by Jaymelynn Farney, beef systems specialist, Parsons, KS
Throughout Kansas, there are areas of extreme drought and even in areas that show adequate moisture on the drought monitor, rain has been very “spotty” so some corn is beginning to look tough. Luckily, cattle are one potential option to salvage some value if the corn crop does not look like it will yield. Continue reading “Considerations for use of drought-stressed corn for cattle”
By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby, KS
The recent Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Conference marked the organization’s 50th meeting, and this landmark provided a good opportunity for reflection. Over the years, BIF has sought industry cooperation in applying science to improve beef cattle genetics. When the first performance data was collected, a hot topic was if anything other than visual phenotypic selection was appropriate for the industry. While phenotypic evaluations for traits not easily measured are still part of selection, collection of data and development of EPDs have allowed the industry to make significant changes in animal performance. A key role that BIF has played is the standardization of performance records and procedures to do so. Continue reading “Tally Time – BIF meeting provides more evidence: you can’t manage what you don’t measure”
By Justin Waggoner, beef systems specialist, Garden City, KS
Under normal production circumstances calves are typically weaned at 180-220 days of age, however under circumstances where forage supply is limited or cow body condition is lacking weaning calves at 180 days of age or less may be one of the easiest ways to reduce cow nutrient requirements and improve cow body condition. Many cattle producers express concerns over the thought of weaning 350-450 lb calves during the heat of the summer and believe that early-weaned calves will not perform well in a dry lot environment. In a recent study (Bailey et al. 2013) conducted at the K-State Agriculture Research Center-Hays, 243 spring-born calves were weaned at 113 ± 17 days of age and were limit-fed a common diet to achieve target average daily gains of 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 lbs per day during an 84 day receiving period.
Continue reading “Performance of Early-Weaned Calves”
by A.J. Tarpoff, DVM, MS; extension veterinarian
Early weaning of calves during a drought can have many benefits to the cow herd such as improved body condition of the cows, improved rebreeding rates, increased forage availability, and possibly improved calf performance. However, increased management is essential for the young calves, and several factors should be considered before this decision is made.
Continue reading “Early weaning calf health considerations”
by A.J. Tarpoff, DVM, MS; extension veterinarian
Blue green algae blooms are an issue that usually gets discussed this time of year. Calm, sunny, dry, and hot days of summer create ideal conditions for blue green algae to thrive in our livestock ponds. Blue green algae occurrence is sporadic making its threat unpredictable. Despite its name, these blooms are not algae, but a cyanobacteria. Some of these cyanobacteria produce and release dangerous toxins that are of major concern for our livestock.
Continue reading “Monitor Ponds for Blue Green Algae”
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”
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?”
By Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby, KS
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”
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”
by Dale Blasi, Extension Livestock Specialist, and T.J. Spore
Many producers have used limit- or programmed-feeding in the past with success, especially during periods of drought when forage is not adequate. In a nutshell, limit- or program-feeding refers to the practice of limiting calves to two-thirds to three-quarters of the dry matter that they can normally consume. This feeding strategy varies greatly with traditional management where calves generally have free-choice access to forage. Traditionally, limit-fed diets have consisted of 80 to 85% whole shelled corn and the remaining balance as a protein supplement. The total amount of the ration delivered is increased every two weeks or so to account for increased body weight gain based upon the desired level of gain.
Continue reading “Limit-feeding high-energy diets based on fermentable fiber for weaned and newly arrived calves offers numerous advantages”