Cow/Calf Producer Feed en New Webinar Series for Cow-Calf Producers From the Iowa Beef Center <p>Beef cow-calf producers recognize the importance of staying informed on all aspects of their operation, and a new four-part webinar series from Iowa Beef Center will help them do just that.</p> <p>Iowa State University extension program specialist Beth Reynolds said the series is intended to provide timely topics for beef cow management and the opportunity to access the information when it's convenient for them, even if that means they cannot attend a meeting in person. The first session of this series is set for Wed., Dec. 11, and focuses on winter feeding management.</p> <p>"The weather pattern of 2019 has created several challenges for putting up hay, corn silage and other forage resources in ideal condition," Reynolds said. "Producer data from our recent Iowa Beef Center Cow Systems Project demonstrated that approximately 40 percent of total production costs were devoted to stored feed costs, and since we can’t control the markets, focusing on controlling feed costs is really important to the profitability of the beef cow enterprise."</p> <p>The purpose of improving feed management is to improve costs without sacrificing performance, and the Cow Systems Project manual provides a good reference for those costs. Producers interested in learning more can access the <a href="" target="_blank">Cow Systems Project manual on the Iowa State Extension store</a> for more information.</p> <p>Speakers will share information on assessing feed quality and determining nutritional management strategies of beef cows as cows enter the third trimester of gestation. Garland Dahlke, IBC associate scientist, will present "Winter Feed: Considering the Feed Quality Forecast" and Katy Lippolis, assistant professor of animal science at Iowa State, will talk on "Winter Nutritional Management for Beef Cows."</p> <p>The webinar is available for viewing at home and at several host sites throughout the state. Area beef specialists will be at host sites to facilitate further discussion following each webinar. Local discussions may include local feed quality issues and ration needs specific to individual producers.</p> <p>There is no cost to attend an in-person location or to view the webinar at home, but you are encouraged to preregister for both options by either calling your preferred host location or completing the <a href="" target="_blank">online registration form</a> for access information for home viewing. Walk-ins for in-person locations are welcome. Plans are to record each webinar and provide links to those recordings when they're available.</p> <p>The list of webinar dates and topics follows. All sessions will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.</p> <ul><li>Dec. 11, Winter feeding management</li> <li>Jan. 22, 2020, Preparing for calving season</li> <li>Feb. 18, 2020, Market trends, tracking and improving profitability</li> <li>March 10, 2020, Pasture renovation, forage management</li> </ul><p>See <a href="" target="_blank">the webinar series program page </a>for additional information and links to archived recordings.</p> BT Hereford Cow Calf (Iowa Beef Center) 16155 Fri, 06 Dec 2019 12:20:03 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Plan Now for Colostrum Needs This Spring <p>It is not too soon to begin to prepare for the spring calving season.  Locating, obtaining, and storing several doses of colostrum or colostrum replacer will come in handy before the first heifers start to go into labor.  Calves born after a difficult birth are at a high risk of failing to receive adequate colostrum by natural suckling because of greatly decreased colostrum intake.  Calves that are born to a prolonged stage II of parturition (delivery through the pelvic canal) very often suffer from severe respiratory acidosis.  Acidotic calves are less efficient at absorbing colostral immunoglobulins even if artificially fed colostrum.  The only disease protection baby calves will receive is via the passive transfer of antibodies (immunoglobulins) from the colostrum that they ingest. Therefore effort should be made to provide weak newborn calves with the best source of colostrum available via bottle suckling or tube feeding.</p> <p>Natural colostrum is still considered the best source of the immunoglobulins for disease protection for the calf.  If there is still a dairy in your area, the opportunity may exist to obtain some natural colostrum from newly freshened dairy cows.  Avoid obtaining colostrum from dairies that are known to have had an incidence of “Johnes Disease”.   Take time to visit with a local veterinarian about avoiding the introduction of “Johnes Disease” into your herd.</p> <p>Fresh colostrum can be stored in 1 quart doses by putting that much (1 quart) in a gallon-size Ziploc bag.  Lay the bags flat to freeze in the freezer.  When it is time to thaw the colostrum, it will be easier and quicker to thaw, compared to 2 quarts or more in a big frozen chunk.  The amount of immunoglobulin ingested is also a major determinant of final blood immunoglobulin concentration.  A practical "rule-of-thumb" is to feed 5 to 6% of the calf's body weight within the first 6 hours and repeat the feeding when the calf is about 12 hours old.  For an 80 pound calf, this will equate to approximately 2 quarts of colostrum per feeding.  Consequently, if the calf is quite large (about 100 pounds), then the amount of colostrum will need to be increased accordingly to 2 ½ quarts per feeding.</p> <p>If there is no source of natural colostrum available, purchase a few doses of a commercial colostrum “replacer”.  Colostrum replacers will contain greater than 100 grams of immunoglobulin per dose.  Make certain to read the label before purchasing.  Colostrum replacers may seem expensive, but the value of a live calf at weaning strongly suggests that every effort to keep all of them alive is worth the investment.</p> UNL Nebraska Cow calf Pasture Range (Glenn Selk 16152 Fri, 06 Dec 2019 10:17:02 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Profitability in Retained Ownership <p>Only about 10% of cow-calf producers retain ownership in the feedlot on their weaned calves, that’s according to a study by University of Tennessee researchers.  </p> <p>Why?</p> <p>Disadvantages to retained ownership include:</p> <ul><li>delayed income,</li> <li>possible financing demands and</li> <li>increased risk from poor performance.</li> </ul><p>However, study after study indicates profitability increases as producers own calves after weaning. Benefits associated with retained ownership help explain why.</p> <p>Retained ownership advantages include: </p> <ul><li>more informed breeding decisions,</li> <li>valuable genetic information,</li> <li>risk mitigation strategies, and</li> <li>marketing flexibility.</li> </ul><p>Ted Blackstock, owner of Blackstock Ranch in Owyhee County, Idaho would add “reduction in marketing stress and stewing about sale price all year” to the advantages list, as well.</p> <p><strong>Genetics</strong></p> <p>As a commercial cattle rancher, Blackstock has been retaining ownership on calves in the feedlot since 2005. He decided on this route because, he says, he was tired of the stress associated with choosing the best marketing channel for his weaned calves. He had sold on the video and through the sale barn, but he just didn’t feel he was getting consistently paid for his excellent genetics and meticulous calf management.</p> <p>“You can tell a cattle buyer what you’ve got in them, and if that’s what they’re looking for, they might give you a premium, and they might not,” he says.</p> <p>Blackstock manages spring and fall calving herds. He prefers to background his calves until they are between 850 pounds (lb.)- 950 lb. Once they’ve reached weight, they go to H3 Feeders in Hermiston, Ore., or Simplot Land and Livestock in Pasco, Wash., for finishing.</p> <p>By retaining his calves to the packing plant, Blackstock gets several data sets of valuable information on them. Numbers like feed conversion, sickness rates and grading percentages for each pen are the metrics he uses to gauge cattle performance. He says his cattle have always graded 97% Choice or better, better being 17%-20% Prime. He also watches his feed conversion numbers closely. As long as his cattle stay below or right around the 7 lb. of feed to 1 lb. of gain (7:1) mark, he feels comfortable with their performance.</p> <p>Monitoring performance from the end point has allowed Blackstock to tighten his bull selection criteria.</p> <p>“We’ve stepped up and paid a little more for bulls because we buy our bulls to raise good females. Mainly what we’re looking at is what is going to make our cow herd better,” he says.</p> <p>Thanks to expected progeny differences, he knows exactly how much milk he wants his cows to have, and he can monitor frame score to keep everything in the moderate range.</p> <p>“Steers are almost a byproduct,” he jokes.</p> <p>For Blackstock getting data back on calves has made breeding decisions and genetic selection less abstract. He now knows he must keep cattle performance in the median between cow type and calf grade/feed conversion. As long as those are met, he can relax and enjoy being a rancher.</p> <p>JW Wood, manager of Boise Valley Feeders, a custom cattle feedlot owned by Agri Beef, says most of his customers opt to retain ownership because, like Blackstock, they’ll use the feedout information in management decisions.</p> <p>“They apply that information back into their decision making at the ranch, whether it’s genetic decisions or how they wean or what vaccines they might give at certain times of the year…And of course, they like analyzing carcass data.”</p> <p><strong>Risk</strong></p> <p>Retaining calves is a way for Blackstock to manage risk, especially for things beyond his control. For instance, due to a cold, dry spring, his yearlings came off grass about 50 lb. lighter than expected.</p> <p>While that came as a shock, Blackstock says it’s still not a loss to his bottom line.</p> <p>“It doesn’t really matter how big they are because I’m going to the feedlot with them. I don’t have to worry about what they come off the grass at. Of course, I’ll make long-term decisions of whether it’s working or not,” he clarifies. But, “they’ve still got the frame, so when they go to the feedlot and start feeding them corn, they’re going to pile on the weight faster than they would have if they were fat.”</p> <p>Weighing conditions seem to be more favorable down the line, too.</p> <p>“We used to sell them on the video and sell them in the auction barn, and I just never was really happy about weighing conditions — trying to get them weighed just right and it seemed like anything could go wrong and it would cost us,” he remembers.</p> <p>Now, he says, he doesn’t worry so much about the price of cattle. His job is to get them as big as he can and send them to feedlot.</p> <p>While retaining ownership has become a way to manage risk for Blackstock, Wood says that’s not always the case for some ranchers.</p> <p>“It’s hard to pass up profitability if you’re getting rid of them right away vs. owning them for another day,” he says.</p> <p>However, Wood tries his best to ensure customers that their cattle are treated like his own.