The Cattle Blog Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/rss.xml Soil Health https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13621/ Fri, 05 Oct 2018 07:59:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13621/ I just spoke at the "Principle & Practices of Adaptive Grazing" pasture walk hosted by The Pasture Project in Creal Springs. Dr. Allen Williams spoke about grazing practices and principles to improve soil health then we toured the pasture. Regardless of the pasture talk I attend, I learn something new.

Dr. Williams and the Pasture Project promote an adaptive grazing system. From their website: The system is highly flexible that allows the grazier to adjust daily to conditions. The farm is divided into multiple paddocks with temporary fencing built to a size appropriate to the nutritional needs of the livestock and how long they will be there. Stocking densities vary widely depending on conditions and the needs of the grazier.

Here are a few key take aways from the pasture walk and Dr. Williams talk:

1. Pasture/soil management in South Carolina resulted the development of new soil! They also interseeded a cover crop into their corn when it was around a foot tall so that after removal of the corn for silage, the crop was already there, sprouted and waiting for sunlight.

2. Water infiltration was vastly improved.

3. More and better forages for the livestock.

4. Weed control - which goes hand in hand with point number 4.

5. Improved soil health - earthworms, increased aggregation,

6. Soil loss control

7. One does not have to use a herbicide to kill off a cover crop.

I would encourage you to visit the site pastureproject.org to learn more about how to improve your pasture health and improve the forage quality. These are key for cattle grazing.

Consider the following: I spoke to a colleague in Missouri (which has experienced a drought this summer and many cattlemen have no pastures left). One person who practices rotational grazing was able to extend the time before having to feed hay - unlike his counter parts.

We all know that the cow can harvest her own forage much cheaper than using machinery to bale. Would it not be great to extend your grazing season 30-60 days and/or increase the number of cows and/or decrease the weed pressure in your pasture (if there)?
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Utilize alternative feedstuffs https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13596/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 11:25:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13596/ I was out of the office yesterday and noticed that many corn and soybean fields are turning brown. One field of beans was actually out!  Many producers have poorer than normal pastures due to overgrazing last fall, this spring, and this fall. It is what it is!
Nevertheless there are still a couple of opportunities out there. Corn residue can provide you with extra gazing days without delving into your hay reserves.
Corn residues normally are best utilized within 60 days of harvest and also allocated out in portions to reduce waste. In general, corn stalks have a crude protein value of about 8 percent and a total digestible nutrient value of about 70 percent. The nutritional value falls over time to about 5 percent crude protein and to about 40 percent digestibility. This reduction can be two-fold. First, if livestock are not managed to allocate the residue out over time, they will eat the husks and corn first which is the most palatable, and leave the stalks for later. Second, nutrient content decreases over time as the residue weathers and soluble nutrients leach out. Stalks are best utilized for spring calving cows due to lack of sufficient energy for lactating or growing animals, especially over time, unless winter annuals or brassicas have been added.
Corn stalks should be stocked at the rate of 1,000 pounds live weight per acre per 30 days. Most corn produces about 56 pounds of residue per bushel, but keep in mind it can vary a lot. A 200 bushel corn crop should yield about 11,000 pounds of residue. Of that residue, about 40 percent is leaf and husk, the part that is most readily consumed. Thus, there is about 4,400 pounds of desirable grazable fodder available or about 75 animal unit days at 50 percent harvest efficiency; and yes, they are going to waste some. One animal unit, which is 1,000 pound live weight, will consume about 3 percent of their weight in dry matter per day or roughly 30 pounds of fodder. You can do your own math from there using your livestock numbers and acres that can be grazed. Certainly, if annuals are also part of the picture, then there is even more available.
Refrain from feeding any supplements or hay in crop fields or leave livestock in the field over extended time frames, especially under wet conditions to prevent compaction issues the next crop year.
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Transdermal Banamine approved https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13190/ Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:16:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13190/ Merck Animal Health has introduced Banamine Transdermal (flunixin transdermal solution).   Banamine Transdermal is the only US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved product for the control of pain associated with foot rot and fever associated with bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in a food-producing animal.  It is applied as a pour-on thus obviating intravenous (IV) administration.

In field studies at four US locations involving animals diagnosed with BRD, 58.3% of cattle treated with Banamine Transdermal had at least a two-degree drop in temperature within six hours of treatment compared to 6.1% for the placebo group. Two studies showed significant results in pain associated with foot rot. These showed that 93.3% to 100% of cattle treated with Banamine Transdermal had improved lameness scores compared with 6.7% and 53.3% for the placebo groups.

Banamine Transdermal is a prescription product with pre-calibrated packaging and red-colored solution to help ensure the correct dose is given every time. The unique bottle design makes it simple to apply topically on dry skin in a narrow strip down the animal's midline from the withers to the tail head.

For information contact your herd veterinarian.

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Survey: Nearly one-third of Americans support ban on slaughterhouses https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13158/ Sun, 11 Feb 2018 04:51:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13158/

"The number frankly seemed outrageous, given that more than 90% of Americans eat meat regularly and it is rather difficult to do so without slaughtering houses," the OSU researchers noted.

47%, said they wanted to ban slaughterhouses. Participants who agreed with this statement were asked a follow-up question: "Were you aware that slaughterhouses are where livestock are killed and processed into meat, such that, without them, you would not be able to consume meat?" Approximately 73% of participants stated that they are aware that slaughterhouses are where livestock are killed and processed into meat.

