Daily Archives: October 10, 2007

Plan ahead for profitable preconditioning

Plan ahead for profitable preconditioning

Western Livestock Journal

Preconditioning programs have come a long way in the past 10 to 15 years and many producers who did not see the benefit of preconditioning their calves then are now jumping aboard and doing whatever it takes to separate their calves from the crowd. Ranches which have a reputation of producing healthy, ready-for-feed cattle are more likely to capitalize on strong market trends compared to outfits which produce run-of-the-mill calves.

For buyers interested in purchasing feeder cattle, a verifiable and sound vaccination program is an instant selling point. These buyers know that while many groups of calves are healthy while they’re still on the home ranch, the stresses of marketing, transportation, and changes in environment weigh heavily on a calf’s immune system. Buyers are more than willing to pay extra for calves which they know will help them avoid the time, labor and expense of gathering and re-vaccinating.



Just Don’t Do It!

Just Don’t Do It!

Troy Marshall, Beef Magazine

Ever feel like there isn’t enough time in the day? Have you ever found yourself way behind, and just thought that a few more hours of work each day, as well working the weekend, and you could get it done?

I recently encountered a book by Karlin Sloan entitled “Smarter, Faster, Better Strategies For Effective, Enduring And Fulfilling Leadership.” While she could use some pointers on a more concise book title, Sloan does offer some thought-provoking points on management and leadership.


Managing Cow-Calf Operations to Protect Water Quality

Managing Cow-Calf Operations to Protect Water Quality

Wintering and Feeding Sites can Affect Water Quality

Manure is a valuable nutrient source to a farm. However, manure contains nutrients, organic matter and microorganisms that can contaminate water supplies.

Runoff from manure is a potential threat to public health.

Wintering and feeding areas beside creeks, rivers, lakes or dugouts can contribute contaminated runoff to these water bodies during spring snowmelt or heavy rainfalls. Cattle with unrestricted access to these water bodies can contaminate them with manure and sediment from damaged stream banks. Cattle, for example, exert about 10 times the weight or pressure per unit area as a D-9 Cat with a blade. Consequently, cattle can do much damage to streams and streambanks. Sediment from erosion impairs water quality and degrades habitat for fish and other aquatic life. Even small cow-calf operations with fewer than 50 cow-calf pairs can impact water quality.


Keys to Developing Sound Replacement Heifers

Keys to Developing Sound Replacement Heifers

MFA Health Track

I have heard of multiple reports in the field this fall that in some areas of the state producers are learning they have more open cows than they would have expected based on their herds’ traditional reproductive performance. With that in mind and with weaning and fall preg checks behind us now, it is probably a good time to discuss the development of replacement females.

Let’s face it, development of beef heifers as future replacements is time-consuming, expensive, and at times can be frustrating. But by the same token we know that our future production is dependent on them and if managed properly they should prove to be better than the models put into production 5 to 10 years ago. Listed below are some guidelines classified as general, managing calving difficulty, nutrition, or genetics recommendations that will hopefully prove to be helpful in developing your replacement heifers.


Cattle Diseases: Wooden Tongue

Cattle Diseases: Wooden Tongue

Cattle Today

Wooden tongue is an infection caused the rod-shaped bacterium, Actinobacillus lignieresii, which lives only in the presence of oxygen .  The bacteria, which live in the mouth, invade tissue through breaks in the lining of the mouth.  Any rough feed can cause mouth abrasions which allow entry of infection.  Wooden tongue occurs almost entirely in soft tissue with the tongue and lymph nodes of the head most often affected. 


Black Ink: It’s about time

Black Ink: It’s about time

By Steve Suther

A steer finishes at USDA Prime Yield Grade 2 at the peak of seasonal demand, winning premiums of more than $250. He and his owners wasted no time.

The steer was the product of timed breeding one day in April, in a heat-synchronized herd of heifers. They were managed so as to calve 30 to 45 days ahead of the main cow herd. That allowed them more time to adjust to being new mothers before rebreeding a bit later the next year on timegrazed pastures. But that’s another story.

Before he was born, a veterinarian confirmed his arrival date. As that day drew near, the herd manager kept the heifers in a corral with feed every night. He let them out to the adjacent calving areas by day, and the plan led to predominantly daytime calving.

A routine entry in a calving book marks the early February birthday, but a checkmark says he nursed in time to get his dose of colostrum to build immunity. The “S” says he became a steer that day, too, number 549. Two days later, he and his mom were turned out with other new pairs to a dry grass paddock with lots of natural shelter and spring water.


Stocker Cattle: Step-Up Rations

Stocker Cattle: Step-Up Rations


Step-up rations refers to rations which are fed to cattle to acclimate them to consumption of high grain diets. There are several systems of stepping cattle up on feed. The system which fits your management style, facilities, and equipment the best should be used. In large feeding operations it is common to feed decreasing levels of roughage as cattle are being acclimated to high concentrate diets. Calves are commonly started on a 45% roughage diet, then roughage levels are decreased to 35%, 25%, 15%, and for finishing to 7.5%. Each of these step-up diets are fed for approximately seven to 10 days. Cattle should not be stepped onto the next diet if intakes are increasing or decreasing erratically.

