Planting Fescue, Hay Storage, Tips for Storing Hay Outside, Foot Rot

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1:40 Planting Fescue

9:40 Hay Storage

19:05 Tips for Outside Hay Storage

19:45 Foot Rot

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Stump the Expert, Blue Green Algae Questions, Summer Pre-Weaning Pneumonia, Early Weaning, Vesticular Stomatitis

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2:30 Stump the Expert

8:45 Blue Green Algae Questions

13:40 Summer Pre-Weaning Pneumonia

20:25 Early Weaning

25:35 Vesticular Stomatitis

Dr. Scott Fritz: scottfritz@vet.k-state.edu

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Relevance of Dietary Guidelines for Cattle Producers

Many are familiar with the dietary guidelines promoted by health professionals to encourage Americans to eat nutritious, well balanced diets. Those guidelines are revised every five years and later this year the updated round of recommendations will be released. The dietary guidelines for Americans serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition programs and policies, providing food-based recommendations to help prevent diet-related chronic diseases and promote overall health. These guidelines suggest to people how to make food choices as well as serve as the foundation for federally funded food assistance programs, direct the contents of school lunches and influence how foods are labeled.

Many Americans do not meet the current nutrition standards for key nutrients. USDA collects and publishes interesting data that tracks changes and helps identify what Americans need to work on. Only about 10% of Americans eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables, and they tend to overeat refined carbohydrates, which includes sugar.   Protein is one nutrient that Americans get mostly right — in which 15% of the calories in the American diet comes from protein.  

Data Sources: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2007-2010 for average intakes by age-sex group. Healthy U.S.-Style Food Patterns, which vary based on age, sex, and activity level, for recommended intake ranges.

With beef’s important contribution to protein and other essential nutrients such as leucine for muscle building, iron, and B12, cattle producers should better understand and embrace the data for how the recommendation for protein is calculated. 

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for protein is based on the minimum amount to eat for a healthy diet or 10% of total calories. The suggested range is listed at 10-35% of total calories.  For adults, the reference man is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 154 pounds. The reference woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 126 pounds even though in 2016 the average and median weight for U.S. adult man was 197.1 pounds and for women was 170.3 pounds. People who weigh more have higher calorie needs, so protein needs also increase. For comparison, the reference man calculates optimal protein needs of 56 grams but using his average weight, 10% of calories would be 72 grams protein, or an additional 2.2 ounces of steak per day. Some research suggests protein intake for optimal performance should be higher to preserve muscle mass as people age and have the strength needed at all stages of life, as well as spreading our intake among all meals instead of our current pattern of eating more at supper.

It is a myth that Americans eat too much protein in this country. 

NCBA is closely monitoring the dietary guidelines process to ensure that all decisions are science-based, and that anti-animal agriculture activists do not try and skew the process in their favor. Some activist groups have proposed including “sustainability” considerations in the new guidelines – code for saying that beef consumption should be heavily reduced or eliminated. Eliminating meat from the world’s diets does not significantly impact climate change, and it will make the world’s consumers less healthy and more at risk for malnutrition.  

Nutrition-related diseases kill about 4,300 people daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In general, Americans are consuming too many calories, are not meeting food group and nutrient recommendations, and are not getting adequate physical activity. It is important Americans know how beef can fit into a healthy eating plan, and be aware of how is it being compared and discussed. 

For further information about the U.S. dietary guidelines: https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/table-of-contents/

Creep Feeding, Top Tips for Creep Feeding, Blue Green Algae Concerns, Heat & Transporting Cattle

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2:20 Creep Feeding

10:00 Top Tips for Creep Feeding

10:55 Blue Green Algae Concerns

19:00 Heat & Transporting Cattle

Dr. Scott Fritz: scottfritz@vet.k-state.edu

Blue Green Algae References:
Water Sampling
Toxicity
Algae Season
Runoff
Algae Potential
Human Risk Factors
Simple Testing

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Monitoring Water, Culling Bulls, Top Considerations for Culling Bulls, Heat & Breeding, Your Calf & His Developing Rumen

