Daily Archives: October 23, 2007

It’s about time

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.

Life was good, despite a few late winter storms, and then one day the pasture seemed to start turning green. Shortly thereafter, the “twos” were led into a big corral where calves got a round of shots and then they all moved out to bigger and greener pastures.


BeefTalk: Load’em Up and Bring Those “Doggies” Home

BeefTalk: Load’em Up and Bring Those “Doggies” Home

Load’em up and bring’em home Load’em up and bring’em home

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

A few brief discussions are held to reminisce about the days when all the cattle were herded home, but those mainly are memories.

The fall of the year represents changing times. Colors change, the air becomes crisp and the growing season comes to a close. It is time to move on.

The grain harvest is an early indicator that the time to move from field to bin is here, but the real clincher is the movement of calves. Last week, the Dickinson Research Extension Center started bringing home the calves for weaning and sorting. In the end, cows go one way and calves the other.

This activity is motivated by good management principles, which are driven by survival. Soon the water will freeze and any day the color of white could shut things down. It is time to haul cows and calves.


The Pros & Cons of Grass-finished Beef

The Pros & Cons of Grass-finished Beef

by Janet Mayer

Angus Journal

If you are part of the cattle industry, you have no doubt heard or read that there is a growing market for grass-fed beef (GFB), and although the majority of producers and consumers still believe corn-fed beef is best, GFB is steadily gaining momentum in reputation and acceptance. Obviously no longer viewed as a stringy, tough, tasteless meat, sales figures from 2006 show there were about 2,000 GFB producers who cumulatively raised between 45,000 and 50,000 head of cattle, resulting in more than $90 million in beef retail sales.

Who are the consumers who are buying GFB, and why are they buying? Most buyers say it is mainly because of the perceived human-health benefits, plus they believe the product is produced under more environmentally friendly and animal-friendly conditions than feedlot cattle.


Modified Live compared to Killed Vaccines for the Cow Herd

Modified Live compared to Killed Vaccines for the Cow Herd

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

          Properly administered and boostered modified live vaccines cause cell

      -mediated immunity in cattle.   The respiratory diseases, bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), infectious bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Parainfluenza 3 (PI3), and bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) all have been shown to have an impact on reproductive performance of infected cowherds.  With the close proximity of herds to each other in the Southern region of the United States, it is difficult to isolate cattle enough to assure no transmission of these viral diseases.


How To Properly Clean A Syringe Gun

How To Properly Clean A Syringe Gun

Burt Rutherford

Beef Magazine

An article in the September BEEF titled “Are You Vaccinating Calves…Or Shooting Blanks” raised a few questions and a few eyebrows. Some readers were offended that their vaccine protocols should be called into question, while others appreciated the advice. However, one reader raised a question that wasn’t addressed in the article — how to properly clean a syringe gun.


Endophyte Infected Fescue

Endophyte Infected Fescue

What it is and what to do about it

Dan Colling, Land O’Lakes Farmland Beef Technical Support


What is Endophyte Infected Fescue?

“Fescue toxicity”, “fescue foot” or “summer slump” are names for problems associated with endophyte-infected fescue. The endophyte is a fungus. Endophyte infection estimates are 90% of tall fescue in the U.S. The greatest concentration of the endophyte is found at the base of the leaf sheath and inside the seed. The active ingredient may be one of the alkaloids found in endophyte: pyrrolizidione, diazaphenanthrene or ergot alkaloids.

Animal symptoms of endophyte toxicosis, which will develop within 10-14 days of grazing infected fescue, include depressed ADG (82%), feed intake (39%) and feed efficiency (42%) for growing cattle as compared to growing cattle on endophyte-free fescue (Auburn University work). Growing cattle will gain 0.1 lb./day less than those endophyte-free cattle for every 10% increase in infection. Pregnant cows have lower conception rates (34%; University of Kentucky work), may abort their fetus, or have a retained or extra thick placenta. While cows on infected fescue produce less milk they also lose more weight during lactation.


Protect Pastures From Wildfire

Protect Pastures From Wildfire


Dr. Wayne Hanselka, Extension range specialist here, said all that is needed to touch off a fire when conditions are dry is an ignition source – a cigarette or a spark from a welder, power lines or a catalytic converter.

“Over the years, land managers have tended to neglect protective measures on the land,” Hanselka said. “Precautionary measures, such as fire guards, particularly in more fire-prone areas, aren’t as common as they should be. However, it’s never too late to install measures designed to protect pastures and facilities from this very real threat.”

The most common protection against wildfire is fire guards around and through pastures, he said. The guards form a break that keeps fuel from a fire. A fire guard can help keep fire in or out of a pasture, or keep it contained within smaller blocks of land. The fire lines need to be wide enough to slow the fire and keep it contained, he added.


Are You Collecting Information Or Just Data?

Are You Collecting Information Or Just Data?

Beef Magazine

One of the first questions Harlan Hughes asks producers is: Are you collecting data or information? Hughes is a farm business management guru and monthly “Market Advisor” columnist for BEEF.

“Data are just raw numbers collected in some fashion. Information, on the other hand, is data that is used to make management decisions,” he says.

Hughes believes most ranchers collect data but fail to convert it into information. Computers make that transition much easier.

