Daily Archives: August 1, 2007

Staying In Business – Nutrition

Staying In Business – Nutrition


Most nutrition discussions mention matching forage and feed supplies to cattle nutrient needs. The key word here is matching. Accurately matching the supply of and demand on forage and feed supplies will assist with keeping nutrition costs from being higher than necessary while maintaining desired cattle performance. Keeping costs manageable becomes increasingly challenging in years like this one where drought conditions have significantly impacted forage production up to now. Areas where producers could see large impacts of management decisions on nutrition costs include, but are not limited to, the following items: 1) minimizing hay harvest, storage, and feeding waste; 2) purchasing commodity feeds in bulk; 3) dividing the herd into nutritional groups based on age, production stage, current body condition, and performance level; and 4) reducing stored feed needs through improved forage management and utilization.


Handling Cattle

Handling Cattle

Ropin’ the Web

            Understanding the flight zone

Cattle Behaviour

Effects of stress on cattle

    * Reduced weight gain

    * Poor reproductive performance

    * Reduced ability to fight disease

Temple Grandin says “Handling practices can be less stressful to the animals and safer for the handler if one understands the behavioural characteristics of livestock.”


Harvesting Summer Annual Grasses For Hay

Harvesting Summer Annual Grasses For Hay

Can hay from summer annual grasses be dry and high quality?

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

It is difficult to put up good quality hay – hay that is dry and will not heat or mold – from summer annual grasses like sorghum-sudan hybrids, pearl millet and forage sorghums. Obviously, this type of hay, which is also called cane hay, can be challenging to bale or stack.

Nearly all problems related to making good summer grass or cane hay are caused by the stems. Stems are low in protein and energy, slow to dry, and the lower stems contain most of the nitrates.

To solve some of these problems, cut early, when plants are only waist high and there is less plant volume, stems are smaller and readily eaten and the hay contains more protein and energy. The smaller stems also will help facilitate faster drying.


Voluntary or Visionary?

Voluntary or Visionary?

By Holly Foster

Beef Today

Since its introduction, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has been a moving target for producers to understand, let alone implement. Should something that seems so important to the future of the livestock industry in the U.S. be so hard to figure out?

For several years, the U.S. beef industry has noted the importance of developing a standardized national animal identification system. Such a system would help with foreign trade, allow more vigorous traceback and help health officials deal with disease outbreaks.

But lots of people worry about the loss of freedom and the potential for abuse of their private information.


Feeding Cull Cows

Feeding Cull Cows

Evan Vermeer, PAS

Beef Technical Consultant, Quality Liquid Feeds

With the imminent opening of the IQB harvesting plant in Tama, IA, comes some interest in feeding cull cows.  American Foods of Green Bay, WI is the operating partner in the ICA venture and they have a desire to acquire fed cull cows or white fat cows.  Recently, a feeding project coordinated by ISU extension was concluded in SW Iowa.  Here are the observations:

The type of cow purchased is very important.  She must be sound, healthy, open, and in thin to moderate condition.  Avoid cows that are too thin and very sucked up.  They may be permanently hurt.  Also be sure to avoid cows that are devoid of muscling or very flat muscled.  The ideal cow to put on feed probably weighs from 1150 to 1275.


Heifer Development Programs Build Next Generation

Heifer Development Programs Build Next Generation

by: Clifford Mitchell

Cattle Today

Making improvement is the goal of most cattlemen. Producers have been very quick to measure things that were easy to evaluate such as weaning and yearling weights. Commercial cattlemen quickly began putting stock in these figures as a form of genetic improvement. From these early performance figures, breed associations have developed Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) which have also been readily accepted by the commercial sector.

As the commercial cow/calf man began to make genetic improvement through the purchase of better bulls, questions surfaced about replacement heifers year after year. Many cattlemen were finding these females had already hit the cull pen before they had reached the prime production years.

“Without evaluation, most producers didn’t realize these females had increased nutritional requirements based on the genetic improvement they had made by selecting better bulls,” says Dr. Dave Patterson, Extension Beef Specialist, University of Missouri. Patterson has been a driving force in setting guidelines for heifer development across the country and is in his 10th year working with the Show Me Select program.


Livestock show circuit: ‘It’s our golf’

Livestock show circuit: ‘It’s our golf’

Hobby expensive but builds character

By Robert Themer

Exhibitors parade their steers in the open and junior beef show a the Iroquois County Fair.

The kid with the $7 spray can of glue, ratting the tail of a steer at Kankakee County Fair this week, is part of a massive livestock show industry that is a kind of agricultural recreation — but it still helps put food on the table.

“It’s our golf,” a young swine exhibitor once said.

Golf can get expensive. The livestock show circuit may leave golf in the rough.

Troy Gullquist of Milford bought steers for his sons, Jordan, 11, and Jacob, 13, to show at the Iroquois County Fair two weeks ago.

One cost $1,500 at a club calf sale in Indiana, the other $1,200 from a local show calf producer.


Excessive rain could threaten livestock

Excessive rain could threaten livestock

Wilson County News

Rushing water, stagnant ponds, or even the dry stages after wet periods can lead to outbreaks of livestock disease. Mosquitoes and biting flies capable of carrying and transmitting diseases thrive in the damp weather, and naturally occurring anthrax can take a toll on livestock and wildlife when pastures dry after prolonged wet periods.

