Daily Archives: December 3, 2007

BeefTalk: Beef Techie – Maybe a New Career

BeefTalk: Beef Techie – Maybe a New Career

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

High Frequency Tag Performance at Auction High Frequency Tag Performance at Auction

Perhaps the concept of a new television, disc player or surround-sound system, with individual remotes and interfaces, has arrived in the beef barn.

The world around us is high technology and seems to get more “techie” daily. A common point of the discussion whenever the family arrives in one place is who has the neatest cell phone.

The most recent addition to the lineup gets the nod. We all know that in a matter of days, the most recent becomes old.


In the Grip of Drought, Producers Turn to By-Product Feeds

In the Grip of Drought, Producers Turn to By-Product Feeds

by Evan Whitley

Noble Foundation

I don’t know what we have done to Mother Nature, but she is mad. Lack of rain has caused cattle producers to scramble for any means possible just to hold on to their cattle. This proposition would have been hard enough just based on this year’s lack of moisture. But, the fact that many producers are fighting the effects of last year as well has made it darn near impossible. However, if we are trying to stay positive, then one good thing that has come out of all this is we have had to stretch conventional thought paradigms and incorporate some pretty unorthodox thinking.

An example of this revolves around supplementing alternative feedstuffs to mature cows. Now, don’t get me wrong, we should rarely ever feel good about hand-feeding mature cows 75 to 80 percent of their daily nutrient requirements. However, it is nice to know we could if it is economically justifiable and the cattle are “good” enough to merit this kind of thinking.


Range Cow Symposium Set

Range Cow Symposium Set

Angus Journal

Colorado State University will host the 20th annual Range Beef Cow Symposium Dec. 11-13, 2007, at “The Ranch,” the Larimer County Fairgrounds and Events Complex, Fort Collins, Colo. The biennial symposium has a reputation of being an excellent educational program, offering practical production management information since the first symposium in Chadron, Neb., in 1969.


Cattle Diseases: Ketosis in Cattle

Cattle Diseases:  Ketosis in Cattle

The Merck Veterinary Manual

Ketosis is a common disease of adult cattle. It typically occurs in dairy cows in early lactation and is most consistently characterized by partial anorexia and depression. Rarely, it occurs in cattle in late gestation, at which time it resembles pregnancy toxemia of ewes. In addition to inappetence, signs of nervous dysfunction, including pica, abnormal licking, incoordination and abnormal gait, bellowing, and aggression are occasionally seen. The condition is worldwide in distribution, but is most common where dairy cows are bred and managed for high production.


What Are The Recommended Treatments For Scours?

What Are The Recommended Treatments For Scours?


The main treatment is fluid therapy. Secondary treatments are antibiotics and nursing care. Because the main problem in scouring calves is the loss of body fluids (water) and electrolytes, the primary treatment must be aimed at restoring the water balance. The calves are thirsty, but they are too sick to drink. Therefore, the first line of treatment is oral electrolyte solutions. There are a number of excellent commercial products on the market for treatment of calf scours. All of these products contain glucose or a similar material, sodium chloride (table salt), and other electrolytes. The glucose and sodium allow the animal to absorb the water they need from their digestive tract. Giving straight water does not work. The calf needs the glucose and salt to be able to adsorb the water. Usually 2 liters (just over 2 quarts) of the oral fluid solution is given 1 to 3 times per day to the sick calf. Consult with your veterinarian regarding the appropriate oral electrolyte product for your operation.


To Castrate Or Not To Castrate?

To Castrate Or Not To Castrate?


A question commonly discussed around small town coffee shops would sound like this:  “Is it worth the trouble to castrate male calves at ‘calf working time’ or should I just leave them to sell as ‘cutter bulls’?”

A survey conducted by Oklahoma State University of eastern Oklahoma livestock markets in 1997 and 1999 showed that on average, bull calves were $2.00-3.00/cwt less expensive than steers of similar weight.  Other studies in other states have suggested that bull calves are currently being discounted even more.  In fact, last week at the Oklahoma City National Stockyards, 270 head of 468 pound feeder steers sold for $132.57/cwt while 60 head of 478 pound feeder bull calves sold for $124.66/cwt.  Both groups were graded medium and large frame, number one muscling score.  Therefore the bulls that weighed 10 pounds more, returned $24.55 less per animal.


