Daily Archives: May 8, 2007

Horn Flies are the topic of today’s of Herdcast

Horn Flies are the topic of today’s of Herdcast

Today Dr. Ralph Williams, Entomology Department, Purdue University, continues his four part series on Fly control. Today’s topic is “Horn Flies”

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Modern grass cattle concepts

Modern grass cattle concepts

Western Livestock Journal

Cattle genetics have changed and backgrounders may need to react.

Frank Brazle, retired Kansas State University Extension beef specialist, has studied the stocker industry for more than 30 years.

“There used to be just acres and acres of light-weight cattle, and they had to be backgrounded,” he says. “The cows didn’t milk as well and the calves didn’t have the growth.”

Now most of those lighter calves are specific to the “fescue belt”—from southeast Kansas to the southern Appalachians—where endophyte fungus can retard milk production. Otherwise, calves are coming off the cow weighing more than ever before, says Brazle.


Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Treating Respiratory Disease

Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Treating Respiratory Disease


Develop a plan for treating sick animals before they get sick. It is important to get your veterinarian involved before the cattle arrive. This involves setting criteria for which animals will be treated for illness, what animal health products will be used, for how long and how many products will be tried before the animal is considered a “chronic.”

At the U of A, the criteria used for treatment are a rectal body temperature of 104° Fahrenheit or greater, depression, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, difficult breathing and coughing. Many animals will not show all of these symptoms.

Learning to recognize sick animals is an art. When animals are pulled sick, one antibiotic is tried initially for the prescribed dose and time. The animal is rechecked in 24 to 48 hours. If the antibiotic does not appear to be working, another is used. After a third treatment, the animal is on its own. If these animals die, there will be so much lung damage that the animal had no chance of recovering.


Beef Tenderness — Genetics And Management

Beef Tenderness — Genetics And Management

By Troy Marshall

Beef magazine

A checkoff-funded study on beef tenderness provided some carcass insights between steers and heifers. Authored by Colorado State University’s Darryl Tatum, the study showed that, despite heifers tending to have higher quality grades than steers, they’re consistently tougher, have a much higher percentage of undesirable eating experiences due to tenderness, and produce a significantly higher number of dark cutters.

The report recommends longer aging periods for heifers (21 days), and more caution in their handling in order to reduce pre-harvest stress.

Hormonal effects are also believed to be a contributing factor to the heifer tenderness issue. Spaying of heifers and MGA feeding (MGA should not be removed from heifers more than 24 hours pre-harvest), and not using aggressive implant procedures were some of the tactics suggested to improve tenderness in heifers. Longer aging also tends to mitigate the effects of aggressive implant procedures on tenderness.


High Quality Cattle Perform

High Quality Cattle Perform

Profit Tip


Cattle need to grow fast and efficiently convert feed into kind of beef consumers want for them to make a profit in feedlot. That’s not as difficult as some people think, but takes a balanced approach. Research shows you don’t have choose between carcass merit and performance planning for maximum profit. 


Targeted Grazing


Targeted Grazing

by Kindra Gordon

Angus Journal

There’s a new movement gaining momentum among rangeland managers. It’s called targeted grazing, and it has the potential to help combat invasive weeds, reduce fuel loads for fire risk, and restore rangelands and forests.

Obviously there’s nothing new about livestock grazing, but Karen Launchbaugh, chair of the University of Idaho’s Rangeland Ecology Department, says, “We are using grazing in a new way that offers an ecologically friendly aspect to help restore landscapes.


Scientists want pasture to pack more punch

Scientists want pasture to pack more punch

Philip Hopkins


A NEW research project aims to boost productivity in the livestock industry by creating more nutritional and higher-quality pastures.

The research focuses on the discovery of genetic markers in perennial ryegrass and white clover.

The Molecular Plant Breeding Co-operative Research Centre has received an extra $6 million for the research, bringing investment in the project to $11 million.


Farm: The phenomenon of grass tetany

Farm: The phenomenon of grass tetany

By MARK MECHLING, OSU Extension Agent

Zanesville Times Recorder

Forage growth in pastures and hay fields is taking off. This new growth can be a problem in regards to a lack of magnesium. Mark Landefeld, Extension Educator in Monroe County, explains more about “grass tetany.”

As the weather continues to warm and pastures grow, farm managers should be aware of the term hypomagnesemia or “grass tetany.” Turning cows or sheep out to new lush pastures can cause the lowering of blood levels of magnesium and an imbalance of electrolytes. This dangerous and unwanted condition is increased in pastures if nitrogen is applied in spring, if soils contain high levels of potassium, or low soil pH conditions exist. There is a relationship between soil phosphorus content and magnesium uptake in forages too. If phosphorus is low, even if soil magnesium is adequate, the plant may not take up magnesium in adequate amounts to meet the cow’s needs.


Endophytes hold key to improved forages

Endophytes hold key to improved forages

Southwest Farm Press

Fungal endophytes may hold the key to improving the forage quality of tall fescues, says Joe Bouton, a Senior Vice President and Director of the Noble Foundation’s Forage Improvement Division in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Bouton recently discussed the Noble Foundation’s efforts at the International Symposium on Fungal Endophytes of Grasses in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“The Noble Foundation is involved in expanding plant science at every level from local and regional to nationally and internationally,” said Bouton. “Fungal endophyte research is a (rapidly) expanding field because of what (endophytes) can do for plants. Fungal endophytes live inside plants, such as tall fescue, and have a mutually beneficial relationship with their hosts, often improving the plant’s persistence and performance.”

