Daily Archives: August 20, 2007

Biggest costs of bloat may be in undiagnosed cattle

Biggest costs of bloat may be in undiagnosed cattle

Submitted by harminka


Cattle deaths due to bloat are an economic loss, but the greater cost may come during the early stages of bloat, said a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher at Vernon.

“What you don’t see will be the hidden loss of depressed animal gains ranging from one-third to a little more than one pound per day over a 60-day bloat period in cattle with slight to moderate bloat,” said Dr. Bill Pinchak, Experiment Station range animal nutritionist.


Know Your Feed Terms

Know Your Feed Terms

Ropin’ the Web

When you are talking nutrition and feeds with your feed salesperson, livestock nutritionist, veterinarian or neighbour, it is important that you both speak the same language and understand what the other person means.

You will find this list of common meanings of feed terms helpful when you are talking nutrition, reading articles, feed analysis reports or feed tags.

Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF) – the fibrous, least-digestible portion of roughage. ADF consists of the highly indigestible parts of the forage, including lignin, cellulose, silica and insoluble forms of nitrogen. Roughages high in ADF are lower in digestible energy than roughages that contain low levels of ADF. As ADF levels increase, digestible energy levels decrease.


Baxter Black: GOODBYE, JIM

Baxter Black:  GOODBYE, JIM

by Baxter Black, DVM

A rodeo legend died last month. Jim Shoulders, 16 times world champion in bulls, broncs and all around…Unequaled in the annuals of rodeo.

I knew Jim in the same way I knew Casey Tibbs and know Harley May. As a tribal elder. They had achieved their rodeo pinnacles before I was old enough to appreciate their accomplishments. I missed their heroics but I was a recipient of their wisdom. And they had time to talk to me.

That is different than my acquaintance with Larry Mahan and Ty Murray. I followed their careers and take pleasure in their success. They reign now as chieftans, retired but still actively involved and influential…still busy.


University of Tennessee Extension Organizes a Drought Information Website

University of Tennessee Extension Organizes a Drought Information Website

Cattle Today

It is no secret that Tennessee is experiencing a drought and that August is on track to be the hottest on record.

Despite scattered rain and showers, home lawns have dried up, crops and pastures are very stressed, and the entire state has been declared eligible for federal agricultural disaster assistance. Areas in other states across the region are experiencing similar conditions.

To help farmers and consumers confront the situation, University of Tennessee Extension has organized information about the effects of the drought on plants and animals on a central website. Visit http://utextension.tennessee.edu/Drought2007/


Selenium – The critical performance component

Selenium – The critical performance component

By J.A. Davidson, P.Ag., PAS

Leduc Representative

The importance of selenium in the nutrition of livestock and poultry has been recognized since 1957 when it was first identified as an essential micronutrient. It was in the early 1970s that supplementation of animal diets with either sodium selenite or selenate became an accepted practice worldwide.

Selenium is a metalloid with chemical properties similar to sulphur and was first discovered in 1818 by J.J. Berzelius, in Sweden. It is estimated that worldwide, selenium has an average concentration of only 0.05 mg/kg in the soil. The amount of selenium present in soil for absorption by plants is directly related to the amount of selenium in the rock that weathered to form the soil.


Scanning Your Future-UGC technician answers commonly asked questions about collecting ultrasound data.

Scanning Your Future

UGC technician answers commonly asked questions about collecting ultrasound data.

Brett Setter, UGC ultrasound technician

Hereford World

When I first became an Ultrasound Guidelines Council (UGC) ultrasound technician I wanted to have a company slogan or phrase that exemplified what it means to scan cattle. I wanted it to be short, sweet and to the point. I thought about it for a few weeks.

One day my wife and I were driving, and she came up with a simple catch phrase that captured the entire ultrasound process in three simple words — “scanning your future.”


Infectious Diseases that Affect Cattle Fertility

Infectious Diseases that Affect Cattle Fertility

Nolan R. Hartwig, DVM, Iowa State University


Calving percentage, the number of calves weaned divided by the number of females exposed to bulls the previous year, is the most important production parameter that can be measured. The first priority of cow/calf health and production programs should be to emphasize reproduction.


