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Calving Special 2013

CHEW ON THIS: Customized forage options tailored to you.


AND TALES Maria Heidinger, Melville, Sask.


Calving Special

Volume 76, No. 2

Established 1938 ISSN 1196-8923 Cattlemen Editorial: Editor: Gren Winslow 1666 Dublin Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3H 0H1 (204) 944-5753 Fax (204) 944-5416 Email: Field Editor: Debbie Furber Box 1168 Tisdale, SK S0E 1T0 (306) 873-4360 Fax (306) 873-4360 Email: Advertising Sales: Deborah Wilson Box 19, Site 3, RR 1, High River, AB T1V 1N1 (403) 325-1695 Fax (204) 944-5562 Email:


Head Office: 1666 Dublin Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3H 0H1 (204) 944-5765 Fax (204) 944-5562 Advertising Services Co-ordinator: Arlene Bomback (204) 944-5765 Fax (204) 944-5562 Email:



advantages in beef cattle

Cryptosporidiosis and treatment

.............. 10

diarrhea detection

................................ 12

Pre-calving vaccination programs for cows........................................... 16 Milk


Rebreeding A


successful calving season starts with your bull. ....................

Recognize Clean

20 22

your limits at calving.......


ground beats scours. ...............



has eastern producers anxious about 2013 calf crop. ........



unchartered waters. ..................

28 32

Publisher: Bob Willcox Email:


no easy answer about when to calve.......................


beef production....................


36 39

for cows after calving.....



pasture to plate.........................



navel ill gets serious..................



tips & tales. ...........................



Associate Publisher/Editorial Director: John Morriss Email: Production Director: Shawna Gibson Email: Director of Sales and Circulation: Lynda Tityk Email: Circulation Manager: Heather Anderson Email: Contents of C attlemen are copyrighted and may be reproduced only when written permission is obtained from the editor and proper credit is given to Cattlemen. C attlemen and Canadian Cattlemen are Trade Marks of Farm Business Communications. C attlemen is published monthly (with the exception of July and 2 issues in Januar y and October) by Farm Business Communications. Head of fice: Winnipeg, M a n i t o b a .   P r i n t e d   b y   Tr a n s c o n t i n e n t a l   L G M C . C attlemen is printed with linseed oil-based inks.

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This month’s cover was submitted by Maria Heidinger of Melville, Sask.

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PRINTED IN CANADA Circulation inquiries:

January Calving Special winner, Jacques Fafard, Rocanville, Sask.” This month’s survey is on page 6.


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The editors and journalists who write, contribute and provide opinions to Canadian Cattlemen and Farm Business Communications attempt to provide accurate and useful opinions, information and analysis. However, the editors, journalists, Canadian Cattlemen and Farm Business Communications, cannot and do not guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in this publication and the editors as well as Canadian Cattlemen and Farm Business Communications assume no responsibility for any actions or decisions taken by any reader for this publication based on any and all information provided.

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Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013 3

More efficient Means More Hereford.

Canadian Hereford Association 5160 Skyline Way NE, Calgary, AB T2E 6V1 1-888-836-7242 •

Docility is a win-win for the inDustry improveD economic aDvantages anD improveD animal welfare

there is a substantial anD growing boDy of scientific knowleDge on the effects of temperament on beef cattle. At the 2012 World Hereford Conference, Dr. Rober Weaber of Kansas State University cited recent Canadian studies by Nkrumah, et al, in which animals with the worst temperament scores were correlated with lower feed intake, poor residual feed intake, lower feed conversion rates and higher death rates.

AnimAls with the best dispositions consistently performed more efficiently thAn those of poor disposition.

In a German study cited, Herefords had the best temperament scores numerically and statistically, among five bos taurus breeds.

Weaber cited research showing that docility improves growth, feed efficiency, meat quality, animal health and welfare and reproductive efficiency; not to mention handler safety.

Canadian Hereford Association • 5160 Skyline Way NE, Calgary, AB T2E 6V1 • 1-888-836-7242 • Photo of Borman calves courtesy of Martha Ostendorf Mintz.

c o m m e n t

by Gren Winslow

Recall roulette Even extreme measures can’t guarantee success


Even with all that if the loads of bacteria entering the plant are high enough they cannot guarantee that all the microbes have been eliminated when a carcass comes out of the cooler so they have 70 quality control employees who systematically sample and test primal cuts as they come down the line. This isn’t a random sampling. They focus on the outside of the cuts and any areas where Obviously the burgers were the chief susbacteria tends to hide. Any product that tests pect but when the CFIA got into it they positive is rendered. couldn’t find any evidence of E. coli in the Maintaining this level of control day in ingredients. They checked the plant, combed and day out while working 4,500 cattle per through the company safety procedures and day requires a strong training component. then tested everything that went into the burgers, the domestic and imported beef and Training for each critical job where contamithe spices that gave them their distinctive flanation can occur is intensive and specific to vour, but no E. coli. that task. With 2,000 employees and only We still don’t know how much this cost 150 in management a good deal of supervithe company. Certainly it was nothing like sion is done remotely using 120 video camthe bill for the XL Foods disaster but at least eras tapped into a quality control centre that this company came out of it with a clean bill is always manned. of health. Supervisors check in at each critical point It’s just one more example of the elusive in the line every couple of hours. Entz says nature of E. coli 0157:H7 and the microthe video is used only for training, not for discipline. If a problem is noticed on the organisms that are a fact of life in the meat monitor the supervisor can pull the employee business today. in and show them exactly what they are As I was reading through the CFIA’s doing wrong and how to correct it. He says release on its investigation I couldn’t help but most employees appreciate this type of coaching and he credits it in part for the relative stable workforce with only a 13 per cent turnover compared to the industry average of 35 per cent. what you like about the magazine, and what you — and have a go at winning one of our caps don’t like. There’s also some space for you to tell us Quality control extends beyond We have a goal to be the best beef cattle magazine in what you would like to see in future issues. the fabricating room, of course, and the business. But we need your help. If you could ClIp And enClose your mAIlIng lABel. that’s where High River’s new comjust fill in this survey and return it to me, you would each month, we will draw one name from all the puter-controlled distribution centre is be helping us set the future editorial direction for surveys sent in and send that person a Cattlemen cap. Canadian Cattlemen. All you have to do is tell me It could be you! playing a role. Individual boxes can now be tracked by software and rapWe’d appreciate it if you could tell us a idly assembled by a series of cranes 5 4 3 2 1 What do you think of: On a scale of 1 to 5, how do Regular Columns you and your family like these features? and conveyors to fill specific orders little about yourself. It makes it easier for News Roundup based on weight, grade and age. It’s a Purely Purebred us to keep your main interests in focus 5 – I always watch for it; let’s see more of it far cry from the old chiller where 125 The Markets 4 – I regularly read it and like it  I’m ranching or farming employees worked 24/7 to inventory 3 – I usually read it Market Talk Enterprise # of head and assemble loads for clients with 2 – There are things I’d rather read Sales and Events forklifts and muscle. The new centre Total beef cattle 1 – I don’t want it; get rid of it handles 30,000 boxes a day in two Yearlings on feed/pasture Regular Columns 5 4 3 2 1 Nutrition shifts five to six days a week. Registered cows Comment Research This has made it easier for the Fed cattle (sold yearly) Special features 5 4 3 2 1 Newsmakers plant to rapidly fill orders for specific Commercial cows Letters Calving Issue (Jan.) markets such as Japan or supermarHorses CCA Reports Custom Feedlot Guide (Sep.) kets across the country. High River Calves on feed/pasture sells 70 per cent of its beef in CanPrime Cuts Stock Buyers’ Guide (Aug.) Other livestock ada, 20 per cent in the U.S. and the Straight From The Hip Animal Health Special (Sep.)  I no longer take an active part in farming rest overseas. And when CFIA calls Holistic Ranching Beef Watch (May & Nov.) to ask about a lot that has already If not an owner/operator of a farm, are you: What would you like to see? __________________________________________________________ left the plant, the answer is only a _______________________________________________________________________________  In agribusiness (bank, elevator, ag supplies, etc.) keystroke away. _______________________________________________________________________________  Other (please specify) ____________________ Cargill has spent about $80 milHow much time do you and your family spend reading lion on this plant over the past two 1666 Dublin Avenue My approximate age is: Canadian Cattlemen?  Under 2 hours  Over 2 hours Winnipeg, Man. R3H 0H1 years and it still can’t guarantee it  a) Under 35  b) 36 to 44  c) 45 to 54 will never ship contaminated meat.  d) 55 to 64  e) 65 or over But it won’t be for lack of trying. n Christmas Eve the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) wrapped up its E. coli 0157:H7 investigation into the burgers produced by Cardinal Meat Specialists in Ontario. They were recalled after a small cluster of people in Ontario and Alberta became ill between December 12 and 15.

recall Scott Entz’s talk to the Alberta Beef Producers back in December. Scott is the vice-president and general manager of the Cargill beef plant in High River and he had come to the meeting to explain some of the innovations they have added to their plant, and outline their food safety procedures. Food safety begins for them when an animal enters the plant. While the hide is still on the carcass it is subjected to a high-pressure spray and beater brushes much like an industrial car wash to rid it of tag and sanitize it as much as possible on its way to the skinning line. Any contamination that gets on the carcass occurs at this point. Cargill installed a new skinning line in 2005 to minimize that contamination but as Entz points out this is one job that is impossible to do perfectly. Once the hide is off, the carcass moves through sprays of natural organic acids in an effort to get into every crevice on that carcass and root out unwanted bacteria. The acids break down as the carcass moves along the line so they don’t end up in the final meat. Next is the critical control point for the plant, the steam pasteurization chamber, where the carcass is subjected to 200 C for six seconds.

Answer our survey

6 Canadian cattlemen / CALVING SPECIAL 2013

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NEWSMAKERS Dr. Arthur McGinnis and his wife Gladys recently endowed $82,000 to the Lakeland College Centennial Campaign to fund a $2,000 annual scholarship for a student in secondyear of Lakeland agricultural sciences who intends to earn a bachelor of science in agriculture. The first Dr. Arthur and Gladys McGinnis Future of Agriculture Award recipient will be selected in 2013. McGinnis credits a $100 scholarship from the Canadian Wheat Board for starting his career by paying almost all of his first-year tuition at the University of Alberta. He went on to earn a bachelor of science in agriculture, a masters in entomology, a doctorate in biochemistry and a successful career in agricultural research and research management. Frederick Bodnarus of Saskatoon claimed first-place honours in Agribition’s second annual Winners Circle Auctioneers Competition presented by Richie Bros. Auctioneers to add another piece of hardware to his string of auctioneering competition achievements since 2000 when he was named as the Canadian Auctioneers Association rookie of the year. He and four other hopefuls, Tyler Cronkhite and Corey Mantell of Moose Jaw, Farron Ward of Colgate, and Karla Gervais

of Yorkton, were judged on voice clarity and control, rhythm and chant, bid spotting, professionalism, and general impression. Bodnarus started his own company, Frederick Bodnarus Bodnarus Auctioneering, five years ago, selling agricultural equipment, livestock, real estate and antiques across Western Canada. In mid-December Ontario and Ottawa came up with $2.4 million to pay 14 cents per tonne per kilometre to haul feed to drought-affected herds in eastern and southern Ontario or 7.5 cents per kilometre to ship cattle out to areas with surplus feed. The money will come from the AgriRecovery program that allows governments to respond to unforeseen disasters that result in extraordinary recovery costs for producers. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is taking its national semi-annual convention on the road again. The August meeting has been held in Calgary in conjunction with the Interna-

tional Livestock Congress for the past three years. The 2013 convention is set for London, Ont., Aug. 13-16 this year and Prince Edward Island in 2014. Alberta has paved the way for JBS to take over the troubled XL Foods packing plant and feedlot in Brooks by exempting the U.S. arm of Brazil’s JBS from Alberta’s Foreign Ownership of Land Regulations which blocks foreign citizens and foreign-controlled corporations from owning any more than two parcels of farmland over 20 acres in total. The regulations allow for the provincial cabinet to approve specific exemptions if those are found to be of economic benefit to the province of Alberta. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA has joined the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) which grew out of the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef held in Denver, Colorado in December 2010. The GRSB is organized as an independent non-profit organization in Switzerland. Current members include the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cargill, JBS, Marfrig, McDonald’s, Walmart, Elanco, Merck, GTPS (Brazilian Roundtable for sustainable livestock) the Round-

table for Sustainable beef Australia, Dow Agro Chemicals, Darden, the World Wildlife Fund, Solidaridad, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation. Bruce Holmquist was named general manager of the Canadian Simmental Association (CSA) on December 1. He has held a series of management positions since joining the CSA in 2007 including co-CEO with office manager Barb Judd during the past Bruce Holmquist year. Judd remains the office manager of the association. Dr. Lorne Babiuk was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in early January in recognition of his leadership in creating a world-wide reputation for VIDO-InterVac, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. Joining him were faba-bean breeder Gordon Rowland, biodiesel pioneer Zenneth Faye and horticulture specialist Sara Williams. C


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Black Polled Simmental Bulls

At the Ranch, Carievale, SK (heated sales arena)

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Untitled-1 1


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12/17/2012 10:00:38 AM

calving breeding

AI Advantages in Beef Cattle Spend less on bulls, but more on labour By Heather Smith Thomas


rtificial insemination was done experimentally in the early1900s. By the 1940s it was used in dairy herds and a few beef herds. Since 1941, All West/ Select Sires has been providing AI services to dairy and beef producers. At first, fresh semen was collected, cooled and distributed to local customers near All West facilities in Burlington, Washington. With advances in technologies, from fresh semen to frozen ampules and now using ½ and ¼ cc straws shipped in liquid nitrogen, All West/Select Sires markets more than 1.8 million units of semen annually. The service area of this farmer-owned co-operative includes the Western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan along with Washington, Northern Idaho, Western Montana, Oregon and California. Allen Bush, communications coordinator, says most of their Canadian clients are interested in birth weights and weaning weights. “They want calving ease sires that produce calves that grow fast. With a shortage of beef in Canada and North America, improving carcass weights is desirable.” A good place to start is to have as many live calves on the ground as possible, with minimal calving problems — and have calves that gain as much between birth and weaning as possible. Most ranchers are looking for genetics that can do this, the curve-bender bulls that sire calves that are small at birth but grow fast. “One of the important things is for beef producers to know their cow herd and goals. Having good herd records can help them repeat their successes,” explains Bush. It helps to have a plan. “Producers need to know what buyers want. If there’s a grid value advantage, you might select bulls that meet that goal. That’s a big benefit with AI; you can use highly reliable/accurate bulls. But you have to know what your cows are capable of doing; the sire is only half of the equation,” he says. “By using AI you can group your calves in a shorter time period and they are more uniform. It helps to have as many cows as possible bred by one sire. By using a son of the AI sire for a cleanup bull, you also add

to the uniformity. We offer a wide variety of bulls that will accommodate anybody’s goals,” he says. Some producers may choose a calving ease bull for heifers, and a terminal sire for the cow herd. Then they have the ultimate in calf growth and carcass value on calves they sell, and can keep replacements from the heifer’s calves. In commercial programs the option for crossbreeding enables them to select another breed of bull to maximize hybrid vigour and gain. “There will still be some bred to a cleanup bull, but you have a higher percentage of your calves meet production goals. On average, we figure 60 per cent conception rates with AI though we sometimes see as high as 90 per cent. Weather and diet can affect success rates. If cows aren’t in good body condition or the synchronization program is not administered properly, rates drop,” he says. The AI process for a certain ranch also depends on time, facilities and labour. Many producers are just using AI on their heifers, synchronizing them to breed and calve early. Then they will be calving in the early part of calving season. If any of them don’t settle to AI they have another chance to be bred. Early-calving heifers have more time to recover from calving and rebreed for their second calf. Most producers use CIDR implants that deliver progesterone for synchronizing, to minimize labour and times through the chute. “This makes it possible to get cows bred within a 14-day window from start to finish in the synchronization protocol,” says Bush. Glen Felske, area representative for Select Sires, lives northwest of Edmonton, Alberta and has been working with AI for more than 30 years. “The most recent significant advance was CIDRs,” he says. CIDRs have made it easier for setting cows up for breeding, with a higher percentage ready to conceive. “We’ve used progesterone before in MGA protocols, but this is a 30-day setup, which is a little more challenging for many ranch operations, though it still works really well,” he says. “If you can heat detect and breed, this is still the best, regarding conception rates. The main problem is that many people don’t have time to do this. They are starting to seed crops, or busy with haying, depending on the timing of their calving,” says Felske. For a while, use of AI in Canada

10 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

AI conception rates can go as high as 90 per cent but average closer to 60.

