Guest Tony Batterham, Herd Expansion, Colostrum Management, Top 5 Tips for Managing Colostrum in Beef Herds, Antimicrobial Use in Feed yards, Animal Activism

Welcome to Episode 49 of BCI Cattle Chat where we had the opportunity to visit with Tony Batterham, DVM and Feed yard Consultant of Australia.  Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news about our exciting upcoming guests on both Twitter and Facebook.

1:58 – Introduction of Tony Batterham – DVM, Feed yard Consultant and Board Member of ALFA (Australian Lot Feeders’ Association)

5:26 – Herd Expansion

8:12 – Colostrum Management

14:51 – Top 5 Tips for Managing Colostrum in Beef Herds

  • Manage Body Condition Score
  • Suitable Calving Environment
  • Calving Difficulty Management
  • Feed Colostrum to those with Dystocia
  • Have a Well Vaccinated Cow Herd

16:12 – Antimicrobial Use in Feed yards

20:15 – Animal Activism

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our new website, ksubci.org. If you have any comments/questions/topic ideas, please send them to bci@ksu.edu. Don’t forget if you enjoy the show, please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

Travels of Podcast Team, Is AI Worth It?, Top 10 Tips for a Successful AI Synchronization Program, Cull Cows, In the News

Welcome to Episode 48 of BCI Cattle Chat!  Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news about our exciting upcoming guests on both Twitter and Facebook.

:49 – Travels of the Podcast Team

8:39 – Is AI Worth It?

16:48 – Top 10 Tips for a Successful AI Synchronization Program

  • You don’t have to synchronize all cows
  • Have cycling cows
  • Use only high accuracy Bulls
  • Make sure heifers are heavy enough to breed, and cows have a good BCS
  • Make sure the cows you are going to synchronize are far enough from calving season post-partum
  • Use a synchronization protocol that fits your management
  • Make sure facilities are adequate
  • Double check your protocol
  • Have equipment and supplies on hand
  • Have a strategy to identify early calving cows

18:40 – Cull Cows

23:02 – In the News

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our new website, ksubci.org. If you have any comments/questions/topic ideas, please send them to bci@ksu.edu. Don’t forget if you enjoy the show, please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

Calving Records, Interview with Justin Waggoner – Beef Systems Specialist

Welcome to Episode 47 of BCI Cattle Chat where we had the opportunity to visit with Justin Waggoner, Beef Systems Specialist in Garden City, Kansas. Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news about our exciting upcoming guests on both Twitter and Facebook.

1:38 – Calving Records

4:05 – Interview with Justin Waggoner – Beef Systems Specialist

Please see below for the supplementation diagram mentioned in the podcast.

Source: Mathis CP, Sawyer JE. Nutritional management of grazing beef cows. Vet Clin N Amer 23:1-19, 2007.

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our new website, ksubci.org. If you have any comments/questions/topic ideas, please send them to bci@ksu.edu. Don’t forget if you enjoy the show, please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

Using the Pregnancy Analytics Mobile App: Bull problems and BSEs

The Beef Cattle Institute’s Dr. Bob Larson brings you a series of “cases” employing the use of the Pregnancy Analytics mobile app. Each case will explore a unique herd and examine its reproductive efficiency, strengths, challenges and areas of improvement. The reports (linked below) will lead you through using the Pregnancy Analytics app to utilize the data and practice using it on an actual problem herd.

The case: Bull problems and BSEs

A herd of 209 commercial red-composite cows was palpated on October 7. The herd is split into three breeding pastures with bulls being turned out on June 10 and removed on August 15. The calves were being weaned on the ranch (i.e. left in their current pastures) and the cows were being trucked to a new pasture so the owner started dropping off cows at your clinic very early in the morning to be preg-checked, dewormed, and vaccinated before being taken to fall grazing on corn stalks. During the breeding season: 62 were in the “West Pasture” with two bulls, 81 were in the “North Pasture” with three bulls, and 66 were in the “Windmill Pasture” with two bulls. About 60% of the first-calf heifers were in the West Pasture –– with the rest split between the other two pastures.