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1:10 Monitoring Water

5:20 Culling Bulls

14:30 Top Considerations for Culling Bulls

15:35 Heat & Breeding

20:25 Your Calf & His Developing Rumen

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Reproductive Management of Beef Cattle Herds

Bob L. Larson, DVM, PhD

There are a number of important factors that interact to impact the number of calves weaned per cow exposed for breeding. One of the important factors that is often not recognized is that the previous years’ timing of calving will have either a positive or negative effect on this year’s reproductive success. I use the term “herd momentum” to describe the impact that previous reproductive outcomes have on the current and future reproductive performanceof the herd.

Several key facts about the cattle reproduction and cow-calf production impact each year’s reproductive success. First of all, it is necessary for beef cows to calve at about the same time each year in order to appropriately match the cow production cycles with the forage production cycle. Recognizing that pregnancy lasts 283 days means that there are 82 days from the time a cow calves to the time it needs to become pregnant again to maintain a 365 day calving interval. This fact is important to remember when we understand that beef cows have a period of time after calving, called postpartum anestrus, when they do not display heat behavior necessary to initiate mating and they do not ovulate fertile eggs. It takes about 70 to 100 days from calving for 90% of cows to resume fertile cycles if they are in good body condition, but this period is longer in cows that calve in thin body condition. Because of these limitations, only cows that calve in good body condition during the first 42-52 days of calving are likely to resume fertile cycles before the start of breeding or during the first 21 days of breeding. In contrast, cows that calve later than the 52nd day of calving are not likely to resume fertile cycles until the second 21 days of the breeding season or later.

Most producers recognize that first-calf heifers take about 20 to 30 days longer to resume fertile cycles after calving than mature cows. In order to have fertile cycles by the start of the breeding season for their second pregnancy, first-calf heifers need to calve in good body condition at least 100 days ahead of breeding – which is before the mature cows start calving. 

Whether cows calve in the first, second, or third 21 days (or later) in the calving season impacts the timing of when they will resume fertile cycles and can become pregnant in the following breeding season; therefore, cow-calf herds have reproductive momentum from year to year. This momentum can be positive (most cows calve early in calving season and breed early in the following breeding season) or negative (most cows calve late in calving season and breed late in the following breeding season). Positive momentum results in cows that calve early and have increased longevity in the herd. 

Another important fact to understand about cattle reproduction is that even when a perfectly fertile cow is mated to a fertile bull, not every mating will result in successful fertilization and embryo development. In fact, we estimate that the likelihood of a fertile mating will result in pregnancy that can be detected at preg-check time is 60 to 70%.

Most commonly, this pregnancy failure occurs during the first 14 days of pregnancy and the cow will express heat and ovulate a fertile egg about 21 days after her last heat and have another 60-70% chance of conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy. Cows with three opportunities to be mated to a fertile bull (each with a 60-70% probability of a successful pregnancy) during a breeding season will have a 90-95% probability of giving birth to a calf at the end of gestation. Animals in the herd expected to have completed the postpartum anestrous period and to be having fertile estrous cycles by the 21st day of the following breeding season include: nearly all mature cows that calve in good body condition during the first 21 days of calving, many of the mature cows that calve in good body condition in the second 21 days, some of the cows that calve between 42 and 52 days into the calving season, and first-calf heifers that calve before the start of the mature cow calving season. 

Cows with only two opportunities to be mated to a fertile bull during a breeding season will have about an 84% to 91% probability of becoming pregnant and maintaining a pregnancy to the end of gestation. Cows with only two or fewer opportunities for mating would include mature cows that give birth to a calf more than 42-52 days after the start of the calving season, first-calf heifers that calve after the start of the mature cow calving season, and first calf heifers or mature cows that are thin and have a prolonged period of postpartum anestrus. 

Extending the breeding season longer than 65 days (three 21-day periods) will allow more cows to become pregnant, but cows that conceive more than 52 days after the start of breeding are very unlikely to begin fertile estrous cycles until the second or later 21 day period of the breeding season, and cows that conceive more than 82 days after the start of breeding will not calve until after the start of the following breeding season. This scenario could be described as “negative reproductive momentum”.