Kelly Olson and his sons Graham and Travis can AI 180 head in six hours.

declined due to hard times in the beef industry. “Ten years ago I was probably selling more beef semen into commercial herds than purebred herds. Many commercial producers were breeding a high percentage of their cows,” says Felske. “With BSE and the price of cattle so low for so long, we probably lost 75 per cent of producers who used to use AI. They are no longer in business. But with cattle prices starting to come back we are seeing more use of AI the last couple of years, and larger groups of heifers being bred AI,” he says. This is partly due to ranchers

wanting to use calving ease bulls on heifers. “Many of the heifers produced by AI are being retained by ranchers to improve their cow herds. If a person can get three generations using good AI sires, it makes a big difference in quality of calf crops. You can breed maternal, calving ease, feed efficiency and carcass traits into the herd to create the right kind of cow. You can reduce feed costs for the herd — yet end up with more yield on the calves.” Using proven AI bulls can upgrade the cow herd and save money because it would cost more to go out and buy

the same quality bulls. Even though you still need cleanup bulls, and the price of bulls is going higher, you can cut your need for bulls by half when you use AI. It’s hard to take the time to do an AI program, though it probably returns more dollars than many other things a person might be doing. With heat synchronization, the AI company can provide a team that will come to the ranch and do the inseminating. “I can breed 200 cows a day by myself as long as I have people pushing the cows in. We may do four or five days of breeding at some ranches,” he says. He likes to use the portable breeding barns. “With these you’ve always got a cow ready. Just as fast as you can move them through, you can breed them,” he says. The various ranches have all kinds of facilities and some are not very easy to use for AI. “I’ve been run over by cows coming up the alley and the gate doesn’t hold. So the first thing we do when we talk to a potential client is look at facilities. Some ranches have top-notch facilities and everything is safe and well put together,” says Felske. The breeding barn is handy because you can take it out into a pasture and set up portable panels for a corral and alleyway, use portable power, and get cows bred even if they are far from home. “With portable power (generator) you can keep your thaw units at the right temperature. We have clients who set up a temporary corral in the middle of a big pasture by the water hole where the cows come in for water,” he says. “With many ranchers calving later in the season, I sell more semen now in July than any other month. More calves are born in April, May and even into June, so our breeding season is extended. It used to be late March through May and now it extends through July and into August. This spreads the workload and we don’t have to do it all at once.” THE OLSON RANCH Travis Olson and his family run 1,600 cows north of Edmonton, Alberta. “AI is a useful tool that enables cattlemen to use proven genetics. Almost all the bulls we use are eight or nine years old and we have lots of daughters from them already. We love their feet, udders and maternal traits,” says Olson. They use AI on almost all their purebred cows. “Many ranchers here in Canada struggle with the challenge of getting cows bred with AI in late summer, where they are now calving in May or June. For instance, on our ranch we AI in August and the cattle are all out on grass.” This makes it harder to get them in for breeding,

Portable breeding barns and panels help relieve the stress on the cattle when you AI on pasture later in the summer.

so the logical thing is to use heat synchronization rather than try to heat detect for a month. “In our program we use CIDRs and a five-day CO-Synch protocol. We run the cows in four times. We give them a CIDR and GnRH on day zero, and on day five we pull the CIDR and give a prostaglandin shot. Eight hours later we give another prostaglandin shot. About 72 hours after the CIDR has been pulled, we go breed them and give them GnRH. The five-day CO-Synch protocol is a bit more work than the seven-day protocol. It’s one extra time running them through, but we don’t have to sort again; we just leave them separated from their calves for the eight hours,” explains Olson. “This has improved our pregnancy percentages. It’s a little more labour intensive, but not nearly as labour intensive as trying to do natural heat detection out in the pastures. With our synchronization program, from the day we start until the day we finish is nine days for any group. We start on day zero and are done on day eight,” he says. “We divide this into five or six different breeding groups, to do the 800 cows we need to breed. We use portable breeding barns, and this saves time. We are breeding 180 head in six hours,” he says. “We just put the breeding barn in front of the squeeze and can breed between 35 and 40 per hour. We have one person writing down numbers, another person filling straws and another doing the AI — with several people bringing cows up from

the back. When the cows get into the breeding barn it’s nice and quiet. They just put their heads down and relax. If the cow isn’t struggling or fighting, it’s much easier.” Less stress on the cows improves conception rates. “If you get a cow too hot, she may not conceive. August days can be hot, and if you get the cow worked up and excited, and her temperature gets past a certain point, it ‘cooks’ the semen and it’s no longer viable,” explains Olson. “The facility they are coming through, and how they are put through, is important. All the systems we use are portable. We make sure it’s designed correctly so the cows will come through quietly. They will be coming through four times, so if they have a bad experience the first time they won’t want to come through again,” he says. “We use a lot of hired labour, and summer part-time help — university students in veterinary programs, or pre-vet students who want large animal experience. We advise them to keep the cows as quiet as possible while sorting because we feel this pays large dividends in better pregnancy rates,” he says. One of the main reasons some ranchers don’t utilize AI is because it’s more work than turning the bulls out. “But it reduces the number of bulls needed. One of the things we struggled with when we first started doing this was the fact that when you AI 180 cows in one day, all of those that don’t conceive are coming back into heat the same time.” This puts more pressure on the cleanup bulls.

“To help this situation we make the cleanup groups smaller. Half our herd is Red Angus and the other half black. In some cases we try to make half of each AI group red and the other half black — working them the same day. Then we do a quick sort on the cows, back into their proper groups. The calves find their mothers, and we take that herd away. If we are AI-ing a group that’s half black and half red one week, and half red, half black another week, they won’t all be coming into heat again at the same time when you put them with cleanup bulls. Otherwise you need almost as many bulls as before, which defeats the advantage of AI to reduce the number of expensive bulls. A lot of the bulls we use are $15,000 bulls, and we don’t want any more of those than necessary.” Olson has done a lot of heat synchronization using MGA and had good luck with conception rates. “But it creates a logistical problem, having to drylot them, if you’re doing it when cattle should be on grass. It’s a lot cheaper to have them on grass. This is why the CIDR program has worked so well for us,” he explains. “The cost of this protocol is a little higher, but it takes less labour. I can have people come help with breeding on certain days, as opposed to doing heat detection. We have really long days here in summer, and if you are trying to do heat detecting in August this make a very long day — since you get your most heats right before sunrise and just after sunset. For us that’s 4:30 in the morning and 11 C p.m. at night!”

Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013 11

calving health

Cryptosporidiosis diarrhea detection and treatment By Roy Lewis


he incidence of “crypto” diarrhea is most definitely higher on dairy farms where calves are raised in close confinement and the wet moist environment is conducive to the transmission of these protozoa. We as large-animal veterinarians are detecting it more often in our beef herds out west. “Crypto” is a protozoa with a very similar life cycle to coccidia which is probably much more familiar to Canadian cattlemen. The detection can at times be difficult to establish but with newer tests and other methods described in this article look for it and you may find it even in well-managed cattle operations. Dairymen watch for it diligently

and you as beef producers should discuss it with your veterinarian and be especially vigilant if scours crops up in older calves that seem unresponsive to traditional scour treatments. Bringing in dairy calves to be adopted onto beef cows can be a source of infection. I always suggest clients should use calves from their own herds if possible. Crypto is usually caused by the species C. Parvum in cattle and it is also zoonotic meaning it’s transmissible to humans. So, as a general rule, be cautious when handling diarrheic calves. Be extra vigilant cleaning and disinfecting areas where sick calves are gathered. Most human cases involving producers, farm workers, and veterinary students result from exposure to sick calves. As with all Continued on page 14

If you see a frothy diarrhea that looks like undigested milk, call your vet.

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Continued from page 12

zoonotic diseases people under stress or immunosuppressed are highly susceptible. Be sure to clean boots, coveralls and wash your hands thoroughly especially after dealing with diarrheic calves. As a precaution treat the diarrheic calves last to avoid carrying the oocysts between calves. The organism is very similar to coccidia in the sense oocysts (eggs) are passed in the manure in very large numbers (up to 10 million per gram of manure). Oocysts are ingested by the calf and in completing their life cycle can damage the large intestine and the end of the small intestine. We see it primarily in calves anywhere from three to 30 days of age. The clue is calves that seem unresponsive to treatment. The diarrhea generally appears yellow and sort of foamy. The organism destroys the inner lining of the intestine so the milk comes through essentially undigested and calves dehydrate. Keep in mind half the time crypto is involved in mixed infections with other scour organisms so you may be dealing with essentially two diseases at the same time. That is why

you must follow all the preventative steps in your power to avoid a scours outbreak. These are the tools I have talked about in past articles, new calving areas, lots of room and bedding, good nutrition for the dam prior to calving to produce high-quality colostrums. Make sure the calves are up and sucking within a couple hours and if in doubt supplement with home stored frozen colostrum or a good substitute such as Headstart. Vaccinate your cows and heifers for scours but keep in mind good vaccines cover the most common causes of viral and bacterial scours in calves but not the protozoan type, coccidia and cryptosporidiosis. One of the real issues in the past has been the initial diagnosis. Crypto was always hard to prove. Fecal samples can be taken and labs are getting better at spotting it but the oocysts are much smaller than worm eggs so they can be hard to see. Now there is a check strip called Eentericheck from Biovet Labs that you insert into the manure, which is a fairly sensitive and specific. We recently learned from U of Calgary veterinary student Dayna Goldsmith who was attending our clinic on a rotation that crypto is what they call an acid-

fast organism. This means it takes up acid-fast stain so another way to test for this organism is to smear a sample of the manure on a microscope slide, stain it, and like magic the oocysts appear when they take up the stain. At our clinic we’ve learned you can be very confident of this diagnosis. The next real issue with crypto has been the treatment, or should I say lack of treatment options. Standard treatments such as electrolytes are always warranted. Vets would prescribe sulfa drugs similar to a coccidiosis treatment, but the best solution is to cut down on the number of organisms being excreted. Merck Animal Health has just had a product called Halocur licensed for this very thing. It’s been used in Canada for a few years under an experimental drug release so it has a successful track record. In outbreaks or after a first case is diagnosed subsequent calves are put on it for seven days in a row. It controls the crypto by breaking its life cycle and substantially reducing the number of oocysts that can reinfect the calf or other calves. Halocur is given orally at a rate of two cc per 10 kg daily. It is very important that you give the proper

dose with Halocur. Unlike most products the safety margin with this one is quite low. At twice the normal dose you could get depressed calves, blood in the diarrhea and other signs very similar to the disease itself. So don’t give more medication if those signs show up. At four times the normal dose it can be fatal. Always treat the calves on a full stomach and don’t treat calves that are already sick. There are other coccidiostats, which have been tried against cryptosporidiosis on an experimental basis. Halocur was developed as a coccidiostat for chickens but resistance developed. Isolation of sick calves is another necessary step to any treatment protocol for crypto combined with regular cleaning and disinfection of the isolation area. The oocysts are very resistant, although high temperatures will kill them. The key with this disease is to reduce the number of oocysts in the environment around these young calves. As they become older the calves will develop resistance to this organism. If you see unusual diarrhea with a frothy content that looks like undigested milk, don’t delay. Call your veterinarian to rule out cryptosporidiosis. C

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alves have a better chance of staying healthy during their first weeks of life if they get an adequate amount of goodquality colostrum soon after birth, containing antibodies against most of the pathogens they may encounter. If the dam has a chance to build high levels of antibodies before calving, she can pass this temporary immunity to her calf. Preventing calfhood disease is a combination of many factors, which include a clean environment (low level of pathogens for the calf to pick up) and well-nourished, healthy cows with strong immunities. Vaccinating cows ahead of calving can help build peak antibody levels to make sure their colostrum contains the maximum amount of protective antibodies. Dr. Steve Hendrick, associate professor of large animal clinical sciences at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says in many herds pre-calving vaccinations means scours vaccines. “Some people are also starting to add BVD-IBR vaccines to that program, pre-calving. There are some modified-live vaccines on the market now that are labelled for use in pregnant cows, provided those cows were vaccinated previously and have some immunity already,” he says. “Ideally, I like to see this vaccination given pre-breeding, to give ultimate protection to the fetus as it starts growing. But if vaccination is not convenient at that time — if cows are already out on pasture — it can be given prior to calving. I’d rather see it given then, rather than in the fall at preg-checking, because doing it in the fall is too far away from protecting that next future calf. Protecting the fetus is what we are trying to do with BVD vaccinations,” Hendrick explains. CAN VACCINATION CAUSE ABORTION? If abortions occur in late pregnancy, some producers wonder if it was because they vaccinated the cows. “There is always the question about how well vaccinated or protected the animals are, when you start giving modified-live virus vaccine to pregnant cows. We experience some abortions in herds that have gone this route. The question then is whether the cows didn’t have enough immunity when they received the vaccination or was

it the fault of the vaccine?” says Hendrick. Sometimes the cows are being hit with a lot of different vaccines at once. “In some herds they are being given a scours vaccination along with the clostridial and BVD-IBR vaccine. Perhaps in some cases this is overwhelming the cows’ immune system,” he says. “The E. coli in scours vaccine is a gram-negative bacterium. This means the bacteria have an endotoxin within the cell wall. This is released when the bacteria die. This toxin can make the cow quite sick. That vaccine, by itself, isn’t enough to make the cow sick. But the clostridials and even some of the BVD vaccines, with lepto, etc. will have some other gram-negative bacteria added to all this. The more vaccines with gram-negative bacteria that we give the cow at one time could possibly be detrimental,” Hendrick says. “Giving all of this to a cow at once could potentially make her abort. We don’t know this, for sure, but it’s a common theory. I do worry when we throw so much at these cows at the same time,” says Hendrick. Vaccination should always be tailored to your own herd. It’s important to work with your local veterinarian on a herd health program that fits your situation. “It’s also crucial to consult with your vet to know what’s safe to give your cows pre-calving, and not something that you’ll regret later,” he says. If you purchase cows or bred heifers and don’t know their vaccination history, you need to be careful what you give them. “In these cases we generally use a killed vaccine rather than modified-live, just to be safe, and then give them the modified-live after they’ve calved and before they are bred again,” says Hendrick. VACCINES TO PREVENT SCOURS “Scours vaccinations can be beneficial in herds that have certain problems. There are limitations, however, regarding what the vaccinations cover and which problems can actually be helped,” he says. The important thing is to have healthy cows, with strong immune systems, to produce strong calves that can take full advantage of the antibodies in colostrum. Sometimes cows are unable to develop immunity when they are vaccinated, especially if they have inadequate nutrition. Some types of scours vaccines provide more protection than others. Dr. Eugene Janzen, University of Calgary,


You want peak antibody response at the proper time when the calves need it.

