Daily Archives: February 21, 2008

Nutrition, Birth Weights, & Dystocia

Nutrition, Birth Weights, & Dystocia


Dystocia, or calving difficulty, can increase both calf losses and cow mortality. A difficult birth can also set back a calf’s performance all the way to weaning, and frequently delays rebreeding for the dam. In research done at the USMARC (Meat Animal Research Center) in Clay Center, NE, young calf losses averaged 4% for those born with little or no assistance, and 16% for animals that required assistance. Furthermore, when comparing cows that experienced dystocia with those that did not, 14% fewer exhibited heat during a 45-day AI period, and 16% fewer bred back at all (70-day breeding season).

Multiple factors contribute to ease of calving, but one of the most obvious is of course calf size. Many producers work to manage birth weights through the use of bulls with low or moderate birth weight EPD’s. We also find cattlemen who try to reduce fetal size by limiting the cow’s nutrient supply during late pregnancy.


Black Ink: Herd in the balance

Black Ink:  Herd in the balance

Steve Suther

Most beef producers are conservative. Politics aside, we’re talking about cowherd management. If you had to pick a word to describe your ideal, it would be balance.

But can you have too much balance? We might as well ask if you can have too much common sense, love or justice. Still, a lot depends on interpretation. Balance does not mean always staying in the middle of the road when confronted with a range of options.

On the balance beam, sometimes you need to lean toward the left or right to stay the course and move ahead.

You don’t pick a balanced bushel of good and bad apples, or find an ethical average between good and evil. Balance at a low level may be no better than that basket of mixed apples. The scales balance at zero, but where’s the beef?


Proper Nutrition Makes Heifer a Momma Cow

Proper Nutrition Makes Heifer a Momma Cow

Clifford Mitchell

Cattle Today

There are many different fancy names for how people eat today. South Beach diets or the former Atkins craze are designed for worshippers to follow a strict plan of attack when it comes to meal time.

In elementary school all you heard was about the five food groups and how much of each should be consumed everyday. School lunch programs were designed to help growing bodies develop properly with the proper mix of nutrition that was put on the plate at noon.

In the beef business, cattlemen have to design a diet for growing animals that will help heifers grow into productive members of the cow herd. Much like the five food groups, a correct balance of protein and energy is needed to take these heifers from weaning to calving. One mistake could be very costly.


Beef Recall Latest in a Bad Year

Beef Recall Latest in a Bad Year

Kent Garber

US News & World Report

Of the 143 million pounds of beef being recalled nationwide, not a single potpie, patty, or dollop of meat sauce has caused someone to fall ill—yet.

But when the U.S. Department of Agriculture, responding to reports of safety violations at a California meatpacking plant, announced the largest recall of beef in U.S. history, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa was moved to ask: “How much longer will we continue to test our luck with weak enforcement of federal safety regulations?”


SDSU Student Wins Cattlemen’s Scholarship

SDSU Student Wins Cattlemen’s Scholarship


A junior at South Dakota State University has won a scholarship from the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group.

Amanda Nolz is one of 10 students nationwide to receive the $1,500 Beef Industry Scholarship.


A Vegan’s Search Recipe: Beef Recall

A Vegan’s Search Recipe: Beef Recall


What do the Humane Society of the United States and “The New York Times” have in common?

Each purchased the keywords for “beef recall” on Google, giving the organizations the top placement this morning on Google’s search engine results page. By buying the keywords, each organization stands to drive traffic to their sites.


Down Cows: Potential Problem For Cattle Producers

Down Cows: Potential Problem For Cattle Producers


A down cow is a dreaded problem for any cattle producer and almost always has a negative economic impact, sometimes one that is quite severe. Prevention is always the best approach to downers. However, despite the best plans, the occasional down cow still occurs and the handling of the case determines the level of loss that will occur.

Down cows were in the national headlines after the BSE (mad cow) case a few years ago. Repeatedly the media defined a down cow as one that “was too sick to stand up”. While this definition fits some down cows, many of these cows have experienced injuries that prevent them from being able to get up.