Findings

Seventy-six cows were open (64% were pregnant) and only 8% of the cows were classified as being “thin” (BCS <5).

The first analysis of the preg-check data was to look at the percent of the herd that became pregnant each 21-day period of the breeding season and we find that 44.5% of the herd became pregnant in the first 21-days (pregnancies would have been 98 to 119 days), 13.9% in the second 21-day period (77-97 days), and 5.3% in the third 21-day period (56-76 days). The goal for this herd (and most herds) is to have at least 60% of the cows becoming pregnant in the first 21 days of breeding.

Another way to evaluate preg-check data is to determine the percent of the available (non-pregnant) cattle that become pregnant each 21-day period. Recognize that as the breeding season goes along, once cattle become pregnant, they are no longer available to get pregnant again, so the percent of the herd that becomes pregnant each 21 days is not the same as the percent of available cattle that become pregnant each 21 days. To display this measure of reproductive success using the Pregnancy Analytics App – select “% Preg Success”. Based on expected pregnancy success when both cow and bull fertility is optimum, the “% Preg Success” goal should be between 60%-70% for every 21-day period of the breeding season.

Looking at the percentage of open cows that became pregnant each 21-day period, we find that either cow or bull fertility (or both) was lower than desired at the start of the breeding season (44.5% settling in first 21 days) and pregnancy success did not improve and in fact got worse as the breeding season progressed (25% in the second 21 days and 12.6% in the third 21 days).

In this herd, the poor over-all percentage pregnant clearly indicates a problem and the percent pregnant by 21-day interval provides information that the poor reproductive performance continued for the entire breeding season. To begin to evaluate the herd further, the Pregnancy Analytics App provides a way to easily divide the herd into pertinent sub-groups – and when the pregnancy success by 21-days is evaluated by age group, we find that both the first-calf heifers and the mature cows had too many open cows. (1st-calf heifers are defined as those cows suckling their first calf and being bred for their second pregnancy).

More information can be found by displaying the % Preg Success and while neither the 1st-calf heifers nor the cows reached the expected reproductive performance of 60-70% of open cows becoming pregnant in a 21-day period –– the 1st calf heifers tended to perform better than cows and the performance declined over the breeding season.

The preg-check data can also be evaluated by comparing the breed-up differences between body condition score categories. We know that only 8% of the herd was classified as “thin” at the time of preg-check, so we may be justified to ignore any assessment of the association between BCS and pregnancy distribution in this herd; but to be complete, I looked at BCS and found that cows classified as being in moderate body condition performed as poorly as cows classified as being thin.

So far, the information I have looked at raises the possibility of either Trichomoniasis or bull problems being the most likely rule-outs – with cow infertility due to nutritional or late-calving being less likely because the magnitude of open cows is more compatible with bull problems or Trich and the fact that fertility does not improve as the cows have more time post-partum to resume fertile cycles as the breeding season progresses.

The most revealing information about this herd is obtained by looking at the effect of breeding pasture on reproductive performance (both the pregnancy distribution and % Preg Success).

I interpret this information as evidence that the primary problem for this herd is in the Windmill pasture. The other two pastures (West and North) perform very well early in the breeding season – indicating that the cows must have had time post-partum and adequate nutrition pre- and post-partum to resume fertile cycles by the 21st day of the breeding season. Nearly all the open cows were in the Windmill pasture and fertility was very poor throughout the breeding season. The magnitude of the infertility is worse than I would expect for Trichomoniasis and definitely worse than I would expect with a cow problem (in addition, excellent cow performance in the other pastures pretty much rules out a cow problem). The poor reproductive performance in the Windmill pasture must be due to a bull problem.

Conclusion

The primary problem in this herd is in the Windmill pasture and almost has to be due to a bull problem even though the rancher reports that all the bulls were between three and five years of age and had been successful breeders in previous years. I would recommend a BSE on both bulls from this pasture, but if one or both bulls pass the BSE, my diagnosis would not change (finding a musculoskeletal or semen problem in one or both bulls would confirm the diagnosis).

