Daily Archives: August 22, 2007

Nontraditional Forages as Emergency or Supplemental Feedstuffs

Nontraditional Forages as Emergency or Supplemental Feedstuffs

Kansas State University


Despite the best plans, shortages of forage commonly occur some time during the year in Kansas. Drought, hail, early freeze, crop failure, harvest delays and unusually cold and wet winters can cause forage shortages. In response, producers may choose to buy the extra forage needed or sell livestock. But in many cases, it may be more economical to utilize nontraditional forages.


Controlling Intake of Pasture Supplements to Grazing Cattle

Controlling Intake of Pasture Supplements to Grazing Cattle

By Wendy Flatt, Livestock Specialist, University Of Missouri Extension. Ag Connection Newsletter, Volume 13.

As many producers know, salt can be added to feed to limit supplemental feed intake of grazing cattle, but how much is the question?

This could be especially important in dry years or late summer when the pastures decline significantly in nutritional quality and supplementing is necessary.

The Salt Institute is the world’s foremost authority on salt and its more than 14,000 uses. Salt (Sodium Chloride- NaCl) is one of the few minerals cattle crave when it is in short supply: http://saltinstitute.org

Larry Berger, University of Illinois Professor of Animal Science wrote the booklet entitled “Salt and Trace Minerals for Livestock, Poultry and other Animals”. He suggests that the “science” of using salt to regulate intake has been adequately researched but, the “art” of using this technology is still developing, as many producers can attest.


Biosecurity 101 – Part 2: The herd factor

Biosecurity 101 – Part 2: The herd factor

by Ed Haag

Angus Journal

Knowledge is power, especially as it applies to protecting your herd from communicable diseases.

 “One of the main purposes of a biosecurity program is to prevent disease from entering your herd and, if it is already in your herd, preventing it from spreading,” says veterinarian Boyd Parr, director of animal health programs for the state of South Carolina. “We have best management practices that, when implemented, do just that.”

He notes that these can range from purchasing only certified disease-free replacements to isolating, testing and, when necessary, culling infected animals. “If any disease does get in your herd, you will detect it soon and be able to deal with it,” Parr says. “That is what a good biosecurity plan does.”


Death loss in feedlot cattle

Death loss in feedlot cattle

What is normal?

Dr. Pete Anderson, VetLife Technical Services


 Few variables impact a feedlot close-out as much as death loss.  A high death loss percentage almost guarantees poor performance and disappointing financial results.  At the same time, no cattle feeder expects zero death loss in all pens of cattle.  The Benchmarkâ database can be used to provide perspective: What is normal death loss?  What would unusually high or low death loss look like?


Implants in suckling heifer calves intended for cow herd replacements

Implants in suckling heifer calves intended for cow herd replacements

Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University

      Growth implants have not been widely used in heifer calves because of concern by herd managers about detrimental effects on subsequent reproductive performance of heifers kept as herd replacements. Currently three implants Synovex-C®, Component E-C® (estradiol and progesterone), and Ralgro® (zeranol) have been given FDA approval for use on potential replacement heifer calves. Past reviews of this subject have been quite thorough and generally concluded that one implant given at or after the heifer is 2 months of age has very little impact on future reproductive performance (Hargrove, 1994 and Deutscher, 1994). Also these reviews have both concluded that implanted heifers have significantly greater pelvic area when measured at about one year of age, but these differences are indeed very small at the time the heifer is delivering her first calf at or about two years of age. Consequently, the data on dystocia rate indicates that implanted heifers have no less calving difficulty than do non-implanted counterparts. 


Reducing Weaning Stress of Beef Cattle – Frequently Asked Questions

Reducing Weaning Stress of Beef Cattle – Frequently Asked Questions

Ropin’ the Web

Why is it so important to reduce weaning stress?

The process of weaning is very stressful on beef cattle. The separation of cows and calves, handling and processing, transportation, the time calves spend without feed and water during this entire process and sometimes through the public auction system, the mixing of unfamiliar animals and the introduction of novel feeds all impose an incredible amount of stress, on calves in particular, The consequences of all this stress are predictable. A high proportion of newly weaned calves get sick and require treatment.


Some noxious weeds thriving on summer rainstorms in area

Some noxious weeds thriving on summer rainstorms in area



New weeds are proliferating in some parts of El Paso County, thriving on water from rainstorms that soaked the region this summer.

The weeds, including miner’s candle and Scotch thistle, could choke out native grasses if they’re allowed to grow unchecked, said Mark Johnston, deputy director of the El Paso County Environmental Services Department.

Not all noxious weeds common to the area are thriving this summer, Johnston said. Some others, such as Canada thistle and yellow toadflax, seem stunted and less vibrant compared with previous years.


Keeping cows cool can be a costly endeavor

Keeping cows cool can be a costly endeavor

Sprinklers spritz farm’s bovines, jack up power bills

By Stella M. Hopkins

Myrtle Beach Online

OLIN, N.C. | Sprinklers that cool Ben Shelton’s 1,100 dairy cows are set to come on when the temperature reaches 75 degrees. They’ve been running around the clock some days during this month’s heat spike, spritzing the 1,500-pound Holsteins every 10 minutes.