The most common cause of reproductive failure in beef herds is failure to conceive in the first place. Failure of cows and heifers to come in estrus while exposed to bulls is the leading cause of conception failure. The most common cause of anestrus, in turn, is nutrition; specifically lack of energy intake during the early lactation period. Body condition and energy intake pre- and post-calving are critical aspects of maintaining high herd fertility. A basic health program should include condition scoring cows in late fall and feeding accordingly through the post calving period. Infectious diseases are often immediately blamed when unacceptably high numbers of open cows and heifers are encountered. Cow condition and nutrition should be the first consideration. Protein deficiency is uncommon as a cause of infertility. Minerals such as phosphorus, selenium, copper, zinc, and others should be considered, but can usually be handled when mineral and salt mixtures designed for beef cows are available in a palatable form. Toxins such as endophyte infected fescue should also be considered when infertility problems occur


BeefTalk: What Happened to the Calving Book?

BeefTalk: What Happened to the Calving Book?

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

CHECKLIST – For Age and Source Verification CHECKLIST – For Age and Source Verification

Given the intensity and desire expressed by cattle producers, the calving book is a critical part of the beef operation.

A very popular activity during the winter months is handing out calving books. In fact, if one quits handing out books, one will find some very distraught cattle producers.

Given the intensity and desire expressed by cattle producers, the calving book is a critical part of the beef operation. The issue can be pushed even harder. Reprint the calving books slightly differently than the previous edition and one will receive many comments that they liked it the way it was.

Given those observations and the fact that cattle ear tag companies are still in business and seem to be doing well, one may assume a significant number of calves are tagged and recorded at birth. Hold that thought for a moment.


Biosecurity 101 – Part 1: The human factor

Biosecurity 101 – Part 1: The human factor

by Ed Haag

Angus Journal

Protecting your herd from outside threats, both intended and unintended, has become a major issue since Sept. 11, 2001. This is particularly true regarding transmittable diseases in light of the devastating outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in England that same year.

“Livestock producers are becoming a lot more aware of how vulnerable they are to the threat of an outside disease being accidentally introduced into their herd,” says veterinarian Patrick Webb, adding that the threat is very real and addressing the issue directly should be a priority of all livestock producers in this country.


Immigration rules hit farmers hard

Immigration rules hit farmers hard

Congress’ delays on reform could hurt harvests

Diana Louise Carter

Democrat and Chronicle

If this year is like others, the sounds of droning cicadas and buzzing bees in local apple orchards will soon be supplanted by the cadence of Spanish speech and Jamaican accents as migrant workers arrive to pick the upstate New York apple crop.

The harvest requires about 8,000 temporary workers each year, according to James Allen, president of the New York Apple Association. And those workers typically come from south of the U.S. border.


Determine moisture levels before starting silage harvest

Determine moisture levels before starting silage harvest

Lansing State Journal

EAST LANSING — The droughty summer weather might make cornfields look dry enough to harvest for silage, but looks can be deceiving.

Farmers should take time to test for whole-plant moisture levels before they begin chopping.

“The question comes up of when to harvest for silage corn that has gone through drought stress,” says Herb Bucholtz, Michigan State University (MSU) professor of dairy nutrition and animal science.

“The answer is no different than when trying to harvest normal corn for silage.”

Corn silage should be harvested when the whole-plant dry matter is between 30 and 35 percent.

Dry matter content is important for the bacterial fermentation that takes place in the silage process.


MDA warns against feeding drought-stricken forages

MDA warns against feeding drought-stricken forages

Tri State Neighbor

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) officials are warning livestock owners against feeding drought-stricken feedstuffs to their animals.

During a drought, dangerous levels of nitrates can accumulate in commonly used forages such as corn and sorghum. MDA officials said excessively high levels are likely to occur in forages grown under stress conditions, such as when corn fertilized for high grain yield is stunted by drought and is alternatively harvested for silage.

MDA livestock specialist Curt Zimmerman said feeding forages with high levels of nitrates can result in lowered milk production, lowered fertility and possible death.


