Daily Archives: August 9, 2007

Water Quality Can Affect Livestock Weight Gain

Water Quality Can Affect Livestock Weight Gain

By Roxanne Johnson, Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University.


Studies indicate water quality is tied to forage consumption in livestock, which has an impact on weight gain.

The quality of the water livestock drink can have a major impact on the animals’ water intake and weight gain, according to a North Dakota State University water quality expert.

“Canadian studies have shown the quality of water accessible to livestock is directly tied to the amount of forage they consume,” says Roxanne Johnson, Extension Service water quality associate. “Improved water palatability increases water and feed consumption, which is demonstrated as an increased rate of gain.”


State Veterinarian suggests precautions

State Veterinarian suggests precautions

by Dave Russell

Brownfield Network

With the latest foot and mouth disease outbreak in the United Kingdom, Indiana State Veterinarian Dr. Bret Marsh is urging livestock producers here to take precautions.

“They need to be cognizant of who comes on and off their operations, that they continue to observe their animals, so if they see abnormal signs particularly with foot and mouth disease where there are blisters or vesicles on teats, on snouts of pigs, or the mouths of cattle, that if those are signs they see to be to call a veterinarian or the Board of Animal Health (BOAH) and we’ll get help to the site to make a final determination,” said Dr. Marsh. “It’s a time to be particularly diligent, making sure we’re watching those animals and aware of what’s going on in our populations.”


Veterinarians and BQA

Veterinarians and BQA

By Dee Griffin


In 1982, the United States Department of Agriculture-Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) began working with the beef industry in the United States to develop the Pre-Harvest Beef Safety Production Program. The beef industry adopted the term Beef Quality Assurance (BQA). The BQA program is a cooperative effort between beef producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, Extension staff and other professionals, and asks them to follow accepted guidelines for product use and to use common sense, reasonable management skills and accepted scientific knowledge to avoid product defects at the consumer level. Its goal is to ensure the consumer that all cattle shipped from a beef production unit are healthy, wholesome and safe, and their management has met FDA, USDA and EPA standards.


Harkin: GAO finds weakness in USDA’s animal ID plan

Harkin: GAO finds weakness in USDA’s animal ID plan


A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report requested by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and released today found weaknesses in USDA’s plan to implement a national animal identification system. Harkin asked GAO to examine USDA’s animal ID plan in November 2005 after concerns were raised that USDA was not effectively implementing the system and not informing producers and livestock market operators how much the system will cost their operations.  Harkin is chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

In response to concerns about animal disease outbreaks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in December 2003 that it would implement a nationwide program — later named the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) — to help producers and animal health officials respond quickly and effectively to animal disease outbreaks in the United States.


Match Forage Supplies to Livestock Needs Calculator

Match Forage Supplies to Livestock Needs Calculator

Ropin’ the Web

As we progress through the fall, weaning and breeding stock retention decisions are being made. Producers are checking feed supplies and estimating additional purchases required and/or how many head they will be feeding on their farms over the winter feeding season.

The “Drought Options” article, “Beef Cow-Calf Operation Reduction Strategies” lays out a straight forward process for estimating the number of head you will be able to winter on your existing forages supplies (or conversely, how much extra forage you will need to maintain your breeding herd and/or retained calves). As producers’ time is best spent assessing the strategy that best suits their operations, a few Alberta Agriculture staff teamed up to develop a quick “calculator” to estimate potential forage shortfalls or surpluses associated with each of the management options producers may have in mind.


Six ways to monitor and measure the success of a management program.

Six ways to monitor and measure the success of a management program.

by Kindra Gordon

Hereford World

Why is it that some ranch operations are viable and profitable when others are not? Most would agree that the answer to business success — whether operating a ranch entity or a Fortune 500 company — lies in management and planning.

Successful management is the ability to look toward the future, embrace new concepts and technologies, and implement a well-thought-out plan that complements all aspects of the business.


Forage Focus: Stockpiling Fescue

Forage Focus: Stockpiling Fescue


Stockpiling fescue for most producers requires the least effort and is the cheapest winter feeding option available. Stockpiling is easy. First make the last cutting or grazing, anytime from the end of July through September. Keep in mind, the earlier you start, the higher the yield, but the lower the quality. Also the later you start, the higher the quality, but with a lower yield.

After the last cut or graze then add nitrogen (N). The addition of N when stockpiling begins will result in increased yields. Trials have shown an economical response from 40 to 100 pounds of actual N per acre. We recommend fifty pounds actual N per acre. If clovers are in the stand then the N may not be needed. Research shows little response to N application where the stand consists of more than 40% red clover. Make sure it is a stable form of nitrogen. Applications of urea-based fertilizers in summer result in losses of nitrogen due to nitrogen volatilization.


Corn Silage: a new look at an old friend.

Corn Silage: a new look at an old friend.

Jeff Pastoor, Senior Cattle Consultant, P.A.S.