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, says the E. coli vaccines work very well, but today may not be as necessary as they have been in the past, since many stockmen have moved away from calving in confined/contaminated areas. “Some of the viral fractions of the pre-calving vaccines, such as the rotavirus and coronaviruses, may not perform as well as the E. coli vaccines, and timing is much more critical,” according to Janzen. “If calves will be at high risk between two to four weeks of age for viral infections, you need to make sure that there will be enough antibodies in the colostrum to help them at that time.” The cow will need peak antibody levels when she calves, to have enough passive immunity for the calf to give him protection that long. “With those particular viruses, if you boost the cow’s immunity, those antibody levels rise fairly quickly and would be deposited in the colostrum fairly quickly. But they also wane quickly. If you vaccinate cows in early February and the majority of your calves arrive the end of March, efficacy of that vaccine will be compromised,” says Janzen. You’d need to vaccinate the cows closer to when their calves will be at risk, or give a booster shot closer to that time. “If calving is strung out, and espe-

cially if it’s behind the barn rather than out on pasture, we encourage ranchers to vaccinate the late calvers again,” explains Janzen. You want peak antibody response at the proper time to help the calves. There are several brands and types of scours vaccines on the market. “Talk with your own vet to know what might be recommended in your situation,” says Hendrick. “The timing for these may also differ a bit, depending on the type of vaccine,” he says. There are differences on what the manufacturers advise, whether its two weeks or a month to six weeks before calving. Some need a two-shot series the first year, and an annual booster thereafter. Some herds try to target vaccinations about three weeks before the herd starts calving. Some types of vaccine may require a booster for any cows that are calving late in case immunity is waning before they calve. Make a plan, in consultation with your veterinarian, regarding what product to use and when, depending on when it is feasible to have the cows accessible for vaccinating. Ranch facilities, and calving seasons, will dictate what would be most practical. “Boostering at least on an annual basis can help maintain immunity. If you skip a year or two during the life

of a cow and then come back with another vaccination, it may not give much protection. You almost need to start over with a two-shot series,” Hendrick says. NO VACCINES FOR PROTOZOAL DIARRHEAS “Ranchers in Alberta tell me that if calves have bloody diarrhea, it’s likely parasitic — protozoal infections such as cryptosporidiosis or coccidiosis,” says Janzen. “There are no vaccines for these infections. People talk about putting an ionophore into the cows’ ration to prevent shedding of those organisms in their feces (for the calves to pick up), but the microbiologists tell us that the infectious pressure/risk is much greater coming from the contemporary calves than from the cows,” he says. If a calf gets sick, he sheds many times more pathogens than what might be in the cow’s feces. “The sick calves will greatly amplify the infectious pressure. Feeding cows ionophores may help at the beginning of calving season by preventing introduction of the organism into the calf population. But if any calves get sick and contaminate the calving ground, feeding the cows

an ionophore won’t make much difference. As they go through a calf, these organisms proliferate tremendously, whereas the cow might have a few in the digestive tract but she’s immune and not shedding to the same extent that a calf will,” explains Janzen. “The old rule about getting cows spread out on clean ground at calving is still the best advice for preventing disease in young calves,” he says. Prevention depends more on good management and clean calving areas than a vaccine bottle. CLOSTRIDIAL VACCINES “We’ve been encouraging ranchers to vaccinate the cow herd for clostridial organisms, especially perfringens, suggesting that perfringens Spreading cows out on clean calving ground is still the best way to beat scours. may occasionally be to blame for various enterotoxemias,” says Janzen. “I “At least this particular vaccine is many label claims. The E. coli vactend to agree, because historically this cines work so well that we tend to relatively inexpensive so most of us is what we do for sheep. We vaccinate think everything else should work don’t worry about it; we just vaccipregnant ewes to prevent enterotoxin a similar fashion, but it’s not nate in case it might help. There are emia in lambs. We extrapolate from that simple. Some of the diagnoses many things like this in food animal the ewe to the cow. But it is very difregarding diarrhea in calves are not medicine. We tend to select the course ficult to make this diagnosis in calves definitive. Most of the time we don’t to prove our case. Even our diagnos-B:8.625”of action that makes the most sense, know with certainty what we are tic labs may have trouble diagnos-T:8.125”since we don’t have definitive knowldealing with, and we just play the edge,” says Janzen. ing clostridial diseases in the newborn S:7” odds,” he says. “There are many vaccines, with calf,” he says. C

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calving managememnt

Milk Thieves Friend or foe? By Michelle Bryan


ave you seen a sneak attack by a desperate calf in your herd? You are not alone. Calves stealing milk from another dam can be seen in beef herds, if you pay attention and you know what to look for. These milk thieves do not draw attention to themselves. They are sneaky, quick and discrete. If you want to catch them in the act, grab a coffee and snack and prepare a stakeout to conduct surveillance on the culprit. Only if you are lucky will youl see a calf ambush another dam that is not their maternal dam and commit the perfect crime, milk robbery. Thieves can come from behind in plain sight, act as an impostor or use distraction while her progeny is nourishing on wholesome milk. Once identified, you will have to determine how these “milk thieves” should be brought to justice. First, we must question why these calves are committing the crime. One could argue, the offenders are simply underfed and have adapted methods to obtain the nutrients needed to survive. Reasons these thieves are hungry could be due to the lack of milk from their own mother, a common concern in heifers or cows from poor-producing genetic lines. Milk embezzlement can mask expected progeny differences (EPDs) by enhancing the assets of the thief and diminishing the assets to the milk fund of the calf who was generous enough to share. It is difficult to quantify the performance effect milk thieves have on your herd. Milk-stealing behaviour among calves is not well documented or published. Research would need to include milk flow rate by minute and time spent sucking as well as occurrences per day by dam. Other factors such as age of calves, rations, milk composition and weather should be considered. If you make decisions on EPD parameters be certain that thieves haven’t secretly influenced your bottom line. As a management response you might provide access to creep feed, draft milk thieves to dams that have lost a calf, cull pairs or even use a milk thief to assist with problem udders. Another reason these calves act out and commit crimes can be due

Is a milk thief a sign of material neglect or the generous nature of cows that they willingly support young in need?

to maternal abuse or neglect. If the mother has an engorged or sore udder that tends to be painful, she may protect herself with a powerful kick. Calves with abusive dams tend to show a lack of confidence and become timid creatures. In this situation, we can’t just blame the milk thief for there is a silent accomplice in this crime, the mother. Her actions can have severe consequences for the calf from malnutrition to thievery. Management practices for this situation can be time-consuming daily upervised visits until udder pain subsides. Once abandoned, calves face a lifetime of struggle from dominant bullies, light body weight and tend to get lost in the ranch system. Punishment for abandonment crimes are severe and can include hind leg shackles or hobbles under guarded in confinement until released on good behaviour. It seems that the root cause of juvenile crimes is lack of bovine maternal care. On the other hand it makes you wonder why a dam would let a complete stranger come over and milk her dry? Is she oblivious to what is going on or is she exhibiting altruistic behaviour. Altruistic behaviour has been studied in many wild species but not in North American domesticated animals. Maternal elephants in a herd exhibit co-operative care by nursing all the young in herd. Phantom Ridge Ranch owned by Kyle and Louanne Twa near Okotoks, Alta. has a herd of Lowline cattle that also portrays altruistic behaviour by communal sucking. Calves have free choice to whomever they choose to dine on. There is no discrimination and everyone is happy to contribute to the greater good of the

18 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

species. Calves linger around between dams like different flavours on a wine tasting tour. Other Lowline breeders have agreed with Phantom Ridge Ranches observations of communal sucking. Do beef cattle exhibit altruistic behaviours by allowing young herd mates assess to their free-choice milk buffet? Or are they lacking brain mechanisms to notice a milk thief? Or do some maternal beef dams have altruistic behaviour by being a good Samaritan? Maybe it has been in front of our nose the whole time, by dams allowing those in need to suckle them, adopting an additional calf as her own and protecting the young of the whole herd. This appears to be a sacrifice for the greater good. To answer this hypothesis, research is needed to determine the altruistic behaviour in dams.

Milk fraud is a serious crime as it can influence genetic parameters, bottom line and alter management decisions. These dishonest thieves must do their time, but the milk thieves are innocent until proven guilty and milk on a thieves lip is only circumstantial evidence. Maternal care for one’s own offspring is expected and those who exhibit heroic behaviour by helping out a neighbor in need for the greater good should be rewarded by extra pounds of the finest grain and hay around. We know thieves are out there and folks keep an eye on crime in your herd. It’s up to you to decide if the milk thieves are friend or foe. C Michelle is a purebred cattle producer at Cayley, Alta., and a master’s student in agricultural engineering at the University of Saskatchewan.

Canadian Simmental Association #13, 4101-19th St. N.E., Calgary, AB, T2E 7C4 Tel: (403) 250-7979 Fax: (403) 250-5121 Email: Website:

calving breeding

Rebreeding Two-Year-Olds Nutrition is key

By Heather Smith Thomas


two-year old cow has it a tough. She is the most valuable and expensive animal in the herd. She has not generated any income, yet a lot of money has been invested in her. If she fails to stay in the herd, this is a significant financial loss. So it pays to invest more effort and management to get her rebred than to start over with another heifer. Young cows need a higher plane of nutrition than mature cows. Only after a heifer meets her potential for milk production and body requirements for maintenance and growth will she channel energy into reproduction. This is also the age she’s shedding her baby teeth and her permanent teeth are coming in, so she may not be eating as well as normal due to mouth discomfort. If she is lactating during this time of inadequate nutrition, she’ll rob body fat to keep up milk production. A young cow losing weight will generally not come into heat. On the one hand, Dr. Steve Hendrick, associate professor of large animal clinical sciences) at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, says the usual strategy is to try to get yearling heifers bred early, to start calving a couple weeks ahead of the cow herd. “This gives them a little extra time to recover from calving and rebreed without being late or coming up open.” On the other, nutritionist Dr. John McKinnon, the Saskatchewan Beef Industry chair at the University of Saskatchewan, says many ranchers are doing different things now in terms

If you want first-calf females to rebreed on time you need to meet their requirements, particularly in the last trimester.

of winter feeding such as bale grazing and swath grazing. Even if the herd is calving later, after green grass instead of traditional February-March calving, you don’t want heifers losing weight during winter. If the winter grazing or hay or swathed forage is not adequate in nutrient levels, particularly energy and protein, the cattle will need supplementation. If you want a successful second breeding season for your first calvers, you have to be sure that your feeding program during the last trimester and post-calving (pre-breeding) is meeting their requirements. You definitely don’t want these young cows losing body condition.

“This situation is compounded in first-calf heifers because they are still trying to grow, as well. It takes a lot of energy to do that, and in many situations the heifer has to compete for that energy, as well,” says McKinnon. It usually pays to keep pregnant heifers separate from the main cow herd during winter, and after calving, so they can be fed a higher level of nutrition and also won’t have to compete with the older more dominant cows. “If they are out on good-quality grass, they should be able to get their nutrient requirements, but if you are feeding any kind of supplement, competition becomes an important factor,” McKinnon says.

If the cattle are out on pasture after calving, good green pasture will contain the nutrition they need. “If heifers are calving ahead of the cow herd, however, as many producers try to do the grass may not be as good yet as it will be a little later in the season. Those heifers may not do very well on that early grass; they may still need some supplement. You have to pay attention to their body condition to make sure they are not losing weight,” he explains. Hormonal manipulation Several studies at University of Saskatchewan involve hormonal aspects of getting heifers rebred. “Two years

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ago we started working on a project with cattle at the Goodale Research Farm,” says Hendrick. “There has been a lot of work regarding synchronizing cows for AI breeding. But I don’t think many commercial producers have considered using heat synchronization for bull breeding. So we wanted to do some work comparing use of prostaglandin shots versus some of the other methods like the CIDR and PRIDs to see if we can tighten up the calving season and get cows bred earlier,” says Hendrik. “Some of our work was with adult cows and not just heifers. In that group we saw a great response rate in getting them to cycle. But after just one year’s worth of data we didn’t see much improvement in pregnancy rate. If we are getting cows to cycle but they are just a little too early (after calving) to be fertile and settle to that breeding, they may not catch until the next cycle,” he says. “Our other question about the less-than-optimal pregnancy rate has been whether we had enough bull power to service all the cows that came into heat at that time. When you synchronize cows, this puts a lot of pressure on the bulls for a short time. Basically the cows were all bred within five days, on pasture. This was a very short time period and we may have overwhelmed our bulls.” The disappointing pregnancy rate may not have been entirely the fault of the cows. “Another thing to consider when using CIDRs, etc. is that if a cow has a follicle (egg) that is just starting to develop on her ovary, and you don’t give her a hormone to cause her to ovulate that egg when you put that CIDR or PRID into place, it stays there for an extended period. It becomes a little bit old and may not be as fertile. You need to give her a dose of GnRH or gonadorelin to ovulate this follicle at the same time the CIDR is inserted. Otherwise she may not end up with a viable pregnancy. So this year we gave the cows an extra shot at the beginning to make them cycle. This has improved our pregnancy rate to the first breeding,” he says. Synchronization could be a tool stockmen could use on first-calf heifers to ensure that they get pregnant during that next breeding season. “We are trying to collect more data, and next summer’s project will look more at increasing the bull power rather than modifying the protocol. We are happy with what we’ve got but want to make sure each cow or first calver is actually covered,” Hendrick says. When looking at the cost of this method, it would probably pencil out and more than pay for itself in helping the younger cows stay in the herd. This might be beneficial, and cheaper

than starting over with another heifer. By the time you have them this far along, going for their second calf, you don’t want to have to sell a heifer if she comes up open that year. “This all goes along with having adequate nutrition from a mineral standpoint and proper body condition. In the first two years of our project we have some data on their mineral status because we’ve been following that, as well. It’s quite dramatic; you’ll see difference between them, based on their copper status,” he says.

are copper deficient,” says Hendrick. “The work we’ve done has clearly shown how copper deficiency can impact the cyclicity of cows, especially young cows. We go to herds to preg check in the fall and see first calvers that are still in good body condition but coming up open. When we start looking into this we often find a lack of mineral supplementation,” he says. A number of studies have shown that copper deficiency can hinder reproduction. “This can hurt you most in the younger cows. But it may MINERALS not be just copper deficiency. If you Mineral deficiencies may hurt have high molybdenum levels in your young cows the most. soils, this can tie up copper and it’s “We’ve been looking at areas that not available to the body. This is what BEE-085 - Can Cattlemen 7.4 “x 8.5” - Dec 13

we call secondary copper deficiency,” explains Hendrick. Copper deficiency’s impact on reproduction has been recognized for a long time but has not been very well documented. Sometimes the effects are subtle and you don’t suspect copper deficiency as part of the problem when a herd experiences a lower pregnancy rate. “In my experience, when there are a lot of open first calvers in the herd, you can generally suspect there’s a significant nutritional factor. If an individual heifer had twins or a tough calving, or a C-section, there’s good reason she might come up open. Even a good percentage of those would breed back, however, if everything else C is in order.”

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calving breeding

A successful calving season starts with your bull By Duane McCartney


y curling buddy is one  of  the  best young cow-calf managers that I know. I recently asked him what his management strategies were for having a successful calving season. “The No. 1 issue is buying the best bull you can find,” my friend said. “Pay the extra money to get a top-performing bull as he will be leaving a lot of daughters in your herd. There are cow lines in breeders’ herds that are noted for easy calving. Some of these cow families have short gestation periods and calve about two weeks before their due date. That means that you will get a lighter birth weight as the fetus will grow a lot during the last part of the trimester. This results in easy calving.” He went on to say, “A good cow will leave you about 10 calves in your herd. You need to figure out what you need the bull to do. Is it easy calving, high weaning weights, or is it a terminal breed? I spend a lot of time before buying bulls evaluating the breeder’s herd. I need to actually see the mothers of the bulls that I am purchasing to see if that is the type of female that I want in my herd. I also analyze the management of the herd to see if it fits with my needs, then I pay the extra money for the bull that meets all my needs. I don’t buy average-priced bulls as that’s what I am going to get… just average performance. I don’t like pulling calves in the middle of the night so easy calving bulls is most important. “Before the calving season I get rid of any wild cows and I also cull open cows and those with bad udders and feet. However, over the years when I selected good bulls I reduced my udder and feet and performance problems by keeping the offspring. All my cows are vaccinated with scour prevention vaccine prior to calving. I provide lots of bedding in a sheltered area as I calve in April in central Alberta and we still get snow- and rainstorms. The big thing is to keep the newborn calves dry and give them lots of room in a clean area. I don’t have a scour problem and if I do I use lots of electrolytes. With good herd health, nutrition and a proper mineral program as recommended by my nutrition consultant and veterinarian I don’t have problems at calving time. The cows basically calve on their

own, but I do check the heifers about every four hours throughout the calving season.” My friend concludes, “Do you really want your future females in your herd from a $2,500 bull or from a $4,500 bull? Pay the extra money for a top-performing bull, it’s well worth it.” In addition to visual traits in genetic selection, genomic information on the DNA will also play a vital role in improving the accuracy of breeding values for many hard-to-measure traits and also increase the rate of genetic improvement in the beef cattle industry. There is a lot of research going on this topic and Dr. John Basarab with Alberta Agriculture at the Ag and Agri-Food Canada Lacombe Research Centre is part of a Canadian genomics team that is working on identifying feed-efficient bulls and cows for residual feed intake or low RFI. Basarab says, “One of the things that I have been seeing at calving time is a trend to having a lower death loss of calves up to 30 days of age in the cows that have a higher feed efficiency (-RFI). I think that this could be caused by one of the biological mechanisms controlling feed efficiency. The more feed-efficient cows use less energy for maintenance and more energy is available for production and a better uterine environment. At the cellular level, there could be a difference between efficient and less efficient females in cell-mediated immunity leading to inefficient dams and their offspring being more susceptible to stressful conditions. Calving difficulty, age at first calving, calf birth weight, calf pre-weaning ADG, calf actual and 200-d weaning weight and heifer and cow productivity expressed as kg calf weaned per cow exposed to breeding, were also similar for the higher-feedefficient (-RFI) and less-feed-efficient (+RFI) heifers and cows.” The replacement RFI heifers were tracked for several years, but during their third winter when grazing stockpiled forages for the first time there was a difference between the efficient cows and the less efficient cows in body weight and backfat thickness. The more efficient cows (-RFI) were 30-35 kilograms heavier and had two to three mm more backfat than the less efficient cows (+RFI) prior to calving. “We did see the more efficient firstcalf heifers calving five to six days later in the calving season than the less effi-