</p> <p>The feedyard has large and small pens to fit any-size operation. There is a consulting veterinarian and nutritionist, who work to get new calves on track and keep resident calves healthy. The yard will take “an unweaned calf, a steer off of grass, a big heavy thing out of a grow yard. We’re happy to do what the customer needs,” says Wood.</p> <p>Additionally, he dedicates time to keeping an open channel of communication with his customers. He wants them to feel comfortable enough to call with questions, and he keeps them informed of shipping dates or health challenges the cattle might have.</p> <p>Wood hopes this great attention to detail helps customers feel better about the risk of feeding calves.</p> <p>While up front it may seem risky to retain ownership, the data compiled by Minfeng Tang et. al., 2016, in Identifying Factors that Impact Returns to Retained Ownership of Cattle say, “Returns to retained ownership were positive in nine of the 11 years analyzed, with an average return of $47.80 per head.”</p> <p>Tang and colleagues followed 2,265 steers and 688 heifers from 39 operations in Tennessee from 2005-2015 in 11 different feedlots.</p> <p>All cattle were harvested and sold on a grid-based price. During the study, steers were profitable eight years of 11, averaging $43.62 per head. Heifers were profitable nine years out of 10; they averaged $61.56 per head.</p> <p>According to Tang’s research, “Overall, retained ownership profits to heifers were higher than steers on average. Cattle placed on feed in winter were most profitable, while cattle placed on feed in summer were least profitable. Days on feed had a positive effect on retained ownership profits. Desirable cattle feedlot performance (i.e. lower feed-to-gain ratio and higher average daily gain) increased retained ownership profits. Dressing percentage and placement weight positively affected retained ownership profits, while the number of individual health treatments and corn price negatively impacted retained ownership profits.”</p> <p>Numbers such as these beg the question: In a 10-year span, how many of those years is it profitable to sell at weaning?</p> <p><strong>Marketing</strong></p> <p>At Boise Valley Feeders, custom-fed cattle have the option to qualify for Agri Beef’s branded beef programs like Double R Ranch, as seen in restaurants and grocery store chains. Depending on the quality grade, cattle can qualify for different levels of the branded program. Currently the feedyard isn’t certified for natural-fed beef or hormone-free, says Wood. But because custom-fed cattle are the priority at the feedlot that option could certainly be looked into, if a rancher was interested.</p> <p>When Blackstock first began retaining ownership on his cattle, he was selling meat on the commodity market. Eventually, he transitioned to Painted Hills Natural Beef, which sells mostly on the West Coast.</p> <p>“We wanted to see where our meat was going and raise it for a purpose that way,” says Blackstock of the switch. “They are a non-antibiotic, no hormones or anything, but everything is vaccinated. I pretty well raised them that way anyway, so it wasn’t a hard transition.”</p> <p>Being able to choose the program that best fits his cattle has actually allowed Blackstock the flexibility to dial in exactly cattle performance in the lot and at the plant.</p> <p>“Branded Choice cattle bring just the same premium as commercial Prime,” he notes. “A 24¢ bonus is what Tyson gives you for a Prime, and that’s what we get for our Choice natural cattle.”</p> <p>Virtually all of his cattle grade Choice or better so the change has been a good one for the rancher.</p> <p>“I guess I’ve never regretted finishing them,” he says. “They’ve always paid me back.”</p> <hr /><h4>To Finish Your Cattle, Know Your Cattle</h4> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"><img alt="" data-embed-button="image_media" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.thumbnail" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="baa3a3ca-156a-44b8-b8c1-ba3968093dcd" src="" width="500" /><figcaption>Robert Birklid, Charolais breeder in N.D. has retained ownership in his own and some of his customer’s cattle for 12 years.</figcaption></figure><p>“It’s not for the weak of heart. You’ve got to have a strong constitution and a friendly banker if you’re going to feed cattle at any volume,” chuckles Robert Birklid, a Charolais breeder and owner of R Lazy B Ranch near Fargo, N.D.</p> <p>That being said, Birklid has been finishing his own home-raised cattle and some of his customer’s cattle for the past 12 years. He isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon. He’s hooked, and it’s training him to be a better cattleman.</p> <p>Birklid says retaining ownership through finishing helps him discover the good, the bad and the ugly about his cattle; thus, helping him make better breeding decisions on the bull side of things.</p> <p>“The bulls that I was selling these guys, I wanted to know what they were doing for them. I wanted to gather some feeding and carcass data to help promote my own bull program,” he explains.</p> <p>“I’ve learned more about feeding cattle, or the business of feeding cattle, as I have about my own breeding program.”</p> <p>Birklid’s advice to those considering retaining ownership through the feedlot phase is to do it for more than one year.</p> <p>“We don’t always make money at it. Sometimes it works out really well, and sometimes we would have been better off selling as feeder cattle,” he says.</p> <p>But hanging in there for more than one trial run, especially if you know your cattle and how they can perform, may make it all worth it.</p> <p>Recently Birklid sold some finished cattle to a packer. The cattle performed well on the rail, and the packer came back wanting more. Birklid was able to negotiate a better price on the subsequent loads because the packer knew the cattle.</p> <p>Additionally, Birklid says feed efficiency is paramount to the bottom line and using the Charolais breed is key.</p> <p>“The biggest expense you’ll have finishing cattle is the feed, so feed efficiency is a big deal, and the Charolais breed is well noted for that. Certain bloodlines are better than others,” he emphasizes.</p> <p>Of course, carcass quality: ribeye area, less back fat and muscling all play a role in the outcome of a finished beef.  </p> <p>According to Birklid, most likely the biggest driver to the whole scheme is attention to detail. </p> <p>“It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, if you’re running your own business, you’ve got to pay attention to the little details,” he notes.</p> <p>Says Birklid, those little details start at birth and end at harvest. Mother Nature is a wildcard, but we’ve got to do everything we can within the parameters of the things we can control to ensure a healthy calf and a well-finished animal.</p> <hr /><p><em>Paige Nelson is a cattlewoman and freelance writer from Rigby, Idaho. Reprinted with permission from the Charolais Journal. </em></p> Eaton-feedlot-Credit-Charolais-Journal (Paige Nelson) 16146 Fri, 06 Dec 2019 09:46:36 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Ranchers Beware Of Rancher Advocacy Program <p>I’m not ashamed to say I had beef for dinner.</p> <p>Most of you reading this were raised the same as me – taught that all God’s creatures in our care deserve to be fed and sheltered accordingly, and free from abuse; even those that would eventually become food for our families.</p> <p>Renee King-Sonnen does not share all my views about animals – she’s a vegan. What makes King-Sonnen unique is that she’s a rancher gone vegan – and she’s convinced her husband, Tommy, too.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en" lang="en">Our cows are family. I never knew I was going vegan. I began to tell myself that what we were doing was wrong, because no-one would treat their family members this way. The only way I could change was to STOP THE VOICES OF MY PAST that was NORMALIZING VIOLENCE. <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#animalsanctuary</a> <a href=""></a></p> — Rowdy Girl Sanctuary (@RowdyGirlRanch) <a href="">November 29, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Renee moved to the Sonnen Ranch in 2009, a 96-acre spread 50 miles south of Houston where she became a little too attached to one of the calves she named Rowdy Girl. You can read Renee’s full version of events at her web site <a href="">Rowdy Girl Sanctuary</a>, but the short version is that she convinced Tommy to become a vegan and turn their ranch into a sanctuary.</p> <p>Before we wander too far down this path, let me make clear I have no issue with Renee and Tommy turning their ranch into an assisted living facility for cows. It’s their property and their cows. If they want to sing lullabies and tuck their cows in at night, more power to them.</p> <p>I do, however, have some concerns with the <a href="">Rancher Advocacy Program (RAP)</a>, launched by Renee to help “transition cattle ranches and animal farms away from animal agriculture into viable veganic, compassionate businesses.” Her words, not mine.</p> <p>Apparently, becoming vegan and launching a bovine retirement village was so inspiring Renee wants to share.</p> <p>Last month a press release was distributed by RAP announcing, “Farmers and ranchers are in crisis due to climate change and economic chaos. The Rancher Advocacy Program of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary leads with the answers.”</p> <p>The answers, apparently, will come at the first RAP Summit to be held next September in Austin, Tex., claiming to “bring cattle ranchers, animal farmers, plant-based industry experts, manufacturers, activists, and environmentalists together to debate and determine solutions to the imminent concerns around global food production, the economy, animal protection and our climate.” Wow. That’s an aggressive undertaking for an established, well-funded NGO, let alone a fledgling start up like RAP.</p> <p>Further, Rowdy Girl Sanctuary says it will evolve from a farm animal rescue and sanctuary “to a state-of-the-art, animal care facility, a plant based/environmental resource education center and endowment for ranchers and farmers.” More on that word “endowment” later.</p> <p>Through Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, Renee hopes to inspire “other ranchers to experience a paradigm shift, and, through the Rancher Advocacy Program, provide them the expertise and tools to evolve away from the cruelty of factory farming to a financially stable business.”</p> <p>That’s right. You want out of the cow business? Renee says she can help.</p> <p>At this point your first thought must be, “how am I going to pay the bills after I’ve retired all the cows on my ranch?”</p> <p>To date, the RAP web site provides information about five “<a href="">ranchers in transition</a>.” None of the five would be described as a “working cow outfit” – one claims 20 acres, another owns four cows, three calves and a bull. You get the idea.</p> <p>In transition means these families have committed not to send their animals into the food system, and they’re working with Renee on an alternative business plan.</p> <p>Again, I am not opposed to those endeavors, but there are at least two reasons to be critical of the Rancher Advocacy Program.