Daily Archives: December 28, 2007

Crop residues can lose nutritional value

Crop residues can lose nutritional value

by Dave Russell

Brwonfield Network

There have been numerous times in recent weeks that we have talked about the need for some livestock producers turning to crop residues as a feed source this winter. Keith Johnson, Purdue University extension forage specialist says that’s not a problem as long as producers understand that the nutritional value of corn residues decline as time passes.


Does supplemental Vitamin A impact quality grade?

Does supplemental Vitamin A impact quality grade?

By Troy Smith

Beef Quality Connection

What child hasn’t been told to eat his or her carrots, because they promote good eyesight? It’s true of foods containing carotenes and carotenoids which are precursors of Vitamin A. Students of animal science learn early that Vitamin A may be of most practical importance to ruminant nutrition for other reasons too. Vitamin A is essential to normal growth, reproduction and maintenance. It plays a big role in the utilization of other nutrients. But levels of Vitamin A in the diets of finishing cattle may also influence carcass quality grade.

Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s not about boosting dietary Vitamin A to enhance marbling and increase the percentage of carcasses that grade Choice or better. Rather, typical finishing diets may contain too much Vitamin A. That might actually inhibit marbling and, perhaps, prevent animals from achieving their genetic potential for quality grade.


Gene Based Test For Johne’s Disease

Gene Based Test For Johne’s Disease


If you aren’t familiar with Johne’s disease–the most costly disease facing the dairy cattle industry right now–you aren’t alone.

Johne’s (pronounced YO-nees) disease, which costs the U.S. dairy industry more than $1.5 billion annually, is caused by a bacterium that infects ruminant animals. Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is related to, but different from, the organism that causes cattle tuberculosis.

USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring Survey (NAHMS) Dairy 1996 Study reports that 45 percent of dairy producers were either unaware of Johne’s disease or recognized the name but knew little about it.


Factors Drive up Costs of Crucial Animal Feed

Factors Drive up Costs of Crucial Animal Feed

Ventura County Star, mycattle.com

by Stephanie Hoops

Hay prices have climbed to extraordinary highs in Ventura County, say local horse and cattle owners.

“They’ve been rising for a while,” said Alexis Ells, who runs The Equine Sanctuary, a nonprofit horse rescue organization in Ojai.

“It’s this drought,” said Ventura cattle rancher Richard Atmore.

Both Ells and Atmore said the drought has caused local cattle ranchers to buy more hay because they have less natural forage.


Grazing corn stalks containing excess grain

Grazing corn stalks containing excess grain

The Breeders Connection

Extra grain left behind by the combine can be a bonus for cattle grazing corn stalks, but too much grain can cause health problems.

Any time more than about eight bushels of grain per acre is left in the field after harvest, grazing cattle risk getting acidosis and founder. Both diseases are caused by excessive grain intake, which increases rumen acid production. This can cause severe foot and hoof problems, including lameness. While smut is not a health problem, some grain may contain other molds that can produce mycotoxins. Vomitoxin and fumonisin rarely cause problems for beef cattle at typical contamination levels; however, aflatoxin may be more of a concern this year. (See story in this week’s CropWatch.) If you suspect mycotoxin may be present, assay the grain to determine the extent of the potential problem.


Dealing with potassium deficiencies

Dealing with potassium deficiencies

By David G. Hallauer

Meadowlark District Extension Agent, crops, soils, horticulture

High Plains Journal

Deficiency symptoms linked to potassium have been on the increase in northeast Kansas fields during the past few years. In some cases, a soil test indicated that K levels were, in fact, deficient and additional potash corrected the problem. In others, weather or soil moisture/stage of growth interactions combined to result in temporary deficiencies. And, while most of our soils are inherently high in K, about 25 percent of samples run through the KSU soil testing lab between 2002 and 2005 were low in K.


Beef’s Wake-Up Recall

Beef’s Wake-Up Recall

A Year of Problems Has USDA Rethinking Safety Rules

By Annys Shin

Washington Post

For beef lovers, 2007 will go down as another year of eating dangerously.

Since the spring, meat suppliers have recalled more than 30 million pounds of ground beef contaminated with the potentially lethal bacteria E. coli O157:H7, including the 21.7 million pounds recalled by New Jersey-based Topps Meat in September.

After three relatively quiet years, the 20 recalls this year have raised new doubts about whether the beef industry’s attempts to keep the pathogen out of ground beef, and the government’s oversight of those efforts, are working.


The Changing Seasons For Cattle

The Changing Seasons For Cattle


The shorter days and cooling temperatures signal a change in seasons. Those of us involved in feeding beef cows also need to be aware of ‘seasonal’ changes in the cowherd. As cows progress through the stages of their annual production cycle, their nutrient requirements fluctuate dramatically. Effective — and cost-effective — feeding management must recognize and respond to the changing needs of the brood cow.

