Beef Tips

April 2019 Feedlot Facts

“The Impacts of a Tough Winter”
By: Justin Waggoner

One of the common topics of discussion, regardless of what segment of the beef industry you operate in has been winter and the collective impacts of a winter that was wetter and colder than most of us in Kansas and to some extent the Central United States are accustomed to. Although, green is slowly replacing the brown in the pastures, the effects of this winter in the cattle industry may be felt for longer than many of us would like. The combination of wet and cold conditions increases energy expenditures and maintenance energy requirements of the animal.

In the feeding sector cattle performance, most notably feed conversion (lbs. feed: lbs. gain) increases. In the March Focus on Feedlot report, (February closeouts) the average steer feed conversion was 7.08 lbs. feed: lb. gain. In February 2018, the average steer feed conversion was 6.15, lbs. feed: lb. gain. Thus, 0.93 more lbs. of feed (15%) were required to produce a pound of live weight gain in steers marketed in February of 2019 versus 2018. More feed ultimately results in higher cost of gains and lower profit potential. Overall steer death loss was similar at 1.68% in February 2019 and 1.97 in 2018. Feed conversion will likely remain high for next two to three months and death losses could foreseeably trend upward as cattle placed on feed during the coldest months may have experienced greater health risk and cold stress early in the feeding period.

In the cow-calf sector, winter conditions have resulted in cows that may be lacking condition or replacement heifers that are lighter than they would normally be under normal conditions. Body condition and plane of nutrition drives reproductive performance, which is one, if not the, most important determinant of productivity/profitability on a cow-calf operation. It takes longer for thin cows to begin cycling, which means that thin cows are at greater risk of being open and if cows do begin cycling they will be bred toward the end of the 2019 breeding season and subsequently calve later in 2020. Later calving typically results in younger, lighter calves at weaning, which ultimately results in less pounds of sale weight and dollars being generated by those cows in the Fall of 2020.

A large part of managing cattle is responding to weather conditions be it a cold, wet winter or drought. Cattle feeders may adjust market endpoints and cow-calf producers may consider adjusting breeding seasons, early weaning, or other ways to add additional market value to calves. The good news is the days and nights are getting warmer, and every day brings us closer to summer.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

April 2019 Management Minute

“Leadership Styles”
By: Justin Waggoner

The most commonly recognized leadership styles are authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire. However, there may be seven to twelve different leadership styles that include styles such as transformational, transactional, servant, charismatic, and situational. Although some of these leadership styles are unique, there is also some degree of similarities or overlap as well and in some cases, a leader may change their leadership styles to fit the situation (situational). The concept of situational leadership was first recognized by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard (author of the “One Minute Manager”). They recognized that successful leaders often adapted their leadership style or styles to the individual or group they were leading. Collectively these different leadership styles remind us that leadership is complicated and we still have a lot to learn about leadership. For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

March 2019 Management Minute

“Leadership”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

What is leadership? And what makes a leader effective? The term leadership is simply defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization” or the “ability to lead other people.” History has given us a number of examples of excellent leaders who have motivated groups or organizations to accomplish tremendous acts against overwhelming odds. Pick one. Any leader of your choice. What made this individual a great leader? Could we concisely come up with a list of traits or characteristics that made this individual an excellent leader? Now pick another. Do your two leaders have anything in common? What made these leaders effective? Although leadership has been the focus of tremendous study and numerous books, we still do not understand it. However, I would contend that the one thing all great leaders share is that they helped those they were leading get better and accomplish bigger things than those individuals thought was possible. As a leader, “What are you doing to help your people get better at what they do?”

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

March 2019 Feedlot Facts

“The Basics of Mineral Nutrition”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Beef cattle producers recognize that mineral nutrition is important. However, a mineral program is only one component of an operation’s nutrition and management plan. An exceptional mineral program will not compensate for deficiencies in energy, protein or management. Additionally, the classic signs associated with clinical deficiency (wasting, hair loss, discoloration of hair coat, diarrhea, bone abnormalities, etc.) are not often or are rarely observed in production settings. The production and economic losses attributed to mineral nutrition in many situations are the result of sub-clinical deficiencies, toxicities and antagonisms between minerals which are often less obvious (reduced immune function, vaccine response, and sub-optimal fertility). The figure below, adapted from Wikse (1992), illustrates the effect of trace mineral deficiency on health and performance and the margin between adequate mineral status and clinical deficiency.

