Daily Archives: July 12, 2007

BeefTalk: Back to the Fungus

BeefTalk: Back to the Fungus

It is through monitoring and evaluation of the plants that one really learns the guts of a grass operation.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Reviewing the cow-calf priority list (“Priorities First: Identifying Management Priorities in the Commercial Cow-calf Business”) that was summarized and authored by Tom Field, Ph.D., Fort Collins, Colo., it is very obvious that the highest priorities for cow-calf producers are directly related to the purpose of the cow.


Prussic Acid Poisoning in Sudan-sorghums

Prussic Acid Poisoning in Sudan-sorghums

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

Beef producers should be aware that prussic acid poisoning is a threat to their animals each fall. Sudan grass, sorghums and their hybrids contain cyanogenetic glycosides that are converted to prussic acid during the digestion process.

The cyanogenetic glycosides generally do not cause a problem until the something causes the plant to increase the concentration. The wilting of these plants caused by a light frost results in an increase in these compounds great enough to be toxic to animals.


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Preventing Worker Deaths and Injuries When Handling Micotil 300®

Preventing Worker Deaths and Injuries When Handling Micotil 300®

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Livestock producers, veterinarians, and other workers may be exposed to the toxic hazards of the animal antibiotic Micotil 300® through needlestick injuries, skin cuts, puncture wounds, and contact with skin and mucous membranes. Cardio-toxic effects of Micotil 300® on the human heart, including a reduced cardiac contractility and tachycardia (rapid heart beat), can be severe enough to cause death.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that extreme care be given to following safe drug handling and injection procedures to avoid the possibility of self injection. Although no antidote exists for Micotil 300®, exposed persons should seek immediate medical intervention as the drug’s cardiotoxic effects may be reversed.


Sarcoptic Mange in Cattle

Sarcoptic Mange in Cattle

Ropin’ the Web

Sarcoptic mange, or barn itch, is a disease caused by the parasitic mite, Sarcoptes scabiei. Mange produced by this mite can be severe because the mite burrows deeply into the skin, causing intense itching. Cattle affected by sarcoptic mange lose grazing time and do not gain weight as rapidly as do uninfected cattle.

Life cycle of Sarcoptes scabiei

The entire life cycle of this microscopic mite (see Figure 1) occurs on the cow and takes 14 to 21 days to complete:


Maintaining Grazing Quality is Key

Maintaining Grazing Quality is Key


Promar Regional Consultant David Burns considers what actions farmers should be taking to make the most of grazing during July and early August.

In that peaceful lull between first and second cut it may seem odd to be talking about late July grazing management, but if the last few years are anything to go by it will make sense to gets plans in place now.

Although the results from our contributors around the country show that grass quality is holding up well with good ‘D’ values, growth rates are more variable. This is likely to remain the case especially if we get another long, dry spell as has been the case in recent years.

The aims with mid-summer grazing management are to maintain a good supply of good quality grazing and to maintain yields from forage during the July – August period. Nitrogen applications in the next few days will be crucial. Most of the country is forecast some rain so use the opportunity to make sure all grazing has been top dressed.

The key to maintaining grass quality is to give grass a chance to recover and this will mean not grazing new growth too tightly and allowing a sensible break between grazings to allow an adequate ratio of leaf to stem to develop.


Beef Quality follows a Seasonal Pattern

Beef Quality follows a Seasonal Pattern

Cattle Today

Each year, beef quality grade follows a seasonal pattern with a late-winter peak before a sharp drop in the spring. As measured by percent USDA Choice in the fed cattle harvest mix, quality improves a bit in midsummer but hits a second valley in September.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for these variations.

Vitamin overdose?

“Calves coming off short periods on winter wheat pasture or lush spring growth are going to be loaded up with vitamin A,” says Steve Loerch, of The Ohio State University. That vegetation is high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the animal.

“Vitamin A inhibits the development of fat cells, which is great if you’re a human,” he says. “It’s not the best thing for a feedlot calf because the intramuscular fat [marbling] is caused largely by the development and multiplication of fat cells.”


Animal welfare council reports on year’s progress

Animal welfare council reports on year’s progress

The Horse

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) issued its 2006 Annual Report yesterday.

Chairman of NAWAC, Dr Peter O’Hara, said 2006 was a busy year that saw the committee involved in the development and release of two codes of welfare – one for deer, the other for companion cats, host a stakeholder workshop to discuss the future of pain relief, and establish an advisory committee to plan and encourage the research needed for the reviews of the broiler and layer hen codes of welfare.

He said codes, issued under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, “challenge current practices or perceived wisdom” about animal welfare.

“For example, the deer code raised the issue of shelter for deer, both for protection in extreme weather and to allow the instinctive hiding behaviour of hinds for their fawns. As it stands, it is currently commonplace to see herds of deer in bare paddocks with no access to shelter.”


Central Utah cattlemen worry about how to feed livestock now that fire has ravaged the range

Central Utah cattlemen worry about how to feed livestock now that fire has ravaged the range

By Christopher Smart

The Salt Lake Tribune

Newell Chlarson is one worried cowboy.

