Vet Call: Cold-weather concerns

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

A high percentage of the U.S. beef herd resides in areas of the country where moderately to extremely cold winter temperatures are common. By planning for winter weather, ranchers can avoid being caught off-guard by extreme events and can manage the typical winter conditions so cattle do not have to continually utilize body fat as an energy source to keep warm, leading to excessive loss of body condition.

Situations that are most likely to cause cold stress are: Cattle with thin fat cover and short hair coats (due to movement from a warmer environment to a colder environment, or extremely cold temperatures early in the fall/winter season); cattle with wet hides, or high wind speed accompanying cold temperatures. Wind chill is a better predictor of cold stress than temperature alone because cold wind draws heat away more quickly than still air at the same temperature. Wet or mud-caked hair losses its ability to insulate the animal and a wet winter hair coat only provides as much protection from the cold as a typical summer hair coat. If cold wind is combined with a wet hair coat (as can occur during a winter storm), the effects can be very profound.

Adult cattle with a dry hair coat, adequate body condition, and abundant, adequate-quality forage can withstand most winter situations, especially if they have the ability to find protection from wind and have been exposed to moderately cold conditions for several weeks which allows them to acclimate by growing a thick winter hair coat and increasing feed intake. As temperatures drop, cattle increase heat production which means the number of calories they need for maintenance increases. This increase is met by consuming more feed and moving it through the digestive tract faster, but the cost of this faster movement is that feed is not digested as fully. The effect of needing increased calories for maintenance at the same time that feed digestibility is decreasing means that if cows do not have access to plenty of digestible feed, they will have to “burn” body fat as a calorie source.

Another factor that can limit feed intake in winter conditions is if water sources are frozen or unavailable. If feed intake cannot keep up with energy demands, and body fat is mobilized to meet energy demands, then the cows will have less fat insulation and will be more susceptible to cold temperatures, causing a viscous cycle that can lead to cold stress and even more weight loss.

Cold weather brings a special concern with bulls because of the potential to have frostbite damage to the scrotum and testicles. It is very important that bulls have protection from the wind and adequate bedding if they are housed on concrete or dirt.

Cold temperatures have the greatest potential to cause serious problems in young calves, particularly calves in the first day of life. Because calves are born wet, have thin skin and very little body fat, they lose body heat very rapidly and if they are not able to become dry, can quickly become severely cold stressed. Contact with snow or wet ground will increase the amount of time that a calf stays wet and in danger. Body temperature of newborn calves can drop to dangerously low levels in 3 hours or less.
Calves are born with a body temperature of about 100˚F. When exposed to a cold environment, calves are able to produce heat in two ways: shivering and the heat production of brown fat (fat that surrounds the kidneys of a new-born), and they can conserve heat by reducing blood flow to the body surface and extremities (feet, ears, etc.). In early stages of cold exposure, calves will shiver vigorously and have a fast heart rate and breathing rate. If that does not keep the body temperature up, the calf’s body sends less blood to feet, ears and nose in an effort to minimize heat loss. Severe cold stress occurs when the body temperature drops below 94˚F. At this temperature, the brain and other organs are affected and the calf becomes depressed, unable to rise, unwilling to suckle, and will temporarily lose the ability to shiver. The good news is that if the calf can be warmed up and its body temperature can begin to rise, the shivering response will return and the core body temperature will slowly increase.

During periods of cold or wet weather, newborn calves (less than 1 to 2 days of age) should be checked every few hours with a thermometer and any calf with a below-normal temperature, even if it appears OK, should be warmed. Calves suffering from cold stress must be warmed so that body temperature can rise above 100˚F. If body temperature has not dropped too far, putting the calf in the cab of a pickup out of the wind and rain or snow will warm the calf. In more severe cases the calves can be placed in warm water, specially designed warming boxes, or near a heat source such as an electric blanket, heat lamp, or hot water bottles. To avoid skin burns, the heat source should not exceed 108˚F. In addition to an external heat source, cold-stressed calves should be fed warm colostrum, milk, or electrolyte fluid with an energy source using an esophageal feeder.