To prevent this problem in the future, I would strongly recommend a BSE for all bulls before the start of breeding and frequent assessment of bull musculoskeletal health and amount of estrus activity throughout the breeding season.

Download the report here.

Abortion in Cattle, Glenn Rogers with American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Postpartum Interval, Top 6 Influences of Postpartum Anestrus, Brandon Depenbusch with CattleTrace, BCI Beef Tip

Welcome to Episode 46 of BCI Cattle Chat where we had the opportunity to visit with two guests; American Association of Bovine Practitioners President, Glenn Rogers, and Vice President of Cattle Operations for Innovative Livestock Services, Brandon Depenbusch. Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news about our exciting upcoming guests on both Twitter and Facebook.

2:07 – Abortion in Cattle

8:00 – American Association of Bovine Practitioners President – Glenn Rogers

13:25 – Postpartum Interval

17:32 – Top 6 Things Influencing Postpartum Anestrus

  • Age
  • BCS at Calving
  • Change in BCS from Calving to Breeding
  • Julian Date at Calving
  • Nutritional Availability
  • Dystocia/Retained Placenta

19:27 – Vice President of Cattle Operations for Innovative Livestock Services and Chairman of CattleTrace – Brandon Depenbusch

25:20 – BCI Beef Tip: Keep Records and/or Samples to Go Back To

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our new website, ksubci.org. If you have any comments/questions/topic ideas, please send them to bci@ksu.edu. Don’t forget if you enjoy the show, please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

Introduction of Guest Jackie McClaskey, American Royal, Opportunities in Agriculture, Getting Youth Involved in Agriculture, In the News

Welcome to Episode 45 of BCI Cattle Chat where we had the opportunity to visit with former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, Jackie McClaskey. Jackie is now the President of the Future American Royal Campus.  Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news about our exciting upcoming guests on both Twitter and Facebook.

1:00 – Introduction of Jackie McClaskey – President of the Future American Royal Campus – Former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture

4:09 – American Royal

9:05 – Opportunities in Agriculture

14:03 – BCI CattleChat Checklist – Top 6 Opportunities in Agriculture

  • Value Added Opportunities
  • Increased Efficiency
  • Opportunity to those Supplying and Servicing New Technology
  • Diversification
  • Increased Access to Information
  • Attracting Young People to Agriculture

15:30 – Getting youth Involved in Agriculture

21:54 – In the News

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our new website, ksubci.org. If you have any comments/questions/topic ideas, please send them to bci@ksu.edu. Don’t forget if you enjoy the show, please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

Vet Call: Anaplasmosis

By Dr. Bob Larson, DVM, professor of production medicine
Reprinted with permission from the Angus Journal.

Anaplasmosis is a serious disease that affects cattle in an increasing larger area of the country. A tiny organism called Anaplasma marginale attaches to red blood cells which leads to destruction of those cells and a decrease in the ability of affected cattle to carry oxygen in their blood. If more red blood cells are destroyed than the animal can replace with new cells the blood becomes watery, the animal becomes anemic, and other signs of infection can occur including yellow discoloration of the mucus membranes, fever, depression, dehydration and rapid or difficult breathing. Sometimes affected animals become excited and aggressive when not enough oxygen reaches the brain. Young animals are often able to recover because they can make new red blood cells very quickly, but older animals do not produce new cells very fast and they can quickly become very anemic and have very low oxygen levels in the blood leading to severe illness or death.

Anaplasmosis is primarily transferred between cattle by ticks, but the movement of blood from infected cattle to susceptible cattle can also be accomplished by biting flies such as horseflies, or by human activities such as via blood-contaminated needles, dehorning instruments, tattoo pliers or palpation sleeves. The disease has historically been a problem in the southern parts of the United States but has now spread north so that cattlemen in many important beef-producing areas need to be aware of the problem. In herds that become exposed to the organism, cattle of any age can become infected, but the severity of illness is usually mild in young cattle and increases with age. In cattle that become infected when they are 3 years of age or older, 30% to 50% of animals showing signs of the disease are likely to die. If infected cattle are able to survive they are not likely to have severe problems due to the disease in the future, but they remain as carriers for the rest of their life. In some cases these carrier infections can be eliminated using antibiotic treatment.

