Cow Calf 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 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 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 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" xml: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> <script async="" src="" charset="utf-8"></script><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 Feed Vaccination is Never Guaranteed Protection <p class="FreeForm"><span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="tab-stops:11.0pt .5in"><span style="font-family:Helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color:black"><span style="font-family:" arial=""><span style="color:#191919">When it comes to scour prevention, what we’ve been doing for years — </span></span><span style="font-family:" arial="">vaccinating cows prior to calving</span><span style="font-family:" arial=""><span style="color:#191919"> — has not been very successful: rates of n</span></span><span style="font-family:" 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 style="font-size:12pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="tab-stops:11.0pt .5in"><span style="font-family:Helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color:black"><span style="font-family:" 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 style="font-family:" arial=""><span style="color:#191919">, but on the farm that’s difficult </span></span><span style="font-family:" arial="">for many reasons. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm"><span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="tab-stops:11.0pt .5in"><span style="font-family:Helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color:black"><span style="font-family:" 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 style="font-size:12pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="tab-stops:11.0pt .5in"><span style="font-family:Helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color:black"><span style="font-family:" 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 style="font-size:12pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="tab-stops:11.0pt .5in"><span style="font-family:Helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color:black"><span style="font-family:" 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 style="font-family:" arial=""><span style="color:#191919">Calves are unprotected against scours-causing pathogens. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm"><span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="tab-stops:11.0pt .5in"><span style="font-family:Helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color:black"><span style="font-family:" arial=""><span style="color:#191919">But producers now can leave behind </span></span><span style="font-family:" arial="">all the variability of scours vaccination programs by using First Defense<sup>®</sup> products instead. These products</span><span style="font-family:" arial=""><span style="color:#191919"> give </span></span><span style="font-family:" arial="">newborn calves immediate immunity through the direct delivery of antibodies, making protocol drift a thing of the past. The F</span><span style="font-size:10.0pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="font-family:" arial="">IRST</span></span></span><span style="font-family:" arial=""> D</span><span style="font-size:10.0pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="font-family:" arial="">EFENSE </span></span></span><span style="font-family:" arial="">product line (Dual-Force</span><sup><span style="font-size:10.0pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="font-family:" arial="">®</span></span></span></sup><span style="font-family:" arial=""> and Tri-Shield</span><sup><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="font-family:" arial="">®</span></span></sup><span style="font-family:" 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 style="font-size:12pt"><span style="line-height:200%"><span style="tab-stops:11.0pt .5in"><span style="font-family:Helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color:black"><span style="font-family:" arial="">Ready for a guaranteed scours prevention program? Begin with clicking <span style="color:blue"><span class="msoIns" style="text-decoration:underline"><span style="color:teal"><ins cite="mailto:CATHY%20PRUIETT" datetime="2019-12-02T21:25"><a href="" style="color:blue; text-decoration:underline">here</a></ins></span></span></span></span><span style="font-family:" 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 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 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 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 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><iframe allow="autoplay" frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src=";color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></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 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 style="margin-bottom:11px"><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 Feed