of Animal Science, University of Tennessee


To view the video clips below, you must have the free RealPlayer

Beef cattle producers should use all available information when selecting replacement heifers.

Selecting a replacement heifer by appearance only is very risky. A heifer must be of the acceptable type if she is to be kept as a replacement, however, she must also have the genetic potential to produce a heavy calf. This is the reason that records must also be utilized when making the selection.

All available records should be used to insure that the better heifers are being considered as replacements. Consider using records such as those provided by The Beef Cattle fIRM Record Keeping Program. The heifer with the heaviest weaning weight may or may not be the best replacement heifer. A heavy, fat heifer at weaning is a poor choice as a replacement. The heifer must also be of an acceptable type.


Beef-Dairy Nutrition Symposium to Kick Off Cattle Industry Summer Conference

Beef-Dairy Nutrition Symposium to Kick Off Cattle Industry Summer Conference

DENVER (May 29, 2007) – Pre-registration is now open for the 2007 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, which will be held July 16-20 in Denver. The event is co-sponsored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen, Inc. (ANCW), and Cattle-Fax.

A unique highlight of this year’s Summer Conference will take place Tuesday, July 17, when the National Dairy Council and the Beef Checkoff Program team up for a nutrition symposium. The session will examine the common nutrition environment currently faced by the beef and dairy industries. Topics will include areas that the two industries work on together – the Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition, the importance of high-quality protein in the diet, and putting fatty acids into perspective.


As drought cuts hay production, Wilkes ranchers selling cattle early

As drought cuts hay production, Wilkes ranchers selling cattle early

The News-Reporter (GA)

Georgia cattlemen are having a hard time feeding their herds because the state’s extended drought has dried up pastures and seriously cut hay production.

“The pastures are as pitiful, and the situation is as sorry as I have ever seen for this time of year,” said Bob Rawlins, who has raised cattle in Ben Hill, Wilcox and Turner counties in south-central Georgia for 30 years. “There’s just nothing out there.”

Pasture damage varies across the state. In most places, 70 percent to 80 percent is in poor to very poor condition, according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service. In south-central Georgia, 90 percent of the pastures are poor to very poor.


Montana delays slaughter of 300 bison amid uproar

Montana delays slaughter of 300 bison amid uproar


By Laura Zuckerman

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – Public outrage prompted a temporary stay of execution on Wednesday for 300 bison, including an estimated 100 calves, roaming in Montana outside the confines of Yellowstone National Park.

The Montana Board of Livestock on Tuesday announced plans to capture and kill the bison, or buffalo, in the wake of news earlier this month that seven Montana cows had tested positive for brucellosis, a disease that can cause stillbirths in cows and infects some of the Yellowstone bison herd.

Bison advocates, including the Buffalo Field Campaign, launched an opposition campaign that caused an e-mail and telephone backlog at the state and federal agencies that manage Yellowstone’s 3,900 bison.

“We’ve been getting the calls,” said Christian Mackay, executive officer with the Montana Department of Livestock. But “capture and hauling to slaughter is by no means off the table.”


Forage Focus: Summer Water Requirements For Cattle

Forage Focus: Summer Water Requirements For Cattle

As I write this article in May, we are already experiencing temperatures in the upper 80’s combined with scare rainfall. There are creeks dry in May that haven’t been dry in May in a long time. It may turn out to be a hot, dry summer. Water may become an issue in some pasture situations. While we often talk a lot about nutrition, forage quality, and mineral needs, water is sometimes taken for granted, almost overlooked. Yet water is the most essential nutrient for livestock production. Cattle can survive for a number of days, even up to weeks without food, but will die within a few days without water. Assuming that the goal of most cattle producers is more than just cattle survival, it is important that cattle receive a sufficient quantity of water each day to maximize feed intake, produce milk for the calf, and maintain a healthy reproductive cycle.


Treating Sick Cattle – What does it really cost

Treating Sick Cattle – What does it really cost

Evan Vermeer – Senior Cattle Consultant, Land O Lakes Feed ?

Let’s look at the Ranch to Rail data on the subject:

The solution to this problem has several parts. The more we know about the origin and handling of the cattle prior to arrival at the lot, the better off we are. We need to have a program of processing laid out before arrival. This program should be tailored to what we know about this particular pen of cattle. This procedure should include time needed for resting cattle, vaccinations to be given, implants to be used, and parasite treatment needed. Specific products should be defined in this plan.


Industrial chemical found in Ohio feed

Industrial chemical found in Ohio feed

By Karen Roebuck


A Toledo manufacturer added the same industrial chemicals that sickened and killed pets nationwide to an ingredient used in livestock and fish feeds, federal officials announced Wednesday.

