Daily Archives: October 17, 2007

Prussic acid poisoning is a concern after a light frost

Prussic acid poisoning is a concern after a light frost

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

It was discovered in the early 1900s that under certain conditions sorghums are capable of releasing hydrocyanic acid or commonly called prussic acid.  Prussic acid when ingested by cattle, is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, and blocks the animal’s cells from utilizing oxygen.  Thus the animal dies from asphyxiation at the cellular level.  Animals affected by prussic acid poisoning exhibit a characteristic bright red blood just prior to and during death.  Lush young regrowth of sorghum plants are prone to accumulate prussic acid especially when the plants are stressed such as drought or freeze damage.  Light frosts, that stress the plant but do not kill it, are often associated with prussic acid poisonings.  Producers should avoid grazing fields with sorghum type plants following a light frost.  The risk of prussic acid poisoning will be reduced, if grazing is delayed until at least one week after a “killing freeze”.  As the plants die and the cell walls rupture, the hydrocyanic acid is released as a gas, and the amount is greatly reduced in the plants.  One can never be absolutely certain that a field of sorghum is 100% safe to graze. 


Can you graze weed problems away?

Can you graze weed problems away?


One way to reduce weeds in a pasture is to graze hard enough so cattle will eat them, since there is nothing else to eat, says Bruce Anderson, professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. But while many weeds can provide satisfactory protein and energy for cattle when eaten, controlling weeds with heavy grazing pressure might not be healthy for the pasture.

“Every pasture has millions of weed seeds in the soil and the potential to become weedy,” he says. “Since some pastures stay relatively clean while other pastures become weedy, other factors undoubtedly influence the weed population.” Simply grazing or controlling weeds by spraying or cutting does little to prevent weeds from coming back again unless these other factors are changed to better support desirable plants.


International Livestock Congress set for Denver

International Livestock Congress set for Denver


The 2008 International Livestock Congress-USA will be Jan. 15 in Denver, and is funded in part by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

The International Livestock Congress events, produced in cooperation with the International Stockmen’s Educational Foundation and the National Western Stock Show, focus on providing solutions to U.S. beef producers.

This year’s event will address global consumer demands, which continue to evolve, placing new perspectives, requirements and procedures on the U.S. beef producer.

The ISEF works to partner with established livestock events or organizations in furthering its mission to build global beef networks and focus on the emerging issues and challenges facing the beef industry from an international perspective. These networks are developed with ISEF support and endorsement of ILC events.


American Simmental Releases Fall Genetic Evaluation

American Simmental Releases Fall Genetic Evaluation

Cattle Today

Bozeman, Mont. — The American Simmental Association (ASA) has released its Fall 2007 Multi-Breed Genetic Evaluation.

The progeny of over 100,000 sires of several breeds and breed combinations were evaluated, representing almost six million animals. Based on those evaluations, Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) on over 900 of the breed’s most popular sires are published in ASA’s Fall 2007 Sire Summary, which is available free of charge. Information on reproduction, production and carcass traits for all animals in the ASA database can be accessed at http://www.simmental.org.


Growing winter annuals for livestock

Growing winter annuals for livestock

Norman Edwards, Walker County Extension Service

Feeding hay is a big expense in most livestock operations. One option to decrease the length of time and the amount of hay fed is growing winter forages for the animals to graze. With normal weather conditions and good management, winter annuals can replace a lot of hay. Listed below are five tips to help you get off to a good start:

First, select winter annual species that will work best in your situation. Ryegrass, wheat, and rye are most commonly used in our area, but there are a lot of differences in time of production, seeding rates, and establishing these different species. Do your homework and select the one that is best for you.

Secondly, seed into closely grazed or mowed fields. This should not be a problem this year with all the dry weather. Planting into short forage decreases shading, increases establishment rate, and improves early season forage production.


