Daily Archives: June 24, 2008

Finding a great “cow dog”

Finding a great “cow dog”

Kindra Gordon

American Cowman

Dogs have long been a part of ranch life – some simply as companions, but many in the role as trained stock dogs that are working partners. When in their element, doing what they have been bred and trained to do, these ranch dogs are amazing to watch as they round up the herd or get a few strays back where they belong.

To learn more about ranch dogs, Wilton, California dog breeder and trainer Bret Venable, shares a few of his tips in finding the right dog for you and your ranch.


Marshall P. “Jack” Reeve Passes

Marshall P. “Jack” Reeve Passes

Garden City Telegram

Marshall P. “Jack” Reeve, 87, died Thursday, June 19, 2008, at his home in Santa Fe, N.M., after a long illness.

He was born Aug. 28, 1920, in Garden City to Chester and Lois Reed Reeve. A fifth-generation cattleman, he spent his youth helping his father with their cattle and sheep ranch and learned the art of “trading” from the hours he spent with his grandfather Reed.

He attended Kansas State University and earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1943. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Reed volunteered with the U.S. Army. While on assignment in St. Louis, he met Dorothy Hahn, and they were married in June 1945. They had three children, Sandy, Lee and Laurie.

After completing his duties in Camp Kilmer, N.J., the couple moved to St. Charles, Mo., then returned to Garden City about a year later.


Grass-Fed Cows A New, Healthy Food Trend

Grass-Fed Cows A New, Healthy Food Trend


Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its biggest beef recall ever: 143 million pounds of beef products.

The feedlot video that led to that recall was disturbing, showing sick cows prodded, pushed and forklifted into our food supply. If you found yourself wondering if there was a better way, a growing number of farmers were working to assure there is.

The farmers raise cows that are fed on grass, rather than corn, which some farmers doesn’t sit as well in the bovine digestive system.

“The nicer the grass is, the more they eat, the better they gain,” said Dan Coughlin, a farmer with Coughlin Stock Farms.


The big 8 foodborne illnesses and what they do to you

The big 8 foodborne illnesses and what they do to you


It seems like reports of foodborne illness are becoming more common these days, from salmonella in tomatoes to E. coli in spinach. But what exactly happens if you catch a foodborne illness? This quick guide to the common calamities should help calm you down.

New beef deal with South Korea restricts cattle age

New beef deal with South Korea restricts cattle age

Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

U.S. and South Korean officials on Saturday confirmed there’s a new deal that should actually allow U.S. beef to move to South Korea. But it’s a far cry from the unrestricted access promised in April, when South Korea agreed to comply with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines and accept virtually all U.S. beef.

That agreement, intended to improve the odds that the U.S. Congress would approve the pending U.S.-South Korean Free Trade Agreement, backfired on new South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The beef deal sparked a series of massive protests in South Korea that forced Mr. Lee to reshuffle his cabinet and publicly apologize for not taking public opinion into greater account.


Modern High-Power Electric Fencing 101

Modern High-Power Electric Fencing 101


There are many different thoughts, ideas and perceptions when it comes to basic electric fence building. There was a time when many people in the industry considered electric fence to be a waste of time and money. However, when a fence is designed and built properly using a low impedance charger, there are few circumstances in which it will not work.

Let’s begin with the energizer or charger. Chargers come in several basic models – 110V or 220V models, solar powered with battery backup models and small D cell battery-type models for temporary use. If electricity is available, 110V or higher models are probably the most reliable. The solar panel type chargers cost more initially and require more maintenance.


Get ‘Em Bred and Keep ‘Em

Get ‘Em Bred and Keep ‘Em

Mel DeJarnette, Reproductive Specialist, Select Sires

A.I. breeding problems can be classified into two fairly broad categories: fertilization failure and embryonic death. Most of my articles focus on semen handling, heat detection and estrous synchronization to improve fertilization rates. However, research suggests that with normal semen quality and appropriate timing of inseminations, fertilization rates will exceed 80%. The difference between the fertilization rate and your pregnancy rate is due to early embryonic death. It’s time to dedicate an article to keeping cows pregnant once fertilization occurs.


Q&A What level of sulfur, fat and protein are you comfortable with? What % DM of Soluble, mWDG, Gluten would you use in a diet for max gains and feed efficiency?

Q&A What level of sulfur, fat and protein are you comfortable with? What % DM of Soluble, mWDG, Gluten would you use in a diet for max gains and feed efficiency?

Dr. Galen Erickson, Assistant Professor of Animal Science, Animal Science, University of Nebraska



Assuming adequate roughage, we have summarized much of the different sulfur levels and what lead to polio. Water is important and should be measured to see the level. Our water is clean (< 100 ppm), so take that into account when I provide dietary S levels. But, we have fed up to 0.46% dietary S with little risk of polio (0.1%). When feeding from 0.46 to 0.56% S, the risk increased some (0.35%), and then when S was greater than 0.56%, then polio increased quite a bit (6.1%). If no roughage was fed (one example with 0.47% roughage, we had 12 cases of polio, thus the recommendation to maintain roughage.


