Daily Archives: January 29, 2008

Most passive immunity occurs in first six hours

Most passive immunity occurs in first six hours

Western Livestock Journal

Despite our best efforts, a few calves will be born via a long, hard delivery. They may be sluggish or weak at birth and slow to find the cow and nurse. These calves are more prone to scours or pneumonia as babies and “poor-doers” later in life.

Resistance to disease is greatly dependent on antibodies or immunoglobulins and can be either active or passive in origin. In active immunity, the body produces antibodies in response to infection or vaccination. Passive immunity gives temporary protection by transfer of certain immune substances from resistant individuals.

An example of passive immunity is passing of antibodies from dam to calf via the colostrum (first milk after calving). This transfer only occurs during the first few hours following birth. Research from the USDA station in Nebraska has indicated that successful transfer of passive immunity (during the first day of life) enhances disease resistance and performance even through the feedlot phase.


Trent Loos: American ag is all about diversity

Trent Loos:  American ag is all about diversity


AMAZINGLY, attitudes at the Iowa Pork Congress last week were quite good. Certainly, high feed prices and low hog prices could dampen spirits, but let’s face it: The pork producers who are left in the business are the best of the best.

I have not owned a pig since 1997, but I do remember buying 4,000 bu. of corn each week in 1996, the last time corn prices topped $5/bu.

It was not all that much fun, but my words of encouragement were: “The tougher it gets, the better off we will be when it comes back in line, and trust me, it will.”

Still, today, I would rather invest in the future of pork production than ethanol.


Improving Beef Cattle Handling for Increased Profitability and Safety

Improving Beef Cattle Handling for Increased Profitability and Safety

North Carolina State University

Improving beef cattle handling can increase your farm’s profitability and safety. Good beef cattle handling entails

Proper cattle handling practices (for example, knowing how to move cattle on the farm safely and efficiently and how to load and unload cattle from trailers)

Adequately designed cattle handling facilities (for example, properly arranged and constructed pens, alleys, and chutes).

There are many options that enable you to improve your cattle handling. The changes you make can be tailored to meet your needs, concerns, and resources. You can invest a lot of time and money or just a little. However, the bottom line will show that improvements you make can be a wise investment that produces benefits that far outweigh the costs.

This publication will show you how improving beef cattle handling can benefit your cattle operation, no matter how large or small it may be. It will also provide information about beef cattle psychology, handling methods, and facility design for small and large operations.


Enemy Within

Enemy Within

by Ed Haag

Angus Beef Bulletin

While the economic consequences of liver flukes on juvenile cattle may appear minimal, calf producers should not ignore the parasite. Long after that calf has been shipped to the feedlot, its mother could face a liver fluke-induced health crisis of her own. The effects can be significant. In addition to liver damage, decreased reproductive performance, diarrhea, weight loss and jaundice, flukes can precipitate life-threatening secondary bacterial infections such as blackleg and Redwater.

William Foreyt of the department of veterinary microbiology and pathology at Washington State University is well aware of the effect a liver fluke infestation can have on a cattle herd. He warns that ignoring the parasite could cost a beef producer his livelihood. One study Foreyt and colleagues participated in involved a cow-calf herd in southern Idaho that was severely infested — 200 flukes per animal.

“The liver flukes eventually put that rancher out of business,” Foreyt says. “It can be that much of a problem.”


Utilizing the “Square” Method to Balance Rations

Utilizing the “Square” Method to Balance Rations

Clyde Lane, Jr., Professor, James Neel, Profesor, Warren Gill, Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee

A convenient way to calculate proportions of two feed ingredients to achieve a desired nutrient percentage is to use the Pearson Square. The process is simple and easy to use. A example on how to use the Pearson Square follows:

In the following example, two feeds are “combined” in the square to achieve a desired crude protein (CP) percentage, but the same procedure can be used for Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), fiber or any ingredient which is expressed as a percentage.


It’s Now Secretary Edward Schafer

It’s Now Secretary Edward Schafer

Hoosier AG Today

  Call him Mr. Secretary. By a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate, Edward Schafer has been confirmed to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The former Governor of North Dakota takes over from Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner who became Acting Secretary when Mike Johanns resigned on September 20th of 2007 to run for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Nebraska.

Some had hoped for Senate confirmation following last Thursday’s Senate Ag Committee Hearing. But Vermont Senator Pat Leahy threatened to hold up the nomination over a dispute with USDA over flood disaster aid for livestock owners in his state. The Administration told Leahy that USDA will promptly issue a new directive to allow compensation to producers whose losses stretch beyond one calendar year.


Alfalfa Symposium Takes Balanced Look At Roundup Ready

Alfalfa Symposium Takes Balanced Look At Roundup Ready

Hay and Forage Grower

The 2008 National Alfalfa Symposium, set for Feb. 4-5, will feature an in-depth discussion looking at all aspects of the Roundup Ready alfalfa debate. Mark McCaslin, president of Forage Genetics International, will give an update on the transgenic crop, including a review of the legal proceedings and ongoing regulatory process at USDA/APHIS. McCaslin will also discuss the potential for new biotech traits in alfalfa and the importance of science-based coexistence strategies to insure farmer choice.