Seventeen minerals are required in the diets of beef cattle. However, no requirements have been established for several minerals that are considered essential (Chlorine, Chromium, Molybdenum, and Nickel). Minerals may be broken down into two categories. 1. The macrominerals whose requirements are expressed as a percent of the total diet (calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chlorine and sulfur). 2. The microminerals or trace minerals (required in trace amounts) whose requirements are expressed as parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per kilogram of dry matter consumed (chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium and zinc).

Mineral status of an animal is a function of the total diet (both water and feed) and stored mineral reserves within the body. Water may be a substantial source of minerals; however, the variation in water consumption makes estimating the contribution of mineral from water sources difficult. Mineral content of forages is influenced by several factors including plant species, soil, maturity, and growing conditions. These factors, and others not mentioned, makes estimating the dietary mineral content of grazing cattle challenging. Most commercial mineral supplements are formulated to meet or exceed the requirements for a given stage of production. This ensures that deficiencies are unlikely, but providing supra-optimal levels of minerals may be unnecessary unless specific production problems exist. A mineral program does not have to be complex or expensive to be successful.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

Syngenta Enogen Feed Corn Silage Containing an Alpha Amylase Expression Trait Improves Feed Efficiency in Growing Calf Diets

Objective: To determine the growing calf response when fed Enogen Feed corn silage containing an alpha amylase expression trait.

 Study Description: Crossbred steers of Tennessee origin (n = 352) were used to determine the effects on performance when fed Enogen Feed corn silage with either Enogen Feed corn or control corn at ad libitum intake. Continue reading “Syngenta Enogen Feed Corn Silage Containing an Alpha Amylase Expression Trait Improves Feed Efficiency in Growing Calf Diets”

Evaluation of Two Implants for Steers on Early-Intensively Grazed Tallgrass Native Range

Objective: To evaluate the effect of two implants that have different lengths of effec­tive use on stocker cattle gains within an intensive early double-stocked native tall­grass prairie grazing system

Study description: Stocker steers (n = 281) were implanted with Revalor-G (Merck Animal Health, Madison, NJ) or Synovex One Grass (Zoetis, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI) and grazed on tallgrass native range for 90 days during the summer. The steers were individually weighed, after an overnight shrink, on the day of implanting, at midpoint of grazing, and the end of the grazing period. Total gains and average daily gain were evaluated. Continue reading “Evaluation of Two Implants for Steers on Early-Intensively Grazed Tallgrass Native Range”

Visual Degree of Doneness Has an Impact on Palatability Ratings of Consumers Who Had Differing Degree of Doneness Preferences

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the impact of feeding con­sumers of varying degree of doneness preferences steaks cooked to multiple degrees of doneness on their perceptions of beef palatability.

Study Description: Paired Low Choice frozen steaks from the posterior half of the strip loin were randomly assigned a degree of doneness of rare (140°F), medium-rare (145°F), medium (160°F), medium-well (165°F), or well-done (170°F). Consumer panelists, prescreened to participate in panels based on their degree of doneness pref­erence, were served steak samples cooked to each of the five degrees of doneness under low-intensity red incandescent lighting to mask any degree of doneness differences among samples. Continue reading “Visual Degree of Doneness Has an Impact on Palatability Ratings of Consumers Who Had Differing Degree of Doneness Preferences”

Inaugural Livestock Field Day to be Hosted in North Central Kansas

Make plans to attend the first ever Stock Growers Field Day on Tuesday, March 26

The Stock Growers Field Day will be highlighted by a market outlook from CattleFax and by a presentation on increasing production efficiency from the well-known reproductive physiologist, Dr. Rick Funston.  The field day, held in Beloit, Kansas, will be a collaboration from K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas Livestock Association, and the Kansas Bull Test.

Continue reading “Inaugural Livestock Field Day to be Hosted in North Central Kansas”

Management tips to reduce the impact of calf scours

by A.J. Tarpoff DVM, MS. Beef Extension Veterinarian

Neonatal calf scours (diarrhea) is a multifactorial issue. The risk and occurrence can change year to year based on many different factors. Due to the cold, wet and windy weather of late, it sets up for some unique challenges in combating calf scours this year.

Causes

Scours can be initiated by infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, and even protozoan parasites. It is important to note that most of the pathogens of concern are shed at low levels through the feces by healthy members of the resident cowherd. Continue reading “Management tips to reduce the impact of calf scours”

Rethinking Castration

by Miriam Martin, graduate student

Reducing pain at the time of castration is a topic that has received renewed interest in scientific meetings, in conversation with consumers, and is beginning to work its way into producer’s conversations with veterinarians. A lot of confusion surrounds extra-label drug use, what agents are available, the practicality of implementing preemptive analgesia, and whether or not it’s right for your operation. Continue reading “Rethinking Castration”