Baxter Black: The Flying Cowboy

Baxter Black: The Flying Cowboy

A picture is worth a thousand words.

The setting: A rodeo arena in front of the bucking chutes. The chute gate is opened flat back against the fence. Spectators on the left side in the bleachers look mesmerized. A cowboy on the catwalk behind the open chute has an “I don’t believe it!” countenance on his face.

The photographer has captured the bull from the left hindquarter angle. The bull’s hind feet are planted, his front feet well off the ground and his big horned head appears to be inches from the arena fence. The bull rider is sitting upright, legs tight around the girth and hat missing.

So far, so so. But what distinguishes this photograph is the presence of a cowboy, not the rider, arms straight along his sides, legs together, hat on his head in what one could describe as a skier lifting from the edge of the swooping ski jump.


National Cattlemen’s Foundation to help USDA register premises

National Cattlemen’s Foundation to help USDA register premises

Ag Professional

DENVER — The USDA today announced a partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation in cooperation with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The partnership will facilitate the registration of additional cattle premises as part of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

And soon, USDA will release a business plan to advance animal disease traceability. That plan outlines strategies to be undertaken to help achieve the long term goal of NAIS which is to retrieve sufficient trace forward and traceback data within a 48 hour window. This will allow animal health officials to trace a disease back to its source, which ultimately protects other premises and cattle from the adverse economic impact of a disease outbreak.

“This cooperative agreement will help USDA reach out to the large and varied American cattle industry to promote the merits of a national animal identification system,” said Bruce Knight, under secretary for USDA’s marketing and regulatory programs. “For the future success of the industry, it is essential that producers and animal health officials have the information they need to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an animal disease situation. The National Animal Identification System provides that framework.”


Storing colostrum for optimum passive immunity

Storing colostrum for optimum passive immunity

Western Livestock Journal

Cow/calf producers are aware that natural colostrum (first milk) must be ingested by baby calves within six hours of birth to acquire satisfactory passive immunity. However, some calves do not have ample opportunity to receive colostrum. Perhaps the mother is a thin 2-year-old that does not give enough milk or the baby calf was stressed by a long delivery process and is too sluggish to get up and nurse in time to get adequate colostrum. These calves need to be hand fed stored colostrum in order to have the best opportunity to survive scours infections and/or respiratory diseases. Therefore, stored frozen colostrum from a dairy or from other beef cows that lost calves at calving should be on hand to meet these needs. If colostrum is obtained from another farm, try to find out the health status of the cows from whom the colostrum is taken. If “Johne’s Disease” has been identified on that dairy or farm, avoid colostrum from that operation. “Johne’s Disease” can be transported in colostrum.

Colostrum can be refrigerated for only about one week before quality (immunoglobulin or antibody concentration) declines. If you store colostrum unfrozen, be sure that the refrigerator is cold (33-35F, 1-2C) to reduce the onset of bacterial growth. If the colostrum begins to show signs of souring, the quality of the colostrum is reduced. The immunoglobulin (very large protein) molecules in colostrum that bring passive immunity to the calf will be broken down by the bacteria, reducing the amount of immunity that the colostrum can provide. Thus, it is important that colostrum be stored in the refrigerator for a week or less.


Ways to get cattle eating in wintertime

Ways to get cattle eating in wintertime

by Rusty Evans

Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

Jim Neel, professor of animal science at the University of Tennessee, shares some beef management tips for winter weather:

Winter feeding is the most expensive part of cow-calf production. There may be some disagreement with this statement, but when the cost of hay and the additional expense of wasted hay is considered, it is very easily the most expensive.


Side issues stall action on trade agreements

Side issues stall action on trade agreements

Pacts with 4 nations are worth billions to farmers in U.S.