Prevention of cold stress involves management to ensure that calves can be born in a short period of time and both the calf and dam can stand shortly after calving so that they can bond and the calf can begin suckling. Anything that prolongs calving or reduces the chance that a calf will suckle soon after birth should be addressed by management changes. Calving difficulties are minimized by proper heifer development, proper bull selection for calving ease, and proper nutrition so that heifers and cows calve in a body condition score of 5 to 6 on a 9-point scale. Cows with large teats or that are not attentive mothers should be culled.

Use of pasture as the primary forage source during calving encourages cows to keep spread apart and minimizes development of muddy areas. If the herd forage plan includes feeding hay, consider feeding hay in early to mid-gestation and saving stockpiled pasture for the calving season. If supplemental hay and grain are fed during calving, these should be provided at locations that are separate and distant from water sources and windbreaks. I discourage the use of bale rings in calving and nursery pastures and suggest that if using large round bales, they be unrolled and the feeding area changed with each feeding. Unrolled bales will have greater hay waste, but reduced chance for mud caused by concentrating the herd into small feeding areas, and unrolled hay provides bedding for newborn calves so that they are not in direct contact with the ground.

In addition to monitoring the weather forecast for severe winter weather events and to be alerted to times when additional feed is needed, minimizing the effects of cold temperatures on newborn calves involves planning ahead and considering calf comfort and protection when making heifer development, bull selection, nutrition and pasture-management decisions. Making sure that cows will have adequate access to forage and water even in situations with significant snow cover is necessary to provide sufficient calories to maintain body fat and heat production. Protecting the cow herd (and bulls) from winter wind and providing bedding if on concrete or mud/dirt will minimize the effects of severe weather.

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.

Introduction of Dr.Justin Smith, NCBA Meeting, What is the Minimum Temperature Cattle can Handle, Top 6 Technology Changes Impacting Animal Health

Welcome to Episode 41 of BCI Cattle Chat where we had the opportunity to visit with KDA Animal Health Commissioner, Dr. Justin Smith.  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.

1:45 – Introduction of KDA Animal Health Commissioner – Dr. Justin Smith

  • Responsibilities of Animal Health Commissioner
  • Disease Monitoring
  • CattleTrace

12:08 – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Meeting

16:03 – Listener Question – What is the Minimum Temperature Cattle can Handle?

20:45 – Top 6 Technology Changes Impacting Animal Health

  • Advances in Genomic Testing
  • Electronic Transfer of Traceability Data Points
  • Improved Diagnostics
  • Precision Agriculture
  • Hands-Free Identification
  • Electronic Health Papers

22:38 – BCI Beef Tip: Don’t be Afraid of New Business Opportunities

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.

Super Bowl Trivia,Income to Debt Ratio for Veterinarians, Variability in Cow-Calf Returns, What are Tasks We Can Do In Winter to Make 2019 Successful, Are my Cows Ready for Calving, What is in the News

Welcome to Episode 40 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.

:25 – Super Bowl Trivia

5:30 – Listener Question – Income to Debt Ratio for Veterinarians

11:15 – Variability in Cow-Calf Returns

14:45 – BCI CattleChat Checklist – Top 6 Tasks We can do in Winter to Make 2019 Successful

  • Prepare for Taxes
  • Repair and Update Equipment
  • Evaluate 2018
  • Plan Breeding Season
  • Plan Grazing/Farming
  • Identify Local/State Information Sources

19:00 – Are my Cows Ready for Calving?

21:38 – In The News

25:53 – BCI Beef Tip – You Can Never Have to Much Lubricant When Calving

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 Chuck Dodd, Interacting with Veterinarians in the Field, Recruitment of New Vet Students, Top 5 Tips for Students Applying for Vet School, What is the Demand for Veterinarians, What is in the News?

Welcome to Episode 39 of BCI Cattle Chat where we had the opportunity to visit with Director of Outreach for the College of Veterinary Medicine, Chuck Dodd. 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.

2:28 – Guest Introduction

3:35 – Interacting with Veterinarians in the Field

6:35 – Recruitment of New Vet Students

10:35 – Top 5 Tips for Students Applying for Vet School

13:48 – What is the Demand for Veterinarians?

18:39 – What is In The News?

K-State Cow Lease Calculator

22:55 – BCI Beef Tip – Keep a Look Out for Lameness in Cattle

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.

