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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
Calf Management
100 1367

Looking at 2-Step Weaning

This post is authored by Kendi Sayre, intern at University of Illinois Orr Beef Research Center. It is that time of year again when producers are preparing to wean their early born calves. Other than calving, weaning can be one of the most stressful times of the year both on the calf and the cow. Minimizing outside factors that could add more stress is key, but there are also many strat...

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Creep Feeding Considerations

This post is authored by Kendi Sayre, University of Illinois Beef Extension intern. When considering creep feeding your spring born calves, many factors will play a role in the decision. While it might always seem like a good idea to supplement calves to push them to heavier weaning weights, there are negatives as well. Depending on the milk production, pasture quality and quantity, and...

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Preparing for Calving Season

There is nothing like a healthy new born calf to make your day. However, it is important to remember there are several factors that can influence the health and vigor of new born calves. Here are some things you may want to consider. In many areas of the Midwest, Selenium is deficient in the soil. As a result, pasture, hay, and grains that are grown from Midwestern soils will share the...

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bawling calf

Tips for Weaning Beef Calves

Weaning is arguably the most stressful event in a calf's life. Combining stressors at weaning can inhibit immune response triggering health problems and shut off gains. Fortunately, cattle producers can understand stressing events and manage against the freeway pile-up that can occur at weaning. Another potential hurdle is the loss of maternal antibodies that the calf receives through c...

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Tips for Calving Season

Calving season is either here or fast approaching for many Illinois cattlemen. I would just like to share a few tips that I have gathered through some of our winter meetings. Perhaps the most important tip is to have a good relationship with your local veterinarian. Sometimes the difficult decisions during calving season are best made by your veterinarian. Just a few of the basic things...

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muddy cows

Muddy Conditions Continue

While the moderate temperatures have been welcomed, the mud that has accompanied them has not. Farmers are ready for a good hard freeze. After all, many rely on frozen ground to help keep animals out of the mud while they are more confined for winter feeding. Most farmers will tell you, with a smile on their face, that frozen ground is "poor man's concrete." Thanks to a think winter haircoat, c...

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Designing a Bud Box

It is often said "If you can work cattle together, you can do anything together." We have all had a stressful chuteside experience, but have you investigated ways to better handle your cattle? As you prepare to wean calves, preg-check cows, and give fall booster vaccinations, you should consider looking into the "Bud Box." The Bud Box is named after Bud Williams, who created the design....

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Is Early Weaning the Right Decision for You?

Early weaning (EW) is a management strategy that can alleviate grazing pressure on pastures. EW can be a management decision to keep from feeding cows to maintain body condition. Young, growing calves will more efficiently convert feed to pounds. Thus, money budgeted for feed may be more wisely spent on a calf ration instead of feeding cows trying to support lactation demands. Maddox (1...

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Tips for Calving Season

Calving season is either here or fast approaching for many Illinois cattlemen. I would just like to share a few tips that I have gathered through some of our winter meetings. Perhaps the most important tip is to have a good relationship with your local veterinarian. Sometimes the difficult decisions during calving season are best made by your veterinarian. Just a few of the basic t...

Read More >

Pre-Calving Prep

There is nothing like a healthy new born calf to make your day. However, it is important to remember there are several factors that can influence the health and vigor of new born calves. With higher prices, losing a calf can add stress both mentally and financially to your operation. Here are some things you may want to consider. In many areas of the Midwest, Selenium is deficient in th...

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Colostrum- The elixir of life

This post is authored by Dallas Duncan-Meteer, DVM, Mt. Sterling Veterinary Clinic.   Ensuring adequate colostrum intake is one of the single most important factors in producing healthy, profitable cattle. Calves are born essentially without antibodies to organisms that cause disease. Calves must rely on the dam to provide them with colostrum containing immunoglobulins. Immunogl...

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muddy cows

Mud pulls down cattle performance

The last couple weeks have been host to cool, wet weather. Resulting from that weather, muddy conditions have been very persistent. Not only is mud a hassle for farmers conducting daily chores, but it can also negatively affect cattle performance. Remember back to the last time you walked through a muddy lot (even if it was just yesterday). It is slippery, mucky, and certainly takes mor...