It’s the first time a U.S. company has been accused of intentionally adding the chemicals to animal or human food, and prompted recalls yesterday of the fish and shrimp feed but not that intended for livestock.

“We believed we were making a compliant product,” John Valley, executive vice president of Tembec BTLSR Inc., told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review yesterday.


Brucellosis tests in Montana negative

Brucellosis tests in Montana negative

By Tom Wray


BILLINGS, Mont. – Initial blood tests on cows from a Paradise Valley, Mont. Ranch show no signs of brucellosis, said a spokesman from the state’s Department of Livestock on Tuesday.

The Associated Press reported that state representative Bruce Malcolm that seven cows diagnosed with the disease in Iowa and Montana originated on his farm. Blood samples drawn from adult cows came back negative on Tuesday. Results are still pending on a second round of 150 samples from year-old heifers and calves at the farm, said the news service.


Cow Calf: Factors Affecting Conception Rate

Cow Calf: Factors Affecting Conception Rate

Why do some cows breed back more successfully than other cows in the same herd? Why do herd conception rates vary from year to year? Body condition and nutrition can offer some explanation. Research has demonstrated that cows in poor body condition and/or under nutrient stress will have lower conception rates and take longer to rebreed compared to cows in good body condition and provided with a ration meeting nutrient requirements. But, are there other factors that can affect re-breeding and conception rates? I want to summarize a presentation from Dr. James K. West, DVM and director of the embryo transfer unit veterinary service at Iowa State University, in which he lists both non-infectious and infectious causes for reduced conception rates in beef herd.

Some non-infectious factors that can reduce conception rates include: lethal genes, polyspermy, endocrine disorders, elevated blood urea nitrogen, heat stress and handling/transportation stress. Lethal genes and polyspermy (fertilization of the egg with more than one sperm, which is a lethal condition) both refer to genetic factors that do not allow a viable pregnancy to occur. Endocrine disorders result in short or irregular heat cycles or a condition where not enough progesterone is produced to sustain a pregnancy. With these 3 factors the producer has little control and culling is probably the best option for the producer.


A pricier T-bone this summer?

A pricier T-bone this summer?

Demand for corn edges hay production, meaning farmers pass on costs

Tri-City Herald

Corn is popping up in mid-Columbia fields where hay, beans and peas were harvested last year, and dairy farmers, ranchers and horse owners will likely pay more in an unexpected spinoff of the demand for ethanol.

And that translates to higher costs for consumers, too. Prices of corn, milk and meat are expected to go up this summer.

Washington farmers planned to seed an additional 50,000 acres of corn this year, according to a March survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Dave Losh, a statistician in the service’s Olympia office, said farmers planned to plant 190,000 acres of corn this year – a 36 percent increase over last year.

Blooming demand for corn to make ethanol pushed corn prices to $3.36 per bushel in March, compared with $2.06 a year ago. But the increase in corn acreage means cutbacks in other crops – mainly hay, which already was in tight supply.


Stocker Cattle: Feeding For Shrink

Stocker Cattle: Feeding For Shrink

Through experience and experimentation, most folks have a feeding formula they believe helps them manage shrink. And, that’s a good thing, because research results are all over the board on what type of ration offers the most positive results.

For instance, in one KSU trial (Table 4) evaluating pre-fast diets the amount of shrink, relative to the makeup of roughage and concentrate in the ration, varied with the transportation time, as well as how and when the cattle were fed before fasting. In one case, steers fed a 50% concentrate diet shrunk less than those fed only hay. In another, steers fed hay shrunk less than those fed a 55% concentrate ration. You get the idea. Bottom line based on this and other data researchers conclude that it is questionable whether or not feeding concentrate prior to shipment will reduce shrink.


Drought hinders hay production in Ky.

Drought hinders hay production in Ky.


Houston Chronicle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s normally lush spring has taken on a brownish tinge this year amid a dry spell causing concern among farmers. The bluegrass and southeastern regions are in a moderate drought and the rest of the state is in a mild drought, Tom Priddy, a University of Kentucky extension agricultural meteorologist, said Wednesday.

“It’s about as dry as we ever see it on the first of June here, which is a little scary knowing that we’re going into … our drier months,” said Steve Moore, Henry County agricultural extension agent.