</p> <p>The first is that Renee is gathering some media attention, because… well, a rancher-turned-vegan is one of those man-bites-dog stories the media can’t resist. Throw in the fashionable notion some have that cows are the root cause of climate change and Renee’s story is enticing. The story of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary has been told by various media outlets, including <a href="">CBS News</a>, the <a href="">Texas Country Report</a> and others. Rowdy Girl Sanctuary has also been the subject of videos for animal activist groups such as <a href="">Mercy For Animals</a>.</p> <p>The second, and most compelling reason to oppose the Rancher Advocacy Program is that it appears to subsist almost entirely on donations. Remember that word “endowment” from earlier? Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is a registered 501(c)(3) charity.</p> <p>For Giving Tuesday this week, Rowdy Girl posted this plea for donations: “Please share your kindness with us and give to Rowdy Girl Sanctuary to help fix our roads!!! $15,000 will help level our roads and bring in the necessary gravel and fill to fix our existing roads and build new roads that allow tractors and other equipment to bring hay and feed to our animals.”</p> <p>Those inclined can also “adopt” an animal at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary - $50 a month for cows and horses. </p> <p>I’m sure a lot of ranchers would love to have some kind strangers sending them $50 per cow per month via PayPal or Venmo. But, seriously, that isn’t a business plan. And it certainly isn’t a sustainable plan for more than a handful of hobby farms, never mind a strategy to “rescue ranches” as the RAP Summit suggests.</p> <p>Maybe you think I’m being a little hard on a nice Texas lady who just loves animals. Maybe, but just take a look at some of the groups that have joined Renee in “support of the Ranchers Advocacy Program”: Save Movement, VegFund, Egg-Truth, Womxn Funders in Animal Rights, Vegan Investors, Effect Partners,, Free From Harm, Cowspiracy, Waking Justice and Agriculture Fairness Alliance.</p> <p>I rest my case.</p> Greg-Henderson (Greg Henderson) 16141 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 07:43:14 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Vaccination is Never Guaranteed Protection <p class="FreeForm"><span><span><span><span><span><span arial=""><span>When it comes to scour prevention, what we’ve been doing for years — </span></span><span arial="">vaccinating cows prior to calving</span><span arial=""><span> — has not been very successful: rates of n</span></span><span arial="">eonatal calf scours have shown little improvement. Scours remains a significant contributor to the 3.6% of beef calves that die before weaning.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm"><span><span><span><span><span><span arial="">Failure to follow label requirements — known as protocol drift — is a primary reason vaccinations generally fall short of being as effective in the real world as they are in the lab. Vaccine effectiveness depends on following those instructions precisely</span><span arial=""><span>, but on the farm that’s difficult </span></span><span arial="">for many reasons. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm"><span><span><span><span><span><span arial="">Administration can be one challenge: heifers/cows may miss a vaccination or booster because they were too heavy in calf to comfortably go through the chute, weather challenges meant chute works would be too stressful, or life got “real” and something had to give.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm"><span><span><span><span><span><span arial="">Timing often presents an even bigger hurdle. Pre-calving scour vaccines are only effective if given during the time frame required on the label. That time frame assumes calving date can be precisely predicted. That’s nearly impossible when cows are running with a bull. Artificial insemination makes calving date a bit easier to predict but even so, producers report that 20% of cows and heifers calve earlier or later than predicted, putting them outside the required administration window prior to calving. In addition, often times what’s convenient trumps label requirements. Administering dam-level scour vaccines outside the label recommended time is just simply a waste of resources. Close to two-thirds of producers surveyed reported giving the annual booster to lactating cows outside that prescribed time.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm"><span><span><span><span><span><span arial="">In all, that survey showed that nearly 80% of operations were noncompliant with label requirements related to effectiveness of the product. The result? </span><span arial=""><span>Calves are unprotected against scours-causing pathogens. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm"><span><span><span><span><span><span arial=""><span>But producers now can leave behind </span></span><span arial="">all the variability of scours vaccination programs by using First Defense<sup>®</sup> products instead. These products</span><span arial=""><span> give </span></span><span arial="">newborn calves immediate immunity through the direct delivery of antibodies, making protocol drift a thing of the past. The F</span><span><span><span arial="">IRST</span></span></span><span arial=""> D</span><span><span><span arial="">EFENSE </span></span></span><span arial="">product line (Dual-Force</span><sup><span><span><span arial="">®</span></span></span></sup><span arial=""> and Tri-Shield</span><sup><span><span arial="">®</span></span></sup><span arial="">) are a unique technology that provides newborns with E. coli, coronavirus and rotavirus antibodies in a single dose administered orally at birth — immediate protection, guaranteed.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm"><span><span><span><span><span><span arial="">Ready for a guaranteed scours prevention program? Begin with clicking <span><span class="msoIns"><span><ins cite="mailto:CATHY%20PRUIETT" datetime="25"><a href="">here</a></ins></span></span></span></span><span arial="">.</span></span></span></span></span></span><br />  </p> <h3 class="FreeForm"><strong>Sponsored by ImmuCell</strong></h3> 136422_1714_final_immucell_300x250ad_12.03.19.jpg (Sponsored Content) 16138 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 03:20:04 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Colostrum Inactivates Some Scours Vaccines <p>Despite the industry’s best efforts, calf scours remains a major challenge for unweaned calves. Even with all the tools producers use to combat the disease, no significant reductions in scour-related illnesses have been seen.</p> <p>One commonly used tool is a modified-live oral scours vaccine against bovine rotavirus and coronavirus, two major scour-causing pathogens. These vaccines are given to newborn calves, which mount an immune response a week or two later — long after they are likely to encounter, and be infected by, those pathogens.</p> <p>That's how things are supposed to work, but now a study has shown that maternal colostrum can inactivate those vaccines and render them useless. Researchers took colostrum from cows, some vaccinated with dam-level scours vaccines and some not.     When the colostrum was immediately added to virus samples from the modified-live vaccine, the vaccine was 100% neutralized by the colostrum antibodies in every sample.</p> <p>When the colostrum was withheld for 30 minutes — simulating the act of delaying colostrum in an attempt to give the vaccine time to “work” — the majority of the vaccine (over 90%) was still neutralized in samples from both vaccinated and non-vaccinated cows.</p> <p>The modified-live oral scours vaccines may even be detrimental to the calf: When antibodies from colostrum are busy binding to the vaccine virus, they are less available to fight off other pathogens the calf encounters. The calf's immune system then functions at a reduced level.</p> <p>Today, there's a new alternative to oral modified-live scours vaccines: Tri-Shield® from the First Defense® line of USDA-approved antibody products. Tri-Shield is pre-formed antibodies that target all three of the most common scour pathogens (E. coli, coronavirus and rotavirus). It provides immediate immunity — without vaccine stress or being inactivated by colostrum — guaranteed.</p> <p> </p> <p>Tired of ineffective scours vaccines? Kick the habit <a href="">here</a></p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>Sponsored by ImmuCell</strong></h3> 136422_1714_final_immucell_300x250ad_12.03.19.jpg (Sponsored Content) 16137 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 01:25:58 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Leave Outdated Scour Vaccines Behind <p>When it comes to scour prevention, most producers still rely on dam-level vaccines. While that 1970s technology has done little to reduce the overall impact of scours, it’s been the only tool available for decades.</p> <p>Today, those scour vaccines are being displaced by a new, more effective technology: guaranteed levels of scour-targeting antibodies delivered directly to the newborn calf with First Defense® products.</p> <p>This new approach eliminates a major problem with all vaccines: the variable response rate. Even under ideal conditions, getting a 100% response rate to vaccines is biologically impossible. In a typical farm environment, immunologists predict a response rate closer to 60-70% because of environmental stresses, protocol drift and interference from other vaccinations. That means 30-40% of calves are left unprotected by dam-level scour vaccines. </p> <p> A study illustrates the problem: In samples taken from across the U.S., dam antibody levels varied tremendously, even in well-vaccinated herds. Half of the calves in the study would be receiving colostrum from their dams that was low in both general antibodies and antibodies specific to scour-causing pathogens. To successfully defeat scours, calves need both. But only 1%, 3% and 7% of sampled cows provided colostrum that was both high in general antibodies and antibodies against coronavirus, rotavirus and E. coli pathogens, respectively. Clearly dam-level scour vaccines are not providing protection to every calf.</p> <p>Trust your herd health to a more reliable technology: The FIRST DEFENSE line of USDA-approved veterinary products give verified antibodies directly to the calf, providing immediate, guaranteed protection in one oral dose. There’s no variable response rate to worry about. Every calf receives the coronavirus, rotavirus and E. coli antibodies they need, so all are ready to fight scour-causing pathogens from the first encounter.</p> <p>Is it time to leave outdated vaccines behind? Get started <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>Sponsored by ImmuCell</strong></h3> 136422_1714_final_immucell_300x250ad_12.03.19.jpg (Sponsored Content) 16139 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 03:40:03 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Hereford Advantage Feeder Cattle Marketing Program Enhanced <p>Designed to identify superior Hereford-influenced feeder cattle, the Hereford Advantage program now offers additional benefits to add value to feeder cattle. With these enhancements, cattlemen using Hereford bulls can provide value beyond genetic merit through health and management practices. New components of the program are backed by documented market price advantages, giving producers a great opportunity to increase their bottom line. Established by the American Hereford Association (AHA), this tagging program is now offered in conjunction with IMI Global, an industry-leading source for third-party verification of food production practices in North America.