January 2011

Shoot-n-the Bull: On Target Tips - Get Ready at Arm's Length

Winter is slowly moving forward. March will be roaring in like a lion very soon, so let’s prepare for spring calving season now because everyone wants a live calf on the ground when the time comes.

Here is a list of the basic items needed for better success when calving difficulties arise:

1. Use low birth rate bulls. This is the number one problem that contributes to dystocia in cattle. Do your homework nine months before, study EPD’s, and understand them. Do not ever purchase a “PRUDDY” bull.

2. Have birth mothers with plenty of room in their pelvis. Get someone to check them out.

Mixer Wagons

We know you want the best nutrition possible for your herd and your operation, but we also know that there are a lot of options out there when it comes to TMR (total mixed rations) mixers.  We’ve compiled some options that are on the marketplace today – whether you’re looking for a mixer that can be hauled with a truck, a tractor, or one that’s in a fixed location, we want to help you make the best decision for your cattle and your situation.

Ways to Reduce Stress in Cattle and Horses

New things are both frightening and attractive.  If you place a flag in the middle of a field, the cattle will be curious and come up to investigate it.  However, if that same flag was suddenly shoved in the animal’s face, it would react violently due to fear.  New things are attractive when the animal is allowed to voluntarily approach them, but they can be very scary if they are introduced too quickly.  Researchers have discovered that an animal’s brain has separate emotional circuits which motivate it to either go into fear mode or seek and approach mode.  The circuit works like a switch and it can be in either the seek position or the fear position.

Avoiding Calving Problems

Beef heifers experience calving difficulty, or dystocia, more frequently than do mature cows. Dystocia is characterized by prolonged or difficult labor due to heavy birthweight and/or small pelvic area of the dam. Death of these calves, and sometimes their dams, is a result of injuries received during difficult delivery. This obviously reduces calf crop and potential profits. Cows that experience dystocia also have lower rebreeding rates than animals that have normal, unassisted deliveries. Consequently, producers should make every effort to avoid dystocia.

Causes of Dystocia. There are a number of factors that influence dystocia; fortunately most of them can be controlled through good management practices.

Distillers Grains: The Name Means Little

The recent boom in ethanol production is having widespread consequences within the various segments of the beef industry.  One of those consequences is the volume and variable forms of the distillers’ grains, the byproduct of grain-based ethanol production that are available to cattle feeders.  These distiller’s grains, as they are generally referred, come in various forms both dry and wet, and although most are corn based, they can and do come from a variety of other cereal grains. 

Farm Safety - Power Take Off Safety

Doing chores in the winter always seems to take longer than they do in the warmer seasons, but never short yourself on farm safety. Many of the winter chores require PTO use such as feed grinders, feed wagons, snow blowers and manure spreaders. Remember safety first.

The Power Take Off (PTO) shaft is an efficient means of transferring mechanical power between farm tractors and implements. It is also one of the oldest and most persistent hazards associated with farm machinery.

Typical injuries resulting from getting caught in an open power-take off shaft are amputations, severe lacerations, multiple fractures, spine and neck injuries, complete body destruction and even death.