Successful Transfer Of Passive Immunity In Calves Born Due To A Difficult Birth

Successful Transfer Of Passive Immunity In Calves Born Due To A Difficult Birth


Calves born after a difficult birth are at a high risk of failing to receive adequate colostrum by natural suckling.   The antibodies in colostrum provide the only disease protecting mechanism for the baby calf.  The primary reasons that some calves fail to receive adequate antibody protection and are more prone to getting calf diarrhea is because of greatly decreased colostrum intake and decreased antibody absorption.  They just don’t get enough colostrum in time.  A prolonged delivery would be one that takes more than an hour from first appearance of the water bag to complete expulsion of the calf.  Some calves born to a long, difficult delivery will be very sluggish and slow to get up and seek the teats for nourishment.  Changes taking place in the intestine of the baby calf reduce the antibody absorption rate as the hours tick by. 


Some Amish in Mich. Resist Electronic ID Tags for Cattle

Some Amish in Mich. Resist Electronic ID Tags for Cattle


Some Amish farmers say a state requirement that they tag cattle with electronic chips is a violation of their religious beliefs.

Last year, the state Department of Agriculture announced that Michigan cattle leaving farms must be tagged in the ear with electronic identification as part of an effort to combat bovine tuberculosis.

That has drawn some resistance from the Amish, who typically shun technology, The Grand Rapids Press reported Sunday. In April, Glen Mast and other Amish farmers appeared before the state Senate Appropriations Committee, urging it to block the program.


Grab Your Partner

Grab Your Partner

Joe Roybal

Beef Magazine

Expect the formation of inter-sector alliances to get a boost over the next few years, says Kansas City economist Bill Helming. Like kids scrambling when the music stops in a game of musical chairs, such cooperation will help feedlots to fill pen space, and processors to maintain production volumes.

The impetus is overcapacity in both processing plants and feedyards, which is driving players in both sectors to ensure themselves of the raw supply of cattle they need in the face of a flat cattle inventory. The net effect, Helming says, will be further consolidation.


Meatpacking changing the face of Rural Towns

Meatpacking changing the face of Rural Towns


DODGE CITY, Kan. – This is the home of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, of Boot Hill and the Long Branch Saloon, of cattle drives, buffalo hunters and the romance of the American West. But that’s the Dodge City of yesteryear.

Today, downtown has Mexican restaurants and stores more reminiscent of shops south of the border than Main Street Kansas. The city of 25,176 even has a new nickname: “Little Mexico.”

Signs advertising “Envios a Mexico” — retail outlets where workers send hard-earned wages back home to Mexico and other countries — hang outside many Dodge City stores. Houses occasionally fly Mexican flags, whipped hard by the prairie winds.


Distillers grains make ideal protein and fat source for livestock rations

Distillers grains make ideal protein and fat source for livestock rations

Farm and Ranch Guide

The rapid expansion of the ethanol industry has greatly increased the volume of distillers grains available for livestock feed. Nutritionists with Pioneer Hi-Bred suggest feeding distillers grains for high protein and fat values, but keeping a close eye on sulfur and phosphorous content in grain.

 “The industry is reporting that 75 percent to 80 percent of the distiller co-products are fed to dairy and beef cattle,” says Steve Soderlund, Pioneer beef nutrition manager. “When evaluating the potential value of these products, make sure you request a nutrient profile from the plant. Consider how these products complement your existing feeding program.”


Early Fall Weaning Of Young Cows Can Affect Next Year’s Re-Breeding Rates

Early Fall Weaning Of Young Cows Can Affect Next Year’s Re-Breeding Rates


The common tradition for weaning spring-born calves is to wait until late October and even early November.  Most mature cows that have been feeding on adequate summer forages will be in very good body condition, despite the pressure of nursing a rapidly growing calf.  These cows will still be in a body condition score of about 5 to 6 at weaning time each fall.  However, very often two-year-old cows and even some three-year-old cows will be in marginal body condition at the end of summer.  They have a nutrient requirement for continued growth and in the case of the two-year-olds, they are replacing baby teeth with adult teeth and are not good forage harvesters.  Therefore many of these young cows go into the fall season in a body condition score of 5 or less.


Managing high sulfur concentrations in beef cattle feedlot rations

Managing high sulfur concentrations in beef cattle feedlot rations


University of Minnesota Beef Team

Prairie Star

Recent ethanol industry expansion has resulted in a large increase in the amount of corn milling byproducts available for animal feed.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association, over 13 million tons of distillers grains were produced from United States ethanol plants in 2006, and beef and dairy cattle used approximately 85 percent of this feedstuff.

This feedstuff has many desirable characteristics, such as high energy, protein and fiber.