Daily Archives: April 18, 2008

Short-term calf removal can provide benefits

Short-term calf removal can provide benefits

High Plains Journal

Short-term calf removal is an “old trick of the trade” that some cattle producers might find useful in bumping up rebreeding rates in their spring-calving cow herd.

The process is most effective with young cows in marginal to moderate body condition, a four or five on the Body Condition Score index, said Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock reproduction specialist.

“Removing the nursing stimulus for 48 hours can improve rebreeding rates in these cows by four percent to eight percent,” Selk said. “It’s also relatively low-cost in terms of out-of-pocket expense.”

Most of the cost will be in labor from separating the cows and calves, and possibly the eardrums of the producer and his or her family.


Cattle Feed Byproducts: What Are Condensed Steepwater Solubles?

Cattle Feed Byproducts: What Are Condensed Steepwater Solubles?


Condensed Steepwater Solubles Condensed steepwater solubles are an excellent source of soluble protein for liquid beef supplements. Most condensed steepwater solubles are used in corn gluten feed, but because condensed steepwater solubles have the consistency of molasses, they can also be used in liquid supplements. Condensed steepwater solubles are about 35% protein and can be extremely high in phosphorous and sulfur.


BeefTalk: Now Is the Time to Sort Old Cows

BeefTalk: Now Is the Time to Sort Old Cows

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Cow Herd Distribution Cow Herd Distribution

A sort by age is based on the previous year’s records and then fit to the current year’s stocking plan.

The question of cattle numbers is always present. With the current dry conditions, cow numbers are on the minds of cattle producers.

Cattle need to eat and, usually, the available forage is directly connected to the available moisture. As unpleasant as the thought of reducing a cowherd is, a plan needs to be ready if dry conditions persist.


Scanning Heifers for Profit

Scanning Heifers for Profit

Miranda Reiman

Angus Journal

Many producers work to improve their herds through more than just bulls. Maternal pedigrees and expected progeny differences (EPDs) have helped them build the female side.

A few have taken the next step, using ultrasound to evaluate carcass merit and as an early, precise pregnancy test. Coats, Kan., producer Nathan Lee has been scanning his replacement heifers for the past decade.

“The main reason is to determine who goes into our AI (artificially inseminated) herd, the top 10% to 15% of our cows,” says Lee, who manages 1,100 cows with his parents. “We don’t use that information to cull on until she’s already bred, so we know if she settled AI or not.”


Avoiding Mineral Toxicity in Cattle

Avoiding Mineral Toxicity in Cattle

Grant Crawford, University of Minnesota Beef Team

Minerals are a key component in maintaining health and productivity of cattle. This area of cattle nutrition, however, is often overlooked when determining nutrient needs. Because mineral deficiencies are more likely to occur than toxicities rations are often formulated to easily exceed minimum animal requirements. In these cases it is important to determine if dietary mineral concentrations are beyond maximum tolerable concentrations for cattle. Mineral toxicities resulting from an over-supply in feed or water may have observable effects such as a decrease in animal performance or a change in animal behavior. Toxicities may also have hidden or indirect effects, such as accumulation in meat or milk, or environmental effects due to increased mineral levels in urine and feces. Additionally, an over-supply of minerals in cattle rations is an unnecessary and easily avoidable expense to cattle producers.


How To Start A Controlled Calving Season

How To Start A Controlled Calving Season

Kent Barnes, OSU Area Extension Livestock Specialist, Northeast Oklahoma

In most herds on a year-round calving season, a natural calving concentration already exists. Nutrition is the major factor responsible for cows cycling and conceiving. Since pastures are usually at their peak of quality in spring and early summer, a natural concentration of calving may occur in late winter and spring. No system of getting on a controlled breeding program can completely eliminate the delaying of some cows from their current caving schedule. However, by taking advantage of the natural concentration in a herd, the problem can be minimized.


Rules eased for fair exhibitors’ ID

Rules eased for fair exhibitors’ ID

Lawmakers may end premises registration


Springfield Journal Register

Responding to the outcry over a new state rule about who may exhibit livestock and horses at Illinois fairs, legislators are considering lifting the mandate. In the meantime, the state Department of Agriculture has decided to ease the rule for now, making it voluntary.

Late last year, the department announced that anyone wanting to show livestock or horses at state, county, 4-H or FFA fairs would have to provide a “premises identification number” specifying where the animal is usually kept.


