Daily Archives: October 22, 2007

Maintain Body Condition Between Calving and the Breeding Season

Maintain Body Condition Between Calving and the Breeding Season

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

      Body condition score at calving is the single most important trait determining when a cow resumes heat cycles and therefore when she is likely to re-conceive for the next calf crop.  However, it is also very important to avoid condition loss between calving and the breeding season to maintain excellent rebreeding performance.


Baxter Black: The Powers of Regeneration

Baxter Black:  The Powers of Regeneration

Cattle Today

Every time I see a moose head mounted on somebody’s wall, I marvel at the size of their horns. They must weigh 40 pounds! It would be the equivalent of me wearing a cowboy hat made of cinder blocks. Night and day for months in a row.

What is even more amazing is that they shed these giant racks annually, take a few weeks off and then spend the next year growing them back!

The same thing applies to deer and elk, but for sheer mass of bone, the moose puts them to shame. Why is it that longhorn steers, wildebeest and pronghorn antelope don’t shed their horns? Are they shy? Is it a fashion consideration, a long-term commitment…do they need them year round to fight, dig roots, or write their name in the bark?

If you want to salute the king of regeneration, look at the lizard. He has the ability to lose his tail, have it broken off, and grow a new one back. Talk about commitment. That would be comparable to an elephant shedding his trunk and growing a new one!

October drought beef tips

October drought beef tips

by Rusty Evans

The Leaf Chronicle

The “Drought of ’07” has created extremely dry and hot conditions throughout all areas of the state. On Oct. 2, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed all of Tennessee was still rated from “Severe” to “Exceptional Drought” conditions.

All of east and middle Tennessee were in the “Exceptional Drought” rating. Areas west of the Tennessee River were rated extreme or severe.

Streams and springs that were considered “everlasting” have either “dried up” or are extremely low. The water table is low and the state is extremely behind on rainfall for several years, probably approaching an annual rainfall total.


Age Determination in Beef Cattle

Age Determination in Beef Cattle

Clyde D. Lane, Jr., Professor, Extension Animal Science-Beef, Sheep and Horse

Beef cattle depend on forages as their major source of nutrients. To be able to graze and physically break the roughage down into small particles, the animal’s teeth must be in good condition. The age of a beef animal has a direct effect on the animal’s teeth and subsequent productivity.

Being able to estimate an animal’s age is an important factor in making management decisions. The animal’s teeth are generally used as an indicator of age when actual birth dates are not available.


Extra income, extra worry with ‘value-added’ farms

Extra income, extra worry with ‘value-added’ farms

By Kenneth R. Fletcher

The Daily Times

ANNAPOLIS — Holly Foster spends her days shuttling to Pennsylvania for weekly cheese-making sessions with an Amish expert, then to farmer’s markets throughout Maryland to sell her gourmet cheeses like cave-aged Chapelle. Not bad for a farm mom who just a few years ago would not even venture from the family farm in Easton to the mall in Annapolis.

“It’s a real educational adventure,” said Foster, who traveled to California in 2002 to take a cheese-making course that would allow her family to pursue its dream of running a dairy farm.

The Fosters are among a group of Maryland farmers who have turned to value-added agriculture, a catch-all term includes any method that increases the value of a farm’s harvest. Orchards that make apple butter, vineyards that produce wine and farmers who label their product organic are all value-added operations.


The Rebel Cow Farmer

The Rebel Cow Farmer

Northern Express

Anne Stanton

Greg Niewendorp was a passing blip on the TV news last week, but it’s a blip that will likely balloon. Niewendorp has started a needed conversation about the industrialization of our food supply, and the liberties of people—both farmers and consumers—who don’t want to be part of it.

Last week, in an act of civil disobedience, Niewendorp forced the Michigan Department of Agriculture to obtain a search warrant before coming onto his farm to put radio frequency ID chips on his cattle and to test his cattle for bovine tuberculosis.


What about Grass Fed Beef?

What about Grass Fed Beef?

by John Robbins


Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.

Feeding grain to cattle has got to be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization.

Cows, sheep, and other grazing animals are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which those of us who possess only one stomach cannot digest, into food that we can digest. They can do this because they are ruminants, which is to say that they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon (in the case of cows) fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats.

Traditionally, all beef was grassfed beef, but in the United States today what is commercially available is almost all feedlot beef. The reason? It’s faster, and so more profitable. Seventy-five years ago, steers were 4 or 5 years old at slaughter. Today, they are 14 or 16 months. You can’t take a beef calf from a birth weight of 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a little more than a year on grass. It takes enormous quantities of corn, protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.