Daily Archives: November 12, 2007

Weigh Pros and Cons of Fall versus Spring Calving

Weigh Pros and Cons of Fall versus Spring Calving

by: Darrell Rankins, Ph.D, Alabama Cooperative Ext. System Animal Scientist

On numerous occasions the topic of calving in the fall versus calving in the spring has come up as a topic of discussion among cattlemen. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each of them and as with most management decisions it becomes a matter of which fits your production scenario the best.

Fall calving. Most cattlemen who utilize a fall calving season calve during the months of September through November. Ideally, the system would allow for the first calf heifers to calve in early September and then be followed by the mature cows that would finish calving by the end of November. The two main disadvantages of this system are that during calving season an adequate supply of good quality forage (pasture) is not available. Warm season forages have dramatically declined in quality by this time and cool season forages have not yet produced appreciable growth by this time of the year. The second factor that makes fall calving unattractive for some producers is the fact that you will need to feed a lactating cow a lot more feed during the winter than you will a pregnant, non lactating cow.


BeefTalk: The Key and the Calf Have Value

BeefTalk: The Key and the Calf Have Value

Information contains the keys to unlock the various doors needed to enter the marketplace.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

It is very obvious that producers are seeking an unencumbered market environment that allows buyers from around the world to bid on their calves.

Trading beef is a complex pattern of pathways that involves many steps along the industry chain. The cow-calf producer passes the production (calves) to the next link in the marketing chain.

In the current environment, the marketing foundation principles are not as clear as they have been in the past. A recent review of two North Dakota Stockmen’s Association standing policy positions on personal property and the marketing of that property clearly defines the association’s intent.


Proper cow culling is important

Proper cow culling is important

By Joe Benton

The News-Star

Many of last spring’s calves have gone or will very soon be going to market.

A question sometimes asked is “How long should I keep a cow?” Many times producers will continue with a cow as long as she’s bred. However, sometimes we need to look at factors beyond that single aspect when deciding to keep or cull mature cows.

Cull cows represent approximately 20 percent of the gross income of any commercial cow operation. Cull beef cows represent 10 percent of the beef that is consumed in the United States. Therefore, ranchers need to make certain that cow culling is done properly and profitably.

Selling cull cows when they will return the most income to the rancher requires knowledge about cull cow health and body condition. Proper cow culling will reduce the chance that a cow carcass is condemned at the packing plant and becomes a money drain for the entire beef industry.


Sick cows make hard Colorado life harder

Sick cows make hard Colorado life harder

One of Roaring Fork Valley’s last cattle ranches struggles with death of 36 of 112 calves

Scott Condon

Vail Daily

ASPEN — Rory Cerise’s last year as a full-blown cattle rancher is one to remember even if he’d like to forget.

The third-generation rancher in Emma lost 36 of 112 calves born from February to April. A particularly nasty strain of bovine salmonella swept through his herd. That caused scours, a type of dysentery in cattle, which affected all but three calves.

Spring, the season of renewal, was largely one of death. Calves perished in Cerise’s corrals during March snowstorms and they continued dying after the weather improved and he moved his herd onto a higher elevation range later in the spring.


For Chester County man, it’s all about the bulls

For Chester County man, it’s all about the bulls

Rock Hill Herald

LOWRYS — Three former bull riders loaded eight nameless bulls into the gray metal maze of the small arena.

The animals have no names because they haven’t earned them. This recent Saturday is a testing ground, where the handlers separate the rodeo potential from the walking hamburgers.

The owner of the bulls has a name: Micheal Waits. No, that’s not a typo. He switched the ‘e’ and the ‘a’ because he couldn’t spell it the common way. He doesn’t do anything the common way.

That’s why he’s here in Lowrys, loading a 27-pound test weight on the backs of young bulls to see if one has what it takes to make it to the big time — the place he couldn’t get to as a rider — the Professional Bull Riders world finals in Las Vegas.


Feeding Moldy Hay

Feeding Moldy Hay


Feeding moldy hay to livestock is a tough decision. All hay contains some mold, but when mold becomes noticeable the decisions become important.

Usually, mold makes hay less palatable, which can result in lower intake or in animals refusing to eat the hay.  Poor weight gains or loss in body condition may result from the lack of nutrient intake.  Many other problems from mold occur because of mycotoxins produced by certain mold fungi. This also is part of the decision problem since not all molds produce mycotoxins and the amount produced by those that do is unpredictable.