22 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

A top-per forming bull will leave a lot of daughters in your herd.

cient first-calf heifers and this could be caused by a delayed estrus resulting in a delayed conception during the first breeding season. Thereafter the calving interval and gestation length were similar to less efficient (+RFI cows). This delay in estrus is primarily the result of when we measure feed intake and that is during the time when heifers are coming into puberty (eight13 months of age). Heifers that have reached puberty during the feed intake test period are consuming about two to five per cent more feed energy due to sexual activity and sexual development compared to non-cycling heifers; thus the test tends to favour later-maturing or later-fattening heifers. We attempt

to control this by adjusting RFI for offtest ultrasound backfat thickness and selecting only those heifers that become pregnant during a 42-day breeding season. Calf birth and weaning weights were similar between the feed-efficient and less efficient cows “Selecting for feed-efficient bulls and cows is not the only trait you look at in selecting a bull,” he says. “You need to look at many other traits as related to your herd. The estimated breeding value or EPD is still important. A feedlot profitability index will provide you with bulls with good growth, and good feed efficiency with a balance of carcass traits, while the maternal productivity index will help to consistently

wean heavy calves over a sustained herd life while controlling cow feed costs. You need to set breeding goals such as increase genetic potential of market progeny for feedlot profit or consistently wean heavy calves over a sustained herd life, while controlling for cow feed requirements. RFI or feed intake will play a role in both breeding goals, and their importance will be determined by the economic weighting being placed on them by the breeder or seed stock group. “If you are at the bull sale and looking for a bull to breed heifers look at calving ease and low birth weights but also look at fertility traits such as weaning weights, milk production, feed efficiency information and if possible know the cow herd and reputation of the breeder. “In the future there will be a continued need to individually test bulls for feed efficiency. This means that bulls on test must be individually fed for feed consumption and performance data. The different breed associations in Alberta are currently testing bulls at several testing facilities in the province and these bulls will be available to the industry. However, there is limited testing elsewhere in Canada. The information on feed-efficient bulls or RFI values will be calculated into a multi-trait selection index with economic values and this will help make the estimated breeding values more useful in the future. Basarab concludes, “The Canadian beef industry will need to continue measuring feed intake in their bulls. The breed associations across Canada and the seed stock organizations need to work together to create feedlot profitability indexes and maternal productivity indexes along with feed efficiency information and promote this information to their customers.” Trying to decide on the actual time of the calving season presents many options. When we started Canada’s first “Pasture to Plate” cow-calf and pasture program at the Melfort Research Station in Saskatchewan during the early ’70s, we looked at Jan., Feb. versus April and May calving seasons. Later we moved the herd to Feb.-March calving. Currently at Lacombe we are looking at April and Sept. calving. We’ve also done a lot of calving research in different weather environments. One of the major things that we developed at Melfort was a portable calving shelter that could be moved around to different areas during the calving season. It was made from a drill stem and contained three calving pens complete with head gates and portable infrared heaters. We calved cows successfully in these units in weather that sometime dipped to -30 C. The plans can be found on along with all sorts of calving management information.

Many producers don’t want to calve in snowstorms and are looking at calving on grass as a means of lowering labour requirements and costs. The Western Beef Development Centre and the Brandon and Swift Current Research Centres conducted a trial to evaluate the effect of March and June calving on subsequent performance during the backgrounding and finishing phases under a rapid-finish versus slow-finish feeding program. The rapid-inished steers were fed a backgrounding diet followed by highbarley grain in the feedlot while the slow-finished steers were fed a backgrounding diet in the feedlot during the winter followed by grazing during the summer and later finished on a high-

barley grain finishing diet. Once steers met the desired end point of 0.3 inches (eight mm) backfat or 1,650 lbs. bodyweight they were sent for slaughter. The cows that calved in June remained on extended grazing systems longer than cows calved in March without compromising performance, resulting in a lower feed cost per cow per day. Different finishing systems had a greater impact on the performance of March-born steers. This was related to the duration of the backgrounding period. A longer backgrounding period reduced overall gains and efficiencies, but increased final weights. March-born calves appeared to be more suited to the rapid-finishing system and June-

born calves showed greater flexibility in adapting to the two finishing systems. Again, this was due to the shorter time required to background June- versus March-born calves. The researchers concluded that cow-calf producers will need to consider their post-weaning management practices as well as the target markets for their weaned calves when selecting calving seasons. Managing a successful cow-calf operation really begins before calving season. It begins with buying the right bull, and choosing the best time to calve in terms of your weather, available labour and marketing plans. C Duane McCartney is a retired forage beef systems research scientist in Lacombe, Alta.

Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013 23

calving management Friday, March 15, 2013

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umerous articles have been written over the years on how and when to intervene at calving, how to recognize malpresentations and what to do about them. Producers now see fewer and fewer calving-related problems as our breeding has improved and we select for easy-calving heifers with larger pelvises and moderate birth weights. Ensuring cattle have adequate exercise with good nutrition, including access to balanced minerals, also ensures cows have adequate strength for uterine contractions and calves are vigorous when they are born. I have always stated that at calving time the goal is to get a lively vigorous calf from every cow, not just a “live” calf. Over-pulling or pulling too fast out of sync with the cow’s contractions is not an option. Although we all don’t need to pull or assist calvings very often anymore, I would suggest that we still need to revisit our equipment and review calving guidelines and protocols every calving season just to remain prepared for these problem cases when they do appear. When we need to assist, timely intervention and, more importantly, recognizing your limits are critical as time ticks along. With each calving an internal

clock starts ticking as the cervix of the cow opens up and the delivery begins. I believe it is imperative to watch and record the time when a calving is initiated. This makes it very easy to decide when to intervene. Usually progress should have been made within one hour for cows and one and a half hours for heifers. If she continues to strain, or blood appears first or she is hunched over but nothing is being presented it may be wise to check her out. Since we don’t usually need to assist many cows anymore there is sometimes a reluctance to intervene. In working with experienced producers over the years I have found they are usually guided by their own intuition. If they feel something isn’t quite right they will check her out sooner rather than later, and usually that has avoided a wreck. Whether it is a full breech birth (both back legs pointed forward), head back or torsion a farmer’s intuition is usually correct. Knowing when to call for help is another difficult decision. With any malpresentation, improperly dilated cervix or any situation that requires fetal manipulation or extraction bear in mind that you should be making progress every 15 minutes. If you aren’t, call for assistance. To my mind veterinarians should be called for most full breech births. It takes careful manipulation of a breech to avoid tearing the uterus and this is

24 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

where mistakes can happen that can lead to the death of the cow. Torsions are rare so just recognizing them is the first step in getting help with the correction. Torsions present similar to a full breech birth with the cow or heifer going through what appears to be the first initial signs of labour then just stops. There is no water bag presented or fluid discharge yet the cow/heifer appears uneasy. When examining the cow vaginally it feels like there are bands of tissue running every which way. It certainly does not feel normal. You may be able to wiggle your hand in and reach the calf but it feels like you

are going down a loose corkscrew and your hand may be upside down by the time you reach the calf. This is a sure sign of a torsion and immediate veterinary intervention is required. Some veterinarians correct torsions by manipulation, or casting the cow and having helpers roll the cow while he or she holds onto the calf. Others use a de-torsion rod but in probably half the cases either the twist is too tight or there is no room to detorse the calf and a caesarian section is required. Torsions are just a fluke. There is no hereditary component and I have never seen a cow develop a second

torsion. I can’t say it wouldn’t happen but the odds of it happening would be very low. I have never seen an incidence reported but it would be one every thousand to several thousand births for sure. Veterinarians would be called to examine most torsions. One time a producer with only 120 cows had two torsions a week apart and was very quick to recognize the second one. Most torsions are 180 degrees but some can be 360 degrees or worse. The real important part with torsions is recognizing them and whenever I get one I have everyone examine the cow vaginally so they are better able to recognize it next time. Call for help

and hopefully a successful outcome will result. With all other calving abnormalities including improper cervical dilation, twins coming totally mixed up, a placenta presented first or a vaginal prolapse in the way try to correct it yourself for the 15 minutes. If you are making no progress after that call for help or prepare to take your animal into the local clinic for examination. These are not very common abnormalities any more so a veterinary bill to potentially save the cow and calf seems like a good investment. I hope you all have a great and uneventful calving season. C

Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013 25

calving disease

Clean ground beats scours At least it’s a good starting point By Lisa Guenther


very beef producer has dealt with calf scours at one time or another. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites all cause scours, which can make a specific diagnosis and treatment tricky. But one management practice prevents most scour problems for Dale Adamson. “Be on clean ground as much as possible, even if you’re calving earlier,” he says. Dale and his brother Terry run about 500 cow-calf pairs, plus backgrounders and grassers at Diamond J Cattle Co. near Makwa in northwestern Saskatchewan. Their third-generation ranch received the provincial 2012 Environmental Stewardship Award presented by the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association.

The Adamsons’ heifers start calving on April 10. Heifers are confined near the barn while calving, but cow-calf pairs are moved within a few days. “We literally put them right away from that area, and they’re on the clean ground,” says Dale. Booting older calves into a different area also works for cows calving on pasture. “You solve a lot of scour problems that way, because if the newborn calves are separated from the older calves, it just doesn’t get a chance to turn into a big epidemic,” says Dr. Miles Johnson, a veterinarian with North West Veterinary Services in Turtleford, Saskatchewan. Heifer calves are more susceptible to scours, so calving them separately can help keep scours in check. If heifers are calving earlier, Johnson says producers should not mix sickly heifer

Dale and Terr y Adamson follow some simple rules to keep scours under control.

calves with newborn calves, as it can precipitate an outbreak. Adamson’s older cows start calving in the pasture on May 1. The calving pasture may have been grazed once or twice during the summer, but the cows aren’t there during the winter. They employ a rotational grazing system, so cows aren’t necessarily calving

on the same pasture from one year to the next. Moving them frequently also keeps any scour-causing bugs from building up. Cow nutrition determines the quantity and quality of colostrum, says Johnson, who encourages his clients to be sure their cows are getting enough protein.

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Cattle and hog groups to lobby candidates Wish lists } The

national beef and pork industry associations want their issues as planks in party platforms by ron friesen staff


mproved market access and better business risk management programs top livestock producers’ wish lists for the May 2 federal election. the Canadian Cattlemen’s association and the Canadian Pork Council vow to make trade and BRMs election issues as the campaign gets underway. they also say they will tell politicians that rising input costs and an increasing regulatory burden hinder producers’ competitiveness.

no one knows yet whether auction marts will have to read cattle in, out or both.

level playing field needed for traceability to work FAiR PlAY } If reading cattle will be mandatory for auction marts, their association wants cattle sold in the country to be read too

by sheri monk af staff

market access: John masswohl says canadian beef producers need a free trade deal with south korea.

26 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

Both CCa and CPC are encouraging members to lobby political candidates on matters affecting their industries. the CCa plans to send all four major political parties a document outlining industry concerns and recommending ways to deal with them. Parties are expected to brief candidates on what the cattle industry wants before they hit the election trail, said John Masswohl, CCa’s


ivestock traceability has moved another step forward after another $1.6 million in federal funding, but industry remains uncertain of details, including how and when it will be implemented. “a national traceability system is a winwin for Canadian producers, the value chain, and consumers,” agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release announcing the funding last month. But before everyone can win, a level playing field is essential, said Jim abel, president of the Livestock Markets association of Canada. “We need market neutrality. somebody can go to the country and buy the cattle and not have to read them, but they come to the market and

they have to read them and we’re going to charge the producer $5 or $6, as an example, to read them and the guy in the country doesn’t have to pay that? “Well guess what? the farmer is going to sell to the guy in the country and that puts us at a competitive disadvantage,” abel said. for true traceability every movement has to be recorded, he said. “Or else you don’t have true traceability — what have you got? a hodge podge system where two-thirds of them are recorded and the other third aren’t.” two traceability application research studies have been conducted simultaneously, one by the Canadian Cattle Identification agency (CCIa), and one by the alberta government. the findings from phase one of the CCIa study were released December of 2010. the release of alberta’s data is imminent.

“I think that traceability at auction markets is possible with the right equipment in the right location within the facility.” DOnna Henuset project manager, ccIa

abel says the technology is promising and has been used with great success on a trial basis at stettler auction Mart. “We’ve been a pilot market here at stettler since its inception, going on

see traceability } page 6

see lobby } page 6

south saskatchewan regional land-use plan draws cautious reaction } page 19

“I do think having healthy calves does help, and that’s a lot to do with the nutrition the cows have had during pregnancy,” adds Dale. The Adamsons provide salt and minerals year round. They also test their hay to check mineral levels and also tested their grass a few years ago. Poorly drained pastures can also leave calves vulnerable to scours, particularly coccidiosis. Cows may wade into water for a drink, dirtying their udders. The Diamond J is split by two creeks, one running northsouth, and one running east-west. But the Adamsons have fenced off creeks and sloughs, so the extra water isn’t a problem. “We actually pump 99 per cent of our water,” says Dale. Vaccines target some viruses and bacteria that cause scours. They prime the cow to produce antibodies that will be passed to the calf through colostrum. Ideally beef producers should vaccinate about one month before calving, then administer a booster two weeks later. Johnson says the booster must be given at least 11 days after the initial dose. Johnson recommends following

best practices when vaccinating cattle. Giving a cow a single shot while preg checking, without administering a booster closer to calving, might not be any better than doing nothing, he says. “But it does prime the cow’s immune system. If you do it at preg checking, you’ve got the cow’s immune system primed, and then, if everything’s perfect and you give them a shot two weeks before they start to calve, you have an ideal situation.” If storms delay the booster, a producer can at least give them the booster during calving season if scours develop, says Johnson. “Where if you start running them in the middle of calving season and giving them two shots, well, the calving season’s over before that really takes effect.” Some producers only vaccinate their heifers. Once the heifers have two shots, they can be given a booster later in life if scours become an issue, Johnson says. Early treatment vital Even with all the right management practices, producers are bound to have problems with scours at some point.

Johnson says the smartest thing to do is to collect a fecal sample from a sick, untreated calf and send it to the lab as soon as scours arise. You can also look at the disease’s timeline for a diagnosis. “If you have a scours outbreak, you discern a pattern pretty fast,” says Johnson. Viruses generally hit calves between 10 and 14 days old. Bacterial infections are most common in the first week of a calf’s life, but can strike any time. Coccidiosis has an 18 day incubation period. “Coccidiosis is a pain. It’s preventable by feeding the cattle a coccidiostat, and if you have a big problem, you just have to do that. Just start feeding them this stuff a month before they calve, and then your calves won’t get it,” says Johnson. You can also treat calves with Baycox, a one-dose treatment that contains toltrazuril. Equipment should be washed and disinfected between calves. Using unwashed equipment on multiple calves spreads the infection. Washing hands is also important because some scours organisms such as salmonella and cryptosporidiosis also infect humans, says Johnson.

