Daily Archives: December 17, 2007

Prepare A “Calving Kit” Before Calving Season Begins

Prepare A “Calving Kit” Before Calving Season Begins


Before the hustle and bustle of the spring calving season, now is a good time to put together the supplies and equipment that will be needed to assist heifers and cows that need help at calving time.

Equipment: Before calving season starts, do a “walk-through” of pens, chutes, and calving stalls. Make sure that all are clean dry, strong, safe, and functioning correctly. This is a lot easier to do on a sunny afternoon than a cold dark night when you need them.

Protocol: Before calving season starts develop a plan of what to do, when to do it, who to call for help (along with phone numbers), and how to know when you need help. Make sure all family members or helpers are familiar with the plan. It may help to write it out and post copies in convenient places. Talk to your local veterinarian about your protocol and incorporate his/her suggestions. He or she will be a lot more helpful when you have an emergency during the kids’ school program if you have talked a few times during regular hours.


Accept Change And Get On With It

Accept Change And Get On With It

Beef Magazine

I’m disturbed by all the complaining today – particularly by cattlemen – regarding grain-based ethanol. As a consulting nutritionist with 400,000 cattle under my care, and as a dairy owner and cattle feeder myself, I know the reality of high feed costs.

Fact is, the U.S. would raise 10-13 billion bu. of corn whether we were producing ethanol or not. From 1975-2000, we fed corn that was at loan-rate economics. As an industry, corn was cheap and we learned how to feed it.

Unfortunately, the American taxpayer subsidized the corn industry to the tune of $6-10 billion/year. Now, taxpayers are subsidizing the blenders (a much smaller percentage of the cost) and American corn growers are profiting tremendously.


New program designed to help cattle producers

New program designed to help cattle producers

Rowynn Ricks

Woodward News

The OSU Extension Service is offering local cattle producers the opportunity to participate in a new feed-out program which will help them learn more about their product.

Greg Highfill, livestock specialist with OSU Extension Services, said the program will also help identify ways producers can improve the quality of their cattle.

Highfill said the program, which is known as the Great Western Feed-Out, will allow producers to send five to 40 steers to the Cattleman’s Choice Feedyard in Gage.

While the steers are at the feedyard, he said officials will be “evaluating characteristics that add value to the producers’ calves.”


Smithfield’s Panhandle beef plant placed on hold

Smithfield’s Panhandle beef plant placed on hold

Western Livestock Journal

Company says it could be three to five years before construction moves forward.

Smithfield Beef’s announcement that it would build a beef processing plant in Hooker, OK, to take advantage of a large, nearby supply of southern Plains cattle was met with applause throughout the region. However, multi-year losses in the packing segment had many industry analysts scratching their heads. Now, it appears that tough times in the packing business have Smithfield rethinking their plans.

Smithfield Beef spokesman Lyle Orwig said last week that the plan to build a new, state-of-the art facility in the Oklahoma Panhandle is on hold for the time being. Smithfield Beef Group is reportedly studying market conditions before progressing with construction.

“It could be three years; it could be five years,” Orwig said. “There has been no decision made.”


Kansas State University Researchers Say More Research is Needed to Reach Definitive Conclusion on Link Between Feeding Cattle Ethanol Byproducts and E. Coli

Kansas State University Researchers Say More Research is Needed to Reach Definitive Conclusion on Link Between Feeding Cattle Ethanol Byproducts and E. Coli


Manhattan, KS—Scientists at Kansas State University who are studying the effect of feeding distilleŕs grains to beef cattle said that more research is needed before cattle feeders and the public should reach definitive conclusions. In three separate studies conducted over the last two years, T.G. Nagaraja, a professor of microbiology in K-Statés College of Veterinary Medicine, and Jim Drouillard, K-State professor of animal sciences and industry, found that feeding beef cattle a diet that included 25 percent distilleŕs grains (DGs) increased the prevalence (number of cattle positive) of E. coli 0157 in those animals manure. “In cattle, our previous research has shown that the hind gut — which consists of the cecum, colon, and rectum — is the site of persistence of E. coli O157,” Nagaraja said.


Ranch meetings focus on using ethanol byproducts

Ranch meetings focus on using ethanol byproducts  

North Platte Bulletin

Ranchers have seen economical prices of ethanol co-products and wondered how distillers or gluten could work in their operations, says Dawson County Extension Educator Bruce Treffer.

Treffer urges ranchers to hear various UNL beef experts provide some answers. In January, “Ranching for Profitability” meetings will be delivered across Nebraska’s cattle country.

For those ranchers in central Nebraska, the meetings are Jan. 7 at either the Broken Bow Country Club at 10 a.m. or the Overton Community Building from 4 to 8 p.m.

A meal is included in the $10 registration.


Dietary sulfur concerns with commodity diets

Dietary sulfur concerns with commodity diets

High Plains Journal

With skyrocketing corn prices, cattle producers are scrambling to find ways to cut corners on feed.

