By Gregg A. Hanzlicek, DVM, PAS, PhD
In 2017, the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine initiated a state-wide Kansas cow-calf anaplasmosis prevalence study.
One hundred and sixty four licensed veterinarians collected blood samples from herds in their practice area. In total, 925 herds (9,250 animals) were sampled. Veterinarians, herds, and animals within each herd were randomly selected for this study. Diagnostic testing was completed on each blood sample to estimate the percentage of positive Anaplasmosis herds residing in each Kansas Agricultural District. This study did NOT determine what percentage of animals within each herd were positive. Continue reading “Anaplasmosis has been found in all Kansas agricultural districts”
Objective: The goals of this study were to identify feet and leg indicator traits to be used in beef breed genetic evaluations and develop a scoring method that can be easily adopted by cattle producers.
Description: Data were analyzed on 1,885 Red Angus cattle, and after editing, 1,720 records were used for analysis. Feet and leg phenotypes were obtained from August 2015 through September 2017 for 14 traits shown in the following table. Trained livestock evaluators collected measurements using an electronic tablet with offline data storage capabilities. Heritability estimates for all 14 traits were calculated from two different measurements of scale, the original 1-100 scale (1 and 100 are extreme, 50 is desirable), and scores truncated to a 1-9 scale (1 and 9 are extreme, 5 is desirable). Genetic parameters were estimated using maximum log likelihood procedures. Continue reading “Feet and Leg Traits are Moderately to Lowly Heritable in Red Angus Cattle”
Objectives: Study effects of two limit-fed diets formulated to provide two levels of dietary energy and offered at two different intake rates to target similar gains and analyze the efficacy of a novel DNA-immunostimulant administered on arrival.
Study Description: A 56-day pen study was conducted utilizing 370 Angus × Brahman heifers shipped from Florida (1,455 mi) to study the effects of limit-feeding at 2 intakes based on prior research conducted at the Kansas State University Beef Stocker Unit, Manhattan, KS, to achieve similar gains and effects of Zelnate under the dietary conditions. Continue reading “Restricting Intake and Increasing Energy Improves Efficiency in Newly Received Growing Cattle and Zelnate Has No Effect”
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether increased marbling reduces the negative impact that increased degree of doneness has on consumer palatability scores.
Study Description: Beef strip loins were collected to represent five quality treatments [Prime, Top Choice, Low Choice, Select, and Select enhanced; n = 12 pairs/quality grade] and fabricated to 1-in steaks. Steaks were cooked to one of six degrees of doneness: very-rare (130°F), rare (140°F), medium-rare (145°F), medium (160°F), well-done (170°F), or very well-done (180°F). Consumers (n = 360) rated each steak for juiciness, tenderness, flavor, and overall liking on 100-point continuous line scales, and whether each trait was acceptable or unacceptable. Continue reading “Consumer Juiciness Acceptability Supports the Beef Marbling Insurance Theory”
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of 4 consecutive years of prescribed fire applied to native tallgrass range in either April, August, or September on forage biomass production, soil cover, and basal plant cover.
Study Description: Nine fire-management units (14 ± 6 acres) were burned at 1 of 3 prescribed times: early spring (April 1), mid-summer (August 1), or late summer (September 1). Plant species composition and soil cover were assessed annually each July using a modified step-point technique. Continue reading “Sericea Lespedeza Control from Growing-Season Prescribed Burning Causes No Collateral Damage to Non-Target Species”
Objective: To determine the response of growing calves when fed Enogen Feed (Syngenta) corn, containing an alpha amylase expression trait.
Description: A total of 384 English crossbred steers having an average weight of 538 lb and originating from Texas were used to determine the effects on performance when fed Enogen Feed corn as either whole shelled or processed as dry-rolled at ad libitum intake. Continue reading “Syngenta Enhanced Feed Corn (Enogen) Containing an Alpha Amylase Expression Trait Improves Feed Efficiency in Growing Calf Diets”
Objective: The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of source and age verification status on the sale price of beef calf lots sold via summer video auctions from 2010 through 2017 while adjusting for all other factors that significantly influenced sale price.
