Daily Archives: March 20, 2008

Diseases: Mastitis in Beef Cows

Diseases:  Mastitis in Beef Cows

Ropin’ the Web

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is the inflammation of the mammary gland. This disease and resulting infection can significantly reduce milk production.

Are there different forms of mastitis?

Two types of mastitis (infectious and non-infectious) can occur. Approximately 1% of mastitis cases are non-infectious, which can be a result of a physical injury. The vast majority of the cases are infectious, which are a result of an infection – like streptococcus.

Are beef and dairy operations at risk?

Mastitis is most commonly found in dairy herds. It is now recognized as a growing problem in beef herds. This is a growing problem in beef herds, and can result in weaning weights being reduced by 7% to 12.5%.

Is the entire udder infected at the same time?

Most mastitis cases involve one quarter (one teat) of the udder, with normal milk production from the other three quarters. Overall milk yield is lower, reducing weaning weights, reducing profitability of the operation.


Corn Coproduct Survival Guide

Corn Coproduct Survival Guide

Barb Baylor Anderson

Angus Journal

If you’re eyeing the possibility of incorporating corn coproducts into your operation’s feed rations, the information below may help you succeed. Extension nutrition and management specialists say beef producers can survive in a corn coproduct world, as long as a number of factors are considered before buying.


Reproduction 101: Basics of Breeding Cows and Heifers

Reproduction 101:  Basics of Breeding Cows and Heifers

Heather Smith Thomas

Normal reproduction in the cow depends on interaction among several hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone, which are both produced by the ovary. Estrogen is created by maturing follicles and regulates the development and function of much of the reproductive tract. Estrogen is the hormone that triggers onset of heat (estrus).


Heat Detection vs. Ovulation Prediction

Heat Detection vs. Ovulation Prediction

Mel DeJarnette, Select Sires Reproduction Specialist

I recently had the opportunity to spend a week riding with several Select Sires technicians across central Wisconsin. It was an eye-opening experience for me in more ways than one. It was a pleasure to spend some time with these dedicated employees and to see first hand some of the problems they deal with on a day-to-day basis. One area that surprised (and troubled) me was the number of cows being bred based on some secondary sign of heat followed by the farmer telling the technician to “Palpate her and see what you think.”


The Difference Between Farm and Rural

The Difference Between Farm and Rural

Gary Truitt

Hoosier Ag Today

There is a new buzzword across the countryside; it is “rural lifestyle”. Simply put, this refers to people who live in the country but aren’t farmers. Farm folks call them “city slickers”, “outsiders,” or just “those people who moved here from…” Now the marketing and advertising industry has decided these people are a demographic segment and are researching them to death. The reason for this is because there are more of them than ever before.   In the past decade, a large numbers of people have left the city looking for that perfect plot of ground they can call their own. They brought with them a different set of values and expectations and a different culture.   And this, in turn, is changing rural America.


Early Season Pasture Management

Early Season Pasture Management


As we near the end of winter and move towards spring, many livestock producers are anxiously awaiting pasture green up and growth. However, due to last year’s drought and short forage supplies, many of these same pastures were overgrazed and abused last fall. Remember that fall is a critical time for the forage plant to buildup and store carbohydrate root reserves. These carbohydrate reserves are used for initial plant growth in the spring until the plant has enough leaf tissue to sustain its own growth through photosynthesis. Plants that are overgrazed in the fall of the year must over winter with diminished carbohydrate root reserves. This can lead to plant death over the winter in severe cases, but most commonly slow spring green up and reduced growth rates or lower production are seen. In this article I want to look at 3 possible pasture scenarios and discuss some management options for each.


Early High-Starch Diet Critical to Carcass Quality

Early High-Starch Diet Critical to Carcass Quality

Barb Baylor Anderson

Angus Journal

High-quality carcasses start with highstarch diets, and high-starch diets need to begin with calves as early as possible. Research shows calves that are fed highstarch diets early in life will have more marbling at the same backfat end point as calves grown on forages. In addition, the amount of starch in the finishing diet is not as critical as starch at a young age. Research also confirms it is more important than genetic merit for marbling.


Mineral Supplementation Can Affect Beef Cattle Performance

Mineral Supplementation Can Affect Beef Cattle Performance


The value of mineral supplementation is either discounted or overlooked by many beef cattle producers. Mineral supplements make up a small part of the total diet, but can play a big role in the overall performance of beef cattle. This article will address the significance of minerals in many metabolic processes that affect growth performance, reproductive efficiency and immune function. The importance of providing a mineral supplement becomes evident once you understand how it can affect animal performance.

Calcium (Ca), phosphorous (P) and magnesium (Mg) are often associated with bone development and growth, but these minerals also serve other vital functions. These include growth, energy utilization, membrane structure, muscle contraction and hormone secretion.