</p> <p>“The Hereford Advantage program serves as a valuable tool for commercial cattlemen using Hereford bulls to set themselves apart in a competitive market,” says Trey Befort, AHA director of commercial programs. “Cattle feeders are looking for healthy cattle that have been managed properly and that will perform in the yard and on the rail. The Hereford Advantage program helps to identify cattle that will check those boxes and reward producers who are working to do so.”</p> <p>Requirements include:</p> <ul><li>Source and age (required IMI base verification)</li> <li>Genetic merit</li> <li>Minimum of 50% Hereford genetics</li> <li>Bull battery ranking in top 50% of breed for CHB$ profit index (bull battery average)</li> <li>Bull ownership transferred (all bulls)</li> <li>Vaccination program</li> <li>Two rounds of preweaning vaccinations (minimum)</li> <li>BQA certification</li> </ul><p>To be part of the Hereford Advantage, download the enrollment form at and submit the completed form to IMI Global. Program cost is $3.00/head (no minimum enrollment required), which includes verification and program electronic identification (eID) tag costs.  Additional programs offered through IMI Global such as the NHTC (Non-Hormone Treated Cattle) &amp; VNB (Verified Natural Beef) programs can be added with just an on-site audit fee plus travel expenses.</p> <p>During the enrollment process, an expected progeny difference and profit index summary for the submitted bull battery will be developed and provided to producers, allowing them to track genetic merit to make future selection decisions. Participating producers will also receive additional marketing support and exposure through this program. Qualifying cattle will be listed on the AHA’s feeder cattle listing page and cattle information will be communicated to a growing list of interested feeder cattle buyers.</p> <p> </p> hereford_feeders1_002.jpg (Drovers news source) 16136 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 12:29:02 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed NCBA Seeks Clarity, Consistency in Beef Origin Labeling Practices <p>The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has reaffirmed its policy supporting voluntary country-of-origin labeling (COOL).</p> <p>In a press release, NCBA said because it takes the concerns of its members and stakeholders seriously, its Executive Committee has unanimously approved efforts to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) to address the Agency’s longstanding policy on geographic origin statements.</p> <p>“Specifically, NCBA is seeking solutions to the labeling requirements and verification procedures in place for beef products labeled as ‘Product of the U.S.A,’  ‘Made in the U.S.A.,’ or similar origin claims, which will resolve the concerns of beef producers, work at the speed of commerce, meet America's trade obligations and prevent confusion among consumers,” the statement said.</p> <p>For several months, NCBA has been studying origin claims in use on some beef product labels. During the NCBA Summer Business Meeting in July, NCBA leaders formed a producer-led working group to examine the extent of these concerns and the federal regulations governing such practices. Although the working group has not determined whether such practices are occurring on a widespread basis, concerns remain that consumer expectations relative to beef product labels bearing origin claims may not be consistent with FSIS’s current policy.</p> <p>“NCBA recognizes that product labels are a defining feature of the shopping experience for consumers. While the majority of beef products currently advertised, marketed, or labeled as ‘Product of the U.S.A.' are likely compliant with current FSIS regulations, the potential for consumer confusion exists,” said NCBA CEO Colin Woodall. “The core mission of FSIS is to ensure all meat and poultry products are safe, wholesome, not adulterated, and properly marked, labeled, and packaged. While FSIS has policy regarding origin labels, ultimately origin claims are marketing claims and should be regulated as such.”  </p> <p>NCBA said it and its state affiliates are committed to working together with USDA to bring forward a meaningful solution to ensure that any voluntary country-of-origin claims are verified by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) prior to the approval of labels by USDA-FSIS. NCBA believes that beef labels with voluntary country-of-origin labeling marketing claims should be verified through existing USDA framework that is market-based and respects international trade commitments.   It is critically important that any changes not trigger retaliatory tariffs from Mexico or Canada that have already been approved by the WTO.   </p> <p>NCBA believes that other recent efforts to address these concerns by Congress or other industry groups — while well-intentioned — miss the mark and don’t go far enough to address the situation.</p> <p>“We look forward to working with USDA and other stakeholders – something NCBA is uniquely positioned to do – to ensure that accurate and voluntary origin labels are in place to benefit beef producers and consumers,” Woodall said.</p> <p>To listen to the group's podcast on the issue, click play below. </p> <p></p> <p>Related story:</p> <p><a href="">USCA Says Producers, Consumers Deserve 'Accurate Labels'</a></p> cool_label.jpg COOL Label (Drovers news source) 16122 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 08:18:14 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed John Nalivka: Branded Beef Programs And Knowing Your Costs <p>From the perspective of consumers, the U.S. livestock and meat industry has become increasingly supply-chain oriented.  This may seem radical to many cattlemen, but it is also positive.   It will drive the industry in what I believe will be a positive direction in the future. </p> <p>Today’s consumer is not only increasingly vocal about the finished product they purchase, they now consider and link all activities in the supply chain.   This includes from the cow-calf producer to the feedlot to the packer-processor to the supermarket or restaurant.  Consumers now view their acceptance and willingness to purchase beef products from many perspectives including the sustainable use of resources, animal welfare and the use of antibiotics and hormones.</p> <p>Ranchers can no longer consider their end product as calves or yearlings, with their role in the industry complete once those calves or yearlings are loaded on a truck and leave the ranch.  That era has ended.   </p> <p>I have commented extensively over the past year about the importance of participating in branded beef programs and this year’s Idaho Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) Convention was no exception.  While the motivation to participate is the premiums paid to producers for adherence to given protocol specific to the program, there is another benefit to ranchers – that is, specifically listening to and producing beef for the consumer who buys the program’s products. </p> <p>In addition to the consumer, branded programs draw the rancher closer to the feedlot and the packer.  The consumer or customer is the driver and is willing to pay a premium price for producing the product they desire.  Imagine that!</p> <p>However, there is more to boosting revenue than receiving premiums.   You may set out to join a branded beef program with the mindset that the premium will significantly improve your bottom line, and it may.  But, in addition to those high-quality calves you raise, there may be additional costs associated with program compliance.</p> <p>As the beef industry moves toward a supply chain mindset, it will become increasingly important to know your costs - intimately.  How do changes in your ranching business affect those costs?   This isn’t simply a discussion about cutting costs – it’s knowing costs. </p> <p>Even if you set out to reduce costs on your operation, you still must first know your cost of production and where you can feasibly make a difference.  I often make the “tongue in cheek” comment that it is easy to cut costs on a ranch, quit feeding the cows and fire the hired help.  As we all know, neither of those are either feasible.  So, where can you reduce costs and affect net revenue – again affect net revenue not just reduce costs?  This is typically not an easy task.  It requires a total analysis of your operation and the associated financial structure. </p> <p>I have had many discussions at meetings over the past year about cow-calf margins since I publish an estimate of that figure.   Perhaps, my estimate would be more properly called an index.  There are no average cow-calf margins as there are no average ranches.  Each ranch has an individual set of circumstances that affect the economics of that ranch and thus, bottom line – net operating margin. </p> <p>Building a solid financial picture of your ranching operation and putting beef production as the priority may not be an easy task, but it is necessary to managing a sustainable operation with the tools to assess future production and marketing opportunities.  Have the ability to compare the financial impact of various operating and marketing options can make a world of difference in outcomes when you reduce the guesswork and the risk.    </p> <p>What are your costs to run a cow – direct and fixed?  The next time the subject comes up, you should be able to confidently, not that you have to, say what that figure is on your ranch.  Better yet, you will know how that branded beef program that you joined will impact your bottom line. </p> <p>Related stories:       </p> <p><a href="">John Nalivka: The Beef Industry's Future</a></p> unl_cows_grazing_hay_nebraska.jpg (John Nalivka) 16082 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:15:03 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Promoting Growth And Grade <p>When it comes to growth implants in cattle, animal scientist Robbi Pritchard only worries about three things: getting enough premium if you’re not use them, using them wrong and using them with too little insight.</p> <p>“Using them without sound technical advice, you can ruin a bunch of carcasses, no doubt about it. Using them wrong and running out of gas can cost you a lot of money in cost of gain,” said the longtime South Dakota State University ruminant nutritionist. But if used correctly, “you can have all of the performance and all of the final product value you want.”</p> <p>But what exactly is “used right?”</p> <p>During the 2019 Feeding Quality Forum in Amarillo, Pritchard said the answer depends on everything from the type of cattle to the quality of working facilities.</p> <p> <img data-embed-button="image_media" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.thumbnail" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="5bb6c806-00cf-4c8d-b5b0-d7c865105fe8" src="" width="200" /></p> <p><em>Robbi Pritchard</em></p> <p>It’s not one-size-fits-all, but it can work for most cattle.