"Suppose we take the 27.1% of individuals who did not apparently understand what a slaughterhouse is, and we change their answer to the statement 'I support a ban on slaughterhouses' from 'yes' to 'no'. That still leaves about 34% of Americans saying they wish to ban slaughterhouses."

The researchers said there are a number of reasons that this 34% is an overestimate. For example, they said a number of questions that came before this question (e.g., "I have some discomfort with the way animals are used in the food industry") might cause people to be less pro-meat than they really are.

"Had the survey began with questions like 'I eat meat on a regular basis' and 'Meat is a healthy food' it is likely the responses would have been different. However, this is not a criticism of the Sentience Institute survey, but a bias inherent in most surveys (including FooDS)."

Yet even after acknowledging these inherent biases, the FooDS researchers said the 34% number is very high, much higher than what was expected.

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Court documents allege mislabeling of U.S. beef https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13157/ Mon, 05 Feb 2018 04:47:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13157/
Secretary Perdue disagreed, arguing in his court documents that imported beef is to be deemed and treated as domestic beef so long as the importing country's food safety standards are equivalent to U.S. standards. Consequently, the secretary allows multinational meat packers to label imported beef as a "Product of the USA" even if the imported beef receives only minor processing, such as unwrapping and rewrapping the package.

Evidence submitted by the groups indicates that U.S. cattle producers received higher prices for their cattle when the origins of foreign beef was distinguished in the marketplace. Evidence attached to Friday's filing supports the groups' contention that proper enforcement of the Tariff Act would require hundreds of millions of pounds of foreign beef that currently can be labeled as "Products of the USA" to bear country-of-origin labels. This, the groups argue, would turn market forces "in favor of true domestic producers."


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Record-high U.S. per capita meat, poultry disappearance seen in 2018 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13156/ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 16:43:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13156/ Production increases in the U.S. beef, pork and broiler industries expected in 2018 will likely lead to record quantities of red meat and poultry available to U.S. consumers, USDA forecast in its latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report.

For 2018, the combined per capita retail disappearance of beef, pork, lamb, mutton, broilers and turkeys is projected to reach 222.8 pounds, up from 216.6 pounds in 2017. The previous record was 221.9 pounds set in 2004, according to a USDA economist.

USDA projects beef per capita disappearance at 59.4 pounds in 2018, up from 56.8 pounds in 2017 and 55.6 pounds in 2016.

Per capita pork disappearance is projected at 52 pounds in 2018, up from 50.2 pounds in 2017 and 50.1 pounds in 2016

U.S. broiler disappearance is pegged at 92.4 pounds per capita in 2018, up from 90.7 pounds in 2017 and 89.8 pounds in 2016.

Turkey per capita disappearance is forecast at 16.5 pounds, up from 16.4 pounds in 2017, but down from 16.6 pounds in 2016.

The most important factors driving per capita disappearance this year are projected increases in year-over-year production of beef (up 6.1 percent), pork (up 5.4 percent), and broiler meat (up 2.1 percent).

Per capita disappearance is a supply statistic and does not take account of waste or non-food uses of livestock meat products. It imparts no information about prices, tastes and preferences, and other factors that ultimately determine how much red meat and poultry individual consumers will choose to buy and consume]]>
New study: Don’t graze fescue to the ground https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13056/ Sun, 17 Dec 2017 14:13:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/eb276/entry_13056/ website.


The verdict is in. Grazing toxic fescue to the ground is dangerous to pastured livestock. Findings released by the University of Missouri indicate that the highest levels of toxic alkaloids are held in the bottom 2 inches of infected grass.

Sarah Kenyon, an MU extension agronomist based in West Plains, Mo., documented these findings in her Ph.D. dissertation.

Kentucky 31 fescue, the most-used grass in Missouri pastures, contains a toxic alkaloid that comes from an endophyte fungus inside the plant that grows between the plant's cells.

Over the course of three years, Kenyon collected grass samples twice per growing season — first in April prior to seed set (boot stage) and in October prior to frost.

Kenyon's findings differ from previous research, which showed that plants were most toxic after seed set. This particular study found it is actually the bottom 2 inches that are the most dangerous. The seed set stage of a plant is still toxic, just not as toxic or inedible.

The study, set in Alton, Mo., tested fescue that was to be grazed by cow-calf pairs and cut for hay. Kenyon cut fescue tillers into 2-inch segments from root crown to top and had layers analyzed separately at Agrinostics lab in Watkinsville, Ga.

Methods in the past used to prevent toxicity included grazing before boot stage or clipping seed heads. Now, Kenyon says that farmers will know not to graze down to the root crown and that leaving a 3-inch stubble reduces problems.

"This research can be used immediately by farmers," says Craig Roberts, MU extension forage specialist, noting that these new findings will be a great help in pasture grazing management."

Fescue toxicosis is notorious for causing fescue foot. This occurs when the toxin constricts blood flow to cattle extremities, causing ears, tails, and feet to freeze. In milder cases, it deters cattle from walking and grazing, but in more serious cases loss of tails and hooves are common if results are not fatal.

In addition to these symptoms, cows can fail to breed, abort their calves, or simply give less milk, impacting calf performance. In the summer, cattle may have brown hair that doesn't shed, causing heat stress and low average daily gains. As for horses, toxicosis frequently causes foal death at birth.

Roberts urges producers to kill off toxic grasses and reseed with a novel-endophyte fescue, which protect the plants but aren't toxic.]]>