Early Path to Quality Beef

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

You know the role health and nutrition play in feedlot performance, carcass quality grade and profitability. Yet many readers challenge the idea that these benefits can be realized at the ranch, unless they retain ownership beyond the farm or ranch gate.

The increasingly transparent market with buyers tracking results by source underscores that producing high-quality beef takes a systematic approach no one segment can afford to ignore. Ever. The time required to influence your herd’s genetic potential is measured in years, so managing for quality is always important.

It takes four years, really: Select a superior sire, gestate for nine months and nurse the cow for another seven months. Develop heifers prior to breeding for seven months, breed those superior replacements, repeat the nine months of gestation and add Continue reading

Colostrum and the Newborn Calf

– Carla L. Huston, DVM, PhD, ACVPM, Dept. of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine

The best defense against failure of passive transfer (FPT) is good colostrum management, ensuring that each calf receives an adequate amount of good quality colostrum shortly after birth.

With spring fast approaching, many of us are well into calving season. An awareness of potential post-calving complications and disorders can be helpful when preparing to deal with problems we may encounter in our beef herds. One frequent problem encountered during calving season is failure of passive transfer (FPT), which occurs when a newborn calf does not receive adequate colostrum.

The importance of colostrum: Colostrum is the first milk produced by the dam following calving. It is a rich source of immunoglobulins, fat (energy), vitamins and minerals. The major role of colostrum is to passively transfer immunity from the dam to her calf. Calves are born agammaglobulinemic, or without Continue reading

Why Your Cows Need Those Expensive Vitamins

– Jaymelynn Farney, Beef Systems Specialist, Kansas State University

Anybody who’s strolled through the feed store or co-op lately to price mineral-vitamin mixes knows that vitamins have shot up in price. A logical question then, is this: Are vitamins necessary or just an expensive luxury that the cows can get by without?

Bottom line is yes. Vitamins, especially A and E, are important around calving.

Green, growing forages are high in vitamin A. However, until forages are available for grazing, supplemental vitamins remain vital during late gestation and early lactation.

Vitamin A is vital in cow rations in the last trimester through the first couple of months of lactation. It has been found to help manage calf scours, as colostrum is high in vitamin A, and help cows to “clean” and reduce the risk of retained placenta. To minimize calf scours, intake needs to be 30,000 to 45,000 IU per day. The actual requirement of vitamin A for pregnant cows is 1,269 IU/lb. of dry feed intake and for lactating cows 1,769 IU/lb.

Many green forages such as alfalfa are high in vitamin A, so the amount to Continue reading

A Little Background May Help

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

Let’s say you weaned calves last fall but didn’t sell. Instead, you helped them cross the bridge to independent life in your dry lot pen and maybe on to a grazing program. Chances are, those “backgrounded” calves have moved on to a finishing yard or the next phase of heifer development.

You’ve got calving on your mind now, but that means weaning will surely follow this fall and some of your decisions then will be framed by decisions made this spring. So back to those pens and fields, perhaps empty now, but ready for planning.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska recently compared three backgrounding systems, and at least one of them might be Continue reading

Colostrum is the Key

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

A newborn calf needs to receive adequate levels of colostrum as quickly as possible. Research shows the first 6 – 12 hours are critical.

The winter of 2017-18 has certainly been challenging for beef producers across Ohio and the Midwest. The bitter cold that we experienced through the holiday season into mid-January has given way to milder temperatures and plenty of moisture over the past month. This has resulted in extremely muddy conditions that have made basic feeding and care of cattle difficult at best.

The weather conditions thus far this winter have been tough for producers choosing to start their calving season earlier in the calendar year. Environmental extremes can add to the stress of a Continue reading

Gaining Greater Market Access for Ohio Feeder Calves

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

The World is expecting a lot more information about the food they buy.”

During the first segment of the Ohio Beef School, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes visits with Bill Tom of United Producers, and Henry Zerby from Wendy’s, about the rapidly changing demands in the beef cattle market

Consumers are concerned for animal health, and the sustainability of the production systems their food’s raised in.”

Traceability and transparency are of growing concern to consumers.”

Vaccination is not necessarily the same as immunization when it comes to preventing health issues.”

Feed and bunk management, and avoiding nutritional stress are keys to calf health.”

These are just a few of the comments that will be emphasized, and Continue reading

Livestock Water is Essential, Even in Winter

Ted Wiseman, Extension Educator, OSU Extension, Perry County

Water is essential for all livestock regardless of the time of year. So far this year we have certainly had our share of chopping ice, thawing water lines and troughs. With recent temperatures many of us often focus on keeping livestock well fed and with adequate shelter. However, often times we forget about the most important nutrient which is water. Water consumed by livestock is required for a variety of physiological functions. Some of these include proper digestion, nutrient transportation, enzymatic and chemical reactions, and regulation of body temperature.

Although water is the cheapest nutrient we may purchase or provide, it is the one we provide the most of on a per Continue reading

A Little Background May Help

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

Let’s say you weaned calves last fall but didn’t sell. Instead, you helped them cross the bridge to independent life in your dry lot pen and maybe on to a grazing program. Chances are, those “backgrounded” calves have moved on to a finishing yard or the next phase of heifer development.

You’ve got calving on your mind now, but that means weaning will surely follow this fall and some of your decisions then will be framed by decisions made this spring. So back to those pens and fields, perhaps empty now, but ready for planning.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska recently compared three backgrounding systems, and at least one of them Continue reading

A Training Camp for Young Athletes?

– Dr. Roy Burris, Beef Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

I’ve been thinking about a second career after my retirement from U.K. It should be something different than what I presently do but something which will also allow me to draw on my experience with beef cattle. I’ve got it! I’ll run a training camp for young athletes – maybe aspiring Olympic athletes even. I have the perfect model for my new business venture – and that is the way we presently develop yearling beef bulls for breeding. They’re athletes too, aren’t they? I’ll just use a similar plan for my new venture.

The first thing that I’ll do to get them in shape is Continue reading

Be Aware when Feeding Ionophores to Cattle – an Overdose May Prove Deadly

Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky (A special thanks to Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, UK Beef Extension Specialist, for his valuable input and comments in the development of this article.)

Ionophores have been used for many years in the beef and poultry industries for improved feed efficiency and control of coccidiosis. Generally, ionophores are considered safe and effective in the correct (target) animals receiving the recommended amounts. However, poisonings do occur and are often due to accidental contamination of feed and feed supplements for the wrong species (horses, for example) or errors in feed mixing resulting in excessive concentrations in the diets of cattle. The ionophores approved for use in cattle include monensin (Rumensin®), lasalocid (Bovatec®) and laidlomycin propionate (Cattlyst®). Although all ionophores can be toxic, this Continue reading