Little barley: friend or foe?

Little barley: friend or foe?

Mark Keaton

Baxter Bulletin

Little barley is a winter annual native grass which germinates in the fall and makes most of its growth in April- or May-producing seedheads during April through June. It primarily is found in bermudagrass. Many beef producers rely on it as a source of temporary grazing during the spring. Using it during the early spring, before the stems begin to elongate, usually furnishes good quality forage for a short time.

Little barley is a low yielder compared to ryegrass and small grains. It becomes a major pest in pastures when it begins to mature, because cattle won’t eat it and because of competition for light, nutrients and moisture at a time when bermuda is trying to break dormancy and grow.


Stable Fly Economic Importance

Stable Fly Economic Importance


Stable flies are the most important insect pests on feeder and dairy cattle during the summer in Nebraska. They feed by piercing the skin and sucking blood. Stable flies stay on the animal long enough to obtain a blood meal, then seek shade on a fence, barn wall, feed bunk or vegetation to digest it. In recent years stable flies also have become pests of range and pasture cattle. The source of these flies is generally unknown but stable flies are capable of migrating a considerable distance, 10 miles or more.

Kansas State University research indicates that feeding big round hay bales in bale tubs creates wasted feed outside the tub, which when wet is an ideal stable fly breeding area. The same is true for feeding the big bales on the ground by just unrolling them.


Mud Can be an Enemy to Cattle’s Health

Mud Can be an Enemy to Cattle’s Health

Heather Smith Thomas

Cattle Today

Mud is the enemy of good health. Wet seasons create stress for livestock; a wet hair coat loses its insulating quality and cattle suffer more cold stress in wet weather than in dry cold. Under dry conditions, the hair is fluffy and has tiny air spaces between each hair, holding a layer of warmer air next to the body. A good clean hair coat can keep cattle warm even when temperatures drop to zero and below.

When the hair becomes wet, however, it lies down flatter and loses this insualting layer of air. If cattle must lie in mud, the hair becomes muddy and matted and also loses its insulating quality. Cattle chill more readily, and this stress can lead to illness; stress inhibits the immune system and makes cattle more vulnerable to disease. If they must stand in deep mud, this is also a stress. It’s harder to keep warm when standing in cold mud.


Producers concerned about TB status downgrade

Producers concerned about TB status downgrade

Steven Swenson

Pipestone County Star

About 115 concerned beef and dairy producers from across southwestern Minnesota were in Pipestone on Friday, March 14 at the Pipestone Livestock Auction Market sale barn getting an update on bovine Tuberculosis (TB). The main concern is with the upcoming downgrade in state status from Modified Accredited Advanced (level 2) to Modified Advanced (level 3).


Meat companies’ shares rise after upgrades

Meat companies’ shares rise after upgrades

Bob Burgdorfer


Shares of some of the nation’s top meat companies bounded higher on Wednesday after a brokerage firm said conditions appeared to be improving in the beef and chicken markets.

A sharp drop in corn prices also appeared to be encouraging buying of meat company shares, an economist said.

Shares of No. 4 U.S. chicken producer Sanderson Farms Inc (SAFM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) jumped as much as 10.5 percent, while shares of top chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corp (PPC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and meat giant Tyson Foods (TSN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) had strong but lesser gains after the research report by JP Morgan.


With Aubracs, Scott Fredrickson’s Cow Calf Operation Is Uniquely Positioned

With Aubracs, Scott Fredrickson’s Cow Calf Operation Is Uniquely Positioned


In the evenings, when distant thunderheads rise above the prairie and cattle spread across his pastures, Scott Fredrickson understands why he’s a cowman.

Thirteen years ago, Fredrickson set out on a different path, a path that would take him into unexpected opportunities.

He refused to do whatever everyone else was doing – particularly when it came to producing cattle – and focused his energy instead on producing a little-known breed of cattle called Aubracs (pronounced Oh-bracks).


Ag faces diverse issues

Ag faces diverse issues


Monterey County Herald

It was designed to showcase the county’s agricultural industry.

But what Tuesday’s “Celebrate” breakfast at the Monterey Fairgrounds did best was to showcase the diversity of challenges facing Monterey County’s largest industry.

The breakfast, sponsored by local agriculture groups and the Monterey County Fair, was a kickoff to National Ag Week, March 16-22, designed to celebrate “the importance and success and progress of agriculture,” said Connie Quinlan, executive director of Monterey County Agricultural Education, Inc.

But in Monterey County, where agriculture was a $3.5 billion industry in 2006, leafy greens standards, immigration policies, pest eradication and beef cattle handling practices are just some of the challenges facing those in agriculture.