</p> <p>When someone says they have better genetics that don’t need an implant, they’re wrong, Pritchard said.</p> <p>“For sure, if you’re going to go implant-free, you want superior genetics; that’s a slam dunk. But to say that we can come up with genetics that remove the need for them, not so much,” he said. “The person who told you that may not realize how implants really work, because the better the genetic growth potential, the bigger the absolute daily response to the implant.”</p> <p>A moderate potency implant boosts daily gains by about 15%. That’s 0.3 pound (lb.) on calves gaining 2 lb. per day, but 0.6 lb., “if you have superior genetics that are gaining 4 lb. a day,” he said.</p> <p>With that kind of growth potential comes the need to match nutrition that will keep up with an implant.</p> <p>Maybe that’s the reference. Maybe, he suggested, some producers are saying, “My cattle can eat enough and grow fast enough that if you give them an implant, the management plan doesn’t keep up.’’</p> <p>When it comes down to the bottom line, implants usually win. Pritchard shared dollar figures during a follow-up presentation at the 2019 Angus Convention in Reno.</p> <p>With a wide Choice-Select spread and cheap feed, the base carcass grid price for non-implanted finished cattle would need to bring $11/hundredweight (cwt.) above the base for conventional cattle to make up for the weight their implanted contemporaries gained. That gets even steeper as quality premiums diminish or feed gets more expensive.</p> <p>Two decades of experience and dozens of research trials suggest an implant at branding or “turnout” has no impact on grade, but the weight added at weaning shows up on the rail. That extra 25 lb. of weaning weight adds 8 to 10 lb. of carcass weight.</p> <p>Estrogenic-based implants increase frame size.</p> <p>“That’s one of the problems we had a long time ago with implants in cattle not grading,” Pritchard said. “We kept backgrounding them like they were smaller-frame cattle, but when we put the implant in their ears, we just turned smaller-frame cattle into a bigger-frame animal but didn't feed him accordingly—and that’s where we would lose the grade.”</p> <p>Implant strategy on the ranch all depends on the marketing strategy: when you’re selling, who you’re selling to and how you’re weaning and growing the animals until delivery.</p> <p>Pritchard offered several if/then scenarios:</p> <ul><li>“You don't want to sell a calf that has an implant that isn't mostly depleted,” he said. If the buyer gives another implant and basically doubles up, that’s where carcass quality will suffer, and discounts will ensue.</li> <li>“If you're going to carry those calves over to grass, don't implant them,” Pritchard said. “You didn't want them to grow; why give them a growth promotant?”</li> <li>“If you've got a creep feeder out there, please implant the cattle. Otherwise, you're just selling me more fat,” he said.</li> <li>“Don’t implant calves on weaning day.” For a few days after weaning, they struggle to take in enough calories to gain weight, much less support an implant.</li> <li>“If you're going to implant cattle, deworm them,” he said, noting internal parasites decrease feed intake. “Depressing intake and stimulating growth are counterproductive when it comes to carcass quality.”</li> <li>“If you're downsizing your cows’ mature size, think very seriously about implanting.”</li> <li>“Get your day count right, because if you run out of implant everything's going to go backward. If you’re too short or you overlap them, you'll create problems,” he said.</li> <li>“There's no upside to overdosing. There’s this American thing: if something's good, more is better.  However, there are limits.”</li> </ul><p>Other options include use of a long-acting versus a traditional implant, he said, calling them as different as a Crescent wrench or a box-end wrench.</p> <p>“Which one’s better? Whose toolbox doesn’t contain both?” he asked. “Everybody has both of them because there’s a place for both of them.”</p> <p>Consumer acceptance of the technology is a consideration, but Pritchard says it fits the sustainability narrative.</p> <p>“They do reduce the amount of labor per serving of beef. They also reduce the carbon footprint per serving of beef,” he said. Moreover, implants let cattlemen keep cows matched to their environments and still produce calves matched to the market.</p> <p>After all the considerations, it comes down to a couple of linked points, Pritchard said: “Weight without quality is problematic, but quality without weight is unprofitable.”</p> angus_9215.jpg (Miranda Reiman 16051 Mon, 18 Nov 2019 07:33:58 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed American Red Program Launched For Commercial Cattlemen <p>The Red Angus Association of America and Santa Gertrudis Breeders International are collaborating to provide the beef industry with a unique blend of maternal traits, adaptability, growth and marbling – all packaged with a heat-tolerant, red hide – into a new program for the commercial beef producer called American Red.</p> <p> The offspring of this crossbreeding program will be well suited for commercial producers who are seeking quality replacement females and steers that fit in the value-added segment of the beef industry.</p> <p>Tom Brink, RAAA CEO, stated, “This innovative program has huge potential to impact the southern portion of the U.S. beef business, as well as heat-challenged areas where cattle are produced around the globe.”</p> <p>American Red has been tested and proven at the King Ranch, in Kingsville, Texas. Numerous other breeders in the southern U.S. have also begun using this strategic cross to combat the harsh environment with marked success.</p> <p>“This partnership emphasizes the value that the cross provides to an industry desperate for increased longevity, fertility, adaptability and efficiency,” added John Ford, SGBI Executive Director.</p> <p>While the leadership at RAAA and SGBI are still finalizing key details, program specs for American Red will be as follows:</p> <ul><li>To qualify for the American Red commercial cattle program and accompanying tag, steers and heifers in the same calf crop must be sired by registered Red Angus bulls averaging in the top 50% of the breed for the HerdBuilder index or registered Santa Gertrudis bulls averaging in the top half of the breed for maternal and growth traits.</li> <li>Breed percentages on qualified cattle will range from 25% to 75% Red Angus and 25% to 75% Santa Gertrudis, with a small allowance for other breeds. Most qualified cattle will be red. However, color is not an exclusionary requirement. Groups of cattle do not need to be fully red-hided to qualify.</li> <li>Dams of qualifiable calves must contain at least 50% of the reciprocal breed, meaning 50% or more Santa Gertrudis when the calves are sired by Red Angus sires, or 50% or more Red Angus when calves are sired by Santa Gertrudis bulls. To verify dam-side genetics, qualifiable herds will sign a verification form stating that at least 50% of the genetic makeup of the dams of calves to be qualified is from the reciprocal breed.</li> <li>The tag used for this program will be a unique, American Red-labeled tag issued by the RAAA. Tagging options include dangle tags or EID/panel tag combination-nested sets. Calves must be tagged on the ranch of origin.</li> </ul><p>Enrollments in the program will begin in February 2020. The program requires a yearly $50 enrollment fee and a $1.25 fee for each tag.</p> <p>Producers with questions about the program should contact Chessie Mitchell, RAAA tag program coordinator, at or visit More information about American Red will be released in the coming months.</p> american_red.jpg (Brandi Buzzard Frobose) 16039 Wed, 13 Nov 2019 02:27:42 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed The Beef Checkoff: Where Your Dollar Goes – Part 1 <p><em>The following column is from Greg Hanes, CEO of the Cattlemen's Beef Board.</em></p> <p>Created 34 years ago through a vote of producers all over the country, the Beef Checkoff launched to add support to the industry through promotion and research to ultimately grow beef demand. After all, if beef producers aren’t promoting their product, who will? The program started in 1985 with a simple process: pay $1 per head of cattle at the time of sale. It’s something you may only do few times a year or maybe you do it several times a month. Most likely it shows up as a line item on your sale barn receipt or you might send in a check through the private treaty program. Did you know those dollars are contributing to a larger, multi-faceted program?  </p> <p>And do you know the journey your dollar takes once it leaves your hand?</p> <p>THE BEEF CHECKOFF DOLLAR</p> <p>When the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order was created, the producers involved wanted the process to be a simple one. The idea of “one head / one dollar” seemed to be the best and fairest way to easily pull together assessments on cattle to fund the state and national programs. </p> <p> <img data-embed-button="image_media" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.thumbnail" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="a656eb21-d045-4fed-a6e0-ff81f8ccd702" src="" width="200" /></p> <p>At the time, those founding producers had the forethought and experience to understand that the program needed national exposure and reach, as well as “boots on the ground” to provide local experience and feedback from back home. By creating a joint effort between state beef councils and the national office of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the checkoff was assured to have input from producers from all over the country. </p> <p> <img data-embed-button="image_media" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.thumbnail" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="05e507d8-8b70-4299-8931-a4270905ce4c" src="" width="200" /></p> <p><em>Greg Hanes, CEO of CBB</em></p> <p>When you pay your dollar, it is collected and sent to your state beef council office. There the money is split: fifty cents to your state, fifty cents to the national office. Why the split?  Because producers desire the efficiency of a national, unified voice and the promotional power of the national Checkoff programs (Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner campaigns, national research, media relations, etc.) combined with the customized support at the local level at home. State beef councils support their states through unique consumer and producer events, information, and outreach. </p> <p>WHY THE DOLLARS LIVE AT THE STATE AND NATIONAL LEVEL</p> <p>Before the Beef Checkoff was created, the beef industry’s promotion and research efforts were somewhat fragmented. Multiple organizations were duplicating efforts and there was no central coordinated effort to reach a greater audience of consumers and keep the spotlight on beef in an increasingly competitive protein marketplace. The checkoff was built to bring those organizations together into a unified voice, to improve efficiencies, and to build shareable - yet customizable - resources to increase beef demand.