Tall fescue, a cool-season perennial grass, is a staple of U.S. farmers and ranchers and covers more than 40 million acres in the United States alone. Tall fescue is naturally infected with fungal endophytes, some of which are not beneficial to livestock, Bouton said.


Ban on horse slaughter would backfire, add to abandonment …

Ban on horse slaughter would backfire, add to abandonment …

Louisville Courier-Journal

I hope that you will take a moment to let your senators know that you oppose S.311, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, and to review the facts about horse slaughter.

This country and, particularly, the state of Kentucky cannot afford to let emotional rhetoric of animal rights groups overwhelm reasoning.

Horse processing is necessary to the horse industry. It ensures that a humane, federally supervised end-of-life option is available to unwanted horses. Here are a few reasons why:


Moving cattle safely from ranch to rail

Moving cattle safely from ranch to rail

Checkoff-funded training program aims to mitigate injury to cattle in transit

High Plains Journal

Cattle are typically transported two to four times during their lives, making travel the second most stressful event for them, next to severe weather. And if careful animal-handling practices are not followed during travel, stress can directly affect beef quality and cost producers money. A new beef checkoff-funded DVD and print piece, Master Cattle Transporter Guide, illustrates best practices to keep cattle safe and healthy as they move from ranch to rail.

National beef quality audits show bruising and rough handling of cattle during transportation costs the industry more than $114 million a year in trimmed carcasses and dark cutters. Stress on feeder cattle during transit to feedlots or stocker yards can lead to increased sickness, limiting potential performance of those calves for the rest of their lives, noted Anne Burkholder, chair of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Animal Health and Nutrition Committee.


Ethanol plants turn some against the grain

Ethanol plants turn some against the grain




PORTLAND, Ind. – The ethanol refineries sprouting across the Corn Belt are typically touted as desperately needed economic engines for rural towns, a boon for American farmers and a way to ease the heavy dependence on foreign oil.

When James Clear hears the word ethanol, he instead thinks about the tons of pollutants that will come from the 50-acre industrial complex being built on the edge of this eastern Indiana town.


Tyson Trims Beef Production

Tyson Trims Beef Production

The Morning News (AR)

Tyson Foods Inc. said two of its beef facilities sat idle Monday while two others ran shorter shifts due to “unfavorable market conditions.”

The movement of product into the market is not enough to cover the cost of cattle, said Tyson Foods spokesman Gary Mickelson.

One of the plants affected was the company’s largest facility in Amarillo, Texas. That facility has an estimated slaughter capacity of 5,700 head. The company did not disclose the other locations.

Springdale-based Tyson Foods, The world’s largest beef processor, has eight U.S. beef plants along with a large Canadian operation in Brooks, Alberta, and a beef joint venture in Argentina.

The margins began deteriorating on higher live cattle prices that started up in March on immediate supply concerns coupled with higher corn costs.


Horse Slaughter to Resume In Illinois

Horse Slaughter to Resume In Illinois


As the result of a federal court ruling, the horse slaughter plant in DeKalb, Ill., will temporarily be able to resume business.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit May 1 granted Cavel International slaughterhouse’s emergency request for a stay while it is considering an appeal of a lower court’s order last month halting federal inspection of horses. That ruling shut down the slaughterhouse because it is not allowed to operate without federal inspectors on site.

The dissenting judge disagreed with the idea the slaughterhouse would go out of business without the stay, noting it successfully reopened two years after a fire.

Although the ruling will allow the plant to reopen for now, horse slaughter has been a controversial issue on both the state and federal level. The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill April 18 that would outlaw horse slaughter for human consumption in the state. The bill passed 74-41, and is now in the Illinois Senate’s Public Health Committee.


Now Is The Time For No-Till Pasture Renovation

Now Is The Time For No-Till Pasture Renovation


Illinois livestock producers, who are interested in renovating their pastures and planting legumes, are usually faced with cold, wet soil conditions during March and April. Bob Frazee, University of Illinois Natural Resources Educator reports that many livestock producers are hoping for a “normal” spring in 2007 that will allow them to improve the quality and production from their pasture.

No-till seeding, or interseeding, is one popular method many producers are using in an effort to “leguminize” pasture. In fact, Frazee reports that in 2006, Illinois farmers planted 31% of their forage crop acres utilizing no-till methods. Interseeding legumes (alfalfa, red clover or birdsfoot trefoil) into pastures increases both the yield and quality of the pasture. No-till seedings minimize soil erosion hazards and usually don’t completely destroy the existing pasture. The practice of using a herbicide to subdue existing pasture plants and then seeding with a no-till seeder has proven very successful in many research trials and farm seedings.


Pinzgauer Cattle Can Make a Difference in Profitability

Pinzgauer Cattle Can Make a Difference in Profitability

Cattle Today

The Pinzgauer breed of cattle is one of the oldest breeds in the world. The breed is not a cross of any breed, but one that can trace its genetics back to herd books from the 1600’s. The earliest reports state that around 600 A.D., herdsmen in the Alpine region of Europe developed a herd of cattle that would thrive on small, rocky pastures. They were looking for a type of cattle that could withstand harsh environmental conditions and still produce quality milk and meat. The breed spread throughout Europe and made their way to North American in 1972.

Because of their selective breeding, the Pinzgauer cow possesses excellent maternal traits. Adding Pinzgauer to your herd will increase your weaning weights. The females produce ample milk that is high in butterfat. That translates into healthy calves that show excellent weight per day of age. Pinzgauer females are extremely fertile and breed back quickly. They routinely produce 500-600 lbs of calf every 11 to 12 months.