Most of the 3,000 “mother cows” from the White Sage Ranch he manages survived the weekend blowup of the Milford Flat fire that has charred a huge chunk of winter grazing land in Beaver and Millard counties.

The question now is: what are his cattle going to eat from October till next spring?

“I’ve got a lot of concern,” he said Wednesday. “Where am I going to put them?”

Some 40 or more ranchers in this central Utah area, where agriculture is the backbone of the economy, face a tough decision: do they go broke buying hay or take the cattle to auction

fire ranchers


Industrial farming threatens species diversity: UN agency

Industrial farming threatens species diversity: UN agency


The boom in industrial farming is threatening the diversity of farm animals, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned Thursday.

It said in a report that for the last seven years on average one domestic species has vanished every month.

“Livestock production focused on a narrow range of breeds is the biggest threat to the worlds farm animal diversity,” according to a report presented to the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Surging global demand for meat, milk and eggs has led to heavy reliance on high-output animals intensively bred to supply uniform products, according to the report.


Cattle producers facing short hay supplies amid drought

Cattle producers facing short hay supplies amid drought


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky cattle producers are looking skyward these days for any signs of rainfall. Without some relief soon, the cattlemen are facing difficult choices to cope with a dry spell that has parched pastures and curtailed hay production.

Danny Peyton, who manages a cattle operation in western Kentucky, says it’s OK now but the farmers are in a fragile situation.

With much of the state in moderate to severe drought, hay is becoming a precious commodity in Kentucky, the nation’s leading beef cattle producer east of the Mississippi River.

Hay reserves aren’t as plentiful as usual because of a subpar spring hay crop blamed on an early April freeze followed by the current dry spell.


Statement by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Regarding Progress in Expanding Beef Trade

Statement by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Regarding Progress in Expanding Beef Trade


“Recent developments are demonstrating that our constructive and steady discussions with our trading partners are showing positive results for future U.S. beef exports. I am gratified that progress has been made with three key nations.

“Japan today announced, after its recent audits of U.S. meat plants, that it has eliminated its 100-percent re-inspection of U.S. beef and beef products, and will implement a sampling-based protocol. We are eager to refocus our discussions with Japan on beef trade based on OIE standards.

“Recently, South Korea agreed to resume imports of U.S. boneless beef, and we continue to press them to implement import requirements for U.S. beef and beef products consistent with OIE guidelines on BSE.


State told to slaughter quarantined cattle herd

State told to slaughter quarantined cattle herd


Bozeman Daily Chronicle

A special meeting of the Montana Board of Livestock on Wednesday spelled out one of the things that scares ranchers the most when it comes to brucellosis: big, cumbersome, bossy bureaucracy.

Bridger-area Ranchers Jim and Sandy Morgan agreed that federal rules mean their herd of about 600 cattle must be destroyed after seven animals tested positive for brucellosis in May. If the animals don’t die, the entire state will lose its brucellosis-free status, affecting hundreds of ranchers.

However, the Morgans don’t believe they should be put out of business because a disease arrived through no fault of their own.

“This is our livelihood and our whole lives we’re talking about,” Jim Morgan told the board in a teleconference. “We’re willing to do everything we can to help the state out and we would like a little help in return.”



NCBA Editorial: Let’s Fix COOL, Before It Hurts Cattlemen

NCBA Editorial: Let’s Fix COOL, Before It Hurts Cattlemen


Congress needs to repair several flaws before COOL’s 2008 effective date

Congress passed a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law for many fresh meat products as part of the 2002 Farm Bill. Its implementation has been delayed a number of times, mainly because of the logistical nightmares it will create for the livestock industry.

NCBA members do not oppose the concept of COOL. We raise the safest and best beef in the world, and we are proud to put a USA label on it. But specific flaws in the 2002 law are harmful to cattlemen, which is why NCBA has made several efforts to fix the statute. Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to do so, and we are all out of reprieves. Mandatory COOL is going into effect in September of 2008 – there’s just no way around it. This gives us very little time to persuade Congress to address the shortcomings of this law. But that’s exactly what we need to do, and we need your help.


Cattle Preconditioning Forum: When To Use Tube Dehorning

Cattle Preconditioning Forum: When To Use Tube Dehorning


Tube dehorning is best done in calves less than 2 months of age with horns less than 11/2 inches long. A special instrument, which comes in several sizes, is used to cut out the horn button and surrounding skin from the head.


East Tennessee farmers see relief in rain drops

East Tennessee farmers see relief in rain drops

By: Robin Murdoch,


Wednesday saw some relief for the crushing drought that has hit East Tennessee farmers hard.

“I think it’s wonderful, said Mike Bell, a Hamblen County farmer. “I hope it continues for a little while.”

Rainfall totals from January until the end of June show Hamblen County is more than 11 inches below normal.

The Austin and Bell Farms grow tobacco, strawberries, hay, and wheat. They also raise beef cattle. Bell says his crops are really thirsty.

“The most serious thing is the cattle, the pasture situation and the hay situation,” Bell added.

He has already sold almost 20 of his beef cattle because he can’t grow enough to feed them. For now, he feeds them hay, which he normally saves for winter.