While 2014 turned out to be a strong rebuilding year for much of the cattle industry, we saw a number of our policy priorities stalled due largely to the build up to the election and the regulatory zeal of this administration. While the drought receded from much of cattle country, hard hit for so many years, we saw new areas face difficult conditions. Thankfully a strong market helped mitigate these effects for many producers.
In previous articles, we have talked about factors that affect the uniformity and consistency of Total Mixed Rations (TMR). In this article we present methods for compensating for the most common mix uniformity problems, namely uneven distribution across the feedbunk, excessive amounts of long material, and sorting behavior.
When raising livestock, even the gentlest cows may unintentionally cause injury to a handler. In fact, the National Agricultural Safety Database statistics show that one in three farm worker injuries involve handling animals.
Many of these injuries include broken bones and crushed limbs that lead to missed days of work and unnecessary medical expenses due to a lack of safety awareness. That’s why an understanding of animal behavior is essential to prevent accidents.
Sex sorted semen has been a part of the dairy industry’s A.I. arsenal for more than a decade and is now making inroads into the beef industry as producers realize its ability to help maximize profits, minimize the variables that cause financial loss and improve the sustainability of their herds. Traditional knocks against sexed semen were that it cost more per straw than conventional semen and produced lower conception rates. But innovations developed by Texas-based Sexing Technologies are closing the price gap between sexed and conventional semen while minimizing the gap in conception rates as well.
We have been running British Whites here, on our ranch in northwestern South Dakota for years. They are truly a wonderful breed of cattle. I realized recently, however, that these unique animals have a very desirable trait that I’d overlooked or just not thought about. Now I call them “Timesavers.”
Cattle people are constantly trying to improve their herds. It’s automatic. When the shadows get long in the evening, and the cattle are grazing so placidly, we stop by and critique and evaluate mothers and the offspring there at their side. We want them to be prospering happily under our management and maybe even making us a little more money.
As we look forward to the current and future political landscape, one of the critical concerns for cattlemen and women, and for all small businesses nationwide, is a stable tax code. A stable tax code allows businesses to plan and manage profits and losses efficiently. The absence of a stable tax code, further adds uncertainty to an already volatile economy and commodity market. And while progress in this legislative session has been slow, at best, there may be momentum yet in 2014. This year, a number of tax provisions, important not only for the cattle industry but for the business community as a whole, expired. We lost key provisions like bonus depreciation, taking away our ability to accelerate depreciation schedules, and the Conservation Easement Tax Credit.
As many cattlemen and women know all too well, one of the greatest threats our industry faces is regulation from Washington, D.C. And for many years now, the industry has braced for a rule-making by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers that would substantially impact all uses and users of land, not just farming and ranching. That rule-making came this spring in the form of the EPA and Corps’ Waters of the United States proposed rule, or WOTUS.
As previously stated “the objective of feeding a total mixed ration (TMR) is to provide a consistently uniform mix, with the intended ingredient and nutrient composition, across the entire length of the feedbunk with every batch.” And while a number of factors such as ingredient variability and moisture content, consistency of mixing procedures, operator error, and weighing system variability contribute to batch-to-batch variation, it is the characteristics of the mixer itself that essentially control within batch variation, and uniformity across the feedbunk. In this article we will discuss TMR mixer characteristics that affect mix uniformity and a sieving technique that can be used to evaluate it and make adjustments to improve animal performance.
Flies are notorious nuisance and public health pests because they have the ability to transmit serious pathogens to both humans and animals. These flies typically occur and breed in a variety of filthy areas, including manure, soiled bedding, spilled feed, garbage and other types of organic matter. One pound of manure can contain more than 1,500 fly maggots, so it is not hard to see how fly numbers can reach enormous proportions and threaten your livestock and workers. To prevent and reduce the instances of fly infestations, be sure to utilize the following best practices in your control plan:
Few families have influenced the livestock handling industry as significantly as the Priefert family from Mount Pleasant, Texas. For half a century, the Prieferts have been designing, building, and marketing cattle handling equipment, and, in the process, changing the way the American rancher handles cattle. Marvin Priefert founded Priefert Manufacturing in 1964 with the invention of the first fully front-opening headgate. 50 years later, Marvin’s son Bill, and his grandsons, Eddie, Nate, and Travis, still own and operate the family business, with the goal of continuing to improve upon the design and functionality of today’s livestock handling equipment.