Corn Silage is a great feed for cattle.  It carries both energy and roughage and it often adds palatability to the diet.  Historically, it has also been viewed as a way to maximize the amount of beef produced per acre of crop ground.

 Over the last 10 years it has fallen out of favor in many feedlots because of economics.  Based on crop input, harvesting, and storage costs, corn silage has commonly come into the diet at ~$25/ton.  With corn at or below $2/bu, the availability of wet co-products and ground hay (or corn stalks) it was often more cost effective to formulate feedlot diets without corn silage.

 Now, with higher corn and hay costs, corn silage has much greater value then it has had for many years.  With corn at $3/bu and hay at $100/ton, corn silage actually has a nutrient worth of about $40/ton.  The old thumb-rule of corn silage being 10x the value of corn/bu still seems to be a good guideline. 


Value Of A Brand

Value Of A Brand

Clint Peck

Beef Magazine

Increasing demand has been a major challenge of the U.S. beef industry over the past 25 years. And the proliferation of branded-beef products and program-production systems is testimony to the industry’s response to the competition.

 “Developing brands for retail beef may be one means of increasing beef demand,” says Clem Ward, Oklahoma State University (OSU) Extension economist. “We know consumers want producers and food companies to provide a consistent, tender and high-quality product.”


Time for making feed decisions

Time for making feed decisions


Glasgow Daily Times

After last week’s article to discuss advantages of harvesting forages as they become mature, let’s continue the thought process to further plan for the winter feeding situation approaching.

The late freeze damaged early-season hay fields and reduced total volume of first cutting cool-season grasses substantially. Then the dry conditions cost more early-season growth. Now that we are receiving moisture, we still encourage getting what you can, when available. We still encourage producers not to panic and buy poor quality hay for high prices when better alternatives are still available.


Ethanol Raising Price of Beef

Ethanol Raising Price of Beef

By Noel Sheppard

News Busters

So, you want to use corn to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, huh? Have you thought through all of the ramifications first?

For instance, how are cattle ranchers going to afford to feed their cows, and what might that do to the availability of beef around the country and its price?

Clearly, such issues weren’t fully considered before Congress decided to mandate the use of ethanol additives in gasoline as reported by the New York Sun Wednesday (emphasis added):


Beef field day Sept. 15

Beef field day Sept. 15

Delta Farm Press

Beef herd owners will hear several ways to capture more value from their feeder calves during a field day, Sept. 15, at the University of Missouri South Farm.

“The second annual day will feature beef research and Extension programs at the Beef Research and Teaching Farm,” said Bob Weaber, MU Extension beef specialist. The farm is off Highway 63, south of Columbia, Mo.

Justin Sexten, new MU Extension beef nutritionist, will tell of “Adding Value to Calves by Backgrounding.”

“Value of Preconditioning and Evaluation of BVD (bovine viral diarrhea) Effects” will be described by John Paterson, beef researcher at Montana State University and former faculty member at the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Keep Herd Health Simple and Make it Fit the Beef Cattle Operation

Keep Herd Health Simple and Make it Fit the Beef Cattle Operation

E. J. Richey

IFAS Extension

To be able to use herd health programs effectively, they must be simple and fit the cattle operation. How is herd (animal) health kept simple? Know what a healthy herd is!

If these levels intercept, for any reason, sickness occurs; if the resistance level drops to below the disease challenge level, sickness occurs ( Figure 2 ); if the disease challenge level rises to above the resistance level, sickness occurs ( Figure 3 ). The worst scenario occurs when the resistance level is dropping at the same time the disease challenge is on the rise; cattle get severely sick, very fast ( Figure 4 ). The resistance level of an animal or a herd can be lowered by excessive stresses put upon the herd. Such stresses include, but are not limited to:

    * Poor Nutrition,

    * Shipping

    * Winter Storms

    * Processing

    * Heat Stress.


Cattle Update: What Is Age & Source Verification?

Cattle Update: What Is Age & Source Verification?


Age and Source Verification has been a topic of increasing interest in the beef industry, as the Japanese and other foreign markets have reopened to US beef.  Beef export regulations have clearly defined the meaning of Age and Source Verification, as age and source claims must by documented and verified through a recognized USDA program.  These programs include the USDA Process Verified Program (PVP) or a USDA Quality System Assessment (QSA).


Farmer attacks police with muck spreader

Farmer attacks police with muck spreader


A German farmer angry with police for trying to confiscate his tractor wrecked three patrol cars and evaded capture for seven hours before an elite unit managed to arrest him, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

The farmer, 53, was pulled over by police for driving his tractor without a license, despite several previous warnings.

The officers called in three patrol cars for help before asking the farmer to get out of his vehicle.

He refused, and proceeded to ram the cars with his tractor, making full use of its attached muck spreader and hydraulic fork. Officers were only just able to scramble out of harm’s way.