VTPRK alumni join BCI for workshop

On January 17, the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University hosted 19 graduates of the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas (VTPRK) in Manhattan. The conference represented the first reunion of VTPRK alumni, and focused on promoting success earlier in the veterinary career. The College of Veterinary Medicine alumni attended presentations by Dr. Brad White, director of the BCI; Dr. Bob Larson, professor of production medicine; Dr. Bob Weaber, professor of animal science and extension specialist; Dr. Dustin Pendell, associate professor of agricultural economics; and Dr. Tom Schwartz, director of the Veterinary Health Center.

Topics covered during the workshop included: Getting the most out of your career and life; adding value to your beef practice; cow herd reproductive services; and veterinary practice economics. The interactive sessions fostered discussion of improving veterinary clinic value, and improving relationships with clients and coworkers.

The day concluded with a reception inviting current K-State veterinary students to visit with VTPRK alumni.

The VTPRK program supports five students in each class enrolled in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM) program at K-State in obtaining $20,000 annually as a loan to be used for educational expenses. Each veterinary student in the program can borrow up to $80,000 during the four years while completing his or her veterinary degree to be forgiven if the veterinarian practices in a qualifying rural Kansas community for four years following graduation. Preference is given to students who are Kansas residents and who are determined to practice in any county in Kansas with fewer than 35,000 residents.

VTPRK alumni in attendance:
Carson Abrams –– Cottonwood Animal Clinic, Arkansas City
Tera Barnhardt –– Cattle Empire LLC, Satanta
Caitlin Beall –– Central Veterinary Services, P.A., Stockton
Nicole Born –– Countryside Veterinary Clinic, Garnett
Curtis Concannon –– Atchison Animal Clinic, Atchison
Christopher Cox –– Spur Ridge Vet Hospital, Marion
Darla Dwyer –– Flyin’ 3 Veterinary Service, Eureka
Bruce Figger –– South Wind Animal Health, Stafford
David Hanks –– East Emporia Veterinary Clinic, Emporia
Adam Hatesohl –– Animal Health Center, Washington
Nick Henning –– Heartland Veterinary Center, Ness City
Adam Lukert –– St. Marys Veterinary Service, St. Marys
Jodi Pitts –– Santa Fe Trail Veterinary Clinic, LLC, Montezuma
Elyse Rottinghaus –– McPherson Vet Clinic, McPherson
Stacy Rugan –– Animal Clinic P.A., Frankfort
Corbyn Schroeder –– Cedar Ridge Veterinary Clinic, Atchison
Sara Strickland –– Red Oak Animal Hospital, Bucyrus
Amy Sunday –– Heartland Veterinary Health Center, Holton
Jessica Winter –– Hillsboro Animal Clinic, Hillsboro

Current students in attendance:
Matt Kelso –– Class of 2020
Lena Fernkopf –– Class of 2021
Colton Hull –– Class of 2022
Whitney Sloan –– Class of 2022
Natasha Vangundy –– Class of 2022
Shanlyn Hefley –– Class of 2020
Anna Hickert –– Class of 2020
William Patterson –– Class of 2022
Shaylee Flax –– Class of 2022
Jared Heiman –– Class of 2021

 

Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas, Plastic Disease is a Concern, Top 7 Records You Should Keep on a Cow-Calf Operation,When to Call a Vet During Calving, Agriculture Stories in the News

Welcome to Episode 38 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.

3:22 – VTPRK Alumni Meeting (Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas)

8:20 – Plastic Disease is a Concern

10:35- BCI CattleChat Checklist – Top 7 Records You Should Keep on a Cow-Calf Operation

  • The Number of Calves that Died Between Birth And Weaning
  • The Length of the Breeding Season
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • What Percentage of Calves are born in the first 21 Days
  • What are the Feed Expenses Per Cow Exposed
  • How many Calves Did I wean Per Cow Exposed
  • Number of Pounds Weaned Per Cow Exposed

13:30 – When to Call a Veterinarian During Calving

21:30 – Agriculture Stories 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.

Docility in Cattle, How to Prepare for Winter, Beef Demand, Evaluation of Breeding Programs

Welcome to Episode 37 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.

2:00 –  Docility in Cattle

10:48 – Preparations for Winter

13:00 – Beef Demand

16:35 – Evaluation of Breeding Programs

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.