Three-foot-square fans keep a brisk breeze blowing on the black-and-white cows – doubling the farm’s monthly power bill to $9,000. The placid animals also are slurping 40 gallons of water a day in their shaded feeding bunkers.

Livestock, dairy and poultry account for roughly 60 percent of North Carolina’s farm sales of about $9 billion, so the withering heat has farmers hosing down cows and hogs and keeping fans trained on them as well as on chickens and turkeys.

They’re protecting their livelihoods and staving off losses that could translate to higher grocery prices.


Rapid Receiving & Pasturing Of Stocker Cattle

Rapid Receiving & Pasturing Of Stocker Cattle


The traditional method of procuring stocker cattle for a postweaning grazing program generally has consisted of the following: acquire the calves from one’s own herd, from other producers, or from livestock auctions or order buyers;  accumulate cattle until numbers are sufficient and time and resources allow processing via practices/products like castration, dehorning, branding, tagging, and metaphylactic treatments (medical treatment given to any healthy animals or those exhibiting viral or bacterial disease symptoms);  after processing, hold the cattle in confined and often contaminated receiving paddocks for several days to a month to allow sickness detection and follow-up treatments.

This approach frequently involved the treatment and retreatment of many calves for respiratory and digestive problems primarily, and often resulted in considerable sickness, death, and poor performance during the receiving period and for an extended time thereafter. Dr. David Price stated, “The minute they [calves] arrive at the first sale barn or order buyer’s pen, disease incubation starts” (Beef, July 1998, page 28); thus, it is imperative to initiate medications and control stress immediately.


Farmers Puzzled by Mysterious Animal Slayings

Farmers Puzzled by Mysterious Animal Slayings


Los Angeles Times/New York Sun

PETALUMA, Calif. — The buzzards led Nick Bursio to his prized calf. He found the body with a bullet hole in its left shoulder, near the heart. Mr. Bursio had heard of animals killed by rustlers for their meat. But not until that May morning had he imagined anything so senseless as shooting cattle just to watch them die.


Physical Map Of The Bovine Genome Revealed

Physical Map Of The Bovine Genome Revealed

Medical NEWs Today

The recent publication of a paper in Genome Biology describing a physical map of the bovine genome provides cattle researchers with a tool to aid their search to improve cattle production and health and decrease the environmental footprint of the industry. The physical map is like a framework of a house in that it allows all the fine details to be positioned and placed in order. This framework underpins most current and future cattle research, including the genome sequencing project currently underway and new DNA based methods to improve cattle genetics.


Paper trail keeps consumer safe

Paper trail keeps consumer safe


Daily News (CA)

RED BLUFF – From transportation and postal service to education and agriculture, the aftermath of 9/11 caused all United States agencies to revamp programs that could be a target for terrorism.

The food chain was perhaps one of the areas that the government focused on the most. With agriculture being the center of all food sources, the United States Department of Agriculture implemented numerous regulations to protect itself.

Pesticides, traceability and import/export operations were intensely studied to prevent bioterrorism. According to the USDA, the cattle industry is the largest sector in the U.S. agriculture system in California. Beef cattle operations and dairy farmers have already suffered great losses because of the problems created by mad cow disease and hoof and mouth disease and problems with importing and exporting meat and dairy products.


Stocker Cattle Forum: What Makes An Ideal Stocker Calf?

Stocker Cattle Forum: What Makes An Ideal Stocker Calf?


Unfortunately, we cannot look up “ideal stocker calf” in the dictionary and get a prepackaged answer to this important question. Is a particular breed combination the formula for success? Does management at the cow-calf level play a role in the future performance of a calf through a stockering phase?

Where do health and nutrition considerations come into the picture? How important are market conditions in answering this question? Will the ideal stocker calf for one farm be the same for the farm down the road?


Cattle bloat and its costs are researched

Cattle bloat and its costs are researched

Science Daily

VERNON, Texas, Aug. 21 (UPI) — U.S. agriculture experts say cattle deaths due to bloat are an economic loss, but the greater cost might come during the early stages of bloat.

“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 Vernon, Texas, Agricultural Experiment Station researcher Bill Pinchak. “The loss in average daily gain may equal or exceed the total bloat death loss in most years.”

Wheat pasture bloat is the major non-pathogenic cause of death in Texas stocker cattle, accounting for a 1 percent to 3 percent death loss in cattle grazing winter wheat pastures, he said.


Points To Remember When Weaning Calves

Points To Remember When Weaning Calves


The market value of the calves produced can affect income from the herd as much as the fertility of the herd or the weaned weight of the calves.

Knowing the marketing alternatives available to the producer, and the way the market system works will have an important effect on the profitability of the cow-calf operation.

Predicting future price trends is necessary if the producer is to make an informed decision on which of the market alternatives will be the most profitable in any given year.

Factors affecting beef prices include feed grain prices, export markets, the supply of beef; and outside factors such as supply of competing meats, supply of other protein sources such as dairy products, fish and plant proteins and income levels of consumers.