From a reproductive standpoint, herds should be managed so that 95% or more of the cows have resumed fertile cycles early enough to be mated during the first 21 days of the breeding season. This will result in herds that are “front-end loaded” and have “positive momentum”, in that 60% or more of the cows will calve in the first 21 days and 85% of the cows will calve in the first two 21-day periods. In order to achieve this goal, producers must focus on: developing heifers to become pregnant early in the breeding season, ensuring bull breeding soundness, aligning the calving period with optimal resource availability, managing forage and supplementation to ensure good cow body condition going into calving, and minimizing reproductive losses due to disease.

Meet Myriah Johnson, Stump the Expert, Sustainability Impact on You, Tips for Managing Sustainability on Your Operation, Current Sustainability Research Focus

Welcome to BCI Cattle Chat!  Please click on any links below to be taken to sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news regarding the podcast on Facebook and Twitter.

2:30 Meet Myriah Johnson

4:30 Stump the Expert

15:30 Sustainability Impact on You

23:50 Tips for Managing Sustainability on Your Operation

25:00 Current Sustainability Research Focus

NCBA
USDA ERS

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our 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!

Stump the Expert, Direct Beef Marketing, Top Considerations for Direct Marketing Beef, Pinkeye, Pulling Bulls from the Breeding Pasture

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6:15 Stump the Expert

12:40 Direct Beef Marketing

19:20 Top Considerations for Direct Marketing Beef

20:25 Pinkeye

26:00 Pulling Bulls from the Breeding Pasture

Beef Improvement Federation Conference

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Gabby’s Questions, Water Consumption, Top Water Management Considerations for Summer, Fly Control, Hay Management

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3:10 Gabby’s Questions

11:06 Water Consumption

17:10 Top Water Management Considerations for Summer

17:45 Fly Control

23:05 Hay Storage

AgManager

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Mitigating Ruminant Methane Emissions

Last month we evaluated data indicating that only 35% of current methane emissions from domestic ruminants is contributing to increased atmospheric methane. With reductions in methane emissions ranging from 10 to 50%, feed additives could almost eliminate the 35% contributing to atmospheric methane.  Many feed additives have potential adverse effects on the animal, but 3-nitrooxyproponal reduces methane emissions without negatively affecting animal performance and is in the process of commercialization. Furthermore, 3-nitrooxypropanol shifts rumen VFA profile toward higher proportions of propionate making the ruminant animal more feed efficient and the compound very attractive to economically include in livestock rations.

Dustin Questions, Listener Question, Legume Bloat, Top Ways to Prevent and Manage Legume Bloat, Price Risk Management

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2:30 Dustin Questions

9:50 Listener Question

16:35 Legume Bloat

23:50 Top Ways to Prevent and Manage Legume Bloat

24:40 Price Risk Management

Dr. J’s Beef
AgManager
Beef Basis
KSU Beef

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Meet Jeanette Thurston, Dustin Questions, New Consumer Behaviors, Top Post-Pandemic Consumer Behaviors, Food Security

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4:20 Meet Jeanette Thurston

6:25 Dustin Questions

16:30 New Consumer Behaviors

23:00 Top Post-Pandemic Consumer Behaviors

24:00 Food Security

Something to Chew On

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Role of your veterinarian in your business

Bob L. Larson, DVM, PhD
Beef Cattle Institute
Kansas State University

There are many people that impact the success of your ranching business, including your customers, your lenders, and your suppliers. One of the important suppliers for cow-calf producers is the local veterinarian. Veterinarians can provide important advice and service to improve ranch income, decrease costs, provide protection from losses due to disease, and offer options for marketing high-health cattle.

Ranch income is primarily derived from the sale of calves either at weaning for commercial operations or as breeding bulls or heifers for seedstock producers. Commercial ranchers can increase their income by increasing the pounds of calves at weaning and seedstock operations the number of marketable breeding animals from the same land and cow resources by increasing the reproductive efficiency of the herd. Veterinarians can provide advice and services to monitor and evaluate heifers, cows, and bulls so that a high percentage of the herd is able to successfully mate at the start of each breeding season.

