Daily Archives: October 2, 2007

Video Feature: Brad Shelton Discusses Double Crop Annuals

 Brad Shelton, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, Washington County, Indiana, discusses using double crop forages, including Pearl Millet and Sorghum Sudan Hybrids

BeefTalk: Stress-free Calves – No Hot Shots, Whips or Sticks

BeefTalk: Stress-free Calves – No Hot Shots, Whips or Sticks

The Flight or Fight Syndrome – no whips, hot shots or sticks The Flight or Fight Syndrome – no whips, hot shots or sticks

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist,  NDSU Extension Service

The goal in weaning is to have a calf simply walk away from the cow herd, start eating on its own and never look back.

As noted several weeks ago, herd health was the third priority in an industry-wide survey to identify management priorities in the cow-calf business. These priorities change depending on the time of year.

As weaning approaches (or is under way for some), herd health moves front and center for cow-calf producers. Not a fall day goes by when producers are either physically or mentally sorting and working calves.


Watch cattle for acorn poisoning

Watch cattle for acorn poisoning

Delta Farm Press

This year’s larger-than-normal acorn crop poses a serious threat to Arkansas cattle producers. Most animals are susceptible to acorn poisoning, although cattle and sheep are affected most often.

Most species of North America oak trees are considered toxic. Clinical signs of illness occur several days after consumption of large quantities of green acorns in the fall.

Some cattle can apparently eat acorns with no ill effects, while others develop kidney and digestive problems that can lead to death. Dams consuming acorns during the second trimester of pregnancy have produced malformed calves.

Symptoms of acorn poisoning include lack of appetite, rough hair coat, a dry muzzle covered with dry, crusty blood, abdominal pain, excessive thirst, frequent urination, and thin rapid pulse. There usually is not an increase in body temperature.

Constipation is a common early symptom. The droppings are often tipped with dark blood, a condition followed by diarrhea with blood and mucous. Edema, or fluid in the tissue, occurs in the lower body.


Marbling in Double Muscled Steers

Marbling in Double Muscled Steers

Ropin’ the Web

Some breeds of cattle are prone to double muscling. These animals have enlarged muscles, giving them the appearance of being the weight lifters of the cattle world! Double muscling in cattle is the result of a natural mutation of the myostatin gene. Normally this gene stops muscle development, but the timing is off because of the mutation of the gene.

There are a number of breeds that are prone to carrying the gene for double muscling, with two of these being the Piedmontese and the Parthenais. Both breeds have been in existence for a long time with the first official herdbook for the Piedmontese established in Italy in 1897, and for the Parthenais in France in 1893. Both breeds are raised in Alberta. One of the attractions of double-muscled cattle is the leanness of their carcasses. Backfat is generally found to be less in double-muscled cattle than in cattle with normal muscling. Whether or not this affects the amount of marbling fat in the muscle is open to dispute. Some studies have found reduced marbling in double-muscled cattle while others have found no effect of double muscling on carcass marbling.


The Cow-Calf Manager

The Cow-Calf Manager

Dr. John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

Nutrition During Pregnancy May Have Long-Term Impacts

As we move into fall, the continued drought has many producers considering how they are going to feed the cow herd this winter.  Many of the recent articles from our VT Extension Beef Team have focused on feeding and culling strategies to make it through the winter on limited feed resources.  Consistently, we stressed not only keeping cows full, but truly meeting their nutritional needs, and sometimes we advocated meeting nutritional needs without keeping animals full.

There are many reasons to focus on meeting nutritional needs and not just filling up cattle on junk hay.  Calf vigor and survivability are affected by nutrition in late gestation.  Certainly, cow body condition at calving is related to pregnancy rates during the subsequent breeding season.  However, there is mounting evidence that fetal exposure to nutrients may have lifelong impacts in animals.


Does Treating For Parasites Really Pay?

Does Treating For Parasites Really Pay?


Yes. Parasite control is an essential part of a cow/calf producer’s profitability, and yet a full 27% of cow herds are not treated.1 Parasites can cost producers in many ways, including reduced feed efficiency, lower conception rates, reduced milk production, hide damage, weight loss and even death. And, with higher feed costs, producers should invest in practices, such as parasite control, that have a sound return on investment and increase efficiencies.

Research shows that parasite control really does pay. Dr. John Lawrence of Iowa State University recently analyzed multiple studies and revealed that parasite control in the cow/calf segment is the management practice that affects weaning rates and weaning weights the most.


Texas Animal Health Officials Tackle Tuberculosis Entry and ID Requirements

Texas Animal Health Officials Tackle Tuberculosis Entry and ID Requirements

Cattle Today

Texas livestock health officials, striving to protect Texas’ hard-earned cattle tuberculosis (TB)-free status, have adopted new cattle entry, testing and movement regulations that go into effect Saturday, October 13. The 13 commissioners for the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) have tightened regulations, due to concerns about the recent findings of cattle TB infection in two New Mexico dairies, a Colorado bucking bull herd, and an Oklahoma beef herd. Additionally, over the past two years, at least five infected cattle herds and infection in free-ranging deer have been identified in Minnesota. For several years, Michigan also has waged war against TB in both cattle and free-ranging deer.


Cornstalks used in feed, cattle bedding

Cornstalks used in feed, cattle bedding

Belleville News-Democrat

Q. I have noticed recently that some farmers are baling cornstalks in big round bales like hay after the corn is harvested. Has someone finally found a use for this resource that is usually wasted every year? With the increase in demand for corn to make ethanol, there’s going to be a lot more cornstalks going to waste.