AgriLabs Introduces Products That Increase Dry Matter Intake Quickly

AgriLabs Introduces Products That Increase Dry Matter Intake Quickly

ST. JOSEPH, Mo., May 29, 2007 – AgriLabs has introduced Vita Charge(r) and Vita Charge Appetite Plus, a family of all-natural products proven to quickly increase dry matter intake and improve performance during times of stress. Vita Charge-brand products combine Amaferm(r) – a proprietary Aspergillus oryzae (a type of fungi) fermentation product – with vitamins and minerals, and use a unique mode of action to deliver higher yields of energy and protein from feed. Available in six formulations for convenient individual-animal dosing, Vita Charge maintains effectiveness when used in conjunction with antibiotics.


Cut cattle fences a problem

Cut cattle fences a problem

Kids on ATVs damage barriers, let livestock roam

By Ed Johnson

The News-Press (FL)

In the Old West, cowboys tore down settlers’ fences so their cattle could roam the open range. In Lee County kids on ATVs are the culprits, and deputies are worried someone is going to be killed.

For the better part of two years, the four Lee County sheriff’s deputies who make up the county’s agriculture unit have been waging a running battle with a kind of night rider who has been cutting fences and, in some cases, smashing them down, deputies and cowboys said.

And, while this isn’t exactly cattle country, the cut fences give the 500-odd head in these parts a chance to make their escape, said sheriff’s Cpl. Randy Hodges.


Ohio Beef Newsletter Available

The May 30, issue # 539, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at:

Without adequate water, feed intake and ultimately cattle performance suffers greatly. As the weather heats up, be certain you have ample, high quality water available which allows for optimum forage and feed efficiency. This week, Rory Lewandowski explores that issue.

Articles this week include:
* Forage Focus: Summer Water Requirements for Cattle
* Tips For Better Manure Application In Alfalfa
* “Preg” Check and Cull Replacement Heifers Early
* Factors Affecting Conception Rate

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

voice:   740.653.5419 ext. 24
fax:      740.687.7010
Fairfield Co. OSU Extension –
OSU Beef Team –

Hays man (John Brethour), well known in agriculture and cattle industry, loses battle with cancer

Hays man (John Brethour), well known in agriculture and cattle industry, loses battle with cancer


Hays Daily News

Beef giant John Brethour died this morning after a long bout with cancer.

Yet he never stopped thinking about beef or researching the best way for Kansas cattlemen to improve the quality of meat that ultimately makes its way onto a consumer’s plate.

Best known for his groundbreaking work on the use of ultrasound to determine when cattle should be marketed, Brethour, 72, spent 42 years as a research scientist at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center at the south end of Hays. He retired in 2005. He also served as a member of the board of directors at Hays Medical Center.

In 2004, Brethour was named by Beef Magazine as one of the top 40 in the cattle industry.

Bill Saba would put him in the top 10.

“He was one of the finest gentlemen I ever met,” said Saba, longtime manager of what is now Hays Feeders.


Livestock And Ethanol Plants Can Help Each Other

Livestock And Ethanol Plants Can Help Each Other


One of the by-products of a dry grind ethanol plant is distillers dried grains. It’s a cheap product, but expensive for the plant to dry down for longer term storage. The experts in Nebraska say it’s not necessary. Terry Klopfenstein is a University of Nebraska Animal Scientist. He explains how much of the wet distiller grains a feedlot cattle producer can add to a ration…


Extending the grazing season through interseeding

Extending the grazing season through interseeding

By David Bennett

Delta Farm Press Editorial Staff

Interseeding cool-season annual grasses into bermudagrass is a common practice from the Deep South into Oklahoma. By doing so many producers expect to be able to graze the annuals in mid-March like they would with a small grain type field.

“Programs where we’re trying to grow a compatible third species to extend the grazing season can be management-intensive,” said Paul Beck, University of Arkansas Extension animal scientist, at the recent field day the Livestock and Forestry Branch Station in Batesville, Ark.

“We’re trying to keep production high on the bermudagrass while also trying to get good production from winter annuals.”

Beck has been working with interseeding small grains and ryegrass into bermudagrass for the last five or six years. In some research around his base of Hope, Ark., he’s worked with an economist.


Great Falls, Missoula livestock auction yards up for sale

Great Falls, Missoula livestock auction yards up for sale

GREAT FALLS, Mont. – The Western Livestock Auction here is up for sale at a listed price of $1.65 million.

The auction yard’s out-of-town owners are looking to retire from the business.

The yard has been on the market about three weeks, said Richard Smith, one of the owners who lives in Stevensville

The partners also own the auction yard is Missoula, which they are also selling.

“It’s time to downsize,” Smith said, adding that he and the other owners are at an age where they want to fish more and work less.

Western Livestock Auction, on the Vaughn Frontage Road west of Great Falls, has been in business since 1976, said Katie Ward, a real estate broker in Missoula.