Nutrition has an important impact on whether or not growing bulls and heifers reach puberty at an appropriate age and your veterinarian may be able to provide you with appropriate diets to meet targeted weight gain goals. Genetics also strongly influences whether developing bulls and heifers reach puberty by target ages, and your veterinarian is a valuable resource when considering selection and culling decisions. By doing breeding soundness examinations of bulls and heifers near yearling age, your veterinarian can help you identify the individuals that reach puberty at the time and with the amount of feed resources that you have identified to meet your ranch goals.

Doing breeding soundness examinations of mature bulls prior to the start of each breeding season allows your veterinarian to remove bulls that may fail during the breeding season due to foot or leg problems, other health problems, or reproductive tract problems. Although the reproductive tracts of mature cows are not routinely evaluated before the start of each breeding season, managing and monitoring the cows to confirm that a high percentage of the cows calve early enough in the calving season and in good enough body condition to resume fertile cycles by the start of the breeding season helps to ensure that herd reproductive efficiency will be high.

Monitoring body condition scores of the cow herd and rainfall amounts as predictors of future forage production potential allows your veterinarian to provide advice on a changing year-by-year basis to alter stocking density, timing of weaning, and supplementation strategies to ensure that cows enter the calving and breeding seasons in good body condition. The land base and herd size dictate much of the cost-side of cow-calf production and making sure that a high percentage of the cow herd becomes pregnant early in the breeding season allows those costs to be spread over a large number of marketable calves. By using body condition scores collected at several key points in the production cycle, your veterinarian can help you fine-tune the management of your herd based on the ranch forage-base, and the availability of cost-effective supplements or grazing alternatives, and the optimum cow size and milking ability for your herd. 

While every production year is expected to generate income from the sale of calves and to incur expenses associated with pasture and supplementation costs as well as cow depreciation and bull costs, significant losses due to disease is expected to be a rare event for cattle operations. Losses that are expected to occur rarely if at all but that could have a devastating impact on the financial status of a ranch if they did occur must be managed with cost-effective risk management strategies. Because disease losses do not occur every year, providing no defense may appear to be a sufficient and very low-cost management strategy in the short-run. However, over a longer time-frame, it would be very unusual for a herd with minimal disease protection to avoid devastating financial losses due to disease at some point in the future. Your veterinarian can provide valuable information about the likelihood that your herd could suffer losses from various diseases and the expected magnitude of those losses should your herd be exposed. By considering the likelihood of a disease, the magnitude of losses associated with that disease, and the effectiveness of available control strategies, your veterinarian can work with you to optimize the disease risk management of your ranching business.

Marketing of cattle, whether feeder calves or breeding animals, increasingly includes information about health status. When considering the optimum herd health program from a marketing standpoint, the risks that down-stream buyers face and their willingness to purchase from suppliers who can reduce that risk must be considered. For example, your herd may have very low risk for a disease and incurring expenses through diagnostic testing or herd certification may not reduce your herd’s already minimal risk; but the costs could easily be offset by customers willing to pay for that low disease risk. Increasingly, you must think of your down-stream customers as you work with your veterinarian to plan a health program that not only meets the needs of your herd but also provides a cost-effective marketing advantage.

A successful cattle business requires a combination of cattle and business expertise. Many successful ranchers count on a trusted team of advisors and suppliers to help them improve the profitability and sustainability of their ranching business. Finding and working with a local veterinarian who can provide assistance to increase income, control costs, and manage risks should be a goal of every cattle producer.

Student’s Perspective on COVID, Meet Dr. Matthew Kelso, VTPRK Program, FAVC Program

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1:50 Student’s Perspective on COVID

7:40 Meet Dr. Matthew Kelso

10:30 VTPRK Program

17:45 FAVC Program

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our 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!

