Beef Tips

Tag: Tally Time

Tally Time – Troubleshooting Poor Pregnancy Rates

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby, KS

From time to time, you hear through the grapevine that someone’s herd had an unusually high number of open cows at fall preg check time.  That is when you wipe your brow and say “glad that didn’t happen to my herd”!   In some cases, the poor reproductive response is isolated to a particular pasture, bull or age/management group and the origin of the problem may be easier to find.  If not, the search for an answer will take longer and will be helped by accurate and complete records, and sometimes diagnostic testing. What follows highlights some of the starting points for troubleshooting. Continue reading “Tally Time – Troubleshooting Poor Pregnancy Rates”

Tally Time- Use of parentage testing in commercial operations

by Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby, KS

One of the options now available to producers with multi-sire pastures is to identify offspring parentage.   Research using parentage tests have shown us the wide range in number of offspring sired by bulls in these setting.  Despite economic difference between offspring of sires, for most commercial producers determining parentage of all offspring it is not currently cost effective.  However, it may pay to determine parentage in certain situations. Continue reading “Tally Time- Use of parentage testing in commercial operations”

Tally Time – BIF meeting provides more evidence: you can’t manage what you don’t measure

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”

Tally Time: Keeping on schedule

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby, KS

A year ago at this time, wet weather had delayed planting of many spring crops.  This year, cool soil temperatures are doing the same.  Grass growth has also been delayed, and in many cases winter feed supplies are running short.  The challenge for many operators is to give the grass as much time as possible given the current weather conditions, balanced with how long winter-feed supplies can be stretched. Continue reading “Tally Time: Keeping on schedule”

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”

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”

Tally Time: Management Minder outlines your production year

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist

Technology has been developed that makes many things in our lives much easier. Some of you may remember when you were the “remote control” when your Dad was watching TV. Now, new homes have heating, alarm and lighting systems throughout that can be controlled remotely with a smart phone. Cattle producers use electronic IDs to automate many data collection activities. Computer applications seem to only be limited by our imagination.

Our beef extension educational efforts have often pointed out timely management topics. For example, now is the time to sample harvested forages and get an analysis of the quality. Some of those items would relate to time of year, while others would depend on the individual operation’s calving and breeding dates. So, while those suggestions are timely for most (we hope), they certainly do not fit everyone.

Continue reading “Tally Time: Management Minder outlines your production year”

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”

Tally Time – Resolve to improve record keeping in the New Year

by Sandy Johnson, livestock specialist

Resolution listPhase one of some renovations in our office has resulted in considerable cleaning for the past few days.  My resolution for the new year is to be more discriminating in what paper accumulates in my office. I do tend to save too much, thinking I can use it down the road in one way or the other.  In all the sorting and pitching, I did come across an article from Chris Ringwall of NDSU on record keeping pitfalls based on their experience with producers submitting records for the Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS).  As we start the new year it seemed like a good way to review current procedures and see if any needed attention.

Continue reading “Tally Time – Resolve to improve record keeping in the New Year”

Tally Time – Timely measurements to aid management

by Sandy Johnson, livestock specialist

Body condition scoring is a numerical system to assess nutrient reserves of livestock. The system used in the U.S. beef industry is a scale of 1 (extremely thin) to 9 (obese). At weaning and before cold weather sets in, body condition scores can help determine what management is needed to ensure cows have sufficient nutrients to produce high quality colostrum and have adequate reserves to rebreed in a timely fashion post-calving.  Notice nutrition during this time point influences TWO calf crops, doubly important.

Don’t fall prey to the busyness of life and put off this key measurement. K-State Research and Extension has developed two tools to help you remember to take this measurement and record it.

Continue reading “Tally Time – Timely measurements to aid management”