Sustainable Beef 101: Food service professionals

Recently, the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University (K-State) hosted 22 members from the Department of Housing and Dining Services’ food service management team to learn about beef sustainability.

The tour, “Sustainable Beef 101: Food service professionals,” was intended to teach non-biased beef sustainability information to non-commercial foodservice providers.

“With this information, the Beef Cattle Institute aims to develop long-lasting relationships within the foodservice industry so that there will be ongoing dialogue about beef sustainability which will occur both up and down the supply chain using current scientific information,” said Patti Dollarhide, BCI project director of beef value chain alliances.

Picture1
Dr. Bob Weaber, professor of animal sciences and industry and extension specialist, discusses low-stress cattle handling techniques with tour participants.

Food service professionals are vital to the future of the beef industry. As a land-grant university, K-State has a unique opportunity to help educate its food service professionals on where the beef they serve comes from.

Tour participants first visited K-State’s Stanley Stout Center where they learned the differences in methods of raising and taste of grass-and-grain finished beef. Debbie Lyons-Blythe, owner of Blythe Angus Ranch and Blythe Family Farms in White City, Kansas, and Lee Borck, chairman of Innovative Livestock Services and Beef Marketing Group in Manhattan, Kansas, both members of the BCI’s advisory board, answered the group’s questions. The visitors interacted during a live demonstration of low-stress animal handling at the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry’s Purebred Unit. The tour wrapped up at the Intake Unit where Dr. Bob Weaber, professor of animal science and industry and extension specialist, discussed confined feeding operations. Tour participants were given the opportunity to make their own “cattle casserole,” using ingredients common in cattle feed rations.

Picture2
During the BCI’s Sustainable Beef 101 tour for food service professionals, participants were able to make their own “cattle casserole” using ingredients used to make cattle feed rations.

Tour participants agreed K-State’s beef production specialists are passionate about both their cattle and their work. The participating food service professionals enjoyed taking photos throughout the day and sharing what they learned about beef sustainability.

The BCI hopes this experience will help K-State’s food service professionals be more knowledgeable when purchasing meat, and help their team be a source of information for campus consumers.

“Our professional management team was excited for the opportunity to learn more about the science and production practices surrounding the beef industry,” said Mary Molt, associate director of K-State Housing and Dining Services. “The continuous quest of ranchers, feeders, and researchers to produce the best quality of beef using the most sustainable practices was especially educational. The program has prepared us to answer questions about the beef we serve. The real-life experience of seeing beef production operations and hearing from so many professionals has given us the accurate information to respond with some authority to the misconceptions we sometimes hear.”

More tours will be planned in the future. For more information on these sustainable beef tours, contact Patti Dollarhide at 785-564-7461 or pjdollar@vet.k-state.edu.

10 resolutions for cattle producers in 2019

New year, new herd.
Well, maybe not entirely. But here are 10 resolutions to help keep your cattle and your operation in top condition all through 2019.
1: Increase oversight of bulls.
Conduct breeding soundness exams (BSEs) regularly and make sure your bulls are out there doing their job.
2: Keep better records.
Preferably on each individual animal. Not just production and reproduction, but economics and finances, too.
3: Implement a body condition score (BCS) collection system.
Set a target to evaluate and collect scores two to four times per year.
4: Shoot for fewer days of harvested-forage feeding.
Maximize your grazing days.
5: Troubleshoot handling facilities.
Headgate that hangs up? Fences that need mended? Identify your problem areas and get them fixed.
6: Give your facilities a walk through when you’re not working cattle.
Less stress for everyone.
7: Participate in CattleTrace.
Get involved.
8: Have a plan for calving season.
Include dystocia troubleshooting and have your facilities ready for 2019 calves.
9: Implement strategies.
Think grazing management, herd health and calving management.
10: Increase your expert network.
Establish and maintain relationships with industry experts. These might include veterinarians, economists, bankers, geneticists and many others.
This list was originally broadcast on the BCI CattleChat podcast. Listen to the episode here.

Foreign Animal Disease Exercise at KDA, FDA Announces Decrease in Antibiotics, 10 New Year Resolutions for Producers, Beef Export News, Nutrition in Cattle

Welcome to Episode 36 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.