Transportation & Handling Of Market Cows & Bulls

Transportation & Handling Of Market Cows & Bulls


In the 2007 National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit, cattle surveyed were trucked an average of nine hours and 409 miles. Less than one percent of the audited cattle traveled more than 28 hours. Compared to previous audits, cattle that were injured and could not walk were virtually eliminated. In addition, all truck and trailer loads met American Meat Institute guidelines for spacing.


House Continues Meat Industry Probe

House Continues Meat Industry Probe



When an animal with untrimmed horns got stuck in a chute at a California cattle slaughterhouse, employees electrically prodded it repeatedly to get it to move, according to a congressional report on a case that led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

An undercover video by the Humane Society of the United States earlier this year already captured workers at Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. dragging crippled cattle with chains, shocking them with electric prods and shooting streams of water in their faces.


Cattle Preconditioning: Castration – Emasculotome

Cattle Preconditioning: Castration – Emasculotome


Castrating is the neutering of male animals by removing the testicles, either surgically or otherwise. Bulls are castrated because steers are preferred in feedlots, and cattle feeders are willing to pay more for steers because of their calmer disposition and relative ease of handling. Consumers prefer meat from steer because castration improves the quality.


Beef Cow Ration Balancer now available from U of M

Beef Cow Ration Balancer now available from U of M

Mike Boersma, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/31/2008) — With grain prices at all-time highs and hay prices not far behind, livestock producers need to find ways to become more efficient to stay profitable. Producers are also receiving less for feeder calves today than in recent years.

The University of Minnesota Extension Beef Team has released the Beef Cow Ration Balancer to help producers more closely examine the feed costs of their operation.

The free, computer-based program helps producers study the feed costs of their operation and can be downloaded from the University of Minnesota Beef Team website at http://www.extension.umn.edu/Beef.


Are There Control Programs To Limit Losses Due To BVD?

Are There Control Programs To Limit Losses Due To BVD?


Yes. The primary goals of BVDV control programs are to prevent fetal infections, which would eliminate the reproductive losses, and to decrease losses due to transient infections.

Control is achieved with a combination of removal of PI cattle, vaccination, and enhanced biosecurity. Specific programs have been designed for beef cow herds, dairy herds, and stocker/feedlot herds. Although these programs have been designed, the extent to which they are being utilized by beef producers in the United States is unknown. Nationally speaking, the U.S. Academy of Veterinary Consultants issued a statement in 2002 to support eradication of BVD in North America.

Some Tips For Adjusting To The New Economic Reality

Some Tips For Adjusting To The New Economic Reality

Beef Magazine

Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension educator in Athens County, asks in the latest Ohio Beef Cattle Letter if the high input prices of today are an aberration, a temporary fluctuation or permanent? He then offers these perspectives, gleaned from the discussions among speakers and producers attending a recent two-night Extension short course, on the “new economic reality” facing cattle producers:

Pasture/Hay – The days of cheap forage are gone. Just looking at the nutrient removal costs in a ton of hay will push hay prices to over $70/ton. By the time machinery costs and labor are figured in, $100/ton is about the breakeven price of producing hay. This has several management implications.


Embryonic mortality: definition, frequency and timing

Embryonic mortality: definition, frequency and timing

Partners in Reproduction

Embryonic mortality is regarded as one of the major causes of reproductive failure in cattle resulting in reduced pregnancy rates, slower genetic improvement and substantial financial losses to dairy and beef production. Embryonic mortality refers to the losses which occur in the period between fertilization and the completion of the stage of differentiation at approximately day 42.


ETHANOL, PRO AND CON: Dead-end fuel drives up prices, greenhouse gases

ETHANOL, PRO AND CON: Dead-end fuel drives up prices, greenhouse gases

David A. Ridenour

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Move over, “Bridge to Nowhere” —- there’s a new poster child of congressional waste and avarice —- ethanol, the “Fuel to Nowhere.” Ethanol leads only to higher food prices and greater greenhouse gas emissions.

Anytime Congress can find an excuse for shoveling out billions of dollars in pork, it’s a safe bet there’ll be a stampede of Democrats and Republicans to vote “Aye.” Such has been the case with ethanol ever since Congress latched on to the idea that it could be sold as a means of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.