Vaccine Handling Quiz, In Season BSE, Top Items to Check In Season for Successful Breeding, Predicting/Monitoring Weather, In the News

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2:30 Vaccine Handling Quiz

12:10 In Season BSE

18:10 Top Items to Check In Season for Successful Breeding

19:15 Predicting/Monitoring Weather

23:50 In the News

CattleTrace: Callahan Grund – cgrund@uscattletrace.org

Beef Improvement Federation

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Reassessing Ruminant Methane Contribution

The environmental impact of livestock production, especially ruminants, has received a lot of attention in both the scientific community and popular media. One of the most discussed aspects of ruminants’ environmental impact is the production of the greenhouse gas, methane. Methane is produced as a natural byproduct of fermentation in the ruminant stomach during the process of feed digestion. The production of methane is not a man-made process and occurs naturally in all wild and domestic ruminant animals.

Wild ruminants in North America include deer, moose, elk, big horn sheep, antelope and bison with bison having the largest population. Estimates of the bison population prior to European settlement of North America varies greatly ranging from 21 to 88 million. And estimates of the total wild ruminant population prior to settlement ranges from 83 to 133 million. Due to lots of factors chief among them the growth in human population, the wild ruminant population has decreased to 30.5 million today and have been replaced by 90 million domestic ruminants.

Do domestic ruminants produce more methane than wild ruminants? Methane emissions factors for bison are similar to that of domestic cattle when fed the same diet, and both are greater than deer and elk. However, diets of wild and domestic ruminants are not necessarily similar. Diets of domestic ruminants are managed by humans and are typically of greater nutritive value than wild ruminants consume, especially during the winter months when vegetation is dormant.

Attempting to account for differences in methane emissions from wild and domestic ruminants, recent research compared the amount of methane from wild ruminants prior to European settlement of North America and current wild and domestic ruminant populations (Figure 1). Due to the wide variation in estimates of bison population, results were computed for low, medium and high bison populations. Based on these data, the amount of methane from domestic ruminants contributing to the increase in global atmospheric methane concentration is less than 100% because a fraction of that methane is replacing naturally produced methane from pre-settlement wild ruminant populations. Doing the math, the proportion of methane emissions from domestic ruminants in North America that is contributing to atmospheric methane concentrations ranges from 50 to -19% depending upon the pre-settlement bison population with an average of 35%.

Several feed additives have been investigated for their ability to reduce enteric methane emissions from domestic ruminants; the most effective include methane inhibitors, electron acceptors, hydrogen sinks, and plant extracts. These feed additives can reduce enteric methane emissions from 10 to 50% depending upon domestic ruminant species and diet, indicating that implementation could mitigate the 35% of domestic ruminant methane emissions that is new to North America since the European settlement. Although most of these feed additives have adverse effects that may hinder their use, one, 3-nitrooxyproponal, reduces methane emissions without negatively affecting animal performance and is in the process of commercialization. 3-nitrooxypropanol also shifts rumen VFA profile toward higher proportions of propionate making the ruminant animal more feed efficient, which is very similar to another feed additive, monensin, which has been widely adopted in ruminant livestock production. Thus, the use of 3-nitrooxypropanol looks very attractive for producers to economically include in livestock rations and could significantly mitigate enteric methane emissions from domestic ruminants.

In conclusion, the extent of domestic ruminants’ contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is not as great as once thought, although livestock production has more environmental impact than methane alone. It appears that we are on the verge of balancing the methane scale as far as domestic ruminant emissions are concerned.

Estimated methane emissions from wild ruminants prior to European settlement of North American Continent based on 3 estimates of the American bison herd (30, 50 and 75 million bison) compared with methane emissions from current population of wild and domestic ruminants. Adapted from Hristov, 2012

Dustin Questions, Supply Chain Disruption, Spring Processing of Calves, Top Considerations for Processing Calves, Listener Questions

Welcome to BCI Cattle Chat!  Please click on any links below to be taken to sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news regarding the podcast on Facebook and Twitter.

3:30 Dustin Questions

8:30 Supply Chain Disruption

17:00 Spring Processing of Calves

22:40 Top Considerations for Processing Calves

23:10 Listener Question

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our 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!