</p> <p>By coordinating efforts, funding, and ideas, great things have been happening as resources are shared across multiple platforms and audiences. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board office works with national contractors to develop targeted programs and information that can be shared at the state level.  State beef councils use their local resources to build programs, create local, targeted campaigns, and develop research for their own particular group of consumers. Contractors share with states, states share with other states, contractors share with contractors. This unified front creates a powerful web of support for producers and helps to build demand for beef throughout the country. After all, if beef producers aren’t promoting their product, who will? </p> <p>To be continued…</p> <p>For more information about the Beef Checkoff and its programs, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety, contact the Cattlemen’s Beef Board at 303-220-9890 or visit <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>Related stories:</p> <p><a href="">Ethan Lane: Why Sustainability?</a></p> blm_range.jpg (Greg Hanes CEO Cattlemen&#039;s Beef Board) 16036 Wed, 13 Nov 2019 01:46:24 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Ethan Lane: Why Sustainability? <p><em>The opinions expressed in this column are those of Ethan Lane, Vice President, Government Affairs, National Cattlemen's Beef Association. </em></p> <p>When the topic of sustainability comes up in conversation in cattle circles, it’s common to see heads shaking. It’s not a topic we like to discuss in our industry – primarily because it’s so often raised with bad intentions and worse information. We bristle because we’ve been doing things right in our business for many generations and it’s difficult to accept that outsiders have influence in how we’re doing business.  </p> <p>Increasingly, though, that’s exactly what’s happening. In the case of sustainability, consumers have decided they ought to have a better understanding and perhaps even a say in how their food is produced.</p> <p>Now, we don’t have to like the fact that consumers and in many cases outside interest groups have turned a spotlight on beef production, but there is tremendous interest in how food is produced. You can probably trace the origins back to the rise of Food Network and celebrity chefs, but special interests also played a role in the attention that’s paid to modern food production and the practices used to raise cattle and produce beef. The natural evolution of that interest was the conversation about sustainability and whether a product is viewed by consumers as “sustainable.”</p> <p> <img data-embed-button="image_media" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.thumbnail" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="de5f0899-dfd6-437d-b4ab-964cc1c64b74" src="" width="200" /></p> <p><em>Ethan Lane</em></p> <p> </p> <p>Regardless of whether we might like the word or agree with its definition, we’re being judged on how we do things in this business. That same scrutiny is being applied to every single product that goes into a shopper’s cart. The folks who are buying beef care about what we did to the product along the way and we have a good story to tell. But we all know we can tell it until we’re blue in the face and not many folks are going to listen. To get people to pay attention to the beef sustainability story, we must rely on others to help tell it, and perhaps more importantly, verify the story that’s being told. In many cases, the groups telling our story haven’t always had our best interests in mind. One group that has come up in conversations recently is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).</p> <p>To set the record straight up front, NCBA isn’t a member of WWF and WWF is not a member of NCBA. Neither organization receives any support, financial or otherwise, from the other. Likewise, no checkoff dollars have been sent to WWF. Both NCBA and WWF are members of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) and these efforts are funded strictly with NCBA membership dollars. Here again, no checkoff funds have been used to fund GRSB or USRSB. NCBA participates in both GRSB and USRSB at the direction of its members and we participate to make certain that the voice of cattlemen and cattlewomen is heard in conversations about cattle and beef production practices.</p> <p>Groups like WWF and many others have tremendous influence over corporations in the United States and most foreign countries. That influence extends to the purchasing decisions that are being made by corporations like Costco, Wal Mart, McDonald’s, Sysco and many others. The influence of WWF and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) extends to Wall Street and the investment banks that provide funding for these massive global corporations. Here too the NGOs hold significant power.</p> <p> </p> <p>The sustainability of a product like beef can be measured through a lifecycle assessment (LCA), a process that is well-documented and backed by science. The beef industry, thanks to the Beef Checkoff, has already completed its own LCA and it continues to update and refine the results of that work, which shows that beef producers have always been sustainable and continue to become more sustainable with each passing year. Cattle producers have always been good stewards of our natural resources and we’re continually making our animals more efficient. But the sustainability of a product doesn’t begin or end at the ranch gate. It extends backward to the feed and minerals we supply the cowherd. It also encompasses the fuel used to ship packages of beef to distribution centers and the refrigeration used to keep it cold in the grocery store. It’s perhaps the longest and most complex supply chain of any food item.</p> <p>We know there’s a lot of misinformation about cattle and beef and the impact it has on the environment. We know that some of the folks spreading that misinformation sit across the table from us in conversations about sustainability, but frankly that’s why it’s important for us to be at that table in the first place. Without us that conversation will still happen, but it will happen only amongst our detractors, and without an advocate for our strong record of sustainable production.</p> <p>We also know that because we have a seat at the table during GRSB and USRSB meetings, we’ve been able to educate both NGO representatives and participating corporations about our resource stewardship and the improvements being made by the entire beef supply chain. Because of these conversations and because of the beef industry’s work to complete an LCA, we’ve been able to demonstrate our sustainability and keep their buyers in the market for our product, instead of shifting to chicken or pork, which are still our two biggest competitors by a wide margin.  </p> <p>The world around us is changing and we’re not headed back to a simpler time. Ever. The world in which we’re producing cattle becomes more complex by the day and frankly that’s why NCBA exists, to help lead the industry through the challenges we face. We might not like the topic of sustainability but that’s one of the many ways NCBA provides value to our members. We sit at the table and represent the interests of our members in conversations they’d rather not have, with people they don’t always agree with.</p> <p>Those conversations aren’t always easy or popular and we’re going to face our share of critics for having them, but that’s part of the job when you serve as the trusted leader and definitive voice of the beef industry.</p> <p> </p> blm_grazing_3.jpg (Ethan Lane-VP Government Affairs NCBA) 16024 Mon, 11 Nov 2019 05:26:02 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed Glenn Selk: Prepare Now For Spring Calving <p>Someone once said “that Success occurs when Opportunity meets with Preparation.”  Planning and preparing ahead for next spring’s calving season can help increase the chances of success.  There are several key preparation steps that would be good to conduct in November or December to insure success in February, March, and April.</p> <p>Before calving season starts do a walk-through of pens, chutes, and calving stalls.  Make sure that all are clean, dry, strong, safe, and functioning correctly. Check the gates and the squeeze panels to make certain that they are ready for use. </p> <p>Many calving sheds are storage facilities during the off season.  Do you have the extra barbed wire and steel posts, as well as grass seed and motor oil stored in the calving shed?  Now would be a good time make certain that these items are placed in another facility or at least out of the way.  This is a lot easier to do on a sunny afternoon than on a cold dark night when you need to have the calving area ready in a short time.</p> <p>If calf diarrhea has been a significant issue in your herd in the past, now is a good time to visit with your large animal veterinarian.  Ask about a scours vaccine given to the cows before calving, and about other management strategies that help reduce the pathogen exposure to baby calves when they are most vulnerable.</p> <p>Larger cow calf operations may want to learn about the Sandhills Calving System. This is a calving time strategy that is meant to reduce the incidence of calf diarrhea by keeping cow/calf pairs pastured together by calving date.  This system requires several pastures and weekly movement of cows that are yet to calve.  The goal is to prevent newborn calves from being exposed to disease-causing organisms being shed by older calves.  Several articles have been written about the Sandhills Calving System.  <a href="">Here is a link</a> to one from the University of Nebraska.</p> <p>Related stories:</p> <p><a href="">Nalivka: Cattle Numbers Indicate Optimism For 2020</a></p> Cow Calf Spring MIZZOU (Glenn Selk 16022 Mon, 11 Nov 2019 02:40:03 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed How Much Hay Will A Cow Consume? <p>Estimating forage usage by cows is an important part of the task of calculating winter feed needs.  Hay or standing forage intake must be estimated in order to make the calculations.  Forage quality will be a determining factor in the amount of forage consumed.  Higher quality forages contain larger concentrations of important nutrients so animals consuming these forages should be more likely to meet their nutrient needs from the forages.  Also cows can consume a larger quantity of higher quality forages.</p> <p>Higher quality forages are fermented more rapidly in the rumen leaving a void that the animal can re-fill with additional forage.  Consequently, forage intake increases.  For example, low quality forages (below about 6% crude protein) will be consumed at about 1.5% of body weight (on a dry matter basis) per day.  Higher quality grass hays (above 8% crude protein) may be consumed at about 2.0% of body weight. </p> <p>Excellent forages, such as good alfalfa, silages, or green pasture may be consumed at the rate of 2.5% dry matter of body weight per day.  The combination of increased nutrient content AND increased forage intake makes high quality forage very valuable to the animal and the producer.  With these intake estimates, now producers can calculate the estimated amounts of hay that need to be available.