2:27 –   Foreign Animal Disease Exercise at Kansas Department of Agriculture

10:30 – FDA Announces Decrease in Antibiotic Usage

14:12 – BCI Cattle Chat Checklist – 10 New Year Resolutions for Producers

20:20 – Beef Export News

23:05 – Nutrition in Cattle

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.

Phasing Out Select Beef, How Many Heifers to Keep, Top 10 Items to Include in Calving Kit, Decision Support Survey

Welcome to Episode 35 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.

3:20 – Phasing out Select Beef

8:20 – How Many Heifers to Save

15:05 – BCI Cattle Chat Checklist – Top 10 Things to Include in Calving Kit

18:35 – Decision Support Tool Survey

To see the full press release regarding this decision support tool, please see below. 

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.

 

Stake Holder Press Release 11262018 Final

Kansas Livestock Association Convention, Supply and Demand Trade Deals, How do Food Recalls Affect the Beef Industry, Premium Discounts

Welcome to Episode 34 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.

 

1:50 – Kansas Livestock Association Convention

3:05 – Supply and Demand for the United States

15:05 – How do Food Recalls Affect the Industry?

19:30 – Premium Discounts

 

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.

International Symposium of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, Supplementation Frequency, Calf Preparation, Calf Scours, The Cattle Cycle

Welcome to Episode 33 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.

3:00 – International Symposium of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics

4:20 – Supplementation Frequency

10:27 – Calf Preparation

Research and Extension Calving Schools

13:25 – Calf Scours

18:28 – The Cattle Cycle

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.

Sustainable Beef 101 with Foodservice Professionals, Patti’s Experiences in the Foodservice Industry, Research in Dietetics, Sustainability

Welcome to Episode 32 of BCI Cattle Chat where we visit with Director of Beef Value Chain Alliances at the Beef Cattle Institute, Patti Dollarhide.  For more information on the Patti’s work, or to ask her a question please visit https://ksubci.org/value-chain-alliances/.

3:30 – Sustainable Beef 101: Foodservice Professionals Tour

Autumn Beef & Cider Stew Recipe

Spicy Korean Beef & Cucumber Appetizer Recipe 

 Beef Jerky Trail Mix

9:10 – Patti’s Experiences in Dietetics

14:30 – Why Research is Important in Dietetics

17:15 – Sustainability

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 give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

 

Stretching Hay Resources, Growth in Breeding Technologies, Drones in Agriculture, Windbreaks

Welcome to Episode 31 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.

3:10 – Stretching Hay Resources

9:20 – Growth in Breeding Technology

14:00 – Drones in Agriculture

17:45 – Windbreaks

Windbreak/Shelter-belt Establishment  

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.

Kansas Livestock Association History, KLA Convention and How to get Involved, Electronic Logging Devices in Transportation, Antibiotic Policy

Welcome to Episode 30 of BCI Cattle Chat where we visit with Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas Livestock Association, Matt Teagarden.  For more information on the Kansas Livestock Association, visit their website at https://www.kla.org/.

2:45 – The History of the Kansas Livestock Association

8:35 – Kansas Livestock Association Convention and How to get Involved

15:15 – Electronic Logging Devices in Transportation

20:20 – Antibiotic Policy

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 give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

What is CattleTrace, Disease Traceability, Objectives of CattleTrace, Who is Participating, What makes this time different?

Welcome to Episode 29 of BCI Cattle Chat where we had the opportunity to speak with Cassie Kniebel, Program Manager of CattleTrace.

The CattleTrace Pilot Project is being designed as a multi-phased initiative to trace animals through the supply chain and identify opportunities to improve the robustness of the system. With development and outreach taking place in the first three quarters of 2018, the goal is to initiate data collection and cattle tracing in fall 2018.

For more information on CattleTrace, please visit their website at https://www.cattletrace.org/. 

2:35 – Introduction of Cassie Kniebel, Program Manager of CattleTrace

7:40 – What is CattleTrace?

10:10 – Disease Traceability

14:00 – Objectives of CattleTrace

17:48 – Who is Participating?

20:30 – What Makes This Time Different?

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.

Guest A.J. Tarpoff, What is BQA and Why it’s Important, BQA Certification in Feedyards and Packing Plants, Cattle Care, Cattle Handling

Welcome to Episode 28 of BCI Cattle Chat which is sponsored by the Kansas Beef Council! This week we had the opportunity to learn about Beef Quality Assurance from Extension Beef Veterinarian, A.J. Tarpoff.  For more information on BQA, visit their website at https://www.bqa.org/.