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“And that’s a double-edged sword in a way. The guy is sick, but he’s also spreading it back to other calves,” he says. In May 2012, a few of the Adamson calves, particularly the older ones, did run into some scours. Dale Adamson suspects the grass, which was particularly lush last spring, triggered the problem. Prompt treatment kept it under control. “That’s the biggest thing with these calves, if they don’t dehydrate, you can go a long ways and they’ll come out of it. If they dehydrate, you’ve got a problem. “If we had a calf that looked a little bit gaunt, we used electrolytes. We basically packed that with us.” “We’d just tube them. And usually that would just bring them out of it. As long as the calves didn’t get dehydrated, everything was okay.” Scour pills are also part of their treatment arsenal. Adamson says they also treat calves that aren’t too sick or dehydrated by squirting about 10 cc of hydrogen peroxides in the calves’ mouths. “That’s kind of, I guess, an oldschool remedy, but it damn sure works. It just tightens them right up.” C

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Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013 27

calving environment

Drought has Eastern producers anxious about 2013 calf crop By Julielee Stitt


have never lived through a summer that was this dry,” says Robert Dobson, a fifth-generation beef farmer. For the past 30 years, Dobson has operated a family-owned beef farm in Cobden, Ont, a small community located about an hour west of Ottawa, Ont. Last summer, the area was hit by a drought, forcing his 100 acres of pasture fields into hibernation. “They were brown. It was crazy,” says Dobson. While rainfall in September may have prevented permanent damage, it didn’t stop him from beginning to feed his already-reduced hay harvest several months earlier than expected. “We started feeding hay the first week of July and it was hay that we had only baled two weeks earlier,” says Dobson. Most years the beef pro-

ducer will only begin to feed his cattle in late October or early November. This year, Dobson’s hay harvest was down between 40 to 50 per cent and the cost of purchasing more bales has tripled in light of scarcity. Almost a decade ago, the family made the decision to downsize their cattle herd and switch the remaining 150 head to a forage-only diet. They now market their organic beef at local farmers’ markets. The absence of good pasture fields hit the Dobson family harder than most, but they aren’t alone. Producers across Ontario, Quebec and in the Maritimes experienced record highs in temperatures and lows in precipitation levels. The effects were immediate, and as many producers are coming to realize, long lasting. The impact on the amount of winter feed has many farmers assessing the implications the drought could have on


spring calving. Among their concerns is the weight and conditioning of cows and heifers that are set to calve in the spring, the length of the calving season and the health of the newborns. Dr. Erasmus Okine is an associate professor in the faculty of agricultural, life and environmental sciences at the University of Alberta, specializing in beef cattle nutrition. He says that while feed quantity can be a major concern during a drought, especially for the calving herd, the quality isn’t necessarily compromised. “If the drought reduces the crude protein content of the forage, it’s going to cause problems related to the ability of cows and heifers to be bred,” he says. Protein in beef cattle’s diet is essential, and especially important for milk production and reconditioning, following calving. “Cows, just before breeding, need between nine to 11 per cent crude

protein in their diet. If the drought decreases the amount of crude protein by increasing the amount of acid detergent fibre, you’re going to be in trouble,” says Okine. In mid-pregnancy, cow’s diets require about seven per cent crude protein and in late gestation nine per cent. While a cow is lactating she needs 11 per cent. Ontario Cattlemen’s Association president Dan Darling says he is concerned about the calf crop. Along with his brother and family, Darling owns a cow-calf operation in Northumberland County, located in eastern Ontario. “We had such extreme heat right around the time that cows should have been getting bred and the quality of the grass was very limited at that time,” says Darling, noting that he saw an increase of cow-bull activity in October. “I’m expecting that there are going to be cows coming in a lot later than normal,” he says.

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Producers in Quebec echo Darling’s concerns. Gib Drury sits on the Quebec Beef Producers Federation, as the president of the Outaouais and Abitibi chapter, an area that was especially hard hit by the drought. Drury, who operates a beef farm near Wakefield, Que. expects that his spring calving crop, and that of producers in the region, could be delayed by almost two months. “That’s if the farmers are lucky and the cow has been bred at all. Normally, about

10 per cent of your cows don’t cycle properly. This year, because of the drought, it’s more likely to be 30 per cent,” he says. The financial implications could be devastating, he adds. “If the cow or heifer is not in calf, and they’re not in calf next year, they’re really just a pet and you don’t want to keep them. That’s the business. What’s going to happen is producers are going to have a smaller calf crop next year to sell and they’re going to have to deplete their herds this year of the cows that aren’t pregnant.” Combined with the drought conditions in the United States, Nova Scotia farmer Terry Prescott is concerned about the impact the weather, reduced crops and the culling of “empty cows” could have not just on calving, but also on market prices. Prescott heads the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers, as the organization’s chair. “The heavy culling of cattle south of the border has driven down finished cattle and cull cow prices for the immediate short term that affects us all, regardless of what region we are in,” writes Prescott in an email. While he says the weather conditions were not as severe in Nova Scoita, as

in other parts of Central and Eastern Canada, cow conditioning entering the winter months was affected. “I feel in my travels around our region that pastures gave out early so many cows didn’t see the feed they needed to keep their body condition up,” writes Prescott. “Thinner than normal cows going into the winter/ spring calving season may not have the necessary reserves to handle winter conditions or calving challenges adequately without extra management and inputs to offset these potential challenges, further increasing producers costs,” he adds. If the cow is carrying a calf and feed is in short supply, both in quantity and quality, the cow will mobilize its body fat to try and keep the fetus alive. “She will do that until she can no longer do it anymore. Then she will let the fetus go. They will lose the calf,” says Okine. The beef nutrition expert says producers should assess the body condition of their calving herd and ensure that they receive the proper nutrition that they need. “Cattle producers should be talking to their local nutritionists and their vets to feed test what they have and to

get someone to do a balanced ration for their cows and heifers. Feed testing at this time is very important, especially after a drought,” says Okine. Dobson has been paying close attention to the weight and health of his cows that are set to calve in the spring, he says. “If you have weak calves, you have problems.” In cases where calves are born at a reduced weight, Okine recommends establishing a supplemental feeding program. “If the calf is born and the body weight isn’t very high they can be creep fed later on to allow them to gain weight,” he says. While most farmers will opt to compliment their herds diet with grain or beef pellets this winter, Dobson doesn’t have that choice. “We don’t have the options that other people have because we’ve eliminated them from our [feeding] program so that will make it more difficult… but we can live with it. It’s one year and as most farmers are, I’m hopeful that next year we will return to average weather, average rainfall, average temperatures,” he says. Beef producers across Central and Eastern Canada are also hoping for a return to average (or better) calving. C

Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013 29

calving climate

Into uncharted waters The Jonassons are still battling the flood of 2011 as they look to another calving season By Melanie Epp


he road to Art and Jackie Jonasson’s Manitoba cattle ranch is strikingly at odds with the other quiet gravel roads surrounding Lake Manitoba, although the difference only becomes apparent if you try to pull over to gaze curiously at the surrounding meadows. There is, in fact, nowhere to pull over, as the narrow road is densely packed with gravel, raising it some six feet. The surrounding pasture is just as deceiving. Although the region, made up predominantly of pristine natural grassland, had ample precipitation this year, on the surface, it appears to be drought-stricken marshland, where browning cattails point sharply out of cracked and sun-baked earth. The surrounding fields resemble something out of the Australian outback, rather than the airy grasslands they should be, and looking around the landscape, you get the sense that something is deeply wrong. In 2011, a one-in-500-year flood hit Manitoba, creating damage far worse than the disastrous flood of ’97. By way of the Portage Diversion, dangerously high waters were safely redirected from the flooding Assiniboine River into Lake Manitoba, an area not historically prone to flooding. While it kept those in the city of Winnipeg safe, it gravely affected inhabitants of the Interlake region, particularly those in and around Lake Manitoba. Nestled on the edge of the lake, Art and Jackie Jonasson’s cattle ranch is

Art and Jackie Jonasson

located near the tiny community of Siglunes. On May 3, 2011, the municipality contacted the Jonassons to inform them that Lake Manitoba was rising and that the water was going to be high — higher than expected. At that time, communication was limited, says Art. “But you could glean from what was going on that it was going to be bad.” And bad it was. The lake, normally at a depth of about six to eight feet in front of their house, doubled to 16 feet, causing water to move more than

32 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

four miles inland. The land nearest the Jonassons home was completely submerged, but it was too early to move their cattle to pasture. To make matters worse, most of their 300 cows were calving. “I want to move my cattle once,” Art recalls telling the municipality. “I don’t want to have to haul them twice.” But as the water rose dangerously high, the Jonassons knew they’d have to be moved. “We tried to move them real slow in small groups, but we were run-

ning out of time,” remembers Art. “Our road had water up to within three inches of the top and the semis didn’t want to come in. We had to call (the municipality) and the EMO and asked them to put some rock on the road to hold it. To their credit, the municipal workers did hold the road, and most of the Jonassons cows were moved safely to a neighbouring ranch, however they lost 10 calves in the process. “It was close,” says Art. “The last of our cows went out in a foot of water.” The water didn’t just affect the cattle though. The Jonasson’s farmhouse, which had been in Jackie’s family for generations, was at risk too. The municipality built a dike around the house, but as the water rose beyond expectations, it had to be reinforced three times. Although it never breached, it came close. Dikes, unfortunately, couldn’t save the surrounding grassland. It completely flooded and remained under water until well into July. After being submerged for months, fences were destroyed. Debris floated in, and as the excess water disappeared, it settled on the land. Trees — oaks and shrubs, usually thick with saskatoons — were wiped out entirely. With the exception of a few songbirds, the surrounding wildlife disappeared as well. “We didn’t have a skunk. We didn’t have a mosquito,” Jackie remembers. “There was not an animal to be seen.” Arguably, the worst damage was to the natural grasslands. Rough fescues — some of the rarest grass in the province — June grass, sedges, clover, salt grasses, Timothy Hay and bluestem, were completely wiped out. As the soil’s salinity rose, the once-pristine grasses were replaced by inedible, invasive species and annual weeds, including burdock, narrow-leaved cattails, marsh arrow-grass, and foxtail barley. Continued on page 34


Year Old Black Angus Bull Sale



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SHOWS Wednesday, March 6 11 am Angus 1 pm Hereford followed by Commercial Replacement Heifer Pen Show & Sale (approx. 6 pm)

SALES Thursday, March 7 8:30-10:30 am Ranch Horse Demo 11 am Angus immediately followed by Gelbvieh, Hereford (approx. 1pm) & Ranch Horses (approx. 6 pm)

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Invasive species have taken over.

Garbage marked the high water line.

Continued from page 32

return. They will continue to repair fences and remove debris. “Looking forward, we’re just plugging away,” says Art. “We’ve got a few years of cleaning up yet. But it feels good to get back on the land.” Their hope is to keep all of their cattle at home. To help speed the recovery of the grasses, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives has set up test sites to see which grazing systems will work best. They will try both a continuous and a rotational system, as well as leave some areas untouched. “It’s going to be another year of learning,” Art laughs. On the surface, the scope of the damage is daunting. And while friends and neighbours have sold their cattle and moved on, the Jonassons aren’t ready to give up. “Not that we haven’t had that conversation,” says Art. “How I look at it is we’re doing what we want to do. For us, it’s just life. You’ve got to keep going. And if you look at it as if it’s the worst thing ever, well, your life could be the worst thing ever. We have to look at tomorrow as another day. The sun comes up and we go out and do what we can.” “There’s a resilience in the cattle industry — in all agriculture,” he continues. “I look at the people — they keep going because next year is going to be better. And most times it is. There’s an old saying in the cattle industry: There have only been two good years in cattle — 1977 and next year,” he chuckles. “A lot worse things can happen to you in your life.” C

Back home, Art looks out across the lake that has since returned to its normal depth. There’s no denying; the damage is overwhelming. You can see in his eyes that he’s worried, yet he remains positive and hopeful. “You have to,” says Jackie. “People my age are saying, ‘What are you going to do?’ We’re just doing it.” As the water rose higher during the flood, Art travelled by boat to the few remaining dry fields, where he was haying. With him, he carried enough gas to fill the tractor, and each day, after tying his boat to a fencepost, he worked the field until the gas ran out. With a laugh he remembers the day he called his neighbour to tell him, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that your alfalfa looks great. The bad news is that I didn’t have to lift my motor to get over it.” Moving forward

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Provost Livestock Exchange, Provost, Alberta - 1:00 pm Guest Consignors: McGown Farms, Killam, AB • Wildmere Black Diamonds, Paradise Valley, AB





Frank: 780-753-1959

Jerry: 306-753-7788 Darcy: 780-753-8669 Dean: 780-753-0803

Stop by MURPHY RANCH west of Altario on Hwy 12 to view the bulls.

PEDERSEN LIVESTOCK 780-755-3160 Kurt: 780-209-9999 Open House February 23, 2013 1:00 pm at the ranch north of Edgerton.

This year, as the snow melted and gave way to spring, the Jonassons watched their fields closely, hoping to witness the return of the natural grasses. Even though the standing water had long since gone, the cattails returned, followed by inedible invasive species. Art and Jackie made the decision to keep 175 of their cattle on rented pasture, and supplemented those that remained with purchased feed. Next year, the Jonassons will try to kill off the invasive species through cutting and burning, which should help the good grasses make their

Catalogue online @ and 34 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

19th Annual “Back to the Basics” Bull Sale February 9, 2013, 1:30 PM (MST) at the Ranch • 50 Hereford Horned & Pulled • 35 Black Angus 2 Year Olds • 25 Red Angus 2 Year Olds Approximately 100 Commercial Females

• Bring your trailer on Sale Day for $150 off each bull you purchase

Join us for Lunch

Mick & Debbie Trefiak And Family

• MJT bulls are semen tested, guaranteed • MJT does not trim any bulls feet • 80% of MJT customers are repeat customers

Ph (780) 755-2224 Fax (780) 755-2223 Mick’s cell (780) 842-8835 Kurt’s cell (780) 619-2224 Sale Day Phone: (780) 755-2224 or (780) 755-3260

View our Catalogue Online

Web site: Email: or

R.R. #1, Edgerton, AB T0B 1K0 - 14 miles East of Wainwright and 11 1/2 miles North on Secondary Hwy 894

calving management

There’s no easy answer about when to calve Although spring has the edge on these two farms By Ron Friesen


yler Fulton was in high school when his family decided to stop calving in winter on their cattle operation near Birtle,

Manitoba. It was a welcome change for Fulton, who had to take his turn getting up in the middle of a cold night to check on 250 cows, then struggling to stay awake in math class the next day. Today, 17 years later, Fulton, who farms with his father Dave, still has to go outside at all hours during calving season. Only now it’s in April, not February. For Fulton, there are advantages to calving in spring. You don’t have to climb out of bed at 2 a.m. when it’s -30 C outside. You don’t need expensive infrastructure to keep newborn calves warm and dry. You don’t need as much labour. You don’t get calves with frozen ears. And you have fewer disease problems. But the most basic reason is that, in a normal year, spring is warmer and drier than winter. “If it’s not that cold outside, then it doesn’t really matter,” says Fulton, who is also a risk management director for h@ms Marketing Services, a Manitoba hog marketing co-operative. “And if they’re on dry grass, you can rest assured that, wherever they are, they’re going to be okay.” John Popp, who runs Big Bear Ranch with his wife Adele near Erickson, Man., has been calving in May since 1998. He says calving in spring enables cows to graze later in the fall and then bale-graze during the winter, using hay stockpiled from the previous year. “If we were calving cows in the middle of winter, we’d have to get the cows off that and not bale graze,” says Popp. “We like the simplicity of balegrazing through the winter months.” Because he calves in spring, Fulton is able to graze his cows on corn stover through the winter, using a rotational system of paddocks. Cows go into a cornfield, eat the cobs first and then move to the stalks and leaves. The advantage to doing this lies in the cost. “It’s a significant cost saving to graze corn over feeding hay bales,” Fulton says. Producers have long debated the advantages and disadvantages of

Tyler Fulton

Fulton grazes his April calving cows on standing corn for a portion of the winter.

calving on grass versus snow. But while some see obvious benefits to calving when conditions are warm and dry as opposed to cold and wet, it’s not that simple. “Most guys calve in the wintertime for a reason,” says Dr. Wayne Tomlinson, an extension veterinarian with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. “Calving earlier allows you to wean a bigger calf.” Tomlinson says there are two main kinds of ranchers who prefer to calve in winter: purebred producers and mixed farmers. A purebred producer who calves in winter and sells bulls for breeding the following year has an advantage because the animals are older and more mature when they are turned out to do their job. Also, if a producer sells calves in September during the annual fall run, they’ll be bigger if born in January. Therefore, they might fetch a better return, especially if market prices are good. A lot of cattle producers also grow crops. They don’t want to be in the thick of spring calving when they should be hitting the fields for seeding. “Most mixed farmers want to be done calving by the time they want to switch their interest over into seeding,” Tomlinson says. As a result, the time of year when producers calve may be directly related to the kind of operation they run.

36 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

In Fulton’s case, he and his father retain ownership of their calves — weaning them in fall, backgrounding them over winter, putting them on grass in spring and selling them as feeder cattle in August. As a result, Fulton doesn’t need to worry about having lighter-weight calves because they’ll make it up as time goes on. “If you’re calving in April as opposed to February, you’re weaning the calves at least 150 pounds lighter. This means you put that weight on over the winter and, when they’re a year old, they’re at a weight that makes rational sense to put them on grass,” Fulton says. A common criticism of winter calving is that it increases the risk of scours in calves, especially if snow cover is scarce and the ground is cold and muddy. But Tomlinson says scours is more a disease of confinement than cold, wet conditions. When cattle are calved in winter, they are brought home and kept close together for warmth. Being in close contact means infectious diseases can be transmitted more readily. “If you have to bring cattle into a small area to calve them and if you do get a bug, it spreads quicker than in summertime when they’re spread over a larger area. It doesn’t spread as fast in summer simply because animals don’t have the same close contact,” Tomlinson says.