— Ronald A. Hoffmann, of Belleville


Workshop Will Address Livestock Risk Management

Workshop Will Address Livestock Risk Management

SAN ANGELO – Texas Cooperative Extension has scheduled a livestock risk management workshop from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Angelo State University’s Management, Instruction and Research Center.

The center, known regionally as the “MIR Center,” is located at 7945 Grape Creek Road, north of San Angelo.

The Risk Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are partnering with Extension to present the workshop.

“Texas livestock and forage producers have faced many frustrating events over the past decade,” said Bill Thompson, Extension economist at San Angelo. “Now, with rising corn and other feed, producers are again faced with unparalleled input costs.

“Although cattle prices have stayed relatively high, lamb prices remain flat. Never has the importance for risk management been higher in the livestock industry.”


BoVir(R) Named Best New Veterinary Diagnostics Product in International Animal Pharm Awards

BoVir(R) Named Best New Veterinary Diagnostics Product in International Animal Pharm Awards

PR NEWswire

A highly sensitive, easy-to-use test that accurately detects bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) was selected as the Best New Veterinary Product for Diagnostics in the annual Animal Pharm Awards. BoVir(R) BVDV real time PCR test was selected for its excellence and innovation by an independent judging panel representing members of the global community of animal sciences practitioners and professionals. The award was presented September 25, 2007, during a black-tie ceremony at Gibson Hall, London, UK.


Survey focuses on cattle herd health, management

Survey focuses on cattle herd health, management

by Tom Steever

Brownfield Network

USDA is conducting a herd health survey among cow-calf beef operations beginning this month. The data will help determine the impact of management practices on cattle health.

Selected producers in 24 states will be asked for data regarding herd management, herd health and disease prevention practices. Some of selected producers will be asked if they’re willing to allow APHIS veterinarians on their farms to conduct further tests, according to Gene Danekas with the National Agriculture Statistics Service Missouri Office.

 “What that does is it ties the study from the veterinary side back to the data that was given to NASS for management practices,” Danekas said to Brownfield in an interview, “and then they can make some heads or tails of all of this.”


With poor hay crops, farmers sell cows

With poor hay crops, farmers sell cows

The Free Lance Star

ABINGDON–Dry conditions in southwestern Virginia are forcing some farmers to sell their cows because they can’t afford to feed them.

In a normal year, it could cost as little as $150–at $25 per roll of hay–to feed a cow through the winter. That cow’s calf usually sells the next year for $450 to $500.

But with no hay available locally, the cost of bringing in hay has jumped to $70 or more per roll, so the cost to feed and care for the same cow easily could top $500–more than triple the normal cost.


Beef Recall Reaction

Beef Recall Reaction


More than a dozen people in eight states are sick, and bad meat may be to blame. Almost 22-million pounds of beef from the Topps Meat Company are being recalled due to a possible contamination with E. Coli bacteria. This is added to the 332,000 pounds the company recalled Tuesday.

Augusta County is the number one beef cow county in the state. On one beef cattle farm outside of Mt. Solon, it is possible to learn where the bacteria comes from and how to prevent its spread.

“A majority of the process deals with the cleanliness of the facility, the sanitation process, and the meat itself,” says Charles Curry, President of the Augusta County Farm Bureau Federation. “From here they would go to the processing facility, where they’re killed, then they’re hung for a period of time for aging.”


Beef cattle management strategies during a drought

Beef cattle management strategies during a drought

By David Richmond

With this summer being one of the driest on record, livestock producers in southern West Virginia are at a point where monumental management decisions will need to be made in order to survive financially in the livestock arena.

Periods of drought requires beef producers to make some adjustments in their production program or sell livestock. When cattle are sold out of desperation, the producer loses. If you have not begun to make contingency plans, start now.


Help available for farmers to ease impact of drought

Help available for farmers to ease impact of drought


Last week’s rain and cooler temperatures brought welcome relief from a searing summer — and an end to the bans on open fires in Lawrence and Orange counties.

Farmers, however, could feel the effects of this summer’s drought for months. We urge them to be aware of the drought’s lingering effects and to take advantage of what help is available.

The area remains about 9 inches behind normal rainfall average since April. The drought will take its toll not only on this fall’s local harvest, but also on livestock. And that’s where Lawrence County, as one of the state’s leading producers of beef cattle, could feel the effects.

 “This is the worst situation I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I’m 84 years old,” said Lawrence County farmer Paul Ooley. “We have sold some cattle and, after we do some pregnancy checks, any that’s not with calves may go to market also.”

Paul and son Michael Ooley have about 80 cows and are expecting 80 to 90 calves in January and February.


New study aims to raise small ranch profits

New study aims to raise small ranch profits


BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) Researchers at South Dakota State University have landed a $500,000 grant to study ways to improve the profitability of small ranches by evaluating alternatives in beef cattle enterprises.


Studies Indicate Prevalence Of Leptospira In Cattle

Studies Indicate Prevalence Of Leptospira In Cattle


A recently published study has found leptospirosis to be prevalent throughout the United States.1 In addition, results from a previously reported study suggested 59% of U.S. dairy herds may be infected with leptospira.2 A chronic infection of the kidney, Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar hardjo type hardjo-bovis (otherwise known as hardjo-bovis) can cause abortions, stillbirths and weak calves in both beef and dairy herds and may effect overall reproductive performance.

Results from the peer reviewed paper, “Herd Prevalence and Risk Factors of Leptospira Infection in Beef Cow/Calf Operations in the United States: Leptospira borgpetersenii Serovar Hardjo,” showed that 28 (42%) of 67 herds had results compatible with infection with hardjo-bovis.1 A greater likelihood of infection with hardjo-bovis was found in herds with higher mean annual temperatures and longer breeding seasons, meaning herds in the southern United States are more susceptible to the disease, though it can be found in all areas.