Volume 13, Number 1
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Taxation Tidbit: Health
Savings Accounts - A Tax Friendly Way to Help Pay Health Care Costs
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Being Prepared for Calving Season
Many producers prefer to call their veterinarian if a calving problem should occur. If that is the case, you should still be prepared to provide assistance if a cow is having difficulty since at times the veterinarian may not be available to provide assistance as quickly as it is needed. MU Guide G2007 provides an overview of the steps taken to assist a cow at calving. Also see the January 2003 Ag Connection article available on the web at: http://extension.missouri.edu/agconnection/index.htm
Cleanliness cannot be overemphasized. Introduction of bacteria by equipment
arms of the person assisting with the calving may reduce fertility of the
cow by delaying return to estrus and lowering conception. Have water in both
buckets -- disinfectant is added to the second bucket. Place the calving
chains and handles in the disinfectant solution.
Managing For a Successful Calving Season
It is well established that cows and heifers in proper body condition at calving have higher rebreeding rates than females which are under-conditioned at calving. Feed cows to a condition score of 5-6 and heifers to a condition score of 6 at calving to insure stronger cows and calves and increase rebreeding rates.
The body condition of a cow or heifer impacts her ability to successfully complete labor and the subsequent livability of the calf. Females in poor nutritional status are more likely to have calving difficulty. Calves born to poorly conditioned cows are weaker at birth, less likely to nurse and experience higher death rates. Research has shown that underfeeding beef females to insure smaller calves at birth can cause more problems than it prevents. Genetics plays a much larger role in dystocia than does nutrition.
The time of day the cow
herd is fed during calving season has recently been shown to influence when
calves are born. The data indicate that cows fed at night are more apt to
calve during daylight hours, when they can be observed closely. Gus Konefal,
a Hereford breeder in Manitoba, was the first to recommend this feeding
system. Consequently, it has been called the Konefal Method of daytime
calving. The Konefal Method involves feeding twice daily, once at 11:00 a.m.
to 12 noon and again at 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This regime starts about 1
month before the first calf is born and continues throughout the calving
season. By following this feeding program, Konefal reported that 75 percent
of his cows calved between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Similar results were
obtained in a trial at Iowa State University.
Dr. Bob Larson, Kansas State University Veterinary Professor (and recent University of Missouri Extension Veterinarian) likes the SCS. He suggests that if pasture divisions for weekly cow movements are a problem then try implementing a system which moves to a new pasture every 14 days. This less intensive calving pasture management system should capture most of the benefits of the SCS and result in increased calf health.
More information on the SCS can be found at:
Ionophores—To Feed or Not to Feed?
Ionophores were approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970’s for use in ruminant diets for livestock. However, before approval for cattle and sheep, ionophores were used by the poultry industry as a coccidostat. According to 2003 industry estimates, ionophores saved the cattle industry alone over $1 billion in feed costs. This shows producers the impact ionophores have by increasing feed efficiency. There are several trade-names companies use for ionophores, but for the sake of space, our conversation will primarily deal with Rumensin® and Bovatec®.
Rumensin® and Bovatec® are two different types of ionophores, and each one has a slightly different mode of action. Rumensin® is used extensively in feedlots and is known to help decrease acidosis, bloat, coccidosis, and feed intake. It offers significant improvements in feed conversion, saving the feedlot industry several billion dollars over the years. Bovatec®, also known by its generic name of lasalocid, is probably the more familiar ionophore used in Missouri. Bovatec seems to work better in ruminant diets that are high in forage. In a Nebraska study, Bovatec® fed to cattle had a 17.8% advantage in gain verses Rumensins’® gain of 13.3%. Both ionophores increased average daily gain, but Bovatec® seems to do a little better job with cattle on forage based diets.
Ionophores are considered an “antibiotic additive”. However, Callaway et al. (2003) and Russell et al. (2003) both concluded that since ionophores (which are a class of antibiotics) have such a distinctly different mode of action compared to conventional antibiotics they do NOT pose any sort of threat to “public health” or “human resistance to antibiotics.” These conclusions were reported in two separate papers, published by different authors in different scientific journals.
Research shows ionophores increase daily gains and feed conversion while reducing digestive problems. They easily pay for themselves, usually only costing pennies per day. Several feed companies offer ionophores in a variety of packages such as loose mineral, mineral blocks, total mixed rations or supplements. Improving feed efficiency is going to be even more important this winter with the shortage of hay and the high price of corn. Producers should be aware however, that using ionophores is not allowed in natural beef programs.
(Author: Wendy Flatt, Livestock Specialist)
Pocket Record Book for Meat Goat Operations
records on parasite control, health practices, breeding dates, kidding dates
and weaning weights help
when it is time to make culling and replacement decisions. This data can all
be kept in the 2007 “Meat Goat Pocket Calendar” produced by the Kaeco Group,
Andrew County Extension and University of Missouri
Ag Connection - Ag Connection Newsletter, January 2007
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/newsletters/is-07-01.htm -- Revised: January 02, 2007