John Popp

As a result, producers tend to see less scours in spring and summer when the ground is dry and cattle are out in the open, he says. “If you can spread them out over a larger space, you’ll have less disease than if you have them in a smaller space.” Spring calving is also easier on a farm’s labour requirements. Winter calving can be a lot of work because producers need to be out there constantly to make sure calves are kept warm, dry and safe. “One person can look after more cows in spring because you’re not fighting those cold environmental conditions,” Tomlinson says. The availability of grass can be another reason for spring calving. Tomlinson says fresh green grass is high in protein and energy and very digestible. A cow’s highest nutritional demands occurs 60 days postpartum. Giving grass to a cow when her energy needs are greatest results Continued on page 38



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Continued from page 36

in a cheap feed provided at the optimal time. The problem with calving in spring is that it falls into a transition period between winter and summer. Spring in Manitoba can be pretty sloppy, as it was in 2010, when overland flooding was compounded by a freak snowstorm which killed hundreds of animals. Producers were fighting flood, mud, rain and snow while trying to calve. “It was terrible,” says Tomlinson. Sometimes producers calve in summer, which can present a different set of problems. If the summer is hot, calves may be lethargic and slow to get up and nurse. Summer also produces flies and four-legged predators, depending on the habitat. Fall calving has certain advantages, especially since the pre-calving nutritional requirements of a cow can be met by grazing pasture instead of feeding hay. But Popp notes that a cow has its highest nutritional requirements during lactation. So a producer would have to feed stored hay to a lactating cow in fall, thus increasing feed costs. “Why would I feed a cow on stored hay when she has her highest nutritional demand? It doesn’t make any

sense to me,” says Popp, who was a MAFRI beef specialist for 10 years. Fall calving usually occurs in August, September and October. Calves are normally weaned in spring and put on pasture to supply the yearling grass-fed market. But one problem with calving in fall is that it can interfere with the harvest if producers also grow crops. Fortunately, the Fultons don’t have that problem. They used to run a mixed operation. Now they grow only grass and hay, plus annual crops for silage or winter grazing. Not having to manage calving and fieldwork simultaneously is a huge advantage for them. Tomlinson says, in the end, there’s no right or wrong answer about when to calve. It all hinges on the operation and what works best for it. “It depends on what suits your management, your infrastructure, your availability of labour and your marketing,” he says. But Tomlinson cautions producers who are thinking about switching to a different time of year to go into it with their eyes open. “It’s a business and if you’re making a big change, you want to be sure you’re making it for the right reasons.” C

Midwest Hereford Sale Coming Soon.....

February 7, 2013 1:00 PM MST Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds Join us for lunch before the sale! Contact any of us for a catalogue or more information LO Herefords Lanni Bristow (780) 943-2236 Cell: (780) 614-1268

Newman Herefords Mike Newman (306) 825-2701

River Bridge Ranch David Mitchell (306) 893-2838 Cell: (306) 893-7499

Sky Track Ranch Todd Bygrove (306) 825-3577 Cell: (306) 821-1450


Practical tips for handling antibiotics Advice from a busy-practising veterinarian The phone rings often in the Coaldale Veterinary Clinic in southern Alberta. It’s an active bovine practice with a strong feedlot clientele. Dr. Carl Dueck, one of five vets practising in the clinic, knows that the best results come from good systems combined with practical advice that clients actually use. As part of that business, Dueck works with clients to prepare them for their Verified Beef Production (VBP) audits, and part of that is ensuring

effective antimicrobial management efforts are in place. Coming off a hectic fall season, here are his practical tips for handling antibiotics effectively. Understand the therapeutic power of management. Antibiotics should not be the go-to solution for disease management. The concept of a disease triangle includes the host, the pathogen and the environment, all playing a role in the onset of disease. “A classic example would be scours in calving season,” he says. “If you calve in a

Veterinar y advice for using animal health products is impor tant in the VBP program.

wet, confined area you will likely have a lot more disease pressure than if you vaccinate the dams, spread animals out, bed them down properly and keep them dry.” Go to your veterinarian or use seminars and web resources for more information on good management practices. Don’t overdose. More is not better and some products can become toxic at too high a dosage. Don’t underdose. Less may not work. Some products are expensive but label rates are there for a reason. Underdosing will likely not solve the problem and increase chances of developing resistant bacteria. Aggressive, early treatment. “In our feedlot practice we like to use a fairly potent, long-acting antibiotic the first round because we believe it cuts down the chances of having to retreat,” he says. “If you start with a lower-cost, less-potent one you may not get effective kill of the bacteria and you will have to treat again. And if they don’t respond after three treatments, stop treating, put them in a warm, comfortable place and let them recover as they will. Continued treatment is just extra expense and can lead to antibiotic resistance.” Check product expiry dates and storage protocols. Make sure products haven’t expired. Some, like oxytetracyline, can become more toxic past their due date. And make sure they are

stored according to label instructions — in a fridge, at room temperature or away from light. Use good delivery equipment. No point in spending good money on a product and delivering it with unclean or improper administration equipment. Send a message to your buyers. Especially for feedlots, make sure buyers know you want cattle delivered quickly, not standing in a shipping station somewhere waiting to make a truckload. There may be a tendency to believe any extra disease pressure can be addressed with an antibiotic when those animals arrive, but that is simply not true. Reduce fill time in the feedlot. If you can fill a pen in less than a week you will usually have fewer disease problems than if you spread it out over two or three weeks. Think alliances. More feeders are looking at building industry alliances to get farm-direct calves, preconditioned and feedlot ready. “That is something we see growing, although it is still hard for large feedlots to use this approach to fill pens effectively.” Work with your vet. “Most of our clients are on a herd health plan that incorporates best management practices for the use of antibiotics, and good records that ensure animals going to market are free of medications.”


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Helping old friends die

he veterinarian is the only practitioner in life sciences sanctioned to end the life of a patient. Parcelled with the professional responsibility to provide needed care for animal patients is the unassailable ethical obligation to relieve suffering, and ensure suffering ends humanely. Most would consider the animals we depend on for a living “friends” to some degree. Few would argue that the kinship with a faithful cow dog, the old cow pony and the lead cow that brings the herd home every fall for a decade broaches a closeness beyond simple dependence on doing a job. Then there are the majority of animals in agriculture that graze pastures, produce calves and fatten in feedlots that ultimately produce food, and whose care has been entrusted to the cowboys, shepherds and livestock producers of the world. The stewardship assumed at all levels is that they are protected from injury, debilitating disease and conditions that compromise welfare. The food produced must be safe, and the consumer whose choices sustain agriculture trust those who bring it to market. Of course, none of this is possible if any piece of it oversteps the principle of sound economics. We live in an imperfect world. Unfortunately, animals get sick, badly injured, or can no longer be cared for economically within the bounds of sound animal welfare. Euthanasia under these conditions becomes the only option. Euthanasia stands for a good death. Euthanasia implies that animals are killed, when they need to be killed, that it is done humanely, and administered by compassionate and skilled people. It implies that client expectation and those who work in livestock operations are met, as are those of the public who may be far removed from a livestock enterprise, but connected as consumers. There are many unfortunate stories and people willing to air agriculture’s mistakes. The undercover Mercy for Animals footage on abuse in the hog industry, recently splashed across the nation on W5 is a good example. The exposé of handling cull calves in Texas, downer cows in U.S. packing plants, slaughter horses in Canada and woes associated with the transport of livestock tells the world that no sector is immune from the actions of an indiscriminate and careless minority.

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Euthanasia is a topic as raw as it is important. Deciding when it’s time, how it’s done, who does it and all considerations that need to be factored in become critically important. Veterinarians and producers must take the lead role in handling compromised livestock and ensuring euthanasia is handled humanely and professionally whenever called for. Consumers and the public will accept nothing less. Urbanization means contemporary consumers do not understand agriculture, yet there is growing consumer demand to know where food comes from and how it is produced. Ironically, the topic of euthanasia must be integrated into programmed herd health programs at the farm level. The right equipment is needed. Training on how euthanasia is performed and how decisions are reached becomes a compulsory part of managing animals raised for food. In recognition of the importance of euthanasia, the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) recently published a manual on euthanasia for distribution to veterinarians and the livestock industry clients they serve. As well, training was provided to over 30 practices on the use and maintenance of the Cash Universal Euthanasia Kit, a captive bolt system manufactured by Accles and Shelvoke. Approximately 50 kits were distributed to food animal practitioners in Alberta through a Growing Forward grant awarded to the ABVMA. Euthanasia is an imperfect science. New drugs and equipment enter the mix. Acceptable boundaries around welfare and the delineation between stress and distress in animals are changing. Onceacceptable standards in livestock production have been redefined as animal welfare issues. Dehorning and castration of yearling bulls without anesthetic and post-surgical pain relief is only one example. The call for professional judgment on behalf of veterinarians and experienced livestock producers, especially as it relates to euthanasia, has grown more acute. The act of inducing humane death in an animal is a profound human responsibility requiring the highest degree of respect to ensure it is as free of pain and distress as possible. It takes personal commitment to develop the right skills and transfer them to others who will be made responsible for euthanasia in livestock operations. Veterinarians

are often reminded that their actions in helping an old friend die in peace and dignity are often remembered more than the heroics of modern medicine and surgery. There are a number of important conditions attached to euthanasia. They include: 1. Unconsciousness and death occur with a minimum of pain, distress, anxiety or apprehension. 2. Time to loss of consciousness be as short as possible. 3. Methods used are reliable and predictable. 4. People performing euthanasia are safe. 5. Results are irreversible. 6. Methods used are compatible with the requirements and purpose intended. 7. The emotional effect on observers and operators are considered. 8. Methods are compatible with subsequent evaluation, examination, or use of tissue for diagnoses. 9. Drug availability and human abuse potential are considered. 10. Species, age, and health status are factored into methods chosen. 11. Equipment is maintained in proper working order. 12. Safety of predators/scavengers is considered. 13. Legal requirements are met. 14. Environmental impacts of methods used and carcass disposition are considered. Death occurs in a step-wise fashion. First brain function (cerebral cortex, brain stem) is disrupted. Respiratory failure ensues, followed by cardiac arrest. The heart continues to function until blood oxygen levels are depleted. Unconsciousness is irreversible. Verification of death is imperative. “We, who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle easily and often breached. “Unable to accept its awful gaps, we would still live no other way. “We cherish the memory as the only certain immortality. Never fully understanding the necessary pain.” — Anonymous Dr. Ron Clarke prepares this column on behalf of the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners. Suggestions for future articles can be sent to CANADIAN CATTLEMEN ( or WCABP (

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Feed Efficiency

Carcass Quality

Canadian Breeders Bruce Ritchie Dorchester, NB 506-379-6670

Jim Blanke Pilot Butte, SK 306-781-4633

John & Mary Buba Spruce Grove, AB 780-963-8197

Kaiser's Celtic Cattle Caroline, AB 403-772-3420

Orange Valley Celtics Strathmore, AB 403-369-1777

John Day Stirling, Ont. 613-395-3202

Brian Hamp Radisson, SK 306-827-2279

Dale Clark Airdrie, AB 403-226-0416

Miles & Shirley Knauft Rimbey, AB 403-843-3286

Peter Frolund Hughenden, AB 780-856-3649

Harold Priestly Teulon, MB 204-886-7362

Rodger & Carol Pedersen Star City, SK 306-863-2532

Frosty Acres Farms Bluffton, AB 403-843-4721

Glenn Persson Gwynne, AB 780-352-9613

Kevin Beatty Chauvin, AB 780-753-6482

Dale Studer Virden, MB 204-748-1251

Triple S Cattle Co. Okla, SK 306-325-4515

Richard Gabert Manning, AB 780-836-2579

Scott Farms Hanna, AB 403-854-2135

Kirk Cowell Spirit River, AB 780-864-3150

Murray Andres Macnutt, SK 306-742-4565

Cody Lockhart Debden, SK 306-724-4451

Fred Gainer Falun, AB 780-352-6570

Arlin & Anita Strohschein Trochu, AB 403-442-4372

Tyson Mitchell Kitscoty, AB 780-808-0521

calving nutrition

Nutrition for Cows after Calving By Heather Smith Thomas


re- and post-calving nutrition for the cow depends a lot on when she calves. D r.   B a r t   L a r d n e r (research scientist, Western Beef Development Centre and adjunct professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan, says a growing number of producers are changing their calving season from traditional spring calving to later in the year to cut the cost of feed during calving and breeding. “Here in Western Canada I ask ranchers if they can evaluate the cost of putting energy and protein in front of that lactating cow after she calves. The price of energy and protein in a March-calving herd compared to a May-calving herd may be quite different. If we can supply most of those nutrients through pasture forage this will greatly help lower our costs,” he says. There are still many calves born early to have the cows calved out, or even bred before they go to summer grazing on community pastures. “It is especially important to have these cows in good condition coming into calving season,” he says. “Nutritional requirements will depend on what the winter feeding program is based on. Be aware of the cows’ condition coming into a winter program. Summer grazing is the optimum time to put condition on these animals. We typically use a body condition scale of 1 to 5, and like to see cows coming into winter in a body condition score of at least 3 or maybe 3.5. Our goal is to have them maintain that condition over the winter feeding period,” says Lardner. “You can start with low-quality feeds, early in the winter-feeding program, and use higher-density forages during the last three or four weeks prior to calving,” he says. The cow has a 100-day critical period, which includes the 30 days before she calves and 70 days after she calves. “This is when we need to pay attention to energy and protein. The rest of the year we can graze low-quality forages, crop residues, co-products, etc.,” he says. “Producers are innovative these days. Some still use a lot of harvested feeds, such as various types of hay in bale form, but many here in Western Canada have adopted extensive grazing practices, moving cows out of pens into field-grazing scenarios. They

Dr. Bart Lardner

may be using stockpiled perennials or windrowed swathed annual cereals, or bale grazing,” says Lardner. “Depending on the forage source, we may have to provide supplementation. The type of supplement needed depends on where you are. Much of the research done in the southern U.S. shows that protein supplementation is needed, because many forages in those areas are deficient in protein during winter, and we need to feed the rumen bugs.” The microbes need protein in order to break down the fibre in forage and create energy, heat, etc. during digestion. “Protein supplementation in a moderate climate is very important. In a colder climate, however, with a lot of sub-zero temperatures and deep snow, energy deficiency is the biggest issue. So we look at supplementation strategies that provide adequate energy as well as protein during the critical days just prior to and post calving,” Lardner explains. Cows must be fed a higher-quality type of hay or a supplement that contains more energy. The needs for more energy/protein might be met by feeding alfalfa hay but you have to consider cost of the hay and/or supplement. Corn prices are high and producers must weigh the costs of various concentrate feeds. “Feed barley is the traditional supplement in Western Canada and is also up in price — $5 to $6 per bushel, which is double what it used to be. In the past, we talked about feeding cereal grains like oats or barley at five to six cents per pound. Today we’re looking at 10 to 12 cents per pound or even more.” Ranchers need to look around their local area and see what kinds of supplement possibilities are avail-

42 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

able similar in energy to barley grain or corn grain. “There is a lot of distillers grain byproduct available and sometimes it works if you are close to a plant. If not, this type of supplement is out of the question because of the high cost of hauling it very far,” says Lardner. “We have some Alberta and Saskatchewan producers who can take advantage of wheat DDG plants. They can bring in dried distillers grain and feed it with a low-quality hay-based ration and it works very well.” The DDG works as a protein and energy supplement and complements the low quality forages. “The nice thing about this type of supplement is that it has no negative affect on fibre digestibility in the rumen. Energy from DDG is from the fat content in digestible fibre rather from starch (such as in grain) — which changes the rumen bugs,” explains Lardner. Any time you feed a lot of starch, the microbe population in the rumen changes, to handle the starch, with less ability to digest roughages. This can negatively affect roughage intake. The cows can’t eat enough, because of slow and inefficient digestion, and may lose weight. “We grow a lot of crops like oilseeds, pulse crops and cereal grains and are starting to look at formulating a ration based around a screenings pellet made of several ingredients or co-products from all these cropping industries. We might be able to build a calving pellet, a post-calving pellet, etc. to target energy and the right form of energy for these crucial times. We are currently doing research on this, looking at pea or wheat screenings, oat and pea hulls, with a certain small percent of DDG or canola. These pellets might supplement moderate quality hay for

a cow pre- and post-calving, to supply her with the needed nutrients,” he says. “Producers should work with a nutritionist and build a ration that will meet the needs of the cows, bearing in mind body weight and condition. I like to add a little ionophore (like monensin sodium) to this type of supplement. I feel this helps cows get over the stress of calving quicker and better, and get them cycling again and hopefully they will be ready to conceive,” he says. For ranchers who are calving later and cows are on grass after calving, the type of grass and stage of maturity can make a difference in whether they have adequate nutrition. “It depends on whether they are on early-spring native pasture or a seeded pasture,” says Lardner. The latter may be best in some climates if the native grasses aren’t far enough along yet. “Here we see both perennial and annual pastures — the typical mix of cool season grasses or a meadow bromegrass/alfalfa pasture, or crested wheatgrass in early spring,” he says. The latter are often ready to graze earlier than native pastures, and you can save the native grasses for midsummer. Some producers use annual pastures in early spring. “One type we use a lot here is fall rye grass varieties such as Prima or Hazlet. This is an annual that often lasts more than a year. If you seed it late spring or early summer it has enough biomass in six to eight weeks for grazing. If you have adequate late-summer rain you can get a second rotation, and often see it overwinter. You can put cow-calf pairs out on it the next spring, even though it is an annual. It can complement perennial grasses,” explains Lardner.

