Daily Archives: September 27, 2007

Weaning Options

Weaning options

by Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, Kansas State University

Angus Journal

Weaning is considered a stressful event for calves and can affect health and weight gain. The timing and method of weaning can influence a number of important considerations on a ranch, including calf health, amount of weight sold, amount of purchased forage and feed needed to support the cow herd, pasture management, timing and amount of labor required, postweaning growth performance and efficiency, and carcass characteristics.


Cattle can be Trained for Ease of Handling

Cattle can be Trained for Ease of Handling

by: Heather Smith Thomas

Cattle Today

Cattle can be readily trained for ease of handling, if you understand how they think. They are adaptable, and have excellent memories. They never forget a bad experience, and you can “ruin” a cow or a herd for future ease of handling if you abuse them or destroy their trust. The stockman who handles cattle in a calm and patient manner will have much calmer, more managable cattle than the person who chases and rams them around and gets them excited.

Shaping the cow herd to be quiet and easily handled is like training a horse; introduce new things in a calm, confident and positive way–working with their natural ways of thinking rather than against them. They respond to release of pressure, for instance, and force is always counterproductive.


Savvy producers can survive hay shortage

Savvy producers can survive hay shortage

Delta Farm Press

Management plans that include alternative feeding strategies for livestock and horses will be the key to survival for producers facing severe hay shortages this year.

A dry spring followed by an early summer drought caused producers to miss several hay cuttings, said Jane Parish, beef specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Rain in some pastures after July 1 renewed producer interest in making a hay crop, but dry conditions swiftly returned later in the month in many areas of the state. Hay harvests and yields varied throughout Mississippi because of varying moisture conditions, she noted.


Should Producers Invest In Preconditioning Their Calf Crop?

Should Producers Invest In Preconditioning Their Calf Crop?


There are many questions producers should ask themselves if they are considering whether they should invest in a preconditioning program for their calf crop. Here are just a few points to consider.

1. Do your homework! – Identify a legitimate program that fits your operation.

Cow/calf producers interested in investing in a preconditioning program must thoroughly research all preconditioning programs and identify the one that best fits with their operation.  As an example, readers may check out http://www.beefstockerusa.org/preconditioning/ that a graduate student under my direction compiled back in 2004. I am referencing this dated list only to point out the tremendous number of programs that are in existence today. Please follow through each potential program you may be interested in with a visit to their specific website and contact their marketing person in charge! Ask the hard questions; what is the success rate of their program and the number of outlets (and buyers) where calves are offered for sale. For example, is there a market outlet in the vicinity of your operation?


Acorn poisoning could be result of the drought

Acorn poisoning could be result of the drought

Fauquier Times Democrat

When forages become short, like we are experiencing now with the drought, livestock will search out additional food sources. In some areas of the county this fall, acorns have the potential to make up a large part of the diet. The problem is acorns are poisonous to cattle, sheep and hogs. It also appears that there is a minority of individuals in the herd or flock that can develop a taste for them.


Southeastern Drought Drives Search For Hay

Southeastern Drought Drives Search For Hay

Hay and Forage Grower

The drought in the Southeast has livestock producers on a desperate search to find hay. “Lots of people have been or are selling cows,” says Tom Keene, University of Kentucky hay marketing specialist. “Many of our Kentucky beef cattle producers are being forced to think outside of the box when it comes to feeding their livestock. Logistically, I don’t think we could bring enough hay into the state to cover the feed needs we have.” Kentucky’s growing season started with the lowest hay carryover in recent memory. Four weeks of abnormally warm weather brought good early season forage growth. But an Easter weekend freeze damaged taller-growing legumes and new seedings, resulting in spring hay production that on average was 50% of normal. Then rainfall was below normal for two and a half consecutive months. Some rain in late June and early July helped pastures a bit, but the state is still very short on feed, Keene says. The economic consequences for livestock and hay producers are still being tallied. The University of Kentucky offers some economic estimates and a variety of resources in an online Drought Information page at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/Drought.htm.


How Many Open Cows Will You Feed This Winter?

How Many Open Cows Will You Feed This Winter?


With the end of the spring breeding season coming to a close, it’s time to start planning the next step for the cows in your herd pregnancy evaluation. Pregnancy evaluation in cattle is an important and valuable management tool. Checking the pregnancy status of your cow herd allows you to make timely culling decisions and focus your resources on the sound, reliable breeders in the herd.

I hope “preg checking” is an annual ritual for your herd. If you have not incorporated this management practice in the past, the dry conditions this year and the need to get rid of a few cows may force you to do so. When it comes time to cull cows from your herd, pregnancy status is one of the first criteria that will determine whether a cow stays in the country or goes to town.