Calving Timing, Optimizing Cow Size, Tips for Determining Optimum Cow Size in Your Operation, Burning Management, Listener Question

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1:30 Calving Timing

11:00 Optimizing Cow Size

19:19 Tips for Determining Optimum Cow Size in Your Operation

20:17 Burning Management

26:05 Listener Question

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our 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!

Record Keeping

Bob L. Larson, DVM, PhD
Beef Cattle Institute
Kansas State University

Because cow-calf operations characteristically have high operating costs and deal with fluctuating input and sale prices, ranches typically operate within a narrow profit margin. However, there are great differences between ranches in their overall profitability as defined by the difference between prices received and operating costs. In order to maintain a profitable ranching operation, producers must continually look to improve herd efficiency through increasing the value of animals sold and/or decreasing the cost of production. The use of records is essential to identify sources of inefficient production so that management changes can be implemented, and then to track the effects of management decisions on production efficiency. In addition, the trend toward “identity preservation”, and “process verification” has led to new opportunities for those producers that can document production practices as well as growth efficiency and carcass quality after cattle leave the ranch.

Veterinarians who work with beef cattle producers often desire records to assist in the assessment of production efficiency, to help in the investigation of disease outbreaks, and as a component of Beef Quality Assurance (BQA). Different veterinarians have preferences for different types of records and record-keeping systems, but all would agree that having accurate information about the herd has many valuable uses.

Systems for gathering data for records are numerous and varied. These systems can collect data on either the whole herd or on individual animals. The simplest form of record gathering is head counts for the purpose of keeping accurate inventories. The next level of record gathering is whole herd data that includes percent calf crop, percent pregnant, average sale (weaning) weights, etc. and this type of record gathering is adequate to get a picture of overall herd performance. The next level of record keeping involves individual animal performance records which provide the best information for identifying problems and possible solutions, however, this type of system requires a greater commitment in time and expense.

From a record-keeping standpoint, the needs of cow-calf ranches differ from other livestock operations such as dairies, feedlots, and swine or poultry operations in that cow-calf ranches only collect usable information at a few specific times of the year such as at preg-check, weaning, pasture turn-out, or at times that specific ranches handle their cattle. This is in contrast to other livestock production systems that hand-deliver feed on a daily basis, measure production on a daily (dairy) or at least weekly or monthly (swine or poultry) basis due to frequent marketing, and tend to have more animals so that treatment for disease is a frequent activity of herd management. Because of these differences, the relatively low amount and frequency of data collection in cow-calf herds allows ranchers to have very effective record keeping systems that are simpler than systems needed by other livestock production systems. In fact, a lot of important information can be captured on the ear tag or freeze brand (year of birth, sire breed, calving order – i.e. calved early or late in calving season) and paper or relatively simple computer programs can be used to keep and organize ranch production and health records. It is important to gather all the information that you will need to make decisions, but it is not necessary to set up record-keeping systems that collect information that is not used.

One area of record keeping that is valuable for cow-calf ranches and their veterinarians is information to measure reproductive efficiency. The information that is needed to identify opportunities for enhanced reproductive efficiency and to help diagnose reproductive inefficiency includes: accurate estimates of when cows become pregnant, cow characteristics such as age and breed, and breeding group information such as which bulls were in the breeding pasture, characteristics of the breeding bulls such as age and breed, the length of the breeding season, and a record of any events such as bull injury that occurred during the breeding season. Veterinarians can use this information to create graphs that show how many cows become pregnant each 21-day period of the breeding season, and can determine if specific ages, breeds, or breeding groups are not as reproductively efficient as the rest of the herd.