FEED TESTING “We always recommend doing feed and forage tests. Guessing can get you into serious issues and deficiencies, such as grass tetany. A pasture or forage may also be deficient in a certain vitamin or trace mineral. A good mineral program is essential,” says Lardner. Nutritionist Dr. John McKinnon, the Saskatchewan Beef Industry chair at the University of Saskatchewan, says a good forage analysis is an important aspect of management. “And if you are swath grazing you need to know how much you should allocate to these cows. In most cases we are limiting what they eat with a hot wire and moving it periodically. If you are going to allocate a certain amount of swath per head, you need to know the quality of the feed,” he says. It might be easy to figure out how much quantity they need (in terms of pounds of dry matter) but if you don’t know the quality you may still be short-changing the cows. “We hear of cases where animals are losing condition even though they have lots of feed in front of them. It may not have the energy or the protein necessary, and they can’t eat enough to supply their needs,” says McKinnon. “Some producers got into trouble in 2010 when we received three times more rainfall than normal,” says Lardner. “There was good pasture and hay growth but overall the feed was of lower quality and washy because of excessive rainfall.” Feed that grows quickly often has higher water content and lower mineral and nutrient content per pound than slower-growing feeds that have more time to accumulate nutrients. “Producers were feeding their cow herds the same as what they’d always done in fall and winter, but come calving season in 2011 there were many cows thin, with poor body condition and associated issues with calving difficulty and failure to breed back. A simple feed test could have averted this problem,” says Lardner. Mineral nutrition is a key factor, particularly during the last trimester and post-calving. “It’s important to have an appropriate mineral mix in front of that cow, and this will depend a lot on the forage base and whether it is adequate or deficient in certain minerals,” says McKinnon. The mineral levels have a big impact on reproductive success after the cow calves. Copper, zinc and manganese are crucial for fertility. “Many producers are using range pellets to provide energy and protein when the cows are eating lower-quality forages, and they can have the pellets fortified with the minerals they need. These may be customized for their region, and if not, they can work

with their feed company to provide a trace mineral salt mix or a one-to-one mineral that contains trace minerals. These can be fed free choice if the cows aren’t receiving a customized pellet,” McKinnon says. In a mountain climate with a late spring it may be more crucial to provide trace minerals and possibly a protein supplement because native grasses may be just getting started when ranchers turn cattle out on pasture. The cattle are eager for green grass and are no longer interested in hay, but may not be able to eat enough grass to supply their needs. In these instances they may lose weight and don’t cycle as quickly as they should. The rancher would be better off to

keep them in longer on hay before turning them out. In a late spring we are all tired of feeding cows and they are tired of eating hay, but the grass may not be ready. “It is important to manage and monitor body condition and pay attention to whether cows are holding their own or losing weight. You can’t afford to have them losing weight at turnout time,” says Lardner. What you might save in feed costs by turning them out early will bite you later, in cows that don’t cycle soon enough. You may be jeopardizing next year’s calf crop. “In the herd here at Western Beef Development Centre we try to pay attention to pre- and post-calving diets. We do feed tests to know what

the pasture is providing, and whether or not we need to provide additional supplements. Today it is costly to purchase a supplement. It is often better to pay more attention to the winterfeeding program. The feed quality will dictate how you manage cows during calving season. If you bring in poorquality feed you’ll have to step up the supplement program at more cost during springtime,” he explains. “Just because you are feeding adequate volume does not mean you are feeding adequate quality. I can’t stress enough the importance of feed tests-and to never turn out early.” Give the grass a chance to grow and be mature enough to more likely have the nutriC ents needed.


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Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013 43




calving profile









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FROM PASTURE TO PLATE Must fit calving into a year round supply By Ray Burley


n the past five years Denise Glover has made and sold thousands of meat pies. She and her husband Robert own Glover’s Farm Market, three kilometres outside the village of Warkworth in Eastern Ontario’s Northumberland County. It is a thriving business that is currently undergoing its second expansion. All the beef they sell comes from their own farm. “Selling through the store adds about 25 per cent to the value of our beef,” says Robert. “I’ve made 64,000 meat pies,” says Denise. “I started making fruit pies. I don’t know how many of those I’ve made. I wish I’d kept track.” Denise started selling fruit pies in 2001 in a small, five-metre square building that was built initially for a golf driving range. Today the store is a moderate-sized country market selling their own frozen and fresh beef in addition to other meats and meat products, baked goods, produce and locally made gifts and handicrafts. They have a loyal clientele, some of whom travel a long way to buy their products. The current addition to the building will expand the kitchen and storage space and accommodate a cafe and book store business. When Denise started the retail business Robert was running a dairy operation.

“We started the driving range in 1996 when our daughters were going to university,” says Robert. They have three grown daughters. “The girls ran it in the summers to pay for their schooling. That’s where Denise started to sell pies. Three years later when the local cheese factory closed Denise bought all the coolers and freezers and we built the first addition to the building.” The Glovers farm 800 acres. The operation is pretty much the definition of a mixed farm. In addition to a herd of 35 Angus cows they run a small feeding operation where they background and finish their calves. They also grow beans, corn, wheat and strawberries. “We use 75 acres of the rougher land for pasture,” explains Robert, “and grow the cash crops, corn silage and hay on the rest.” One of the most striking aspects of the Glover’s farmstead is the number of buildings. There is a large, old, hip-roofed bank barn and several pole barns with cement yards and feed bunks. The buildings are what remain of the original dairy farm. Robert’s grandfather bought the home farm in 1936. Robert’s father ran a dairy operation on the property and eventually Robert and Denise took it over. “I milked cows for 25 years,” says Robert, “We also had a few beef Continued on page 46

Robert and Denise Glover sell all their beef and much more through their store. 44 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

February 26, 2013 at 1:00

Gues Sadd t Consig lerid ge C nor haro pm lais

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Continued from page 44

cows. With the dairy business we got to a point where both the facilities and I were wearing out so in 2004 we decided to sell the milk quota and concentrate on beef cattle that we could market through the store.” Robert’s cows calve in January and February. In calving season he feeds them in a large pen beside the original bank barn. Inside the barn is a calving pen that can accommodate about six cows. It has a feeder along one side and at one end there is a headgate to hold a cow if he needs to help a calf start to nurse. “We calve in the winter because our cows are registered. We sell a few

bulls and if they’re born at the beginning of the year they’re old enough to breed the next spring,” says Robert. “When the cows start to show they’re coming up to calve we bring them into the barn. We grow around 200 acres of wheat so we have lots of straw and we keep the pens bedded up well. If a calf doesn’t nurse in a reasonable amount of time we use the packaged colostrum you can buy at the farm store. It’s a lot easier than trying to find and freeze fresh colostrum and it’s certainly easier than trying to milk a beef cow. After the calves are born we hold them in the calving pen for a few days and then turn them into a larger pen in the old barn where they have access to a yard outside.”

46 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

There are two elements to calving that Robert thinks are critical. The first is sire selection. The second is vaccinating the cows for scours. “I try to buy good bulls,” explains Robert, “and the one trait I’m most interested in is calving ease. I have only used my calf puller once since we got out of the dairy business.” He gives the cows the scours vaccine in mid-November. It’s given in a single dose. “It’s been my experience,” says Robert, “if you see a calf around twelve days old with scours you can try to treat it but you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to die. The vaccine has worked very well for us.” All the cows are bred by natural

service and to start calving in January Robert puts the bull with the cows from the end of March until July. He doesn’t change the cows’ feed for breeding season. “Most people tell me my cows are already over-conditioned,” says Robert with a smile. “I think it all comes down to putting up good hay. Most people around here don’t start cutting hay until the end of June. For the dairy cows we would start haying in May and we still do that. We also bale and wrap green grain and harvest corn silage. Another thing we do is fertilize all the hay fields and pastures. The cows re-breed well and when calving starts they come quickly”. To background and finish the calves Robert uses the pole barns that were initially built to house dairy heifers and dry cows. The Glovers sell about 55 finished cattle a year through their store, which is more than they produce from their own herd. To meet the demand Robert buys 35 to 40 Angus stockers privately from local breeders. “To supply the store we usually have one finished animal slaughtered each week,” says Robert. “Sometimes we might take two to the abattoir. To fill the constant demand when we wean the oldest calves we push them harder on feed and grow the younger calves more slowly. We’re looking to produce a carcass that weighs around 600 pounds because that gives us slightly smaller steaks that sell better.” Selling their meat through their store they began to have an expanding inventory of ground beef. That was when Denise decided to start making beef pies. They’ve become so popular people order them in advance. Every Tuesday Robert takes one or two finished cattle to a local abattoir. On Fridays he goes back and picks up a load of aged, fresh-cut and wrapped meat. “People know that we have fresh meat on Fridays,” says Robert, “and we have a lot of customers come in on that day. Most of our customers appreciate the fact that we only use antibiotics to treat sick animals and we don’t use any implants.” The growth of the production and retailing operations has required patience, commitment and attention to detail. Both Robert and Denise bring important characteristics to the partnership. They credit one another for being able to make the business successful. “It takes a lot of work,” says Denise, “but we couldn’t have done it without Robert and the farm.” “There would be no store without Denise,” says Robert. “We were lucky when we sold our dairy quota because we didn’t have to borrow money to start. That gave us a chance to let the C business grow gradually.”

Monday, February 25th 1:00 P.M Beechinor Bros. Sale Barn Bentley, Alberta Selling: 55 Fleckvieh, Red & Black yearling bulls 5 Two year old bulls

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Contact consignors for a catalogue.

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1/4/2013 2:20:33 PM

calving health

Why navel ill gets serious A clean calving area avoids it altogether Ron Clarke, DVM


avel ill has been a bothersome part of the spring calving season for as long as domesticated livestock have been housed indoors. It is commonly associated with damp, unsanitary conditions, or at least environments where the garden-variety of bacteria that infect the navel of newborn calves accumulate in large numbers. Not uncommonly, navel ill affects the immune-deficient calf, starved of protective antibodies in colostrum that are needed within the first few hours of birth. Though many consider navel ill a minor complication, few understand why navel infections lead to a variety of serious complications, including death. Understanding why navel or umbilical infections can progress to life-threatening events starts with understanding the anatomy of the

umbilical chord and umbilical region. In cattle, the umbilical chord contains two arteries that deliver oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the fetus from the cow’s placenta where the exchange of oxygen and nutrients occur. Blood and nutrients flow directly to the liver of the developing fetus. Two veins carry oxygendeprived blood back to the placenta. A third structure, the urachus, an out-pouching of the fetal membranes, is a canal that drains the urinary bladder throughout fetal development. Typically at birth, the umbilical chord dries up, the veins collapse and become a rudimentary round ligament associated with the liver, the arteries become fibrous ligaments attached to the bladder, and the urachus shrinks into a nonfunctional band of tissue. The significance of all this is that for a brief time during and after birth there is a portal for bacteria to invade through an open umbilicus and establish infections that subsequently affect

48 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

The most common sign is swelling in and around the navel.

a host of organs. When things go wrong the outcomes can be: Omphalitis or infection in and around the umbilical chord where it penetrates the abdomen at the navel. Bacteria, here, may create a localized abscess, be the source of more generalized infections (septicemia). The presence of a prepuce and structures associated with the penis increases the risk of umbilical infections for bull calves. Infection of the umbilical arteries and veins soon after birth can lead to widespread dissemination of bacteria throughout the body, including the liver (abscesses), joints (joint ill), infection of the central nervous system (meningitis), lungs (pneumonia), gastrointestinal track (diarrhea), eye (uveitis) or septicemia. All these conditions are debilitating, very difficult to treat successfully, and often kill the animal, or culminate in euthanasia. A common complication of navel infections is “joint ill” or septic arthritis caused by circulating bacteria that find their way into joints where they cause extensive damage to both soft tissue surrounding the joint and to cartilage and bone. Joint infections are especially difficult to treat due to the difficulty of moving high levels of antibiotics across the blood-joint capsule barrier.

many producers when calves are born at colder times of the year, or for owners who want to keep a close eye on cows and heifers during parturition. It is important that calving areas are kept clean, dry and well bedded, especially as the calving season progresses. Controlling umbilical infections becomes a simple numbers game by limiting the buildup of harmful bacteria and ensuring the newborn calf’s immune system is primed to fight infection. Antibodies absorbed from colostrum become the first line of defence. In order for a calf to consume adequate colostrum, it must be able to stand, walk, find the dam’s teats and suckle within hours of birth; then

repeat the process several times over the next 12 hours. Ideally, a calf needs at least two litres of high-quality colostrum within the first six hours of life to provide optimal levels of immunity. Calves unable to stand should receive colostrum through an esophageal feeder. It is estimated that 10 to 40 per cent of beef calves do not receive adequate amounts of colostrum. No treatment of the navel is required when calving occurs in a clean environment. Many producers prefer to dip navels using products that act as disinfectants and drying agents. Traditionally, products containing iodine in different concentrations have been used to dip navels with apparent effectiveness. A one-

half percent solution of chlorhexidine is another effective dip for navels without complications like skin irritation that is sometimes associated with iodine solutions. Hibitane teat dip from a dairy supply outlet is an economical source of chlorhexidine. Cattle producers should monitor calves for navel infection over the first several weeks. If navels appear swollen, warm, or draining, owners should contact a veterinarian. Prompt treatment is especially important if any signs of lameness are detected, or joints become warm, distended, and painful. The quicker and more aggressively joint infections are treated, the better the chance for C a successful outcome.

ANGUS BULL? No sir... he’s a


For a brief time during and after birth there is a portal for bacteria to invade through an open umbilicus Failure of the body wall to close around an infected navel fre quently results in an umbilical hernia and often requires surgery to correct. Failure of the urachus to close creates an open canal for urine to flow from the bladder through the umbilicus complicating existing infection and also requires surgery. In some cases, urine flows directly from the bladder into the abdominal cavity and results in a water-belly type of syndrome. The most common clinical sign associated with navel ill is swelling in and around the navel. With navel ill, the umbilical area is usually damp, may be draining pus-like material, but will occasionally look relatively normal even though calves are very ill. Protecting the newborn Calves born in a clean environment seldom get umbilical infections. The ideal place for calving is on a clean, grassy pasture that has not previously been contaminated by other cattle. The ability to calve on pasture eludes

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Less work...Better results Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013 49

CALVING tips & tales


It was April and my husband Joe was checking the back horseshoe for any new calves or cows who might need to come in and this is the scene he came upon. Fortunately, his buddy, who had decided to come along that day had his camera with him. They quickly got a few shots of the three healthy calves and cow before she decided it was time to hightail it out of there. After separating the calves and adopting two of them onto other mother cows they all gained and grew to normal weights. This is the first case of triplets we’ve had in the history of our calving. Doing a little research, we found that one in 105,000 cattle births are triplets and that they have a 25 per cent chance of being born alive. Added to that, is the fact that she had them all on her own without any complications; so it was good to see all three calves plus the cow doing so well. We run Red Angus Charolais cross cattle. Honey Martens Martens Ranch, Swift Current, Sask.

Hide the calf from a mean cow Sometimes you can have a meaner cow that just won’t let you near her calf. The best solution: Hide the calf. I cover the calf up with the wheelbarrow, the mother will sniff around, but she calms down tremendously. I then put the cow in the barn, and proceed back to work with the calf. Then the calf gets a wheelbarrow ride to the barn! Mark Dubilowski Bonnyville, Alta.

