Daily Archives: November 14, 2007

The Last 60 to 90 Days before Calving

The Last 60 to 90 Days before Calving

John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Virginia Tech

Precalving Period

The most critical period in the production year is the last 60 to 90 days before calving. Not only are dramatic changes occurring in the cow, but this period also sets the stage for reproductive success or failure in the months that follow. A sound understanding of this period is important to proper management of the cowherd.

Tremendous Change

Considerable tissue growth and change occur during the precalving period. As a result, nutrient needs of the cow are greatly increased. A majority of fetal (calf) growth occurs during these last 90 days. At the start of this period, the calf weighs less than 50% of its final weight. In addition to rapid fetal growth the uterus, placenta and surrounding fetal fluids must also increase in size during this time.

Mammary development in preparation for lactation is also occurring. Proper nutrition and hormonal support is essential during this period for adequate milk production after calving. Recently, we have seen some herds in which milk production was greatly decreased due to grazing highly endophyte infected fescue during the precalving period.


Feedlot Bloat

Feedlot Bloat

by Nicolas DiLorenzo, MS, University of Minnesota Beef Team

Now, the animals have been stepped-up to the high-grain diets and they are close to their maximum intake capacity. We have already overcome the plague that respiratory diseases are in those newly arrived. Also the stress of the first days on feed, diarrhea, lack of appetite and hopefully deaths associated with newly arrived cattle problems are past history. Then we are ready to take advantage of the already transitioned digestive tract environment (rumen bugs are adapted to the presence of grain and digest it efficiently) and we are ready to start putting weight on these animals… however, one more hurdle needs to be jumped: feedlot bloat.


Corn Genetics and Animal Feeding Value

Corn Genetics and Animal Feeding Value

Fred Owens

Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Johnston, IA


Grain and forage from corn plants vary in composition and digestibility due to genetics and numerous environmental factors. For decades, corn hybrids have been selected based on agronomics (yield, disease and insect resistance). In addition, hybrids have been developed or selected for specific traits desired in specialty markets (food manufacturing properties: popcorn, white color, waxy, high amylose). More recently, hybrids have been screened for novel traits of either the grain (starch extractability, ethanol yield, digestibility by non-ruminants) or the forage (NDF content, NDF digestibility, lignin content).


Fraudulant Cattle Investment Scheme Lands Bryan Woman In Prison

Fraudulant Cattle Investment Scheme Lands Bryan Woman In Prison

Department of Justice

(HOUSTON, Texas) – Lisa Camarillo Smith, 34, of Bryan, Texas, has been sentenced to prison for mail fraud and wire fraud arising from her involvement in a fraudulent cattle investment scheme, United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced today.

Smith was convicted of a total of 26 counts of mail and wire fraud earlier this year. Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced Smith to a total of 70 months in prison, without parole, imposing a 60-month-term for 14 counts of conviction and 70 months on the remaining 12 counts of conviction. The court has ordered all 26 prison terms to be served concurrently.

In addition to the prison term, Ellison ordered Smith to pay restitution in the amount of $2.6 million to the victims of this Ponzi scheme and perform 280 hours of community service during a three-year period of supervised release following her imprisonment.


Reducing Weaning Stress of Beef Cattle – Frequently Asked Questions

Reducing Weaning Stress of Beef Cattle – Frequently Asked Questions

Ropin’ the Web

Why is it so important to reduce weaning stress?

The process of weaning is very stressful on beef cattle. The separation of cows and calves, handling and processing, transportation, the time calves spend without feed and water during this entire process and sometimes through the public auction system, the mixing of unfamiliar animals and the introduction of novel feeds all impose an incredible amount of stress, on calves in particular, The consequences of all this stress are predictable. A high proportion of newly weaned calves get sick and require treatment.

What is the most stressful component of the weaning process?

Probably the main cause of weaning distress is the separation of the cows and calves. Cows and calves bawl and walk aimlessly for 3 or 4 days at weaning, not because they were transported, nor because their feed was changed. At pasture, bawling and walking help pairs to reunite, and these responses to separation are not easily extinguished. Though certainly familiarity with the feed itself can play a role, probably the biggest reason why newly weaned calves spend less time eating in the first week after separation is not because they cannot find the feeder but rather because they can’t find their mother and because they are spending so much of their time bawling and walking in search of her.


CAB Introduces “Best Practices Manual”

CAB Introduces “Best Practices Manual”

Cattle Today

Cattlemen have to keep producing a fast-growing calf every year to make money. But that’s not enough if those calves don’t produce the beef consumers want. A new “how-to” report from Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) spells out the means to pleasing those who bring new dollars to the beef industry.

“There’s a solid market for premium quality beef,” says Ron Boatwright, of Dallas-based Freedman Meats, Inc. “Our customers want a consistent product and with CAB, our customers know what to expect.”

The company grew from a $15 million business in 1989 to $191 million at the Dallas facility this year. Boatwright attributes that growth to the impact Certified Angus Beef (CAB) has on the company’s sales and quality image.    

CAB was born to meet demand for marbling and high quality beef and has grown to become an industry icon for that. “The brand delivers on a promise,” says CAB supply development director Mark McCully. “Packers pay producers more than $40 million a year to keep the supply coming in.”


