– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky
Jeff, Darrh, and I were chatting the other day and, amazingly, we all agreed on something! Over our many miles of travel this winter/spring, we have seen more ribs on cows that any of us can remember. The wet, cold winter and poor hay quality has really stressed cows and if we don’t watch out, it will impact rebreeding.
A successful breeding season begins with nutritional management decisions made prior to calving but most spring-calving herds are past that now. “Ribs” are best maintained over the winter during the two trimesters of pregnancy. Visible ribs are one component of body condition score. Body condition score (BCS) is a numerical estimation of the amount of fat on the cow’s body. It ranges from 1-9; with 1 being emaciated and 9 extremely obese. A change in a single BCS (i.e. a 4 to a 5) is usually associated with about a 75 pound change in body weight. Evaluation of BCS prior to calving and from calving to breeding is important to ensure Continue reading →
With calving season progressing across Ohio, one question that is often asked is when, if and how should one intervene to help with the birthing process?
During a portion of his presentation during the 2019 Ohio Beef School, Dr. Justin Kieffer discussed intervention in the birthing process, and how to properly pull a calf. Find that portion of Dr. Kieffer’s presentation below.
Most know that calves are not born with any immunoglobulins, which help provide protection from disease. Immunoglobulins are supplied by the cow via colostrum, or first milk, and calves only have a 24 hour window to ingest these molecules through the lining of their gut before that window closes.
Occasionally due to the death of the cow at birth, or perhaps other calamity, new born calves aren’t able to receive adequate colostrum from the cow. In this event, colostrum can be provided to the calf in a few different ways including through purchased colostrum replacers, or supplements. The question is often asked, “which is best, or even Continue reading →
– Michelle Arnold, DVM, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
“Weak Calf Syndrome” is a term applied to any calf born alive but is slow to stand and may or may not attempt to nurse. Calves born to dams that experience weight loss during the final 50-60 days of gestation are at high risk of being weak. An energy deficient diet fed to late gestation cows leads to prolonged labor, dystocia (difficult birth), poor quality and quantity of colostrum and decreased milk production. Many of the newborn calves presented to the UKVDL in recent weeks for necropsy have had no milk within the digestive tract. With excellent management, some weak calves will survive but most will die shortly after birth. If they survive, many experience sickness, decreased growth rates and lower weaning weights. The following is a summary of known factors involved in weak calf syndrome and how to best Continue reading →
The USDA initiated the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) in 1983 to collect, analyze, and disseminate data on animal health, management, and productivity across the United States. The NAHMS team conducts national studies on the health and management of United States domestic livestock populations. These studies are designed to meet the information needs of the industries associated with these commodities, as identified by people within those industries.
Presently through April 7, 2019, NAHMS is conducting a needs assessment survey to gather input from cattle producers and other stakeholders about priorities regarding cattle health that should be included in the upcoming study titled “Health Management on U.S. Feedlots, 2020.” To participate and offer your input, go to this SurveyMonkey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/feedlothealth
Perhaps to the inexperienced, or uniformed, it sounds simple enough: purchase bull; put bull with cows; calves appear in ~ 283 days; collect calves 205 days later; sell calves for good prices! Well maybe it should be that simple, but . . . I think most Ohio cattlemen will agree it is not!
When considering all of the traits of importance to today’s cattleman, a primary focus of any cow-calf producer must be getting a live calf on the ground. That starts with fertility. While both the male and female contribute to the herd’s level of fertility and its ultimate productivity, the herd sire is the more important component. An individual cow with poor fertility will certainly affect one potential calf a year. However, the bull affects every potential calf in Continue reading →
– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL); Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, University of Kentucky; Dr. Cynthia Gaskill, Veterinary Toxicologist, University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
What is “Grass Tetany” and when are cattle most likely to have it? Grass tetany, also known as spring tetany, grass staggers, wheat pasture poisoning, winter tetany or lactation tetany, is a condition due to a low level of magnesium (Mg) in the blood. The disorder in adult cattle begins with muscle spasms and quickly progresses to convulsions, respiratory difficulty, and death. The amount of magnesium in the blood is completely dependent on the amount obtained from the daily diet. Deficiencies occur most often in beef cows when they are nursing a calf and grazing young, green grass in early spring. Fast-growing spring pastures are high in potassium (K+) and nitrogen (N+) and low in magnesium (Mg++) and sodium (Na+). Affected cattle often have low blood calcium concurrently. Fall calving cows may also experience grass tetany during the winter months.
Will Feeding Plain White Salt to Cows Prevent Grass Tetany? This claim is shared every spring and, indeed, there are producers who do not have grass tetany that only feed salt. How can that be? Simply put, for those few lucky producers, the minerals available in their soils and forages are enough to meet the needs of their cows. A number of complex factors contribute to Continue reading →
To suggest the past year has been a challenge for Ohio’s cattlemen is, at best, an understatement. The weather made it nearly impossible throughout 2018 to harvest high quality forage in a timely fashion, the constantly muddy conditions caused animals to utilize more energy than normal, and even though temperatures were moderate during much of the fall, cows with a constantly wet hair coat were expending more energy than normal. Then, as late January evolved into February, in many cases mud was matting down the winter coats of cattle reducing their hair’s insulating properties, thus causing them to utilize even more energy in cold weather.
In combination, this created potential for the “perfect storm” that reportedly is resulting in a challenging calving season in parts of Ohio, as well as concern for conception rates as we move into the subsequent breeding season.
Taking all those concerns into account, the 2019 Ohio Beef School consisted of a single ‘live’ webinar on February 5th that featured three different speakers. Collectively, the overall theme of Beef School was Winter Management of the Cow Herd to Insure a Productive 2019. Each of the Beef School’s approximately 30 minute presentations are embedded below under the Continue reading →
Sanitation is paramount when administering implants for beef cattle. Manure, dirt and bacteria must be removed and a disinfectant solution should be applied to the implant injection site area of the ear. Growth implant efficacy and return on investment decreases if an abscess forms because of unsanitary practices. In one study, average daily gains were decreased 8.9% (3.18 versus 2.92 pounds) and feed efficiency decreased 8.5% (5.62 versus 6.14 pounds of feed per pound of gain) by abscessed growth implants.
A number of years ago a method called “scrape, brush and disinfect” was introduced to raise the awareness of ear sanitation prior to implanting by cattle processing personnel. Make an initial assessment of ear Continue reading →