Daily Archives: January 8, 2008

Video Feature: Wabi Sabi, A profile of Baxter Black

A profile on Cowboy Poet Baxter Black. He’s a poet, a novelist, an entertainer and has a regular gig on NPR. He says he can’t make up stories that are more outrageous than what really happens. You be the judge.


Nine Steps to Herd Health Planning

Nine Steps to Herd Health Planning

 Pfizer Animal Health

A health program is essential for improving efficiency on any cow/calf operation, including evaluating herd health goals and developing a written document that summarizes the needs of the operation. This process of planning health needs for the entire year can result in considerable cost savings and assures product availability by contracting arrangements with animal health suppliers.

The following steps from Glenn Rogers, DVM, MS, DABVP, and cow/calf veterinary operations manager for Pfizer Animal Health, guide producers through developing a health plan to fit the goals of their operation.

Developing a Herd Health Plan

1.         Work with a local veterinarian. A veterinarian will help you tailor a plan to fit your specific operation’s goals.

2.         Determine the optimal time of year for calving/breeding season. Because the circumstances are always changing, the season should be periodically reevaluated.

3.         Determine the optimal length for calving/breeding season. This depends on the goals of your operation, management resources, geography, breed and other factors.

4.         Research diseases and parasites significant in the region. Local veterinarians are knowledgeable about regional issues and can help offer the right solutions for your operation.

5.         Determine the ideal time to administer preventive measures for each disease/condition. Vaccinating at the correct time can help maximize performance.

6.         Determine which health and management practices will require cattle handling. Then, package the health management practices into a limited number of working sessions.

7.         Develop a one-page plan summary. Successful planning combines immunology, management and economics into a simple, cost-effective program.

8.         Select reputable products that are backed by research results that prove their levels of effectiveness.

9.         Periodically update programs. As management changes occur and improved products make their way to the market, the health plan should be adjusted to be most efficient for the operation.

Injuries and Diseases of Beef Cattle Associated with Calving

Injuries and Diseases of Beef Cattle Associated with Calving

S. P. Cuneo, Veterinarian, The University of Arizona

C. S. Card, Veterinarian, The University of Arizona

E J. Bicknell, Veterinarian, The University of Arizona

Iowa Beef Center

The pay-off for cow-calf producers is being able to sell a weaned calf. To get this calf to market you must first get your cow pregnant and have her deliver a live calf. Several common problems affect cows from late pregnancy through calving. Many problems that occur during calving have a rapid onset and require a rapid response. The good news is that if they are attended to early, they often have no permanent effect on subsequent breeding.

This publication presents common reproductive problems affecting beef cattle, a short description, underlying causes, possible prevention, and common treatment. These problems are presented generally in chronological order, from conditions seen before calving starts through the immediate post-calving interval.


Ethanol Changes EVERYTHING

Ethanol Changes EVERYTHING

Wes Ishmael

Beef Magazine

As recently as six months ago, or this morning, the immediate and visible changes wrought by subsidized ethanol production seemed much like those that accompany a dry spell or some other temporary happenstance. Not much fun to endure, but manageable with familiar adjustments as the rest of the industry hums to long-established fundamentals.

Now, though, it seems more apparent that everything we knew about an industry driven by cheap feed and energy is in flux. The fundamental relationships no longer apply, at least not the way they used to.


Ways to combat calf scours this calving season

Ways to combat calf scours this calving season

American Cowman

Be clean, be proactive and know how to identify and handle calves at risk of developing Escherichia coli (E. coli) scours — that’s the advice Dr. Twig Marston, Kansas State University beef cattle specialist, offers to cow/calf producers as scour season approaches.

E. coli scours is the major cause of death and sickness in newborn calves. And calves that do survive can continue to cost producers profits long after treatment.


Wind Breaks & Adequate Energy Reduce Risk Of Cold Weather Abortions

Wind Breaks & Adequate Energy Reduce Risk Of Cold Weather Abortions


As we get into colder winter weather, it is not unusual to experience an extreme cold or cold/wet weather event. One major problem that has been observed to sometimes follow closely on the start of an extreme cold event is an “outbreak” of abortions, usually occurring within 2-5 days after the extreme cold weather hits. Affected cows are usually in the last trimester of gestation, but cows in midgestation may sometimes be affected.

The tendency for this “outbreak” to occur appears to be related to (1) how drastically the temperature drops compared to the average temperature that the cows have been experiencing up to that point in time, (2) the body condition score of the cows, (3) the level of supplemental feeding prior to the cold event, and (4) the consistency and frequency of supply of supplemental feed during the cold event.


Unlocking Genetic Secrets

Unlocking Genetic Secrets

Barb Baylor Anderson

Angus Journal

Feed costs account for 65%-70% of total beef production costs. And with grain prices at some of the highest levels in recent memory, the American Angus Association is looking for ways to help producers manage those costs. By selecting genetics for the best feed efficiency, producers may someday be able to lower the feed line item in the ledger.

“The American Angus Association has agreements in place with principal investigators from the University of Illinois (U of I) and North Carolina State University (NCSU) to take a multidisciplinary approach to studying feed efficiency,” says Sally Northcutt, genetic research director for the Association. “We hope that this research will spearhead future practical data collection and analysis for genetic selection tool development.”