Rookies on the range

Rookies on the range

At the Colorado Cattle Co., guests pay $1,800 a week to be treated just like ranch hands

Amy Speer

Rocky Mountain News

Cows dot a square plot of land near Haunted House pasture, 2 1/2 miles from the Colorado Cattle Co. ranch. As a light drizzle settles in, a group of city slickers are told it’s their job to figure out how to move the cattle.

The field is pocked with holes, some as deep as a horse’s knee, so everyone must move slowly. Normally, if a cow breaks, the slickers can bolt after it in an adrenaline-filled chase, but not here. It’s too dangerous.

This pasture calls for a deliberate plan and determined teamwork


New case of mad cow disease found in B.C.

New case of mad cow disease found in B.C.

Toronto Globe and Mail

The discovery of another case of mad cow disease in B.C. will have no impact on Canada’s already hard-hit beef industry, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.

The agency announced Monday that another cow has been identified as having bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

“This should have no impact as far as trade, or significant impact directly within Canada,” said George Luterbach, a veterinarian with the agency.

It’s the third case in B.C. in the last three years and the thirteenth in Canada since the first case of mad cow came to light in 2003.

But Mr. Luterbach said Canada has been assessed by the World Organization for Animal Health and given a controlled-risk status, indicating it has the proper checks and balances to control the disease.


State’s pastures dried up

State’s pastures dried up

Agency says ranchers forced to buy feed – or sell herds

By Jim Downing

After one of the driest springs in history, conditions on California rangelands are by far the worst in the nation, according to a report issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fully 97 percent of the state’s pastures, which support the cattle and sheep industries, are in poor or very poor condition, meaning ranchers must provide significant amounts of supplemental feed for their herds.

Along the west side of the Sacramento Valley, there’s only one-third as much grass as usual, said Glenn Nader, a livestock expert with the University of California Extension.

What’s Behind The Buzz On Condition Scoring?

What’s Behind The Buzz On Condition Scoring?


Everywhere you turn – magazines, Extension publications, web sites, even previous issues of this newsletter – the message is the same: use cow body condition scores (BCS) as your indicator of herd nutritional status, and as a tool to direct your feeding programs. Research comparing performance of cattle on different planes of nutrition repeatedly shows strong relationships between BCS and key production measures. Calf viability, preweaning weight gains, conception rate and calving interval are all tied to the amount of condition, or energy reserves, that a cow has been able to lay down. But why does this correlation exist?


Cattle handling workshop Aug. 11 in ND

Cattle handling workshop Aug. 11 in ND

American Cowman

Northern Plains Sustainable Ag is hosting a livestock handling seminar with Tom Noffsinger on Monday, August 11, 2008 at Farmers Union Headquarters in Jamestown, ND. Noffsinger, a veterinarian and independent feedlot, facility design and stockmanship consultant from Nebraska, is a student of animal-handling specialist Bud Williams.


Grandma Had Good Advice For Political Strategists

Grandma Had Good Advice For Political Strategists

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

One of my grandmother’s favorite admonishments to me and my brother was that “criticizing another’s garden doesn’t keep weeds out of your own.” My favorite singer George Strait put it another way – “Every time you throw dirt on her, you lose a little ground.”

The message that you can’t build yourself up by tearing someone else down is something few political pundits and operatives take to heart. Now that the top candidates for U.S. president are set, the general election’s opening shots make it obvious they don’t intend to follow grandma’s advice.


Breakthrough Slashes $7 Corn Over Half for Cattle Feeders

Breakthrough Slashes $7 Corn Over Half for Cattle Feeders


U.S. Ag, LLC of Luthersville, GA has the attention of cattle feeders and dairymen industry wide with the creation of a revolutionary new formula that allows producers to put up corn earlage as silage in the high moisture range without spoilage, rot or bad fermentation. The product, called Sila-Max Earlage Formula, is proving itself in cattle operations nationwide by cutting feed costs up to 50% or more.

Carl Schneider, president of U.S. Ag, says, “With the cash price of corn topping $7.00 per bushel maximizing weight gains or milk production has become critical. That is why smart feeding practices are so important.”

Understanding how Sila-Max Earlage Formula can reduce feed costs and maximize cash returns can be demonstrated by this example: 200 bushel per acre corn at $7.00 per bushel is worth $1,400. That same acre of corn harvested as earlage uses the whole ear; shuck, cob and grain – and produces approximately 490 bushels of earlage. Those 490 bushels at $7.00 are worth $3,430 or $2,030 per acre more than just corn.