Direct negative affects of moldy hay are difficult to document. Horses may be more sensitive to mold than other livestock. For instance, mold spores often contribute to respiratory and digestive problems like colic or heaves in horses. Cattle apparently are less affected by mold, but certain molds can cause mycotic abortions or aspergillosis.  Aspergillosis is an infection caused by the fungus Aspergillus that usually affects the lungs.


Family farms fading

Family farms fading

By Ben Bomberger

Galax Gazette

ELK CREEK — Changes are coming to the farmland of Grayson County, as economic pressures force some farmers to give up businesses that have been in their families for more than a century.

An example of this shift is Kenny and Sandy Sutherland, who milked cows for more than 45 years in Elk Creek.

The dairy farm they ran had been in the family since the early 1900s, but today pumpkins can be seen sprouting from the fields.

The Sutherlands decided to sell part of the land back in the spring.

Sandy Sutherland said the physical work involved became too much for her husband.


Thurmont breeders try to improve genetics

Thurmont breeders try to improve genetics

by Jeremy Hauck

The Gazette

‘‘The land usage [in Maryland] is getting tighter,” Chip Smallwood, secretary of the Maryland Angus Association, said, adding that Black Angus farming is concentrated in the central portion of the state. Smallwood, who became secretary of the association, a member of the St. Joseph, Mo.-based American Angus Association, last year, did not know how many herds are based in Frederick County.

But one of the largest herds in the state roams the windy pastures of Arrowhead Farms, a 183-acre former goldfish farm outside of Thurmont, owned and operated by Bill and Gail Powell.


Growing Bred Replacement Heifers

Growing Bred Replacement Heifers


Bred replacement heifers that will calve in January and February need to continue to grow and maintain body condition.  Ideally, two year old heifers should be in a body condition score 6 (see heifer pictured below) at the time that their first calf is born.  This allows them the best opportunity to provide adequate colostrum to the baby, repair the reproductive tract, return to heat cycles, rebreed on time for next year, and continue normal body growth.  From now until calving time, the heifers will need to be gaining about 1 pound per head per day, assuming that they are in good body condition coming out of fall and going into winter.

Heifers will need supplemental protein, if the major source of forage in the diet is bermudagrass or native pasture or grass hay.  If the forage source is adequate in quantity and average in quality (6 – 9% crude protein), heifers will need about 2 pounds of a high protein (38 – 44% CP) supplement each day.  This will probably need to be increased with higher quality hay (such as alfalfa) or additional energy feed (4 to 6 pounds of  20% range cubes) as winter weather adds additional nutrient requirements.  Soybean hulls or wheat mids may also be used to insure adequate energy intake of pregnant heifers.


Resources can help cattle producers learn more about international beef markets

Resources can help cattle producers learn more about international beef markets

The Independent

LINCOLN Several University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Nebraska Beef Council resources are available to help beef producers learn more about raising cattle for the international beef market.

For American beef to be eligible for export to countries such as Japan, Korea or those in the European Union, production must be done as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beef Export Verification (BEV) program, said Darrell Mark, UNL livestock marketing specialist.


Enzi warms to COOL legislation

Enzi warms to COOL legislation


Casper Star-Tribune

Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyoming, told a cattlemen’s group he feels good about a section of the pending Farm Bill that would recognize and benefit Wyoming producers.

Enzi spoke at the Learning and Education Center at UW cooperative extension office before the Independent Cowmen of Wyoming (ICOW) conference Saturday, part of a day that also included the senator’s appearance before Wyoming Republicans in Casper.

In late October, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed the 2008 Farm Bill unanimously. Enzi said he’s is looking forward to debating the bill on the Senate floor to ensure it includes language that benefits Wyoming producers whose products are sold on supermarket shelves.


Missouri beef producer recognized for superior carcass quality

Missouri beef producer recognized for superior carcass quality

High Plains Journal

Wilbur and Elsie Spreutel of Koshkonong, Mo., earned the Red Angus GridMaster Award. The Spreutels produced and fed a set of Red Angus influenced calves that graded 97.1 percent Choice or better and received grid premiums of $130.38 per head. The couple received the award at the 2007 National Red Angus Convention held in Dodge City, Kan., Sept. 26 to 29. This was the second time the Spreutels had received the award, they were GridMasters in 2004 as well.