When veterinarians investigate disease outbreaks, information about which cattle got sick or died (age of cattle affected), what behavior the rancher saw that caused concern, the date an animal was first identified as sick or died, and which pasture or lot the sick animals were housed in prior to being identified can all be used to look for patterns in age, location, dam age, or other characteristics that help identify the events that led up to the disease problem. Any information about individual sick cattle or outbreaks of disease should be kept for several years so that if a similar problem reoccurs, accurate information is available.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) involves several aspects of cattle management that directly affect the quality of the beef products sold to consumers as well as the health and welfare of the herd. Accurate documentation of all events that occur to an animal from the time of birth, through all of the production phases and on into the slaughter house is becoming the expected level of record-keeping.  Whenever a vaccine, dewormer, fly control, antibiotic or other product is administered to cattle, you should record the exact name of the product, the serial number of the product you purchased, the dose that was administered, and how the cattle were treated (i.e. by mouth, in the muscle, under the skin, etc.).

If you are considering a change in your record keeping system, it is important to develop a system that collects all the information that you need to make the management decisions that you are targeting; but in the simplest manner than accomplishes your goal. The output of any record keeping system should allow you to easily and accurately see the overall productivity of your herd as well as to use individual performance data to make management changes that improve overall efficiency.

Pre-harvest Pathogen Control, Future Trends in Food Safety, Top Future Trends in Food Safety, Listener Question

Welcome to BCI Cattle Chat!  Please click on any links below to be taken to sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news regarding the podcast on Facebook and Twitter.

3:40 Pre-harvest Pathogen Control

12:15 Future Trends in Food Safety

24:00 Top Future Trends in Food Safety

25:00 Listener Question

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our 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!

Heifer CONSULT, Getting Cows Bred Early, Tips for Getting Cows Bred Early, Sync Protocols, Listener Question

Welcome to BCI Cattle Chat!  Please click on any links below to be taken to sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news regarding the podcast on Facebook and Twitter.

2:15 Heifer CONSULT

9:35 Getting Cows Bred Early

14:40 Tips for Getting Cows Bred Early

15:30 Sync Protocols

20:00 Listener Question

Estrus Sync Planner
Sync Protocols
Applied Reproductive Strategies
Clean-Up Bulls

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our 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!

Sustainability. Food Waste. COVID-19. College Closed.

One of our veterinarians asked how Kansas State University handled the sudden COVID-19 disruptions in their food service operations. “Did they waste much food? Was it donated or destroyed?”

We know all too well what goes into producing high quality, safe, nutritious beef and how satisfying it is to watch customers enjoy our product. The flip side is how disappointing it is to learn that research tells us that 18% of beef is wasted after it gets to the customer. In case other cattle producers are curious about how our university handled their food inventory when the volumes suddenly decreased, I spoke with Mary Molt, the associate director of housing and dining services.

“So Mary, how much food went to waste when KSU closed the dining halls?” Her reply, “Not much.”

She went on to say, “I am proud of our staff, and the food production and service system that has been honed for so many years. Having a central food stores for both frozen and dry stores was a lifesaver. Because of our staff, system and facilities we minimized waste to very little.”

KSU Housing and Dining is not the typical college food service provider. They use standardized recipes and cook mostly from scratch. They recently expanded their dry, refrigerated and frozen warehouse to have more flexibility to purchase food in season as well as carry an inventory for emergencies. They have longstanding relationships with supply chain partners, including our own on-campus Weber and Call Halls, and all of their unit managers are registered dietitians with a strong food management backgrounds. This may seem a bit old-fashioned as others have gone to “just in time” deliveries and eliminated expensive refrigeration and freezer storage. Others build their menu around many processed foods and manufacturer-prepared meats, with less use of commodities. Often their managers are trained outside of institutional settings. 

The K-State book “Food for Fifty”, published first in 1937 and still published today is a gold standard for quantity food production. You see, Mary Molt is the current author and her team knows how to rework leftovers, handle food safely, and minimize waste. They froze the fluid milk to use later in recipes such as mashed potatoes and sauces. They froze cheese, meat and bread. They immediately stopped the produce orders and worked seamlessly with John Wolf in Weber Hall to cut production. With still a few students living on campus, much of the remaining food was incorporated into recipes and served. The small amount of perishable products not able to be used was donated. There was only a small loss from products that had to be discarded. 

