NAHMS Beef 2017 Study

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Next month the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) will launch Beef 2017, its fourth national study of U.S. beef cow-calf operations. Beef 2017 will take an in-depth look at U.S. beef cow-calf operations and provide the industry with new Continue reading

Capture Value Through Weaning

– Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, Associate Beef Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

Seems like I am a broken record lately. I keep hearing myself say only worry about what you can control and don’t fret over those things you cannot. As fall comes, it occurs to me that these words seem to apply to our beef farms. Everyone wanders when the peak in the market will be. Several ask when is the market going to drop?

Often we worry so much about what the markets will do in the fall, we forgot to focus on what we can control. Many calves make it to the market unweaned, something we can control. Time and time again, the markets show us that weaned calves bring more money than unweaned calves. Let’s consider Continue reading

The Value of Preconditioning Calves

– Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Preconditioning is a generic term that means different things to different people and encompasses the different operating procedures that may be applied to a calf prior to shipping. Preconditioning activities may include weaning, vaccinations, dehorning, castration, and starting calves on a high energy diet. Several reasons exist for the cow/calf producer to precondition their calves, but the underlying goal is to increase the value of the calf being sold or the Continue reading

Transitioning Calves from Receiving to a Feedlot Diet

Dr. Francis L. Fluharty, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University (Originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

When starting calves pull feed to the center of the feed bunk every 4 to 6 hours for the first 48 hours. Do this slowly so the cattle are intrigued, but not scared.

Transitioning newly weaned calves from a forage diet to a grain and grain byproducts based diet is a critical time period in the feedlot. Since many farmer feeders only receive calves once a year and fall weaning is just around the corner, here’s a quick reminder of things to consider.

Corn has twice the energy density, and twice the digestibility of most forages, so a pound of corn yields four times the amount of digestible energy as a pound of grass. Allowing animals an adequate time to adjust to corn, metabolically, is critical as the Continue reading

Why Antibiotics Fail

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL)

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) continues to be the most common cause of feedlot death loss, despite improved vaccines and expensive long-acting antibiotics formulated specifically against the bugs commonly found in a diseased bovine lung. Beyond death loss due to severe pneumonia, the costs of treatment (antibiotics) and prevention (vaccines), loss of production, and reduced carcass value in chronic cases must also be considered to understand the full economic loss to the industry. In the face of these challenges, consumers are increasingly demanding Continue reading

Won’t Bicarb Keep My Cattle From Bloating?

Stan Smith, PA, OSU Extension, Fairfield County

Two weeks ago in this publication Dr. Francis Fluharty discussed concerns regarding acidosis and classic feedlot bloat in his article Did My Feed Grinder Cause My Cattle to Bloat? One of the many responses from readers came in the form of this simple question:

If feed grade sodium bicarbonate – or bicarb – is the overall standard rumen-buffering supplement for dairy cows, why don’t we include it in beef feedlot rations in an effort to reduce the incidence of acidosis?

Dr. Fluharty’s response: Continue reading

Did My Feed Grinder Cause My Cattle to Bloat?

Dr. Francis L. Fluharty, Research Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

Acidosis is a prerequisite to classic feedlot bloat. Acidosis is most prevalent when high-grain diets are fed.

1) whole corn kernal; 2) whole corn kernal split in half; 3) whole corn kernal quartered; 4) one whole corn kernal broken into many smaller pieces. Each time corn or other grains are ground or split further the total surface area of the feed increases, and the rate of ruminal fermentation is increased.

When cattle are over-fed large amounts of starch Streptococcus bovis bacteria that make lactic acid increase rapidly. In this instance, bacteria that use lactic acid (Megasphaera elsdenii, Selenemonas ruminantium, and  Selenomonas lactilytica) cannot keep up with production of the lactic acid.

The normal rumen pH with cattle fed high-grain diets is between 5.5 and 6.2, but when lactic acid is over-produced, the rumen pH continues to decline and can fall below 5.5, at which point many other rumen bacteria species begin to reduce their reproductive rates. When the rumen pH drops below 6.0, bacteria that digest fiber decrease Continue reading

New World Screwworm Still a Threat

Timothy McDermott DVM, OSU Extension Educator, Hocking County (published previously in Farm and Dairy)

On September 30th, 2016 entomologists at the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (USDA-APHIS-VS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa confirmed a diagnosis of screwworm in a Key Deer from Big Pine Key, Florida.  The New World Screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) was identified as the cause. (1)

The New World Screwworm is a devastating predator of warm blooded animals including livestock, companion animals and humans.  It was eradicated in the United States starting the 1950’s by releasing large numbers of male flies that were sterilized via radiation to disrupt mating.  What differentiates this from other fly/maggot problems is Continue reading

Feeding Steers on Corn Gluten or Distillers Grains? Learn to Recognize Urinary Calculi and How to Prevent Them

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

“Urolithiasis” is the veterinary term used for the disease resulting from the formation of stone-like structures (“calculi”) inside the urinary tract of cattle, similar to kidney stones in humans. If a stone lodges in the urethra, it can partially or completely block the flow of urine and eventually lead to rupture of the bladder or urethra and ultimately death. Emergency surgical intervention may be performed or humane euthanasia recommended due to the extremely painful condition in affected animals. Stone formation is due to many factors but high phosphorus/ low calcium intake is perhaps the most important cause. Corn and corn-based coproducts such as dried distillers grains and corn gluten feed both have high concentrations of phosphorus and low calcium content. When feeding these feedstuffs without supplemental Continue reading

Making Observations Count

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D, Director, Supply Development, Certified Angus Beef

This time of year, you probably spend more time observing than working cattle. Calving is complete and bulls have been turned out with the spring herd. Fall calves are weaned and grass cattle are moving through pastures.

As the temperature rises, so does water intake for cattle. Their grazing activity moves to early morning and late evening, which presents the best opportunities to check the herd because “shaded up” cattle can be hard to find. We check cattle to watch for estrus and bull activity, monitor flies and look out for early symptoms of pinkeye or foot rot.

In my youth, a disproportionate amount of time in the summer was spent Continue reading