Trichomoniasis Causes Early Embryonic Death, Abortions & Infertility

Trichomoniasis Causes Early Embryonic Death, Abortions & Infertility


Tritrichomonas foetus, a protozoan, causes early embryonic death, abortions, and infertility in beef herds. The disease has been of routine concern for a number of years in many western states. In the last few years, there have been more cases in Kansas and producers should be aware of the disease and the management implications.

Definitive diagnosis requires culture and identification of the organism from an animal in the herd. In infected herds, ranchers may not notice any indications of a problem until the time of pregnancy examination when an increased number of open cows are detected. If the breeding season is long (more than 90 days) the astute rancher may notice an increased number of cows cycling at the end of the breeding season. The number of cows that calve can be reduced by 20% to 40% and the average calving date will be later and the calving season will be spread out longer than in non-infected herds. Proper herd management techniques are necessary to limit losses due to the disease in future years.


New uses for distillers grains

New uses for distillers grains

Joplin Globe

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A Kansas State University grain scientist, Praveen Vadlani, wants to learn how to make distillers grains, a byproduct of ethanol production, more valuable.

Currently, distillers grains are fed to livestock as a partial replacement for corn or other feed grains. But cattle can only eat so much of it before growth performance and beef quality are affected.


By-Products . . . By Design

By-Products . . . By Design


When we talk about cattle feeds, corn could be considered our gold standard. So should we just give cows all the corn they want? Alfalfa often represents the ultimate forage — why don’t we just run cows on straight alfalfa pastures? Cost is important in feeding management, and corn cobs are almost free; shall we feed lots of them, and nothing else?

These questions sound ridiculous to anyone familiar with cattle. We know we have to combine and manage feeds to provide balanced diets, without potentially dangerous excesses or shortages. But that begs another question: why, then, would anyone think it a good idea to give their cows open and unlimited access to CCDS (“corn syrup”), or any other ‘cheap’ byproduct?


International Livestock Congress-USA focuses on Consumer Demands for Beef

International Livestock Congress-USA focuses on Consumer Demands for Beef

Greeley Tribune

“Producers want to know what the beef consumer is demanding in the food service and retail outlet today, what is the definition of quality beef and what is the long-term beef consumer/demand outlook,” said Clint Peck, program committee co-chairman. Peck also serves as a director of Montana Beef Quality Assurance, Montana State University.


R-CALF: 2008 Congressional Priorities For The U.S. Cattle Industry

R-CALF: 2008 Congressional Priorities For The U.S. Cattle Industry


Washington, D.C. – “The U.S. cattle industry is the only major livestock sector that has not been vertically integrated from birth to plate, and as such, remains the last frontier for the U.S. meatpacking industry,” warned  R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry.

 “2008 will be a pivotal year in determining whether the cattle industry goes the way of the poultry and hog industries, or charts a new course and develops a new model where producers and packers maintain a harmonious partnership without either party exerting economic control over the other,” he continued. “Thousands of R-CALF members who raise and sell cattle across the U.S. first will ask members of the 2007 Farm Bill conference committee to support the competition provisions within the Senate version of the Farm Bill, and then ask all of Congress to support the remainder of the policies outlined below that will ensure their continued independence.”


Conner concedes lack of progress on beef trade issues

Conner concedes lack of progress on beef trade issues

Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

Acting U.S. Ag Secretary Chuck Conner addressed more than the pending farm bill during a press conference Saturday night at the South Dakota Corn Growers Association annual banquet in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Brownfield had the opportunity to ask Conner about the status of beef trade with Asian nations and he had this response.

“Yeah, boy, you know, this is a frustrating point, and I wish I could report significant progress at this stage,” Conner said. “In the case of Japan, I cannot, despite a lot of bilateral negotiations with them.”

And Conner had a similar report on U.S. efforts to re-open South Korea’s market to U.S. beef. He noted a pending free trade deal between the U.S. and South Korea hadn’t provided much in the way of negotiating leverage for U.S. officials.


Breeding success: Raising winners takes work, luck

Breeding success:  Raising winners takes work, luck


Intelligencer Journal

C.J. Furlong knows what it takes to raise a champion.

The cattleman from Mount Joy has won four supreme championships at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in past years.

And on Monday Furlong was the lone Lancaster County representative to advance to the final round of the supreme champion beef competition with his junior yearling Hereford bull, “Sauly.”

The bull was named the grand champion Hereford, but did not win supreme champion.

Furlong said the secret to raising good beef cattle is a strong breeding and nutrition program.


Cattle producers: Japan’s 34th BSE case reinforces fact that Canada’s risk mitigation measures have serious shortcomings

Cattle producers: Japan’s 34th BSE case reinforces fact that Canada’s risk mitigation measures have serious shortcomings

North Texas E-News

Japan recently announced its 34th case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, in a 15-year-old beef cow – the oldest case of all the BSE cases in Japan. Fortunately, because Japan tests every head of cattle for BSE before allowing the beef into the human food chain, none of the products from this animal will harm anyone. However, because BSE has an incubation period of up to eight years, it will be many, many years before Japan completely removes this disease from its cattle herd.