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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
Animal Health
heat stress

Identifying and Managing Heat Stress in Cattle

As the temperatures and humidity elevate, it is important to understand and manage to prevent heat stress in your cattle herd. Heat stress can lower performance and in severe cases cause death. Here are some recommendations to keep heat stress at a minimum. Management tips to reduce heat stress: Ensure that water is clean and plentiful . Cattle will dri...

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BQA 16 pic

It's time to get BQA certified

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program designed by cattlemen and cattlewomen, delivered by cattlemen and cattlewomen, for cattlemen and cattlewomen. BQA equips producers with production strategies and general skills to maintain a quality, wholesome food supply. The beef business is a consumer-driven business. Grassroots programs, like BQA trainings, are the foundation to rei...

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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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"Make manure safety a priority after harvest" - Rich Gates

Source: Richard Gates, 217-244-2791, rsgates@illinois.edu News Writer: Leanne Lucas, 217-244-2862, llucas@illinois.edu · Hydrogen sulfide and methane gasses from liquid/slurry stores can be lethal. · Remember key safety rules before agitating and emptying manure stores · M...

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cows drinking water

Heading off Heat Stress

As the temperatures and humidity elevate, it is important to understand and manage to prevent heat stress in your cattle herd. Heat stress can lower performance and in severe cases cause death. Here are some recommendations to keep heat stress at a minimum. Management tips to reduce heat stress: Ensure that water is clean and plentiful . Cattle will dri...

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Fly Control

Fly control

Flies irritate cows. They cause cows to stomp and swat which takes energy away from gain and performance. This performance loss can be quite significant if some method of fly control is not deployed. Research has tagged over $800 Million dollars of lost revenue annually due to flies. These losses are mostly in reduced performance, lower ADG, Pinkeye, and lower milk production. There are...

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May 1 2013 turnout

Washy pastures need supplemented with dry matter, fiber, and energy.

During the winter season most cattle are supplemented with dry forages, grains, and co-products. This ration is balanced and delivered to cattle. Then spring comes along and cattle are put out to grass. While green grass solves a lot of problems associated with winter feeding (manure, pen maintenance, calf health, and labor demands), it can pose nutritional challenges. Lush, spring forage has t...

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confinement cow-calf 2

Neonatal Calf Management

Written by Dr. Dallas Duncan-Meteer DVM, Mt. Sterling Veterinary Clinic In the cow-calf sector, the key to increasing income is to increase reproductive efficiency. The best way to do this is to increase the number of calves weaned and sold, relative to the number of brood cows in the herd. Reproductive efficiency is directly related to proper management and husban...

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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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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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Feeding damaged wheat to livestock

Wet growing conditions in the Midwest have opened the door for several challenges in the 2015 wheat crop. As a result, farmers are seeing price docks and discounts at the elevator, mainly due to increased disease, low test weight, and sprout-damaged wheat. Depending on the dock and infection level this wheat may be best utilized as livestock feed, said a University of Illinois Extension beef ed...

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Pastures are posing many challenges this year

I have had many discussions with cattle producers over the last couple of weeks about how to manage pastures in these wet conditions. We have also discussed the effect we are seeing on the cattle grazing these areas. It is hard to complain about too much rain, especially after a beautiful growing season last year and not so distant memories of drought. However, too much rain can be a difficult...

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IL Cattle Feeders Day

Illinois Cattle Feeders Meeting to be held in Macomb, IL on Mar. 5th

Illinois cattlemen and cattlewomen will have the opportunity to here from industry experts at the 2015 Illinois Cattle Feeders Meeting. The meeting will be held on March 5th at the 4-H Auditorium in Macomb, IL located across the road from the Extension office. The seminar will be start at 9:00am and conclude at 4:00pm. "This meeting is a must-attend for Illinois cattle producers. First-hand acc...

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Dealing with Prolapses

Post authored by Monica Jarboe, University of Illinois undergraduate student and summer research intern Around calving time, prolapses in cows and heifers can be major health issues. Some cases may even be life threatening. There are two different kinds of prolapses commonly associated with calving in beef cattle: vaginal and uterine. Once a prola...

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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...

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Avoiding Acidosis

As farmers put together least-cost rations this winter, many of them will be using corn as an ingredient. For many farmers, corn stored on farm will be the cheapest source of energy. It has been a few years since corn has been this "cheap." Thus, it is worth reminding cattlemen of the dangers of acidosis when feeding higher levels of corn. Acidosis is a nutritional disease that is cause...

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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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Are you BQA certified?

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program designed by cattlemen and cattlewomen, delivered by cattlemen and cattlewomen, for cattlemen and cattlewomen. BQA equips producers with production strategies and general skills to maintain animal care and performance to ensure a safe, quality food supply. By now, you as a beef producer realize that the beef business is a consumer-driven...

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Prussic Acid Poisoning could be an issue with Frosted Forages

Prussic acid poisoning is caused by hydrocyanic acid. As a cyanide compound the substance can quickly kill animals. Death can occur within minutes of ingestion in some cases. Cyanide interferes with the oxygen-carrying function in the blood resulting in asphyxiation. Symptoms include staggering, difficulty breathing, convulsions, and immobility. Sorghums and sorghum sudangrass crosses a...

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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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Problems in your pasture

Producers should take some time to scout pastures for poisonous plants and presence of ergot. Some poisonous plants to be on the lookout for would be: White Snakeroot Perilla Mint...

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Controlling Flies in Your Beef Cattle Herd

The wet spring has certainly provided favorable breeding conditions for flies. As we progress into the summer it is evident that fly pressure could be heavy. Types of Flies: Stable fly : This fly is found on the feet and legs of the animal. Naturally, irritation in this area causes cattle to stomp their feet and switch their tail....

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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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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 >