To find a location near you that offers BQA Training, go to https://www.bqa.org/events. Online certification is also offered.

2:45 – Guest Introduction with A.J. Tarpoff

4:00 – What is BQA and Why is it Important?

8:40 – BQA Certification

12:25 – Next Week’s Guest

19:25 – Cattle Care and Handling

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.

 

Dr. Jaymelynn Farney Introduction, Nutrition in Fall Cows, How much Corn Can a Cow Eat, Cover Crop Recommendations, Potential Diseases in Cover Crops,Sunflower Supreme Heifer Sale

Welcome to Episode 27 of BCI Cattle Chat where we hear from special guest, Dr. Jaymelynn Farney, Beef Extension Specialist!  Stay tuned to hear from more upcoming guests throughout the month. Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast.

1:17 – Guest Introduction – Dr. Jaymelynn Farney

3:00 – Nutrition in Fall Cows

4:57 – How much Corn can a Cow Eat?

8:15 – Cover Crop Recommendations

Cost-return budget cover crops – http://agmanager.info/farm-mgmt-guides/livestock-budgets/ksu-cover-crop-cost-return-budget

15:30 – Potential Diseases in Cover Crops

24:20 – Sunflower Supreme Heifer Sale

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, to please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

 

Vet Call: The role of the veterinarian in your business

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

Many people 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 are 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 businesses. 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.

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.

Food Expenditures,Replacement Heifer Vaccinations, Economics of Cover Crops, Buying Feeder Calves and Value of Old Cattle

Welcome to Episode 26 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.

1:15 – Food Expenditures

6:25 – Replacement Heifer Vaccinations

10:25 – Economics of Cover Crops

14:18 – Buying Feeder Calves

Decision Tools – https://www.agmanager.info/decision-tools

Beef Cattle Institute Calculators – https://ksubci.org/portfolio/calculators/

18:30 – Value of Old Cattle

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, to please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

Guest Introduction, Performance Table, Fad Diets, Adolescent and Incoming Athletes, Beef for Athletes

Welcome to Episode 25 of BCI Cattle Chat where we hear from special guest, Kylie Hanson, Performance Table Manager and Sports Dietician!  Stay tuned to hear from more upcoming guests throughout the month. Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast.

:20 – Guest Introduction

3:45 – K-State Athletics Performance Table

8:35 – Fad Diets

11:05 – Adolescent and Incoming Athletes

16:30 – Beef for Athletes

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, to please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

Gordon Food Service Distributor Show: A growing appetite for product transparency

By Patti Dollarhide, R.D., director of beef value chain alliances

The food service industry, much like the cattle industry, is built on relationships. We develop a network of people we want to do business with, trade ideas with and eventually trust.

Recently at the Gordon Food Service (GFS) show in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it was evident that the company’s food service customers are looking for suppliers they can trust, including those who provide beef.

GFS took a big step to demonstrate they value their customers and suppliers by providing an attempt at product transparency with a new program called “Clear Choice.”  Each of their vendors, including beef suppliers, were asked if the items they provide meet the criteria for one or all of six attributes. If their customer wants to find products that have one or more of these attributes, they can now locate them with a quick sort of the GFS product catalog.

Attributes and descriptions:

  • Cleaner Ingredients, meaning one, several or all of the following “no’s” are met:
    • No artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, thickeners or emulsifiers, color from artificial sources, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fats or GMOs
  • Specialty Agriculture:
    • Certifications are in place for USDA Organic, Food Alliance or Biodynamic
  • Animal Care:
    • Certifications for one or more: American Humane Association, Animal Welfare Approved, Cage Free, Crate Free, Free Range, Global Animal Partnership, Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Raised without Added Hormones, Raised without Antibiotics
  • Sustainable Seafood:
    • Certifications in place for one or more: Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Best Aquaculture Practices, Marine Stewardship Council, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
  • Ethically Sourced:
    • Third-party certifications in place: Fair Trade, International Farmer Direct Sourced, Rainforest Alliance
  • Environmentally Friendly:
    • Third-party certifications in place: Biodegradable Products Institute Compostable, Compostable and Biodegradable, EcoLogo, Green Seal, Made from Recycled Materials, Made from Renewable Resources, SaferChoice