Bovine TB scare shuts 28 farms in Alberta, B.C.

Bovine TB scare shuts 28 farms in Alberta, B.C.


A case of bovine tuberculosis has been discovered on a single farm in British Columbia, prompting more than two dozen farms in that province and Alberta to be placed under quarantine to keep the disease from spreading.

Twenty-two farms in Alberta and six in British Columbia have been placed under quarantine and about 400 animals are expected to be slaughtered, Canadian Food Inspection Agency spokeswoman Maria Koller-Jones said Saturday.

“One of the (farms) quarantined is because we have found tuberculosis on the farm, and that’s one of the quarantined (farms) in British Columbia,” she said.


State agriculture icon to retire from the field

State agriculture icon to retire from the field

Taylor credited with sustaining farm life

By John P. Gregg

The Valley News/Concord Monitor

Later this month, Meriden farmer Steve Taylor will hand in the keys to his state-issued pickup truck, a 2002 Chevy Silverado with 145,000 miles on it, and retire from his post as New Hampshire commissioner of agriculture.

In the truck, and the vehicles that came before it during his 25-year tenure, Taylor has driven into hundreds of barnyards and to thousands of meetings.

Swapping stories with farmers, and asking questions like the newsman he used to be, the 68-year-old Taylor has navigated the bumpy roads of New Hampshire farming, and Granite State government, with a distinctive Yankee charm.

And in the process, his many fans say, he has helped keep agriculture alive in New Hampshire, even as the farms and landscape themselves have changed over the years.


Farmers seeking cure for hay headaches

Farmers seeking cure for hay headaches

Woes from spring freeze and months of drought add up


By Jim Suhr

ST. LOUIS — On his southern Illinois spread, where some 450 cows look to him for food, the only thing that seems to be growing these days are Dale Moreland’s headaches over hay.

The 55-year-old cattleman, like others in the Midwest and beyond, has been hurt by a one-two punch of a spring freeze and months of drought. That combination has savaged hay crops and kept pastures from greening, forcing producers to tap hay stockpiles months earlier than usual.


Veterinarian Aims for Cow Comfort

Veterinarian Aims for Cow Comfort

Wisconsin State Journal/Free Republic.com

David Wahlberg

When veterinarian Ken Nordlund visits a dairy farm, he checks cows for more than disease.

He measures how much room they have when they eat. He scrutinizes their milking schedules for rest time. He watches them lie down and stand up in their stalls. He tracks how often they move from pen to pen.

Nordlund, a clinical professor at UW-Madison ‘s School of Veterinary Medicine, is an expert on cow comfort.


Bush to urge Fukuda to end age limit on beef imports

Bush to urge Fukuda to end age limit on beef imports

Japan Times

U.S. President George W. Bush is poised to turn up the heat on Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda during their planned talks later this month to repeal the age limit on U.S. beef imports, a U.S. government source said Saturday.

Fukuda will be the third Japanese premier whom Bush has urged to fully open the country’s beef market, following Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe, the source said.


Butte butcher shows cattlemen new ways to add value to beef

Butte butcher shows cattlemen new ways to add value to beef


The Prairie Star

GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Cattlemen can add $800 of value to their beef animals simply by adding four inches of length to their animals in the right areas, according to a Montana rancher and beef connoisseur.

“If you could stretch out the ribs and the loin by four inches, the steer would be long in the right places and be worth $800 more on the Safeway counter,” said rancher Wally Congdon of Dell, Mont., at the Montana Cattlemen’s Association Cattle-men’s Day on Nov. 2 in Great Falls, Mont. “How do you do that? I don’t have the answer, but if you were to pick three steers that look completely different than each other, feed them out and cut the carcasses the same way, then count the steaks, rubs and roasts, you could get close.”


Four State Groups Join Forces to Sponsor New Event

Four State Groups Join Forces to Sponsor New Event         

Indiana Prairie Farmer

Tom J Bechman

What do beef cattle producers, dairymen and hay producers all have in common? It’s an opportunity to attend the first –of-its-kind symposium for the state in Indianapolis this winter. Four organizations representing these groups of producers combined forces to develop one meeting for all memberships and producers interested in attending. It will be called the Indiana Cattle & Forage Symposium, and will feature topics of interest to all of these groups, and their memberships.