</p> <p>Using an example of 1200 pound pregnant spring-calving cows, lets assume that the grass hay quality is good and tested 8% crude protein.  Cows will voluntarily consume 2.0% of body weight or 24 pounds per day.  The 24 pounds is based on 100% dry matter.  Grass hays will often be 7 to 10% moisture. </p> <p>If we assume that the hay is 92% dry matter or 8% moisture, then the cows will consume about 26 pounds per day on an “as-fed basis”.  Unfortunately we also have to consider hay wastage when feeding big round bales.  Hay wastage is difficult to estimate, but generally has been found to be from 6% to 20% (or more).  For this example, lets assume 15% hay wastage.  This means that approximately 30 pounds of grass hay must be hauled to the pasture for each cow each day that hay is expected to be the primary ingredient in the diet. </p> <p>After calving and during early lactation, the cow may weigh 100 pounds less, but will be able to consume about 2.6% of her body weight (100% dry matter) in hay.  This would translate into 36 pounds of “as-fed” hay per cow per day necessary to be hauled to the pasture.  This again assumes 15% hay wastage. Accurate knowledge of average cow size in your herd as well as the average weight of your big round bales becomes necessary to predict hay needs and hay feeding strategies.</p> <p>Big round hay bales will vary in weight.   Diameter and length of the bale, density of the bale, type of hay, and moisture content all will greatly influence weight of the bale.  Weighing a pickup or trailer with and without a bale may be the best method to estimate bale weights. </p> <p>Utilizing the standing forage in native and Bermudagrass pastures to supply much of the forage needs during fall and early winter months will reduce hay feeding.  An appropriate supplementation program will help the cows digest the lower quality roughage in standing forage. </p> <p>When standing forage is in short supply or covered by snow and ice, hay will become the primary source of feed.  The number of days that hay feeding is necessary is hard to predict going into the winter months.  Looking back at previous years’ records may be the best source of information to help make that determination. </p> <p>Related stories:</p> <p><a href="">Selk: Maintain Body Condition Between Calving And Breeding</a></p> Oklahoma State University winter cow hay_1 (Glenn Selk 15991 Tue, 05 Nov 2019 12:32:03 CST Cow/Calf Producer Feed BQA Campaign Links Industry, Consumers <p>About 85 percent of U.S. beef today comes from Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified farmers or ranchers. But do American consumers know that? Just as important, do they know what BQA is – and what it stands for?</p> <p>Those are the kinds of questions a new Beef Checkoff-funded campaign from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a Beef Checkoff contractor, is addressing. Its goal is to bridge the gap between what the industry is doing to produce high-quality beef in a humane, environmentally friendly way, and what consumers know about those efforts.  </p> <p>The new campaign, designed to meet the consumer’s desire to learn more about how beef is produced, kicked off in October with a series of videos from Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. that bring the BQA program to life by highlighting how cattle farmers and ranchers across the country raise cattle under BQA guidelines.</p> <p>The videos and corresponding audio clips will be used to advertise on platforms including YouTube, Hulu, Pandora and Spotify and will also be made available on a new BQA section of Consumers will also learn more about BQA through interactive “BQ&amp;A” Instagram stories that address common questions about how cattle are raised. The video, website and social activations provide consumers with an overview of the BQA program and the ongoing commitment of cattle farmers and ranchers to care for their animals and provide the safest and highest quality beef possible.</p> <p>In addition to the digital marketing and social activations, media sources, such as Bloomberg, Reuters, USA Today and others will be introduced to BQA, and influencers and beef advocates will share BQA information with their audiences. </p> <p>“The campaign expands the reach of a traditionally producer-facing program,” says Josh White, executive director of producer education at NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “Beef farmers and ranchers are committed to not only caring for their animals and the environment in which they do that, they are dedicated to delivering the safest and highest quality beef possible,” he says. “At the same time, research shows that consumers want to know more about how and where their food is raised. This new effort shares information about the program with consumers in a way that benefits both producers and those who enjoy their beef.”</p> <p><strong>Producer Support</strong></p> <p>U.S. beef producers who have embraced BQA are encouraged by this step to get the message to those who buy beef.</p> <p>“I’m so excited about BQA becoming a consumer-facing program,” says Kim Brackett, a cow-calf producer whose operation sits on the Idaho/Oregon border. “The average consumer does not know what is happening in our industry. This is going to help reassure them as they’re making their purchasing decisions.”</p> <p>Brackett and her husband, Ira, have four children who will be the sixth generation involved in cattle production. She got involved in BQA about 15 years ago and helped get it going in her area. A former chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, she is currently the vice chairman of NCBA’s BQA advisory group. Brackett says being open with consumers is key to industry success.</p> <p>“We’re living in a transparent world,” she says. “Sometimes it’s hard to make the connections we need with our customers and BQA helps bridge that gap.”</p> <p>Brandi Karisch, beef cattle extension specialist at Mississippi State University, says as a mother of two young children she sees the problem frequently.</p> <p>“In talking with other moms, it’s kind of shocking some of the things they believe,” she says. “There’s just a lot of bad information out there. Now is an important time to correct that,” she says.</p> <p>After completing her undergraduate work at LSU, Karisch went on to get her Ph.D. from Texas A&amp;M University and is now the co-coordinator of the BQA program in Mississippi. Karisch grew up in Southern Louisiana on a small purebred cow-calf operation and says timing for the new campaign couldn’t be better.</p> <p>“BQA is one of our shining moments as a beef industry. It’s really important for consumers to hear about it,” she says.</p> <p>“The Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. brand provides a tremendous foundation for this effort,” says Alisa Harrison, NCBA senior vice president for global marketing. “For more than a quarter century, consumers have come to know and respect Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. and this is the next step in helping consumers understand how beef is produced.”</p> <p>Harrison says the primary audience for the new campaign will be older millennial parents. To all consumers, however, the messages will be transparent and open, featuring the point that cattle are safely, humanely and sustainably raised. </p> <p>“There’s so much negative media and noise out there, any reassurance we can provide, that only helps,” says Brackett. The fact that information is continually updated and kept fresh is also a positive, she says. “Producers themselves are in charge. It’s very attainable,” she says.</p> <p>Karisch agrees. “Producers always have a voice in BQA, and that’s important,” she says.</p> <p><strong>A Bigger and Better Program</strong></p> <p>Participation in BQA by farmers and ranchers continues to grow as certifications, including dairy and youth facing programs, recently surpassed the 350,000 mark. Throughout the country producers are becoming BQA-certified through in-person and online training. Certified farmers and ranchers must be re-certified every three years.</p> <p>Online BQA training provides 24/7 access to the program through a series of videos and animations in the areas of cow-calf, stocker/backgrounder and feedyard. In-person training is available through sessions conducted by hundreds of in-state BQA coordinators throughout the country. The certifications are also available in Spanish.</p> <p><strong>Doing the Right Thing</strong></p> <p>Bottom line, BQA encourages proper animal care, and consumers should feel good knowing there’s a national program in place that sets consistent animal welfare and care standards across the beef industry.</p> <p>“BQA helps us be better stewards of animals and the land,” says Karisch. “That’s really the key. But there’s a lot of noise out there about animal welfare. That creates a lot of bad vibes for the cattle industry.”</p> <p>Those are vibes the industry can’t afford, Karisch says. “I don’t want people thinking bad things about our industry,” she says. “Some of the finest people I know are in the cattle business. And we really are doing things right.”</p> <p>Related stories:</p> <p><a href="">BQA Promotion Campaign Targets Consumers</a></p> <p> </p> brackett.jpg (Walt Barnhart) 15987 Fri, 01 Nov 2019 02:44:02 CDT Cow/Calf Producer Feed Utah Rancher’s Bull Shot While Wife Was Delivering Baby <p>Utah rancher Mark Mecham says his longhorn bull and an Angus calf were shot and killed while he and his wife were at a hospital for the birth of their daughter.  </p> <p>On Oct. 18, Mecham posted on Facebook that he returned home from “a very happy family occasion” to discover the dead animals. He said the bullet holes were small caliber, likely a .22, with no exit wounds which leads him to believe the animals suffered a slow death.</p> <p>“I’m not sure what kind of thrill people get out of shooting caged animals,” he wrote on Facebook. “We are offering a $2,500.00 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of this person or people.”</p> <p>The Mecham ranch is in Mayfield, Utah, near the North Hollow Wildlife Management Area in central Utah. He said his 3-year-old longhorn bull was valued at about $5,000.</p> Mecham_3 (Greg Henderson) 15900 Tue, 22 Oct 2019 02:16:02 CDT Cow/Calf Producer Feed On Calf Sale Day, You've Got A Name <p>Buyers know your calves by their history and connect that to your name. Sometimes it’s all they know about you, good or bad. With a “good name,” you can make deals by phone, sealed with a handshake. Not preparing or knowing how calves perform after weaning keeps a lid on sale prices.</p> <p>“It takes several years to build your reputation,” says Bo Bevis, an agent for Northern Livestock Video Auction in Montana and buyer for Lamberton (Minn.) Stockyards.</p> <p>To the south, Joplin (Mo.) Regional Stockyards co-owner Jackie Moore says, “The cattle speak for themselves and the producer. After cattlemen get into a routine, the buyer sitting there has most likely been purchasing your calves for a long time.”</p> <p>Since postweaning performance depends so much on genetics, reputations for commercial ranchers often link to their bull suppliers.</p> <p>“Seedstock customers are the commercial cattlemen, and their customers are the feeders,” Bevis says.