Feeding the Show Steer

Feeding the Show Steer

Stephen Boyles

OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Receiving the Animal: Find out what the calf was being fed, and blend that diet as at least part of the new diet. Calves will suffer less stress if you reduce their fed and water intake by 1/2-2/3 on the day they are shipped. Another calf of similar age and weight in the pen will help make the new arrival feel more at home. Always make changes in diet ingredients and amounts gradually over time.

Initially including at least 30% roughage in the diet can reduce digestive problems. Let them have access to some long stem grass hay. The starter ration may include some molasses, about 1/2 rolled corn, 1/2 rolled or crimped oats plus a protein supplement, vitamins, and minerals.

Calves that have already been weaned and are consuming grain are easier to start up on feed. Calves that have not been weaned or were weaned only recently need to be brought up on feed gradually over a 2 to 3 week time period. You may want to start with 3 to 6 pounds of your grain mix per feeding (6-12 lbs per day). Increase the amount of grain they get by 1/2 a pound per day over the next 2 to 3 weeks.


Authorities investigate rise in cattle theft

Authorities investigate rise in cattle theft

By Christine Souza

California Farm Bureau

John Suther of the CDFA Bureau of Livestock Identification, Eric Fennell of the Kern County Sheriff’s Department Rural Crime Investigation Unit and Danny Ritchea of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department discuss incidences of missing cattle reported across the state.

Fences, brands and ear tags do not seem to deter some modern-day cattle rustlers. In fact, in the last six months the state has seen close to a 40-percent increase in missing cattle over the same period of time from 2006. The widespread problem of cattle rustling has been reported from as far as Modoc County in the north, to San Bernardino County in the south, and many counties in between.

“This has been devastating for us. We’ve lost small cattle and large cattle,” said San Luis Obispo County rancher John Lacey, a cattle theft victim. “It has been one of those frustrating things and we need to get on it. I wouldn’t leave any stone unturned.”


Matching Cow Size to Resources Prevents Performance Problems

Matching Cow Size to Resources Prevents Performance Problems

by: Jane Parish

Mississippi State University Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

Cattle Today

Cow size varies tremendously across and even within beef cattle operations. Size is routinely described in terms of both weight and frame. Frame size describes the skeletal size of cattle. Terms like large frame, moderate frame and small frame are frequently used to indicate cattle size. While frame size is often a useful selection consideration and is sometimes used in predicting expected mature body weight, it should be noted that cattle that are similar in frame size are not always similar in body weight.

Body weight takes into account muscling, condition (fat cover) and gut fill in addition to skeletal and organ mass. Cow body weight and body condition score are useful records for nutritional program planning.


Forage shortage has potential to cause three-year hit

Forage shortage has potential to cause three-year hit

Julie Douglas

Rushville Republican

WEST LAFAYETTE — Last April’s freeze and dry summer weather will not only affect farmers this year, but also could potentially hit pocketbooks for three years.

Helping beef producers cope with short forage supplies this winter is the goal of an IP videoconference being held Nov. 20 by Purdue University experts.

“Many beef producers in Indiana and in the Eastern part of the United States are facing a short forage supply,” Ron Lemenager, a Purdue Extension beef specialist said.


Cost-Share Program Includes Hay Feeding Equipment

Cost-Share Program Includes Hay Feeding Equipment

Hay and Forage

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) added hay feeding equipment to a list of cattle equipment eligible for cost-share funding. TDA is reminding dairy and beef producers that the deadline for applying for cattle improvement cost-share funding through the Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program is Dec. 1.

Considering the drastic blow to Tennessee’s hay crop this year, we have added hay cone feeders, as well as creep or self feeders, to the list of eligible equipment to help our farmers stretch out their hay supplies,” says Ken Givens, the state’s ag commissioner.


York 4-H Baby Beef Club turns 75

York 4-H Baby Beef Club turns 75


The Evening Sun

The York County 4-H Baby Beef Club is 75 years old.

The organization, offered through the York County Extension, began in 1932 with 23 members. The club teaches young members to raise and exhibit beef cattle and to feed, nurture and care for an animal.

Like all 4-H clubs, the beef club is open to youngsters ages 8 to 19 as of Jan. 1.

Members beef projects begin in the fall, when they choose their steers. They spend the winter months feeding the animals, caring for them, brushing them, teaching them to wear a halter and walk on a lead – all in preparation for the upcoming show season when their steers will be judged on how well they represent their particular breeds.


Quality Vs. Cost Is The Real Divide In The Industry

Quality Vs. Cost Is The Real Divide In The Industry

Beef Magazine

The recent confrontation between those opposed to the value-based changes that have occurred in the marketplace and those supporting them have deep philosophical and psychological underpinnings that have been written about for ages. In fact, our grandchildren will likely still be debating the questions of: change vs. status quo, competition vs. protectionism, capitalism vs. socialism, government involvement vs. the free market, etc.


Cattle Diseases: Leptospirosis

Cattle Diseases:  Leptospirosis

Cattle Today

At least five species of leptospira, a corkscrew-like bacteria, affect cattle in the United States. The species most commonly found are hardjo, icterohaemorrhagiae, canicola, L. pomona, and grippotyphosa.