Beef fits in five of those six “Clear Choice” boxes. (Sorry, we cannot make the grade for Sustainable Seafood!) No doubt, the descriptions of the GFS attributes will mature and continue to be reviewed.  Transparency is a journey we are on together. How timely it is for the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) to be working on six similar attributes, and put compliance targets in place to help our beef industry continue to improve. See more from USRSB here: https://www.usrsb.org/. Kudos to GFS for showcasing what their vendors are already doing, as well as setting targets for the future. Learn more about GFS’s Clear Choice program here: https://www.gfs.com/en-us/products/clear-choice.

Educational sessions were held in conjunction with the show. The BCI presented “What’s the ‘Beef’ about Beef, Health and Sustainability?” for healthcare, and college and university food service leaders as well as distributor salespeople. Participants noted they learned new information about the beef industry. Normally the message they receive is to reduce beef consumption. It was refreshing to have an engaged audience who learned something new as a result of the information.

Relationships –– what a pleasure to reconnect with industry food service professionals that I had worked with since 1995 and trust. This food business gets in your blood just like raising cattle. More than 20 years later, my colleagues are still asking their distribution partners to find quality products at a reasonable price, but now we also want to feel good about our purchases and what we choose to eat.

Food service customers are asking for more transparency. Beef producers know the answers. Let’s figure out how to translate them to the people who want to enjoy eating beef.

 

Gardiner Lecture, Cattle in the United States, Rate of Gain in Replacement Heifers, Corn-Stalk Forage

Welcome to Episode 24 of BCI Cattle Chat!  Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast.  Tune into next week’s episode to hear from a special guest.

:50 – Gardiner Lecture ( Why there doesn’t need to be a global food crisis)

2:38 – Cattle in the United States

6:00 – Rate of Gain in Replacement Heifers

Dr. Bob Weaber has provided a resource for rates of gain required for Replacement Heifers Developed to Different Target Weights at Breeding. You can find that worksheet below the show notes. 

19:38 – Corn-Stalk Forage 

For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and on find podcast episodes on our website, ksubci.org. Please send comments/questions/topic ideas, to bci@ksu.edu. If you enjoy the show, please give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.

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Using the Pregnancy Analytics Mobile App: Evaluating data

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: Diagnosing poor fertility

A herd of 187 commercial cows was palpated on September 19. The herd was split into three breeding pastures and bulls were turned out on May 30. All cows were moved to a new pasture on August 1 to run together with bulls removed. During the breeding season 38 were in the “South Pasture,” 47 were in the “Home Pasture,” and 102 were in the “Webster Pasture.” All  heifers and about half the first-calf heifers were in the Webster Pasture.

At preg-check, 59 cows were open (68.5% were pregnant) and 80% of the cows were in moderate body condition (BCS 5 up to 6) while 17% were classified as being in thin body condition. 10.4% of the herd became pregnant in the first 21 days (pregnancies would have been 91 to 112 days), 23.6% in the second 21-day period (79-90 days), 17.6% in the third 21-day period (49-89 days), and 18.7% in the fourth 21-day period (28-48 days). The goal for this herd (and for most herds) is to have at least 60% of the cows becoming pregnant in the first 21 days of breeding.

Q_whole.png

Something isn’t right here. The poor overall 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 evaluate further, the Pregnancy Analytics App provides a way to easily divide the herd into pertinent sub-groups. When the pregnancy success by 21 days is evaluated by age group, we find that none of the age groups perform well, and the heifers perform particularly poorly. (First-calf heifers are defined as those cows suckling their first calf and being bred for their second pregnancy.)

Q_age

More information can be found by displaying % Preg Success and finding that while neither the 1st-calf heifers nor the cows performed well the first, second, and third 21-day periods, both these age groups improved slightly the forth 21 days, but still were below the expected 60-70% pregnancy success expected. In addition, the heifers performed very poorly throughout the breeding season.

Q_success_whole.png

So far, the information doesn’t narrow the rule-out list. Problems with heifer development, a similar calving pattern last year that results in many cows not calving until after the breeding season has started, and poor bull fertility or Trichomoniasis are all possible contributors to this herd’s poor performance.

Click to download and read the full case report.