Study Description: Information describing factors about lots sold through a livestock video auction service (Superior Livestock Auction, Fort Worth, TX) was obtained from the auction service in an electronic format. These data were collected for 36,570 lots of beef calves that were sold via 61 summer sales from 2010 through 2017. A model was developed for each year to quantify the effects of all factors describing beef calf lots that significantly affected sale price. Continue reading “Trends in Source and Age Verification for Beef Calves Sold via Summer Video Auction from 2010 Through 2017”
“What’s Your Cost of Production?”
by Justin W. Waggoner, beef systems specialist
I can assure you that Henry Ford knew exactly how long and how much it cost to produce the Model T. Although it may seem difficult to make comparisons between the automotive industry and modern day beef production, many cow-calf operations are business enterprises…large business enterprises. Yet financial benchmarking and accurately documenting production costs are not necessarily high on the “to do” list of most cattle producers. One of the best reasons to know what it costs to produce a calf or what your total feed and non-feed costs are, is that it allows you to quickly evaluate emerging opportunities such as grazing a neighbor’s cover crop, or an additional circle of corn stalks. Thus, if you don’t know your production costs, I would encourage you to think about them. Tax time is a great time to take a good look at your business and calculate your production costs. If you would like to get a better idea of what it costs to produce a calf in Kansas, the Kansas Farm Management Association (KFMA) Enterprise Reports provide that information in a one-page summary that can be accessed on the Ag Manager website (https://www.agmanager.info/kfma). The chart below shows the total feed and non-feed (operational costs) of KFMA participating cow-calf producers from 2012 to 2016.
The data from these operations suggests that in 2016, feed costs were approximately $392 per cow and the non-feed or operational costs were approximately $549 per cow. Thus the average total cost to produce a calf was $941 ($349 + 549) in 2016. The total feed costs of $392 amounts to $1.07 per day to feed a cow in Kansas. The question is “What does it cost you to feed a cow and produce a calf?”
by Justin W. Waggoner, beef systems specialist
Leadership and management are evaluated by an organization or operations’ successes. However, the path to success often involves failure. Everyone hates to fail. However, failure is an excellent teacher and the simple truth is that we learn more from our failures than we do our successes. One of the traits many successful people possess is that they did not let fear of failure exceed their desire to succeed. History is full of leaders who were quite familiar with failure. However, when they made a mistake, they learned from it, moved on and didn’t let it happen again. Additionally, great leaders in the business world recognize that department or unit managers don’t always succeed and that failure is an unfortunate, but necessary component of empowering and cultivating good managers within the organization. “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”- Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb.
“New Year often brings Cold Stress”
by Justin W. Waggoner, beef systems specialist
The New Year often brings colder temperatures to the Sunflower State and the Great Plains. Most cattle producers appreciate that cold weather increases nutrient requirements. However, what increases? and by how much? Cattle are most comfortable within the thermoneutral zone when temperatures are neither too warm nor cold. The upper and lower boundaries of the thermoneutral zone are referred to as the upper and lower critical temperature. During the winter months cattle experience cold stress anytime the effective ambient temperature, which takes into account wind chill, humidity, etc., drops below the lower critical temperature. The lower critical temperature is influenced by both environmental and animal factors including hair coat and tissue insulation (body condition). The table on the next page lists the estimated lower critical temperatures of cattle in good body condition with different hair coats. In wet conditions cattle can begin experiencing cold stress at 59°F, which would be a relatively mild winter day. However, if cattle have time to develop a sufficient winter coat, the estimated lower critical temperature under dry conditions is 18°F.
Cold stress increases maintenance energy requirements but does not impact protein, mineral or vitamin requirements. The general rule of thumb (for a cow in good body condition, BCS = 5 or greater) is to increase the energy density of the ration by 1% for each degree (Fahrenheit) below the lower critical temperature. The classic response to cold stress in confinement situations is an increase in voluntary intake. However, it has been documented that cattle maintained in extensive environments (native range, wheat pasture, corn stalks) may spend less time grazing as temperatures decline below freezing, which reduces forage intake (Adams et al., 1986) and makes the challenge of meeting the cow’s nutrient requirements even greater. In many cases, feeding a greater amount of low-quality hay will replace grazed forages but may not provide sufficient energy. Therefore, providing additional energy by feeding a higher-quality hay or fiber-based supplement (DDGS, Corn gluten feed, or Soybean Hulls) may be required.