Beef Tips

Author: Sandy Johnson

“Clean-Up” Now Pays Off Later in the Season

By Herschel George, Watershed Specialist and Pat Murphy, Biological and Agricultural Engineering

It’s mid-winter and we are looking forward to moving cattle to new grass!  New grass means an opportunity to stop feeding hay and getting the cattle out of the muddy conditions.  New grass season is also the time to “Clean-Up” the manure and waste hay around the winter feeding site(s).

Feeding site maintenance can improve cattle health and performance, protect groundwater and surface water, reduce odor, and reduce insect populations. It does take some time and effort to properly clean feeding sites, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Continue reading ““Clean-Up” Now Pays Off Later in the Season”

Tally Time – Determine Estrous Response to Optimize Artificial Insemination Expenses

by Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby, KS

For an increasing number of producers, artificial insemination (AI) and estrus synchronization are tools that help them reach their production goals and allow them to take advantage of genetic choices only available through AI.  Reduced risk of calving difficulty from use of high accuracy calving ease sires on replacement heifers is a great advantage to AI users.

Fixed-time AI protocols have allowed producers to eliminate the time and expense of heat detection and still achieve industry-acceptable pregnancy rates to AI.  However, information about estrous status at AI may allow producers to target expenditures for AI more effectively.  While this may seem hard to understand coming from someone who has spent years talking about fixed-time AI, let me share some research that will explain further. Continue reading “Tally Time – Determine Estrous Response to Optimize Artificial Insemination Expenses”

Differences Between High-, Medium-, and Low-Profit Cow-Calf Producers: An Analysis of 2012-2016 Kansas Farm Management Association Cow-Calf Enterprise

By Dustin L. Pendell and Kevin L. Herbel, Ag Economics

The economic returns to beef cow-calf producers vary considerably over time (Figure 1) due to a number of factors, including the cattle cycle. The record high average return in 2014 was a result of a drought and strengthening beef demand. Although beef demand has been relatively strong in 2015 and 2016, herd expansion has led to larger supplies, lower cattle prices and lower returns to the cow-calf enterprise. The 2012 to 2016 Kansas Farm Management Association summary of data from cow-calf enterprises has lessons for producers given the wide range of variability inherent to this industry. Continue reading “Differences Between High-, Medium-, and Low-Profit Cow-Calf Producers: An Analysis of 2012-2016 Kansas Farm Management Association Cow-Calf Enterprise”

Forage Analysis: How can we use the numbers?

By Justin Waggoner, Extension Beef Specialist, Garden City, KS

Analytical testing of forages is occasionally viewed by cattle producers as an exercise with limited practical application that generates numbers only a nutritionist with advanced study in analytical chemistry can discern.  However, practical application is the fundamental reason we evaluate forages and feedstuffs. The objective of analytical testing of forages and feedstuffs is to improve our ability to meet the animal’s nutrient requirements, and better estimate animal performance. One of the easiest ways we can utilize the numbers resulting from forage analysis is to strategically manage a hay inventory. Continue reading “Forage Analysis: How can we use the numbers?”

Tally Time: Preparing for Calving Season

By Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby, KS

Cow-calf pair

The checklist below is designed to help you plan and prepare to improve the success of your calving season and weaned calf crop.

 

• Balance cow rations for adequate protein and energy for increased third trimester and subsequent lactation requirements. Group and feed cows by body condition and age to the degree possible. Target body condition for first calf heifers at calving of 5.5 to 6 and 5 to 5.5 for mature cows.

• Develop sound vaccination program to prepare the cow to produce high quality colostrum.

• Control lice and internal parasites.

• Plan for recording calving data and consider ways to backup records.

• Make sure calving facilities are clean and in good repair

• Plan for ear tags, tattoos, scale or weight tape, banding or castration.

• Check flashlights and other quality portable light sources.

Continue reading “Tally Time: Preparing for Calving Season”

Managing the impact of cattle lice during the winter months

By A.J. Tarpoff DVM, MS; Beef Extension Veterinarian

Cattle lice infections can affect the health and performance of our cows and stocker cattle during the winter months. This time period generally ranges from December through March. The USDA has estimated that livestock producers lose up to $125 million per year due to effects of lice infestations. Not only can they be the cause of direct animal performance losses, but they also increase wear and tear on our facilities and fences. The direct losses to cattle come in forms of decreased average daily gains (documented 0.25 pounds per day reduction in growing calves), skin infections, and potentially blood loss and anemia. Continue reading “Managing the impact of cattle lice during the winter months”

Calving Schools Planned

MANHATTAN, Kan. – With the new year, beef producers are anxious for the 2018 calf crop. In anticipation of calving season, Kansas State University Animal Sciences and Industry and K-State Research and Extension are planning a series of calving schools in January.

The program will outline the normal processes of calving. A.J. Tarpoff, K-State extension beef veterinarian, explains the goals of the event are to increase knowledge and practical skills, and to increase the number of live calves born if they need assistance.

The schools will also share tips on when and how to intervene to assist the cow and how those times may be different when dealing with young heifers. Presenters will also demonstrate proper use of calving equipment on life-size scale.

Continue reading “Calving Schools Planned”

Toe abscesses in feedlot cattle

By A.J. Tarpoff, DVM, MS, extension veterinarian

Lameness is a significant disease challenge in feedlot cattle. It has been estimated that 16% of all treatments, 5% of deaths, and 70% of animals for railer slaughter is due to lameness. One cause of lameness that often goes underdiagnosed is toe abscesses. This issue goes by a number of different names such as toe tip necrosis or P3 (third phalangeal bone) necrosis. It can affect heifers, steers, calves, and yearlings. They typically occur and present during the first 3 weeks after arrival into the feedlot. Toe abscesses can occur on any foot, but tend to be more common on the rear feet. Continue reading “Toe abscesses in feedlot cattle”

Nitrates – what we know and where we need to go

Nitrate toxicity is a well-known metabolic issue in cattle associated with the amount of nitrate in the feed and water; however, it is a complex issue, especially in regards to grazing green forages.  Once consumed by cattle, nitrates enter the rumen where microbes convert nitrate to nitrite in a rapid manner.  Other microbes convert nitrite to ammonia, but at a much slower rate than those converting nitrate to nitrite. This rapid accumulation of nitrite in the rumen is then absorbed into the bloodstream, where nitrite binds with hemoglobin to form methemoglobin, thus reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the animal.  As methemoglobin increases, symptoms of nitrate toxicity become worse.  At low levels of methemoglobin dry matter intake and performance can be stunted.  At moderate levels of methemoglobin, pregnant animals will abort.  At high levels of methemoglobin incoordination and death can occur. Continue reading “Nitrates – what we know and where we need to go”

Tally Time – Get more value from pregnancy diagnosis

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist

We just finished preg checking some replacement heifers from a project conducted earlier this spring.  The heifers were all artificially inseminated (AI) at a single fixed-time.  Natural service sires were turned in 10 days after AI and removed 20 days later.  This short breeding season was used for a number of reasons but most importantly so that there would be no late calving replacement females.  The staging of this ultrasound examination was such that we had pregnancies at either 64 days or 54 to 34 days.  Differentiating these stages of pregnancy with ultrasound was relatively easy and the information obtained was very powerful.  The open heifers were sorted off and hauled to the feedlot that day. Continue reading “Tally Time – Get more value from pregnancy diagnosis”