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.