Horse owners should take precautions against mosquito-transmitted diseases by having their animals vaccinated against West Nile Virus and the reportable diseases Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis.

“If you wait until cases of ‘sleeping sickness’ occur in your area, you may have waited too long to vaccinate,” said Dr. Bob Hillman, state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state’s livestock and poultry health regulatory agency.


Drought forcing cattle farmers to thin their herds

Drought forcing cattle farmers to thin their herds

By: Stoney Sharp


For farmers in East Tennessee, it’s a stampede to the market.

“I’ve hauled 3 times more than I did last year,” said Ted Hall of Sneedville. “I’ve probably hauled 10 loads in the last 2 weeks.”

However, it’s a drive they’d rather not make. The dry ponds and dying grass leave the farmers with no other choice than to sell their stock.

“I’m reducing a heard of 80 to about 45 right now because of the lack of pasture and feed,” said Gary Johnson of Morristown.

Johnson said that this is the biggest blow to his farm since his start in 1973.

“You would like to put cattle on market with meat and bones but we don’t have any other option.”

The only option for Johnson is the Knoxville Livestock Center’s weekly auction.


Drought: Farmers see little to no rain in most of the county

Drought: Farmers see little to no rain in most of the county

By James Roberts

Central Kentucky News Journal

Doug Underwood watches as his 5-year-old son Ryan runs through the cornfield. The image paints a telling picture of a farming community in the grip of a drought.

As Ryan runs through the corn, the leaves barely brush his shoulders.

“We shouldn’t be able to see him right now,” Underwood said.


S. Korea to inspect U.S. beef industry ahead of rule revision

S. Korea to inspect U.S. beef industry ahead of rule revision

By Lee Joon-seung

Yonhap News

South Korean quarantine experts plan to conduct on-site inspections of the U.S. meat industry prior to revising current beef import guidelines, the government said Thursday.


Feds make funding available for cattle TB outbreak

Feds make funding available for cattle TB outbreak


After pushing the Bush administration to release funds to address the latest cattle tuberculosis outbreak in eastern New Mexico, the state’s two senators say federal officials will make $37 million available.

Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman learned about the funding this evening.

They say it will allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for destroying the infected dairy herds and carryout other activities to contain the situation.


ICA of Texas supports country of origin labeling

ICA of Texas supports country of origin labeling

Wilson County News

LOCKHART — The officers, directors, and members of the Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas is pleased with the House Agriculture Committee for passing the compromise agreement which makes mandatory country of origin labeling (M-COOL) one step closer to reality for U.S. beef producers and consumers. The cattlemen’s association fully supports these changes, which are part of the 2007 Farm Bill.

“The cow/calf producer soon will have the opportunity to have their U.S. beef products identified as ‘born, raised and processed’ in the United States,” said the association’s president, H.A. “Peanut” Gilfillian of Stowell.

“We have fought a long, hard battle to implement country-of-origin labeling, and we have struggled to maintain simple and workable methods to identify U.S. beef,” he said.

The 2007 Farm Bill will be voted on by the entire House in the near future, and the supporters of M-COOL continue to work hard to advance this legislation with the proposed changes to the M-COOL requirements. Contrary to information released prior to the agreement, the proposed amendments to the existing M-COOL law allow the producer to utilize “existing normal course of business” records to designate the country-of-origin of their cattle.


Stocker Cattle Forum: What About Foot Rot Cases?

Stocker Cattle Forum: What About Foot Rot Cases?


Another common condition that often necessitates the use of antibiotics in cattle is “foot rot” or what is medically termed interdigital phlegmon. It is an infection of the soft tissue between the claws (digits) of the feet and is caused by two anaerobic bacteria (these are bacteria that grow in the absence of oxygen), Fusobacterium necrophorum and Bacteroides melaninogenicus. These bacteria are common in the environment and F. necrophorum is present in the rumen and feces of normal cattle. Fusobacterium necrophorum is the same agent that causes liver abscesses in dairy cattle and feedlot calves. Once these bacteria invade the skin of the foot, they rapidly cause the condition we recognize as foot rot.


Old farmers changing agriculture, rural communities

Old farmers changing agriculture, rural communities

By John Seewer, The Associated Press

Rapid City Journal

PEMBERVILLE, Ohio — Like many farmers, Roger Burtchin is approaching an age when others are thinking about retiring.

But he has no plans to stop planting corn and soybeans.

“Farming’s one of those things that gets in your blood,” he said. “Even when things get tough, you still enjoy it.”

So many American farmers are working longer than ever before that one in four is at least 65 years old. Computerized gadgets that steer tractors and deliver feed to hogs allow farmers to work past traditional retirement ages. Many stay on because they don’t have a retirement plan or because their children have no interest in farming.

Within the next decade those older farmers will be looking for someone to take over their operations and selling millions of acres of land.

Much of that land will be merged into bigger farms with fewer people working on them. Rural communities will lose even more young people, and a few will struggle for survival. Some stores that sell tractors and fertilizer will suffer.