Talk the talk, walk the walk

Talk the talk, walk the walk

By Greg Henderson


Knowing the facts about cattle and beef production and being able to effectively communicate those facts to those outside your industry is important. But just knowing the facts about your industry is not enough. You must also practice the appropriate management techniques to show that your words are backed by your actions. In other words, you must talk the talk and walk the walk.

 If your business is producing beef, people outside of the industry may expect you to be able to answer a variety of questions about beef production. To help you prepare for those important encounters with consumers, last year we published Beef Industry Talking Points (Drovers, October 2006), a series of articles on the following subjects: communication; beef safety; hormones and antibiotics; family vs. factory farms; environment; organic, natural and grass-fed; nutrition; and animal welfare.

This year we’re examining five important issues that can dramatically affect consumer perception of your ranch and the beef you produce. We’ve provided Talking Points for each subject — answers to those important questions about modern beef production. Additionally, however, this year we’ve included Walking Points, things you can do on your ranch or in your feedyard that show your actions speak as loud as your words.


Testing forage important for livestock

Testing forage important for livestock

News Democrat & Leader

Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer reminds livestock producers that it’s important to test forages, especially in a drought year like this one in which farmers are looking for ways to stretch their hay supplies.

 “Nitrate poisoning can occur when feeding forages in which nitrates can accumulate, such as crop residue,” Commissioner Farmer said. “Testing forages is simple and inexpensive, and it can save you a lot of headaches later.”

Dr. Lucky Pittman, head of the Pathology Section at the Murray State University Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville, said his facility has tested numerous corn stalk samples in recent weeks and has found some to be well in excess of the safe level of nitrates for feeding to livestock. Some forages from Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres that have been opened to haying and grazing have been found to have little or no nutritional content, Dr. Pittman said.


Hoosier Livestock Owners Facing Feed and Forage Shortage

Hoosier Livestock Owners Facing Feed and Forage Shortage

by Gary Truitt

Hoosier Ag Today

Indiana cattlemen are finding themselves running short on feed and forage sources. Poor hay yields and drought ravaged pastures have left many producers with few alternatives. Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension Forage Specialist, told HAT there are some alternatives. It‘s possible to substitute some lesser used feeds, such as corn silage and soybean hay, but farmers must make sure they use these properly, said Johnson, “You have to make sure that you‘re using substitute feeds in the most efficient and effective way possible,” he said. “In hard times, you can use nontraditional measures, but you have to take into account the type of animal and the animal‘s stage of production and feed accordingly.” For instance, a horse that is a gelding and an “easy-keeper” will do better with properly made corn residue as part of its ration. But a mare in foal will need a ration with better nutritional value.


Grazing for change on Steel Swamp Ranch is a team effort

Grazing for change on Steel Swamp Ranch is a team effort

By Kate Campbell

California Farm Bureau

Dan Byrne, who helps operate a family cattle and feed business in Modoc and Siskiyou counties, says he has a great commute–30 miles of unpaved U.S. Forest Service road. In summer the red dust flies. In winter the snow and ice make driving dicey when hauling cattle and supplies.

But, Byrne says there’s no place he’d rather be than Steel Swamp Ranch, which was acquired by his grandfather in the early 1900s. With headquarters in Tulelake, Dan and his brother, Mike, operate both their private land and about 100,000 acres of public land for cattle grazing.


Be Careful Before Releasing Cattle into Damaged Cornfields

Be Careful Before Releasing Cattle into Damaged Cornfields

Wallace’s Farmer

Due to heavy rainfall and strong winds in August, 10% to 15% of Iowa’s corn crop has suffered moderate to heavy lodging, according to an Iowa State University Extension specialist. For cattle producers, this means more corn left in the field for feed.

Cornfields in northern and southwest Iowa were hit especially hard by weather, says Roger Elmore, ISU Extension corn specialist. So, it’s wise to think about turning beef cows out into those fields to use the downed corn. “This is a good year to glean some of that for livestock,” says Elmore.