“One practice gaining interest is using by-products of wet and dry corn milling to take place of more expensive corn- and protein meal-based growing cattle diets in the South,” said Dr. Shane Gadberry, assistant professor/livestock specialist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

While it’s an acceptable practice, he warned producers to be aware of the dangers from sulfur in these products, which can cause polioencephalomalacia.


EPDs for profitability, multiple breeds

EPDs for profitability, multiple breeds

Western Livestock Journal

Many cow/calf producers are used to the ritual selection of Expected Progency Differences (EPDs) which they hope will determine the sire which is the best fit for their herd.

 Ranchers place personal or economic emphasis on any number of traits which they believe will be most effective in improving their herd’s genetics, as well as their bottom line.

Birth weight and calving ease may be a primary concern for a rancher who sees or gathers cattle only once or twice a year, while it may make much less of a difference to someone who can provide constant attention to their cattle during calving season. Ribeye area and marbling scores may be the most important to ranchers who sell their calves into a system where they are rewarded for carcass yield and quality grades, while those traits may mean little to a producer simply trying to wean the largest calf possible.


Montana senators cheer $286 billion farm bill

Montana senators cheer $286 billion farm bill


Great Falls Tribune

WASHINGTON — Montana senators praised the $286 billion farm bill passed by the Senate on Friday, saying it is good for the state.

The bill includes many provisions that will benefit farmers in the High Plains. They include:

— A requirement for meats and other fresh foods to be labeled with their country of origin starting next year, a priority for Western and Midwestern ranchers who compete with Canadian beef;


Navarro County Ag update: Creep Feeding calves today

Navarro County Ag update: Creep Feeding calves today

By Derek Scasta

Corsicana Daily Sun

Creep Feeding Calves: Creep feeding is generally used for nursing calves but can be used for purchased replacement heifer calves put into the home herd. Milk from a lactating beef cow furnishes only about 50 percent of the nutrients that a three-month-old calf needs for maximum growth. Additionally, milk production in beef cattle is maximized in the first two months after calving and then quickly declines. Obviously, the requirements of growing calves quickly exceeds the nutrition provided by nursing and so creep feeding must be considered.


Anaplasmosis Prevention, An All Season Program

Anaplasmosis Prevention, An All Season Program


 Many Oklahoma beef producers associate anaplasmosis with horse flies, and keep up a prevention program only during the fly season.  Unfortunately, many of these same producers are still experiencing anaplasmosis problems well into the winter, because biting flies are only a minor vector compared to other ways the disease can be transferred.  In many areas, especially wooded or brushy pastures, ticks are more important vectors than biting flies.  Ticks are an all-year problem in many areas of Oklahoma, so the control program also needs to be maintained all year.   Stockmen also spread the disease from carriers to susceptible animals by not removing all traces of blood from equipment when processing adult cattle.  The organism can be carried by needles, dehorners, castration knives, ear taggers, or any other implement that draws blood.  It is sometimes possible to determine the source of the outbreak by the way cases develop.  When insect vectors are responsible there will usually be one sick animal, followed several weeks later by multiple cases.  If human transfer is the cause, several sick animals will show up at the same time 2 to 4 weeks after the cattle were worked.


Conference to discuss biofuel’s effects

Conference to discuss biofuel’s effects


Bryan College Station Eagle

The effects of the biofuel industry on agricultural producers will be one of several featured topics at the 46th Blackland Income Growth Conference on Jan. 15-16 at the Waco Convention Center.

Bill McCutchen, associate director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, will give an in-depth look at the biofuel industry. He will also speak about ongoing bioenergy research conducted by Experiment Station scientists.

Other featured topics include cattle feeding efficiency as it relates to escalating production prices, as well as horticulture, beef, grain, cotton, forage, wildlife and family issues. Rebecca Parker, Texas Cooperative Extension regional program director for agriculture and natural resources says that the annual B.I.G. Conference is one of the most extensive agricultural production conferences of the year.


Cattle don’t just need salt, but minerals too

Cattle don’t just need salt, but minerals too

Dan Burton

Springfield News Leader

Beef cattle producers know their cattle need salt. It comes in all shapes and colors as loose mineral or square blocks, white, yellow, or red in color.

Beyond salt, cattle may also need some macro or micro minerals depending on their forage supply and class of cattle according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

“If forages were tested religiously in southwest Missouri, you likely would find some deficiency in trace minerals such as copper, zinc and selenium. The shortages are more common in straight fescue during the dormant periods of growth both winter and summer,” said Cole.

The legumes, alfalfa, clover and lespedeza usually do not show the trace mineral deficiencies, according to Cole. That means keeping them in the forage blend can save minerals in a year’s time.