Consumer Confidence, Economy & Beef Demand

Consumer Confidence, Economy & Beef Demand

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

It’s absolutely striking to see how poorly the economy performs in an election year, especially if there is not an incumbent running. Some economists argue that this is nothing more than the business cycle and that the cycle has more effect on elections than elections have on the cycle. I don’t attempt to argue that point, but I believe that the economy, like everything else in life, is largely determined by our attitudes.


National Meat Case Study Released

National Meat Case Study Released

Hoosier AG Today

  Results from the 2007 National Meat Case Study confirms – consumers continue to look for convenience and ease in meal preparation. Jarrod Sutton, director of retail marketing for the Pork Checkoff, says – from increases in on-pack communications and full service meat cases, to significant shifts toward case ready packaging, retailers must simplify the shopping experience for consumers.

Pork led the trend of value-added products as it continued to increase. The growth is 4 percentage points up to 10 percent of the total fresh meat packages. Growth in value-added packages was driven by fresh pork, up 11 percentage points to 23 percent of fresh pork packages; turkey was up 5 percentage points to 19 percent; and beef, up 3 percentage points to 7 percent.


Cattle Health: Fungus Among Us

Cattle Health: Fungus Among Us


Fungus and molds have such a pervasive presence in the environment that virtually any feed we offer our cattle will contain at least some low level of these organisms and their spores. But diets containing high concentrations of mold, or the by-products produced by some specific species of fungi, can negatively impact animals several ways:

1. Reductions in dry matter intake. This may simply be due to reduced palatability, increased dustiness, reduced nutrient quality, or, most likely, a combination of all three factors.

2. Lowered nutritional quality. If molds are growing on hay or grain, they are using up some of the available nutrients for their own needs. That means there will be less energy and protein left for the animals that will eventually be given the feed. Fat in particular is reduced by mold in feeds. Various research reports suggest the quality (i.e. digestibility or energy content) of moldy feeds is often reduced 5 to 10%.


Trouble in Texas

Trouble in Texas

Dairies, ethanol plants threaten groundwater supply

Neil Tietz

Hay and Forage Grower

Agriculture is booming on the Texas High Plains, but the prosperity may be short-lived. The Ogallala Aquifer, the region’s primary irrigation water source, is receding fast, and experts predict the demand for water will exceed the available supply in 10-20 years.

“It’s a huge issue,” says Vivien Allen, forage agronomist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. “You can’t be out here and not be pas- sionate about it, because it’s writing the whole future of this region.”

Allen is project coordinator for research comparing the water-use efficiency of various cropping sys- tems. Begun in 1997, the work has found that systems that include for- ages, especially warm-season perennial grasses, can save signifi- cant amounts of water.


BeefTalk: Adaptability, Body Condition Closely Connected

BeefTalk: Adaptability, Body Condition Closely Connected

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Are Your Cows Adapted to Your Environment? Are Your Cows Adapted to Your Environment?

Research has shown that body condition is the No.1 indicator on the ability of a cow to calf.

One of the keys to surviving in the cow-calf business is adaptability, which is determined by how well one’s cows fit the environment they live in. Last week, cattle hair was discussed, but hair only is one factor used to gauge adaptability.

At the onset, baseline reproductive performance must be known. The herd pregnancy rate should be 93 percent or more. A goal should be set that more than 95 percent of the cows exposed to the bull last year should be ready to calve or already have calved this year.


High feed costs hurt Tyson profit

High feed costs hurt Tyson profit


Tulsa World

Tyson Foods Inc., the world’s largest meat producer, reported Monday that its fiscal first-quarter profit slid 40 percent, withdrew its earnings guidance for the year and said it will raise prices largely to offset higher costs of commodities used to feed cattle, chickens and pigs.

The company expects to face more than $500 million in additional grain costs for fiscal 2008, which CEO Dick Bond said is well above the $300 million increase it had expected in November.

“Because of these unanticipated and extraordinarily high corn and soybean meal costs, we have no choice but to raise prices substantially,” Bond said.


Is A Midwestern Drought On The Horizon?

Is A Midwestern Drought On The Horizon?

Hay and Forage Grower

It could be a dry year for growing hay in the Midwest, says Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University extension climatologist. He says La Niña weather patterns and more than a 19-year lapse since the last major drought, in 1988, suggest a drought is likely this year. History shows the average time span between major droughts in the Midwest is about 19 years, Taylor notes. The dry conditions in the Southeast could also be an indicator of what’s to come. Of the 17 major droughts in the Midwestern U.S. the past 100 years, 16 were preceded by a major drought in the Southeast, says Taylor.


Link Between Beef Recalls & Ethanol Production?

Link Between Beef Recalls & Ethanol Production?

Dawn Crawley


Ethanol is big business in South Dakota. In fact, one ethanol plant in Aberdeen is in the process of a multi-million dollar expansion.

Cattle are also big bucks for the state, but now, some say there is a link between distiller grains, an ethanol byproduct fed to cattle and E. coli.

“We’ve probably fed distiller grains now for at least ten years on this operation. It’s a replacement for protein for our operation,” said Gary Sharp.