Cattle can also be stepped up on feed by increasing the amount of grain which is offered. As a rule of thumb, grain or concentrate should be increased 1.5-2.5 pounds every seven to 10 days. This will give cattle a chance to acclimate to higher grain levels in a gradual manner. Increases greater than this can result in digestive disturbances and increase the incidence of acidosis.


Baxter Black: A Woman’s Work is Never Done

Baxter Black: A Woman’s Work is Never Done

by: Baxter Black, DVM

Cattle Today

He was a good Dakota rancher with the stubborn Norwegian determination that allowed him to break even in the unforgiving country north of Mobridge.

He raised four children on the ranch. They were his cowboys, farm hands, truck drivers, fence builders and horse breakers. They also learned to cook, sew, can fruit, butcher and do laundry. They were all girls.

I, Baxter Black, have known many farm and ranch families who have had only daughters or the girls were better help than the sons. Most dads handle it well and soon realize a girl can run a hay baler, a squeeze chute or spirited horse as well as a boy. But it’s a different relationship. There’s always his nervous worry that maybe she won’t be able to do it, that his expectations are too high. In the daughter’s case, she actually tries harder, and usually becomes better to prove herself qualified in his eyes.


Texas adopts new procedures to regain cattle TB-free status

Texas adopts new procedures to regain cattle TB-free status


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, Oct. 13. The 13 commissioners for the Texas Animal Health Commission has 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.

Texas originally achieved cattle TB-free status in 2000, only to lose it in 2002, after two infected cattle herds were detected. To regain the state’s status and ability to move and market cattle without restrictions, a rigorous TB testing program was initiated to detect any remaining infection and provide proof of sufficient disease surveillance.


Beef, pork sectors oppose U.S. labeling plan

Beef, pork sectors oppose U.S. labeling plan

CBC News

Canadian beef and pork producers want Ottawa to step up its opposition to a United States plan to place country of origin labels and tracking rules on their meat products.

The Canadian Cattleman’s Association and the Canadian Pork Council say the labelling plan would cost their industries more than $500 million a year and would violate North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization rules.


Cattle Preconditioning: Management At Weaning

Cattle Preconditioning:  Management At Weaning


1. Calves should be eating some dry feed before weaning (2 to 4 weeks).

2. Vaccination procedures should be reviewed and implemented if necessary.

3. Adequate fresh water supply is essential

4. Vitamin A before or at weaning may be helpful.

5. Check for feed consumption and water consumption; both should increase during weaning period.


Corn residue an option if forage supplies are short

Corn residue an option if forage supplies are short

Ag Professional

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With livestock forages, especially hay, still in short supply, feeding corn residue may help extend the grazing season. But, like other feeds, management is important.

“Corn harvest has started and the residue that is left in the field is not a bad feed for about 60 days after harvest,” said Jeff McCutcheon, an Ohio State University Extension educator for Knox County.

One acre of corn residue can supply enough forage to sustain a 1,000-pound animal for as long as two months.


Slaughter ban hasn’t stopped horse cruelty

Slaughter ban hasn’t stopped horse cruelty

The Herald-Zeitung   

The Texas legislature’s ban on slaughtering horses has been the subject of recent media attention. Stories report the number of horses being transported to slaughterhouses just across the border in Mexico has tripled.

This has raised questions about the effectiveness of the Texas ban which appears only to condemn horses to the same fate as before, just in a different jurisdiction.

Before the rights and wrongs of a ban can be considered, the reason for horse slaughter must be stated. Too many poor quality horses or too many unwanted horses that are expensive to feed and maintain provide a market for slaughter. Their meat is not consumed in the United States, but some foreign markets treat it as a delicacy. Others, including Mexico, allow horse meat for consumption, but it is considered inferior to beef.


Deaths of South Indiana cattle investigated

Deaths of South Indiana cattle investigated

By Grace Schneider

Louisville Courier-Journal

The deaths of 12 beef cattle last weekend at a Clark County farm prompted Purdue University veterinary pathologists to launch an investigation yesterday.

Having so many cattle die at once is “unusual,” said Duane Murphy, lab director of the Heeke Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory near Jasper.

“Unfortunately, we see a lot of dead animals,” Murphy said yesterday. “We’re always dealing with people’s catastrophes.”

But researchers were fairly certain they could rule out a link to two viruses killing whitetail deer this year in Indiana, Kentucky and some Southern states.


The use of science and the hobby loss rule

The use of science and the hobby loss rule

Western Livestock Journal

In hobby loss audits, the IRS sometimes views various types of ranching activities as a means of generating tax losses, rather than as a profit-oriented venture. Many cases that have ruled in favor of the taxpayer in livestock and other ranching activities involve people who developed a superior line of animal. Taking a scientific approach to breeding is evidence showing a businesslike approach to the activity.

Careful research into pedigrees, for example, shows a concern for the proper application of genetics to your breeding program. Working with experts to develop a superior nutritional program is also evidence that you are using scientific means to enhance, or at least maintain, the health of your animals and this, in turn, suggests you are operating a business rather than a hobby.