Chicago Tribune

By Stephen J. Hedges

WASHINGTON – Four trade agreements worth billions of dollars to the U.S. farm industry are stalled in Congress over disagreements that have little to do with trade, but that include concerns about paramilitary death squads, mad cow disease and the shooting 15 years ago of a U.S. soldier in Panama.

While most agribusinesses and farmers are waiting for Congress to pass the stalled, subsidy-laden $286 billion 2007 farm bill, the Bush administration has been pressing for approval of trade agreements with Peru, South Korea, Colombia and Panama.


Cold weather affects cow feed requirements

Cold weather affects cow feed requirements

Shawnee News Star

By Joe Benton

Research has repeatedly documented that the stress of extremely cold weather increases the energy requirements of cattle. This can be an important consideration in the wintering of brood cows especially considering the drastic weather changes that occur in Oklahoma.

A 1,100-pound cow in late-pregnancy needs 10 pounds TDN daily if she is in a climate of 32 degree to 80 degree Fahrenheit, which is normally considered the comfort zone for most cattle. Energy requirements increase when the temperature goes above or below this range.


Somerset veterinarian loves country life

Somerset veterinarian loves country life

By Sandra Lepley


The nostalgic days of James Herriot, an English countryside veterinarian in the “All Things Bright and Beautiful” book series, no doubt are disappearing quickly.

Despite the tendency for veterinary school students to focus on felines and canines in the animal kingdom, Nancy Kerr, the new veterinarian at Laurel Highlands Animal Hospital in Somerset County, still believes her calling lies with animals too big to be carted to the office.


Naturally tasty: Stuart Family Farm raises cows old-fashioned way

Naturally tasty: Stuart Family Farm raises cows old-fashioned way

By Joseph Hurley

The News TImes

When actor Tim Allen popped into Red’s Restaurant in New Milford last month, he was surprised that his burger was so darn good.

“He raved about it. He said it was the best he ever had,” said owner Red Johnson. Allen’s not alone, of course. Lots of folks think Red’s burgers are the best.

“Some people don’t look at a menu, they’re coming here for the hamburgers,” said Johnson, who owns the restaurant with his son Kevin. Newcomers are just as surprised as Allen when they take their first bite. They probably don’t know they’re actually eating health food, of a sort.


The doctor is in, Large animal veterinarian makes pasture calls

The doctor is in, Large animal veterinarian makes pasture calls

By Allison Elyse Gualtieri

The Sedalia Democrat

Dr. Dana Gillig’s office isn’t bounded by walls. More often, it’s bounded by fences.

Gillig, a large animal veterinarian with Sedalia Veterinary Center, doesn’t make house calls so much as pasture calls. She works, literally, in the field.

“Everything not kept as a pet is something I’ll tackle,” she said. “No snakes, no skunks, no birds. Anything larger than a pocket pet is what I do.”


Livestock producers’ library at your fingertips

Livestock producers’ library at your fingertips

Delta Farm Press

The Animal Science section of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service has developed a searchable CD that is being offered free to Arkansas livestock producers and for a small fee to producers outside the state.

Robert Seay, Benton County Extension staff chair says the CD has “all you ever wanted to know about cattle production, but were afraid to ask.

“I’m certain that users will find it to be the most complete animal science reference material available and one that will see constant use,” he says. “This may very well be the most complete animal science reference material available in such a concise package.”

The CD contains 125 publications, including information on beef and dairy cattle, horses, goats and hay and pasture management.


Seminar on beef health and management

Seminar on beef health and management


The Illinois Beef Health and Management Seminar is scheduled at the Steel Workers Hall in Hennepin from 5:15 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10. A light evening meal will be provided at 5:30 p.m.

Speakers will cover health and management topics as they pertain to the beef industry.

Three local practitioners will explain beef cattle health topics including Dr. Buzz Iliff of the Wyoming Veterinary Clinic covering “Preparation for Calving and Calf Delivery,” Dr. Rick Holmbeck from the Bureau Valley Veterinary Service in Princeton discussing “New Born Calf Management” and Dr. Alan McCully of the Marshall County Veterinary Clinic in Lacon covering “Biosecurity for the Beef Herd.”