</p> <p>Options for all include livestock auctions or “sale barns,” satellite-video auctions, or direct deals with feedyards. Your management may determine the best marketing channels.</p> <p>Along the way are many questions that even those with the best reputations had to start with.</p> <p>How should I market my calves?</p> <p>Livestock auctions are the traditional way. At a basic level, you can load them up and take them to town a day or hours before the sale and wait for your check. Anyone can sell there, and it may be the only option for small operations or groups of uneven calves.</p> <p>“The folks at the sale barn will sort out the light ones,” Bevis says. “There will be smaller packages with the same size and color steers. That’s where the order buyer bids on them and puts purchases together in packages.”</p> <p>Livestock auctions often provide much more sophisticated services as well, and remain a solid way to build a reputation, Moore notes.</p> <p>Video auction sales require enough calves to make a load.</p> <p>“A load is anywhere from 48,000 to 64,000 pounds,” Bevis says. “You want to have like kind, but oftentimes there are mixed loads where it’s steers and heifers.” </p> <p>The average U.S. beef herd of 40 head isn’t big enough without cooperative “pooling,” or partnering with neighbors to make up enough calves for a load. It’s not common but a good option for some, he says.</p> <p>One benefit of the video auction can be its ability to capture typically strong, early summer markets that livestock auctions can’t provide real-time.</p> <p> </p> <p>When should I sell?</p> <p>Your first concern is managing cattle, but getting paid well means understanding the market.</p> <p>“If a producer is going into it blind and going into it brand new in the cattle business, my advice would be to look at a 15-year trend,” Bevis says. “See where the chosen marketing month peaks and just go off of that. I tell my customers all the time, do not chase markets.”</p> <p>Prices move up and down seasonally by class, as any veteran marketer knows.</p> <p>“Pay attention to what’s going on within the market and study how it works,” Moore advises. “Learn where the highs are for certain types of cattle and the lows for certain types of cattle. Try to hit those high times with your calves if they fit.”</p> <p>For example, a 900-pound steer sells well just after Thanksgiving because it will be an April fat steer. The market traditionally sees finished cattle selling highest in February through April with lows from July to October. </p> <p>Those seasonal trends reflect what’s happening on the ranch. Most calves arrive in the spring and sell after weaning in October and November.</p> <p>“There’s always a glut of them,” Moore says, so prices are going to be lower then. “It’s just the way it works. People who sell then are always hitting a bad market.”</p> <p> </p> <p>How soon do I make contact?</p> <p>After you’ve made it through branding and processing, you have a headcount on the number of steers and heifers you can gather in a few months. That’s a good time to contact feedyards, sales agents or “reps” and find the best marketing channels.</p> <p> Marketing professionals provide insight beyond what the typical farmer or rancher has time to judge regarding short- and long-term opportunities.</p> <p>Even that basic plan to simply drop calves off at the livestock auction works best if you give them two or three days’ notice. A step up is to include that market manager earlier as you research options because livestock auctions regularly promote premium-quality offerings. </p> <p>“A lot of people are spur-of-the-moment sellers,” Moore says. “Another thing is, when the market looks like it is gonna be up $5 or $10, well that’s a pretty good selling point.”</p> <p>If you decided to put those calves in a video auction the timeline advances several weeks or more, the sooner the better. What’s the latest?</p> <p>“If you’re putting them on the video auction, we need to have that paperwork in a week ahead of time,” Moore says.</p> <p>Your rep isn’t just there to promote your cattle on sale day.</p> <p>“It takes a lot of time and a lot of phone calls,” Bevis says. He stays in touch with customers throughout the year, especially in marketing seasons to make sure he gets the video work lined up and calves where they need to be.</p> <p> </p> <p>How can calves look their best?</p> <p>Mother Nature can sometimes swoop in and steal the show just before a sale or video, taking calves from full to wrung-out in short order. And they need to look their best for prospective buyers, says Moore. “It’s all a visual thing, so you do whatever it takes.” </p> <p>That can mean taking a rain check on the video or waiting to sell, but there’s also a bigger picture in the calendar.</p> <p>“I like to get a little more growth on them before I get them on video,” Bevis says. “I like to film the cattle on green grass. It’s just aesthetics, and cattle look a lot better walking across a green field than they do a brown field.”</p> <p>That’s another reason to contact a video rep sooner. Capturing calves at their best on camera means choosing the right age and size, and fitting the shoot into open weather.</p> <p>Video auction sales include a price slide to ensure fairness because weights are estimated for the future delivery. A listing might say calves will weigh 800 pounds (lb.) and sell with an $.08/lb. slide. If they sell at $1.40/lb. but weigh 840 after shrink, the difference of 40 X 8 means subtracting $.032, so the sale price of $136.80/cwt. yields a net price of $1,149.12 per head. The slide would add a similar amount to the price per pound if they were 40 lb. lighter than estimate.</p> <p>“We need a slide in there to adjust the price because an 840- or 850-lb. steer is not worth near as much per pound as one that weighs a smooth 800 lb.”</p> <p> </p> <p>How can I keep them healthy? </p> <p>“Health is the most important thing in calves to any feeder,” Bevis says, suggesting a “rigorous” health and mineral program.</p> <p>Yard managers comingle cattle from widely different sources, and successful adapting takes strict adherence to vaccination regimes. That’s why feedyards demand vaccinated calves with primed immune systems.</p> <p>The vaccination protocol pays its way, in 2019 stacking up another $6 to $7/cwt., Bevis says.</p> <p>Add 45-day preconditioning (a key standard for “weaned”) and there’s more value.</p> <p>“A weaned calf is worth about $10 or $15/cwt. more than a non-weaned one,” Moore says.</p> <p>In some areas, the recommendation is 60 days weaned, says Brandon Myers, owner of Cattlemen’s Livestock Exchange, Caldwell, W.V.</p> <p>“We suggest the longer preconditioning period because with so many smaller producers, we have more frequent comingling,” he says.</p> <p>In an industry where health maintenance is the highest cost, it pays to work with your veterinarian to develop a vaccination program for any preconditioning period and ready for whatever comes next at the feedyard.</p> <p> </p> <p>How do I convey information?</p> <p>You want the sale-barn bidders and buyers to know as much as possible about your calves.</p> <p>There are opportunities to share their resume when alerting the sale manager your calves are coming in, and again when checking them in.</p> <p>“We’ll convey that along to the buyers out of the auction block,” Moore says. “We’ll announce what shots they’ve had or the genetics that were used.”</p> <p>On the video auction, that information is in the auction book and read off before the cattle sell.</p> <p>Either way, the key is to contact the sales agent in time for them to help sell your calves so as to get the most value. </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Are there value-added sales?</p> <p>Those who go the extra mile may do well to set up a direct marketing channel with a feedyard. Another option is the value-added “special sale” where order-buyers fill premium orders for those yards.</p> <p>“It’s just a way of tracking the information and keeping a more accurate record of it,” Moore explains.</p> <p>Some of the popular value-added premiums are for all-natural, or non-hormone-treated cattle (NHTC) or certified under the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) for animal welfare.</p> <p>“To enroll your cattle in those you’ve got to months out ahead of marketing your calves,” Bevis says.</p> <p>Conversations with your sales reps can help find the program that is most relevant for your management and genetics. Bevis takes it as his responsibility to help ranchers find the premiums that will help “bring in a few extra dollars.”</p> cabfeeder_calves1.jpg (Morgan Marley) 15901 Tue, 22 Oct 2019 02:29:02 CDT Cow/Calf Producer Feed Selk: Maintain Body Condition Between Calving and Breeding <p>Body condition score at calving is the single most important trait determining when a cow resumes heat cycles and therefore when she is likely to re-conceive for the next calf crop.  However, it is also very important to avoid condition loss between calving and the breeding season to maintain excellent rebreeding performance. </p> <p>Fall calving cows normally are in good body condition when they calve in September and October. Body condition changes from the time the cow calves until she begins the breeding season can also play a significant role in the rebreeding success story. This appears to be most important to those cows that calve in the marginal condition score range of "4" or "5".</p> <p>A two-year Oklahoma State University study shows the impact of losing body condition in the period from calving to the start of the breeding season.  This study was conducted with spring-calving cows, but the “lesson-learned” applies to fall calving cows as well. </p> <p>Seventy-five cows in year 1 and seventy cows in year two were randomly allotted to LOSE body condition from calving (beginning February 11) until mid April or MAINTAIN body condition during the same time frame.  Cows were exposed to fertile bulls for 90 days each year starting May 1.  Pregnancy rate was determined at 70 days after the breeding season. </p> <p>Cows that were fed to maintain body condition from calving until the beginning of the breeding season averaged 94% pregnant, while those that calved in similar body condition but lost nearly one full condition score were 73% rebred.  The body condition that was maintained throughout late pregnancy until calving time must be maintained until rebreeding to accomplish high rebreeding rates. </p> <p>By studying the nutrient requirement tables for lactating beef cows, we can learn that an 1100 pound cow needs about 2.5 pounds of crude protein per day.  She should receive approximately 1 pound of protein from the standing grass and/or low quality (4.5% crude protein) grass hay she consumes free choice.  Therefore we need to provide 1.5 pounds of protein via supplements. </p> <p>If we are feeding a high protein cube such as a 40% protein supplement, she will need about 3.75 pounds of supplement daily.  If the supplement is a 30% supplement then 5 pounds per day will be needed.  Maintaining the body condition through the breeding season should be rewarded with a high percentage calf crop the following year. </p> BT Hereford Angus Cows (Glenn Selk 15888 Mon, 21 Oct 2019 11:37:02 CDT Cow/Calf Producer Feed