However, farmers should take some precautionary management steps in order to help prevent cattle from overloading on corn, which can result in health problems, says Russ Euken, an ISU Extension beef field specialist who works with the Iowa Beef Center at Ames.


Efforts to produce more efficient cattle highlighted

Efforts to produce more efficient cattle highlighted

Delta Farm Press

What if you could come up with a cow that produced equal gains on a reduced amount of feed or forage? How important would that be?

It would mean extra money in the pocketbooks of beef producers, according to Robert Seay, Benton County staff chair for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

Seay said a few well-known breeders have invested years of effort and money in identifying breeding lines that deliver more efficiency. He said their efforts have received extra momentum from the push to convert corn into ethanol, which has resulted in higher feed and nitrogen fertilizer costs for beef producers.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon, Mo., are working on making the concept called residual feed intake (RFI) a reality. “More of their efforts and the efforts of other groups will be publicized as RFI work continues to advance,” he said.

Seay said a Web search for beef articles on topics such as cow size and efficiency, optimum cow, mature cow size and profitability show that producers and breed associations have long identified this general area as one of continued interest.


Livestock and crop disaster programs

Livestock and crop disaster programs

by Ernie R. Bures, CED, Bon Homme County FSA

Tyndall Tribune and Register

Congress has recently passed a disaster package that will have some benefits for Bon Homme County livestock and crop producers. The main focus for Bon Homme County will be for losses in the years of 2005 or 2006.

Under the livestock programs, eligible producers may be eligible for grazing losses due to drought for either 2005 or 2006. Producers will need to know their livestock inventories as of January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2006. Based on those numbers and the amount of eligible grazing acres they had in their operation, benefits could be earned. The eligible livestock consist of certain adult and non-adult dairy and beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, equine, sheep, goats, deer, elk, swine and poultry.


Family meat processing tradition may soon fade

Family meat processing tradition may soon fade

By Robert Themer


Well-known around the Watseka community as “Bear and Kat,” Lowell Berry and wife Katherine are veterans of what has been a fading industry — local meat processing.

Berry’s grandfather, Arthur Berry, started in the chicken business in Sheldon “way back around 1930,” he said. “They bought eggs and cream and poultry and processed the poultry. … I was butchering chickens when I was in third grade.”

In 1950, his father, George, built the current Berry’s Processing plant at 522 E. Elm on Watseka’s north side. At the time, it was on 10 acres on the edge of town, not in the residential neighborhood it now shares.

They continued processing poultry until 1955, the year that interstate meat inspection law was passed “and you couldn’t sell out of state,” he said. “We had a lot of accounts over in Indiana. We lost them and weren’t doing enough business. … We converted the plant over to process beef, and we’ve been in the business ever since.”


Understanding, combating foodborne pathogens E. coli 0157 and salmonella

Understanding, combating foodborne pathogens E. coli 0157 and salmonella


Understanding the ecology of two dangerous foodborne pathogens and devising ways to combat them is a big job. That’s why Kansas State University has a team of seven researchers and six collaborators taking on E. coli 0157 and salmonella.

“It’s becoming more and more difficult to study these pathogens because you have to be a jack of all trades,” said T.G. Nagaraja, professor of diagnostic medicine pathobiology at K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Nagaraja leads a research group that includes epidemiologists, molecular biologists, production animal medicine experts and feedlot nutritionists.


U.S. Trade Negotiator Urges Korea to Open Beef Market

U.S. Trade Negotiator Urges Korea to Open Beef Market

ChoSun News

Wendy Cutler, the chief U.S. negotiator for the Seoul-Washington free trade agreement talks, said on Tuesday that the U.S. Congress has made it clear that Seoul must fully open its beef market if the trade pact with South Korea is to be considered.

Cutler made the remarks at a luncheon meeting at the Hyatt Hotel in Seoul hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea and a private sector Korea-U.S. FTA group. Key U.S. congressmen will not approve the trade pact unless Korea opens its beef market, Cutler said.