A practical approach involves dividing the “cow year” into four distinct periods, or seasons. Each of these production stages can be associated with particular nutritional needs, supplementation goals, environmental and grazing conditions and a corresponding feeding plan.


Avoid abortion-causing respiratory infections

Avoid abortion-causing respiratory infections

High Plains Journal

After investing time and money into a broodmare the last thing you want is for your mare to abort.

A viral infection called Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) has become more and more prevalent in the horse world, causing horse owners headaches–especially those invested in the breeding industry.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, EVA is an acute and contagious viral disease of the respiratory tract. When otherwise-healthy open mares or geldings contract the disease through respiratory secretions, it is unlikely for them to show any clinical signs of illness.

However, the virus is also a venereal disease, meaning if either the stallion or mare has the virus, it will be spread during the mating process. Unfortunately, it is not just live-bred mares at risk. The virus can also be spread by infected frozen or cooled semen.


Cellulosic ethanol movement could boost soil quality

Cellulosic ethanol movement could boost soil quality

By Tim Hoskins

Iowa Farmer today

The future development of cellulosic-based ethanol might help farmers increase their soil quality.

The more diverse the crop rotation, the better the soil quality, Doug Karlen, a research soil scientist with USDA’s ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, says in a study published in a 2006 Agronomy Journal.

 “It (this study) lays the foundation why we need to move to a more diverse landscape,” he says.


Beef herd health focus of Jan. 8 meeting

Beef herd health focus of Jan. 8 meeting

Perry County News

On Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Perry County 4-H Fairgrounds, Purdue Extension and the Perry County Animal Hospital will host a meeting on beef-herd health. The Perry County Animal Hospital will be presenting at the meeting. There will also be a meal for those in attendance.

The health of the beef herd can affect the profitability of the herd. This meeting will give information on some diseases to be aware of in the herd and how to prevent diseases from showing up in the herd.

This program is the second program in a series of beef-management programs taking place on the second Tuesday of each month at the fairgrounds. The cost for each of the programs is $5, to be paid at the door of the meeting attending. Future topics will include forage management and understanding the cattle market.


Antibiotics in Feed, MRSA, & Factory Farms: Will We Let Corporate Agribusiness Kill Us?

Antibiotics in Feed, MRSA, & Factory Farms: Will We Let Corporate Agribusiness Kill Us?

Environmental News Network

Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.

A new study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases links a new strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), once found only in pigs, to more than 20 percent of all human MRSA infections in the Netherlands (the study can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/13/12/1834.htm).

The new strain of MRSA, NT-MRSA, emerged in the Netherlands in 2003 and increased steadily until by 2006 it accounted for more than one out of every five human MRSA infections, many of them in either pig farmers or cattle farmers. The NT-MRSA cases clustered in regions of the country with high densities of pig and cattle farms. The new strain has high rates of hospitalization, suggesting that it causes severe disease.


MCA launches feed Montana program

MCA launches feed Montana program

Tri State Neighbor

BILLINGS, Mont., – In Montana today there are 47,000 families that often skip meals or go to bed hungry.

Over 310,000 Montana residents (30% of Montana’s total population), including the elderly and young children, are at risk of food insecurity and hunger. This situation is totally unacceptable!

Montana Cattlemen’s Association Foundation for Research, Education and Charity “rides for the brand”, so in staying true to that old Western expression, we have organized the Grind-A-Cow program for cattle producers to donate beef to help feed our neighbors.


National ID model to identify tracing opportunities

National ID model to identify tracing opportunities

By Jeff DeYoung

Iowa Farmer Today

The USDA released a business plan this past week to boost the traceability component of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

The new model is an effort to identify areas of weakness and opportunity, establish benchmarks against which to measure success, and communicate a vision for the future of traceability, explains Bruce Knight, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

 “By creating a nationally integrated, modern animal disease-response system, like the NAIS, animal health officials quickly can obtain all of the information they need to locate as well as trace the movement of diseased and exposed animals, which will significantly minimize the spread of the disease,” Knight said in a news release.


Ethanol, cattle prices linked by corn

Ethanol, cattle prices linked by corn


Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO – As the price of corn rises – largely due to increased ethanol production – the price of feeder cattle falls, said Ron Torell, Cooperative Extension livestock specialist.

Cattlemen who want to learn how to combat this problem should attend the annual Cattlemen’s Update program Jan. 7-11 in various Nevada communities and by video conference.

 “Most of us have heard the phrase, ‘When you’re handed lemons, make lemonade,”’ Torell said. “Such is the case with the recent wake-up call for cattle producers when the rapidly growing ethanol industry revealed its hunger for corn. So, how can we make lemonade out of this? The answer is by using the co-products of ethanol production, such as distillers’ dried grains, which are becoming increasingly available and are usually an extremely cost-effective feed ingredient.”