At the Beef Cattle Institute, we enjoy a great partnership with KSU Housing and Dining as we work together to help educate other college and hospital food service buyers about modern beef production.  Our common goal is to create more sustainable food systems based on science and research.   

Sustainable food service?  NAILED IT.

Mary Molt, Kansas State University Associate Director of Housing and Dining services has been a strong supporter of registered dietitians and their value to organizations. She is the past recipient of many prestigious industry awards including the Academy’s Medallion Award in 2013.
Kramer Dining Center is one of three student dining areas and contains nearly 60,000 square feet of state-of-the-art kitchen, serving, dining and retail space.

Take Care of those Cattle for Me

Do you ever wonder if the return merits the time and expense spent doing farm tours and education sessions for non-agriculture friends in the foodservice? We drive thru our operations and talk about how and why we do what we do, but do the participants give thought about us the next time they make a decision about menu planning and purchasing?

I’m here to tell you that they do. Last October, BCI faculty and staff hosted 11 non-commercial foodservice professionals in Kansas as part of our education efforts. The tour jointly sponsored with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association focused on modern production methods and how they relate to questions their customers in healthcare and college and universities have about sustainability including environmental concerns, animal health practices and who is producing their beef.

One of those participants was Ryan Conklin, an executive chef with REX Healthcare, in Raleigh, North Carolina. I recently had a conversation with Ryan about how he and his business are managing the restrictions placed on them by the COVID-19 crisis. He shared that life is tough right now. He and his culinary and nutrition team are feeding the patients and workers. They even converted an unused public dining space to allow busy hospital workers to take home things they need for their families.  Staple items such as ground beef, milk, and yes, toilet paper, are able to be purchased.  At the end of the conversation, Ryan said, “Take care of those cattle for me.”

Another participant, Bill Marks with Hennepin County Healthcare in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota has also been coping with the virus. He also shared that his recent days at a large community hospital in inner-city Minneapolis are the most challenging he has ever experienced.   “People are scared to come to work.  Free meals are the norm, so the kitchen workers have more people to feed than ever.  You never know for sure what will, or will not be, on the delivery truck but we are figuring it out as we go,” said Bill.    

As he reflected on his time attending the workshop, Bill shared, “It was one of the best education events I’ve attended in my 35 years in foodservice.”

We can put names with faces as we see people in the trenches on national news finding ways to serve their hospitals and universities during these challenging times.  Agriculture benefits from these exchanges as we learn how to best support our customers and provide confidence in their food supply.

And don’t worry Ryan, you can rest assured in knowing our beef producers and veterinarians are taking care of those cattle for you.

KSU Beef Cattle Sustainability Fall Tour 2019 foodservice operators enjoying the Fink Genetics herd.

Beef Prices Up, Cattle Prices Down, Grazing Management and Pasture Turnout, Top Recommendations for Transitioning Cows to Grass, Grass Tetany

Welcome to BCI Cattle Chat!  Please click on any links below to be taken to sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news regarding the podcast on Facebook and Twitter.

5:30 Beef Prices Up, Cattle Prices Down

10:20 Grazing Management and Pasture Turnout

19:53 Top Recommendations for Transitioning Cows to Grass

20:40 Grass Tetany

Webinars & Meetings:
AgManager
BIF

Grazing Management Resources:
Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition
Stocking Rate Calculations
Rangeland and Pasture Management
Stock Water Development
Watering Systems
Forages

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our 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!

Dustin Questions, Disease Response/Traceability in the Age of COVID 19, Incoming Bull Management Biosecurity, Tips for Bringing New Bulls Into Your Operation, Listener Question

Welcome to BCI Cattle Chat!  Please click on any links below to be taken to sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news regarding the podcast on Facebook and Twitter.

3:00 Dustin Questions

9:00 Disease Response/Traceability in the Age of COVID 19

15:30 Incoming Bull Management Biosecurity

21:00 Tips for Bringing New Bulls Into Your Operation

21:46 Listener Question

Guide to Body Condition Scoring Beef Cows and Bulls
Bull Transition Ration

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our 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!