The first sign of anaplasmosis in a herd may be the sudden death of adult cattle. If anaplasmosis is identified as a cause of death and disease in a herd, cattle that are obviously sick should be kept as quite as possible and treated with a blood transfusion to replace red blood cells and/or with an injectable tetracycline antibiotic to kill the organism. In addition, healthy animals should be moved away from the affected cattle to reduce the risk of the organism being transferred to the rest of the herd by ticks or biting insects, and low levels of tetracycline can be fed in the mineral mix or supplement to provide additional protection to the herd.

For carrier cattle that don’t appear sick but that are infected with the anaplasma organism, your veterinarian can plan a treatment protocol using tetracycline antibiotics administered over several days to clear the organism. However treatment with tetracycline is not effective for all cattle and those animals that are cleared of the organism become susceptible to re-infection.

The best plan to minimize disease lose due to anaplasmosis depends greatly on a farm’s or ranch’s geographic location and the number of cattle in the area that are infected. In parts of the country where anaplasmosis infection is rare, a strategy to find and treat and/or remove any carrier-animals is recommended. In contrast, in areas of the country where many cattle are infected, an attempt to remove all carriers from a herd will result in a herd that is susceptible to re-infection and the herd may have greater losses than if other strategies had been used to minimize the disease’s effects.

If infected cattle are found in a herd in a part of the country where anaplasmosis is rare, one strategy to minimize disease loss is to test the herd for anaplasmosis infection and to treat any test-positive animals with tetracycline as directed by your veterinarian. This treatment should be at a time of year when the local tick and fly population is the lowest. Because the treatment does not clear infection from every animal, the animals should be tested again about six months after the tetracycline treatment and if a positive is found at this time, it should be considered a treatment-failure and removed from the herd, either by slaughter or by being sold to a herd in an area where anaplasmosis is common.

In contrast, in herds located where anaplasmosis is common, rather than trying to avoid infection, some producers may want to allow infection to occur while the cattle are young in order to minimize obvious sickness and death loss. In some countries young animals are purposefully exposed to the organism allowing them to build immunity at a time in their life when the disease is mild. Although they will be infected for life, they are not likely to suffer severe illness. In some states in the U.S., your veterinarian may be able to obtain an experimental anaplasmosis vaccine that does not prevent infection, but is reported to reduce the risk of clinical signs and death. Producers may also elect to feed low levels of chlortetracycline when the disease is most prevalent to control active infection and use insecticides to control tick and fly populations.

Because the best anaplasmosis control strategy for a particular farm or ranch depends on how likely that herd is to come into to contact with the organism, an important component of a control strategy is a plan to deal with replacement animals. If your herd is free of anaplasmosis and the risk of exposure is low, any replacement animal should be tested before being brought into contact with the herd. A test-positive animal should either be culled or isolated and treated with tetracycline and then re-tested six months after treatment. In contrast, if your herd is infected with anaplasmosis and the organism is common in your area, a test-positive replacement animal is desired, and the greatest health risk is in replacement animals that are not infected with the organism but that will be placed in direct contact with carrier animals. In this situation, one option is purposeful exposure (or vaccination if available) with close monitoring for clinical signs of the disease and quick treatment if disease is detected.

Anaplasmosis control requires a good working relationship with your veterinarian to determine your level of risk and best control strategies. The best control strategy for your herd may be very different from that of your neighbors or cattlemen in other parts of the country.

Dr. Bob Larson is a professor of production medicine with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, Edgar E. and Elizabeth Coleman Chair of Food Animal Production Medicine, executive director of Veterinary Medical Continuing Education, and faculty member with the Beef Cattle Institute. He specializes in the integration of animal health, production efficiency and economic considerations in beef cattle production. This column is reprinted and redistributed with permission from the Angus Journal.