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Adding Value to Your Calf Crop- Checklist

Record cattle prices, lowering feed costs, and good pasture conditions all are benefiting cattlemen in 2014. One of the most popular questions I have received lately is "what opportunities should I be taking advantage of to get the most out of this current market?" In short, anything you can do to add a pound for less than that pound is worth is beneficial. Obviously, producers still ne...

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creep feeding2

Weaning: Low Stress, Common Sense

Weaning is arguably the most stressful event in a calf's life. Combining stressors at weaning can inhibit immune response triggering health problems and shut off gains. Fortunately, cattle producers can understand stressing events and manage against the freeway pile-up that can occur at weaning. 4 Major Types of Stress Knowledge of the four major types...

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creep feeding2

Creep Feeding 101

Increasing profit is the ultimate goal of any business, and the cattle business is no exception. In effort to maximize profit, cattlemen have to be focused on producing the greatest amount of premium product without sacrificing production efficiency. The ability to produce more pounds of a high quality product results in more income for the producer. Realizing the cow can only provide nutrition...

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Adding Pounds = Higher Paycheck

Record high calf prices provide incentive for cattle producers to deploy management strategies to increase pounds at weaning. A couple common strategies to add pounds would be implants, creep feeding, early weaning, and backgrounding. Implanting calves is a good option for producers that are selling commodity cattle. Those that are selling calves under "Natural" or "implant free" verifi...

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Will cold weather increase birth weights?

There has long been a sentiment among producers that in cold years, calf birth weights are increased. There are many inherent challenges in proving whether this is actually true. Differences in bull as well as nutrition are the biggest hurdles. Research that evaluates this question is limiting. However, one study conducted by researchers in Nebraska during the 90's attempted to follow b...

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cattle eating

Preconditioning calves pays

Fall is the season of harvest in any farming community. The same holds true for the cattle farmer, weaning time in its simplest description is a harvest of calves from the cowherd. Weaning brings about many discussion topics, but the topic of pre-conditioning is most popular. Preconditioning is the process of weaning and preparing calves for the next phase of production (stocker/backgro...

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Calving Season Tips

Calving season is either here or fast approaching for many Illinois cattlemen. I would just like to share a few tips that I have gathered through some of our winter meetings. Perhaps the most important tip is to have a good relationship with your local veterinarian. Sometimes the difficult decisions during calving season are best made by your veterinarian. Just a few of the basic things...

Read More >

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Makin momma cows: Part 2 of 4

Have you ever been out in a pasture looking at cows and after asking "How old is she?" you hear "She is a '08 model." I believe that is why I think of heifer development as "manufacturing" mother cows. Just like the pickup you drive, the quality and dependability is based on the manufacturer. As cattlemen we are responsible for designing and manufacturing replacement heifers. When it co...

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heifer development

Makin Momma Cows: Part 1 of 4

Where will your herd be in 5 years? The answer to this question relies heavily on how you develop heifers. Not only are they the future of your operation, but they are also the future of the US beef herd. These heifers will be the cows that the industry is so desperately calling for to replenish record-low cow numbers. The ultimate goal is a heifer that gives birth to a healthy calf at...

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Angus cow calf

Management in a Drought: Part 3

Early weaning (EW) is a management strategy that can alleviate grazing pressure on pastures. EW can be the necessary decision to keep from feeding cows all summer or having to liquidate cows due to lack of forage. Maddox (1965) suggested that by the time a calf reaches 120 days of age, more than half of the calf's energy requirement comes from sources other than milk. T...

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creep feeding2

Management in a Drought: Part 2

Creep feeding is a management strategy that provides supplemental nutrition to calves still nursing momma cows. Sources of creep feed usually include grains, co-products, commercial supplements, or if available high quality forages. Creep Feeding is a practice that has been used to increase weaning weights. In today's market where pounds are worth quite a bit (500lb. ca...

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