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.