“One of the key benefits of computerized records is that data can be sorted in so many different ways,” Hughes says.

David Lalman, Oklahoma State University (OSU) Extension beef specialist, agrees. He uses “queries” to rapidly sort through records in a number of different ways. “You just can’t do that if they’re in written form,” Lalman says.


Texas Animal Health Commission Attempts to Corral Fever Ticks

Texas Animal Health Commission Attempts to Corral Fever Ticks


The feared pest, fever ticks have officials with the Texas Animal Health Commission on alert.

In recent months, the ticks were found in Dimmit, Maverick, Starr, Zapata, and Webb counties.

The insects are prevalent in Mexico and within the 500-mile “permanent quarantine zone” along the Rio Grande from Del Rio to Brownsville.

The discovery of infestations outside the so-called “buffer-zone” demanded immediate action by the TAHC, and officials set up temporary fever tick quarantines to contain the ticks.

If the ticks are somehow able to travel any farther north Steve Wiske, a Beef-Cattle Clinician at Texas A&M’s Veterinary School, says the $6.5 billion dollar cattle industry could suffer drastically.


Get out the ‘cowculator’

Get out the ‘cowculator’

By VERNON SCOGIN, OSU Extension Office

Claremore Daily Progress

Years ago OSU beef cattle nutritionists reached a conclusion. Protein was the primary factor in beef nutrition of mature cattle under normal, average Oklahoma conditions when sufficient forage was available. This resulted from years of research and observation that mature cattle grazing common grasses and forbs would usually meet their energy needs provided protein met their needs.


Jean Barton: Beef Ambassador makes CattleWomen proud

Jean Barton: Beef Ambassador makes CattleWomen proud

Daily News

Fair time and the Tehama County CattleWomen had an indoor booth as well as a station for Thursday’s educational day.

TCCW president Cathy Tobin and I as vice president, beef education, were very proud and grateful for our Beef Ambassador Michelle Wiggley. She had the vision and the artistic talent to design an educational booth showing the cattle industry involved in conservation, the environment, production, education and the community.

During the Education Day on Thursday our Beef Ambassador spoke to the students about beef and the importance of beef in their diet and lives.

Students that answered the questions correctly were rewarded with beef jerky from Two Buds, beans and barbecue.


Dr. Tom Field joins Cattle-Fax team

Dr. Tom Field joins Cattle-Fax team


Cattle-Fax, an industry leader in providing cattle and beef market information, research and analysis, has announced the addition of Dr. Tom Field as a part-time consultant.

During a professional research and teaching career spanning more than 25 years, Dr. Field has established himself as one of the nation’s most respected beef cattle management experts. Currently, Dr. Field serves as professor of beef cattle management systems in the Colorado State University Department of Animal Sciences.

“Dr. Field brings a tremendous wealth of beef industry knowledge and experience to the Cattle-Fax team,” said Randy Blach , executive vice president of Cattle-Fax. “He will help us deliver more detailed research analysis to our cow/calf and stocker members, and build new information platforms for the entire industry.”


With hay supplies low, farmers resort to cutting down trees for cattle food

With hay supplies low, farmers resort to cutting down trees for cattle food

BY Debra McCown

Bristol Herald Courier

Without grass or hay, some Washington County farmers have resorted to cutting down trees to feed their cows.

They say that while many young people have never heard of such a thing, there have been droughts before – and as long as there are leaves on the trees, they can delay the need to feed scarce supplies of hay.


Earth to PETA

Earth to PETA


Meat is not the No. 1 cause of global warming. Yet our diet is cooking the planet, and one surprising staple turns down the heat.

At lunchtime in late September, on a relatively untraveled stretch of sidewalk outside the U.S. State Department in Washington, demonstrators from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals attempted to catch the attention of, well, anyone.

Inside the building, Condoleezza Rice was trying to convince world leaders that the U.S. was serious about global warming; outside, two PETA members handed out fliers featuring a photo of Paul McCartney. “Think you can be a meat-eating environmentalist?” it read. “Think again!” Two other protesters, dressed in chicken suits, displayed a green and chartreuse banner: “CliMEAT Change,” it read. “Meat: #1 cause of global warming.”


Bunk Management Affects Feeding Behaviour and Intake

Bunk Management Affects Feeding Behaviour and Intake

Ropin’ the Web

            The feeding behaviour of feedlot cattle and its effects on feeding strategy are not well understood. Feeding regimes may act in harmony with behaviour or they may be disruptive, however, we do not know how these factors may affect performance. For example, if disruption leads to smaller more frequent eating episodes it may minimize digestive upsets but if it promotes intermittent binge feeding it may contribute to metabolic disturbances. Ultimately, we do not know the extent to which we can manipulate or alter feeding to maximize dry matter intake. The following discussion will provide some insight into this complex topic.

Regulated vs Ad Libitum feeding

“Regulated feed delivery” is another term for what is commonly known in the feedlot industry as “slick-bunk management”. This style of bunk management scares may feedlot managers since they assume that dominant animals will over eat (resulting in higher morbidity and mortality rates) and that reducing feed availability means reduced intake. The goal of slick-bunk feed delivery is to improve performance by regulating intake (i.e., average pen intake) to reduce digestive problems resulting from over consumption of feed.