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.
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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
by Janet Mayer
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
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
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
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
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.