Acute Interstitial Pneumonia

Acute Interstitial Pneumonia


Over the past few years I’ve received calls from customers who thought they had a vaccine problem. Some thought the BRSV fraction in our vaccine was not protecting and others thought they had a clostridial problem of some type because of sudden death in some of their calves.

Fortunately, in these cases, we were able to have a veterinarian necropsy the calves and send in samples to a diagnostic lab. The final diagnosis was AIP which was surprising to the customers as they had really never heard of this disease. Larger feedlots are usually aware of this problem; but smaller cattle operations are not. While AIP is most often found in feedlot cattle, it can occur in cattle on lush pasture. For those calves on pasture, the syndrome has often been called “fog fever” and occurs after cattle are moved to lush pasture. With cattle on feed, it is sometimes referred to dust pneumonia or allergic pneumonia.


Swift: Cutbacks won’t affect hiring for second shift

Swift: Cutbacks won’t affect hiring for second shift

Sharon Dunn

Greeley Tribune

Hiring at JBS-Swift & Co. is well under way, despite holiday cutbacks to JBS-Swift and Co.’s production levels.

In fact, managers have hired more than 1,200 workers for the second shift at the plant, said Eric Ray, Human Resources Director for the company — well on pace to its goal of 1,300 by the end of the year. Hiring is still ongoing.

“It’s the market conditions that have caused us to reduce some of our volumes but we’re not reducing people,” Ray said Friday.

Like many in the meat packing industry, JBS-Swift announced it was cutting production hours at its four beef packing plants, including Greeley, due to poor market conditions.

“In a nutshell, these conditions have been seen almost every year since 2002, where packers have lost a lot of money in December and been forced to reduce production,” said Steve Kay, publisher of Cattle Buyers Weekly, an industry trade magazine. “… December has been pretty ugly for packers for a number of years.”


Utilize BCS As An Effective Management Tool

Utilize BCS As An Effective Management Tool


I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about “managing body condition” in beef cows. In fact, the January CattleSense touched on the importance of body condition score (BCS) at calving. As we approach that critical point in our annual production cycle, I want to address this topic in more detail.

BCS, typically expressed relative to the 9-point scale illustrated below, allows us to approximate the nutrient status and energy reserves of beef cows.

Researchers have shown that nutritional management during late pregnancy – manifested in BCS – can impact birth weight, calving ease, calf viability, calf performance to weaning, length of the post-partum interval (PPI) to cycling or settling, and pregnancy rate.


Cattle rustling on the rise in California

Cattle rustling on the rise in California

George Raine,

San Francisco Chronicle

The other day, two young heifer calves were stolen from a dairy in Tulare County. The thieves drove them to Kings County, where they apparently discovered to their chagrin that the animals were branded.

That would make selling them difficult. If they tried to sell the calves at a livestock auction, the state brand inspectors would want to see proof of ownership. Cops on the case think the thieves figured they were toast. So, they simply tossed the animals out of their car in downtown Hanford, in front of the flour mill at Sixth and Green streets, and drove away. A car came by and struck and killed one of the calves. The other one wandered a mile away, ending up in a man’s front yard.


Weather woes hit hard down on the farm

Weather woes hit hard down on the farm

It is not easy to keep trough water wet in an ice storm



What a way to plunge into the winter season.

Nearly a half-inch of ice followed by a few inches of snow this past week left just about everyone in the tri-state area scrambling. But livestock farmers in particular had a huge workload as a result of the wintry weather conditions.

Just keeping water troughs filled with water — rather than ice — can be a challenge.


K-State Tests Animal ID System That Might Detect Cattle Disease Before Physical Signs Appear

K-State Tests Animal ID System That Might Detect Cattle Disease Before Physical Signs Appear

Kansas City Infozine

Science & TechnologyEarly each morning after feeding, “cowboys” Marc Epp and Rodney Derstein take a spin through the cattle pens at Kansas State University’s Beef Stocker Unit.

Manhattan, KS – infoZine- Epp, the unit’s manager, is looking for signs of sickness — and he’s got a pretty good eye.

“Sometimes they don’t feel like eating, they hold their head down. Or they might be having a hard time getting around,” Epp said. “You can just tell by paying attention to their mannerisms.”


Beef Losses Prompt Cutbacks

Beef Losses Prompt Cutbacks

By Kim Souza


Beef losses are mounting for Tyson Foods Inc. and the rest of the beef industry as packers lose about $45 per head for each cattle slaughtered, according to Hedgersedge.com

The troubled market conditions have cost the Springdale meat giant an estimated $1.2 million per day over the past two months. Tyson Foods is the nation’s largest processor in terms of market share, according to Cattle Buyers Weekly. Losses in the U.S. beef industry range from $5.6 to $5.8 million a day, based on recent slaughter numbers.

The heavy beef losses have prompted four of the nation’s largest processors to cut production from now through the holidays in hopes of lowering live cattle prices.