A surprise for Mr. Billy This story happened 30 some years ago, back when there wasn’t too much to the outfit except a few cows, a bull and some barbed wire fence. About

this time a generous individual contributed a bunch of goats to the cause. In the goat herd was a fine billy with long white hair and a set of horns that came straight up from the top of his head and did a 90-degree turn to the outside. Those handlebars reminded me of what I believe the biker crowd calls “ape hangers.” When my neighbour Fred, who was a bit of a goat expert, saw the billy, he told me, “That billy will be the boss of the barnyard. It doesn’t matter how big of a bull you have, that billy will rule over everything.” And so for a while it was. That billy wandered around the barnyard, eating everyone else’s food at his leisure, dropping his goat dung Smarties wherever, and smelling strong enough to knock a fly off a gut wagon. I know! I know! It’s supposed to be about calving, well I’m getting to that part. Along about April we had cows calving one sunny afternoon and I was out checking, while the billy decided to tag along. There was a big old Charolais cow that had just delivered a lovely Hereford-cross calf. I knew enough to stay well back, but that old billy goat had to go up and have a sniff. Well, that snowball jumped up and swapped ends in less time than you could blink your eyes. She had a look on her face like a sheGrizzly with PMS that had got out of the wrong side of bed and there might even have been some buzz saw mixed in there somewhere. She was chucking her head, blowing snot and pawing the ground. That old billy lit out for the nearest fence like a greyhound chasing one of those artificial rabbits. He got to that fence well ahead of momma and all he had to do was crawl through the barbwire and he was home free. Trouble was those “ape hangers” kept getting tangled in the wire. Along about the third attempt that snowball arrived on


scene, put her head down and helped Mr. billy goat through that fence. He was about 10 feet past the fence when he stopped rolling. I looked over at the goat, who had eyes as big as saucers and watched him pick himself up and shake the straw out of his hair. He was looking over at the bull, who had eyes as big as pie plates and right then and there all of us knew who the real boss of the barnyard was. Here’s to a safe and prosperous calving season for everyone and remember if you love your cows, there’s calving season and the rest of the time is just waiting. Joe Reinhardt Westlock, Alta.

Pyrenees nudges reluctant moms We have Highlands, and have also raised other breeds. Quite by accident we came across a really effective way to get a young cow to come back to

her calf after a hard birth or pull, or even just first-time jitters. We have a Great Pyrenees guardian dog. She works with us, and has helped in the herding department from the Border Collie and Catahoula. This trick has worked every time, and that was fortunately only three times in five years. After the calf is up and if the cow isn’t interested or is resting we get the calf some colostrum and bed it down in a pen with nice straw. We take the Pyr who loves to cuddle and guard and let her in with the calf. Because our cows spend their time on the range and protect their babies and others from predators they are pretty attuned to the “canines and cows shouldn’t sleep together” rule. We let the cow settle down and bring her up to the pen where the calf is with the dog. Once the dog starts moving around we have found the cow is likely to react in a protective way towards the calf. She gets this look like, “Hey that’s a calf, and a dog. I can take care of the calf. Get away dog!” and she will mother up to her calf. For some reason this kick starts the maternal instinct in them. It does, however, offend the Pyr. A few treats ease her hurt ego and the cow happily takes care of the calf. Using this method we have not had a calf born that stayed a bottle baby for longer than two bottles of first milk. Getting the cow back on to her calf is always better for everyone. And now cows have needed the Pyr treatment more than once. Even taking the dog to the pasture will get everyone paired up. On a side note I have observed our senior cows keeping younger cows and heifers company during their birthing and guarding them. Except for one cougar theft we have had no predators get a calf from us. There was a young bear who tried to swipe one last year, gave him a scratch and the bear ended up getting chased by five mature very angry horned cows. He did not come back. Shanyn Silinski Rapid City, Man.

Tagging twins A few tips and things we do at calving to make life easier are: We match calve numbers with cow numbers for easier sorting and we tag all the calves in the same ear. We usually have between five and eight per cent twin rate. Sometimes it is hard when sorting calves in the fall to keep track of the females in an odd-sex pair. Instead of carrying a notepad when picking replacements, when we have a M/F set of twins born, the

calves get tagged with a number that matches their mother’s tag number followed with an F or an M beside the number (151-F and 151-M). If they are same-sex twins it would be 151-1 and 151-2. This way when sorting replacements in the fall, all I have to do is look at the tag number and if it is a female twin, she goes to the market. If we end up fostering these calves, they get a tag matching the foster mother’s tag in the other ear, this way we know if a calve has a tag in each ear, the calve is a foster calf and we still know which cow the calf came from. My handiest tool during calving is a wooden cane. When checking cows I always carry one. It comes in handy when a cow gets a little protective. I don’t have to worry about it breaking as I have had a plastic cane do, and I can hit a cow hard enough across the nose to back her off but not hurt her. As well it comes in handy when trying to stay upright while navigating a corral covered in frozen manure. Because we don’t use horses and ropes, the wooden cane is the best way I have found to catch a calf for processing, treating or just steering calves through a gate. Using the hook to catch a neck of a calf, steer it around or pull it in to me so I can flank it. I use hockey tape to tape a grip to both the crook end and the bottom end. A wooden  cane will not open up when using it to catch the calf as a plastic one will. Another handy tool I use when processing is a carpenters pouch. There are various pouchs and pockets for storing things. In mine I carry my castrating rings, ring pliers, scissors for trimming horn buds, plastic syringes, ADE, selenium, tagging pliers, tags, dehorning paste and a rag for cleaning paste. My hands are free and I have it all right on my lap when I am processing calves. Kent Larouche Larouche Farms Ltd.   Chauvin, Alta.

It’s all about confidence About five years ago, I found myself a willing participant to calve out about 230 cows… by myself. Now don’t get me wrong… I knew could do this. I’d had years of experience with cattle, and calving in midApril isn’t all that bad. Add a two-and-a-half-year-old and a six-

month-old baby to the mix… it makes life just a little more interesting. My husband was taking a course two hours away — 19 weeks, from February to mid-June, home on the weekends. No problem. Like the dutiful husband he is, he would do all he could to make this easy for me. He’d unstack the bales and make sure there were no more weekday chores than necessary. We would religiously call every morning to make sure we got through feeding alright. He spent time building a calf cage for our side by side so I could tag calves safely. Things were going great. Then calving hit. And lots and lots of rain. First off, I learned about wheel brakes on a tractor. Backing up to bales with a shredder in mud up to my eyeballs. They say the best way to learn is by doing. Even with the kids bundled up in the back window, I mastered it.

Value your vet clinic My tip is the following picture, which says a 1,000 words. My vet clinic is a huge asset all year providing vaccine, mineral and drugs. Every vet and staff member at my clinic go out of their way to help me offering me advice and tips. Our vets want us to be successful. A successful calving starts at bull turnout. Glenn Campbell Kensington, P.E.I.

Fortunately it was warm even if it was wet, and I had little trouble. The first calf hit the ground, 81 White… a red cow. Good mom with lots of milk. I set my new calf cage up and out we went. She was completely at ease as I caught her calf and tagged it. Perfect. There was nothing I couldn’t do. My kids and I spent our days feeding cows, checking cows and tagging calves. Then we hit our first problem. Something’s not right. I have to bring a cow in. After a minor chase, she is in the maternity pen. Not caught in

the headgate, just in the pen. Here’s where things get interesting. You just can’t be two places at once. Our maternity pen is not exactly designed for one-person operation. Even with the so-called self-catching headgate, the cow has me outsmarted. She knew exactly when to stop and backup to not get caught. Bribery didn’t work. So after some ingenuity on my part, I get some ropes out. I have a plan. I can encourage her forward, secure Continued on page 52



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Canadian cattlemen / CALVING SPECIAL 2013 51

calving tips & tales Continued from page 51 the side gate and she is mine. All I have to do is make her walk forward two feet and she is caught. Easier said than done. As I am trying to convince her to walk forward, I up the ante and open the headgate more. Then a little more. Just as I am ready to get real serious, the cow takes advantage of my frustration and lunges forward. Out she goes. Self-catching headgate my butt. She is now at large in the barn. The kids are safe in a pen next to us, so I send her back around and back into the maternity pen. Back to step one: catch the cow. By now this cow thinks she’s got the best of me and she’s getting a little cocky. She’s more confident in approaching the headgate because she pushed right through it last time. So Plan A went out the window and Plan B is up to bat. I let her right through the headgate. We go around again, then once more for good measure. After three successful “escapes” this cow isn’t the least bit hesitant to walk up there. Slam. Look who’s smarter now cow! After a minor assistance with delivery, the cow is released to tend to her newborn calf. Mom and baby are doing just fine. After some brief recovery time in the barn, they are moved back out to join the rest of the herd. The kids and I made it through that calving season with few other

experiences that I am not likely to forget. And here I am, five years later with two more kids, and I still practice what I learned that day. If and when a stubborn cow tries my patience, I boost their confidence with a couple dry runs. I have even seen my husband try this approach. It may seem a little unorthodox, but it gets the job done with a little less time and stress all around. Maria Heidinger Melville, Sask.

Multiple tips • K eep frequently used equipment where it’s used. In the newborn area keep a newborn calf-care bucket with injectables, meds, syringes, needles, navel dip, ear tags and tagger, tape, tail docker, halter, pencil and writing pad. • Store plasticized clear mixing directions in the refrigerator. Many vaccines require mixing. • Keep extra pails, tags, non-refrigerated meds near the calving pen or hutch. Place an erasable board in the central area to list jobs to be done with new calves. • Feed antibody-rich colostrums to a calf as soon as possible. • Clean calving pens. • Collect transition milk, the second milk after calving for up to three days post calving. This milk has one-third the antibody content of colostrum and can be fed to the youngest calves after the newborns.

These antibodies won’t be absorbed into the calf’s blood but can fight pathogens in the digestive system. • Group calves in small groups of similar size and age. Beth McKeown Duncan, B.C.

Fix the waterer I have three tips. One bad animal stirs up the whole herd, especially in the calving pen. Cull the wild cows. It seems they always produce the best calves and never have trouble calving but if they trample or maim you or someone in your family it’s not worth it. As well, they always seem to be the last cow to go through the chute when you are processing cows. Get the cows used to humans. Feed chop in a pail by hand to tame replacement heifer calves. The grain will do them good and they will be a lot easier to handle when they calve. They will come to the chop pail until they are old which also makes them easier to catch in the future. Upgrade your waterer. Our waterer never seemed to fill fast enough and froze up all the time. To solve this problem I upgraded from a 3/8-inch to a one-inch hose coming off the 1-1/4-inch line coming out of the ground and bought a larger Ritchie valve. I lined the inside walls of the waterer with two inch Styrofoam then heat taped my 1-1/4-inch water and slid a five-foot piece of four-inch

Rawes Ranches Ltd. 30th Annual

sewer pipe over the line to hold in the heat. Last of all I spray foamed all the cracks under the waterer between the ground and the 10x10 timber base it sits on. The waterer hasn’t frozen up in three years and works much better than before. Ron Carlson North Pine, B.C.

A solution for scours and calves that eat dirt Baby calves eating decomposed manure and drinking from puddles in the spring had been a big problem on our farm back in the late ’80s. It caused scours and around six weeks of age, calves would get coccidiosis. It was a costly problem and time consuming to catch and treat them. In 1992 a vet provided us with a cheap, easy solution and we are forever grateful. For the past 20 years we have been problem free, except for the few cases of milk scours which we would see after snowstorms or from heavy producing mothers. Star Lake DE is available free choice to our baby calves as a bacteriafree option to the dirt they are drawn to nibble on. It is available right from day one in little containers in our calf shelters and beside the main herd’s mineral feeder. I think calves are drawn to this product because it is pure diatomaceous earth and has a naturally alkaline pH, which soothes their stomach upsets, just like we take Tums. The baby calves actually seek it out at about one to two weeks old. They don’t eat much though, maybe one or two pounds each throughout the calving season at a cost of $1.20 per calf. On our farm, Star Lake DE has proven to be an easy solution for the problem of calves eating dirt. We are getting older and don’t have the stamina to keep up with catching and treating calves, so are grateful that we have found an easy solution to our problems. Craig and Charlene Kaartinen Eriksdale, Man.

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52 Canadian cattlemen / calving special 2013

Quick clean fix for a chilled calf Every calving season seems to bless us with at least one weak, chilled calf. Heat lamps, propane heaters and hot-water bottles all have their place, but nothing beats bringing them in the house next to the woodstove. I have found that a 150-gallon water trough with 1/4 bale of straw in the bottom provides the perfect containment for calves. It is leakproof, confines the calf, confines the mess, and allows you to have the calf close by so you can monitor effectively. The trough can be pre-filled with straw outside, the tarp placed over top (for tipping through doorways), and then the trough is placed on the tarp. When the calf is strong enough to be returned, it’s a two-second clean up. Remove calf, put the tarp back on top, tip to get through the doorways, and toss it outside. Sherry Taylor Hensall, Ont.

Sale Day: MARCH 4, 2013 Show Day: MARCH 3, 2013

Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition Assoc. Box 690 5521 49 Avenue Lloydminster, SK S9V 0Y7 Ph: (306) 825-5571 Fx: (306) 825-7017 Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition Assoc. Email: Sam Hardstaff, AG Manager Ph: (306) 825-5571

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For More Info or Catalogues Contact: Byron & Gwen Kailey, Wynton & Landon Brandl Box 128 • Jarvie, AB • T0G 1H0 Ph/Fx: 780-954-2599 Email:


Barrie, Colleen & Dacie Przekop Box 42 • Smoky Lake, AB T0A 3C0 Barrie Cell: 780-656-5466 Dacie Cell: 780-656-5513 Email:

purely purebred Suggestions are always welcome. My phone number is 403-325-1695 Email: deb.wilson@

Deborah WILSON the thorns, and Bud McBride, the judge of the day.” A few other individuals called or emailed but could not identify the young lady in the center. Ray DePalme called to tell me he knew the tattoo letters of the heifer — NDG, which were for Neil Drummond Gillies, past general manager of the Canadian Charolais Association.

◆ Another great picture for our “Oldtimers” collection. Can you tell me who, where, or when?

◆ Randy Mader took the time to email me and identify the folks in the picture of the December issue. “The three youngsters in the picture are Ray DePalme at the halter, Salers Queen Barb Judd, the Rose in the centre of

◆ The Canadian Limousin Associa-

tion seeks to align breeders with industry and market trends, by conferring with all industry segments, to better understand and realign their breeding decisions with client priorities at top of mind. To accomplish this the association hosted two roundtable sessions entitled “Spotlight on Limousin” comprising representatives of the meat packers, cattle feeders, cow-calf opera-

tors and their own purebred producers. The goal was to discuss traits of value inherent to the Limousin breed, and how to apply them to maximize performance and profitability. One session took place in Ontario on December 3, the other was December 10 in Calgary. Matthew Heleniak of Norwich Packers emphasized the unique characteristics of Limousin cattle and their high yielding ability that his operation relies upon to service a discerning market in Ontario. Norwich Packers runs a vertically integrated operation that feeds, slaughters, processes and markets primarily Limousin hybrid cattle sourced in Alberta. Jeff Trafford of Canada Beef Inc. spoke about the retail marketing element of Canadian branded beef and the importance of leveraging the Canadian Beef brand for all high-quality Canadian beef. He encouraged producers to call upon CBI for support, as it is in the business of adding value to all aspects of Canadian beef value chain to improve the net benefit to checkoff contributors. Over 80 participants attended each session where they developed a renewal plan for the Limousin breed that focuses on adding

muscle and yield naturally through crossbreeding to raise the profile of the breed within the entire beef value chain. A complete report of the Spotlight on Limousin focus groups discussion is available n the CLA website at

◆ The Canadian Hereford Association has posted videos of the technical sessions at the last World Hereford Conference on YouTube. There are nine in the series — each about a half hour long. They are quite interesting and suitable for a broad audience — not just Hereford breeders.

◆ The Canadian Angus Association

closed out 2012 with some impressive numbers: the third-highest number of registrations ever, after 2008 and 2006 which were 61,586 and 60,744, respectively. The breed also reported a record number of Angus tags sold and the strongest operational financial performance in over a decade.

◆ Diamond A Farms, Laine and

Krista Anderson of Millet, Alta. were named Commerical Breeders of the Year by the Gelbvieh Association of Alberta and B.C. at its Decem-

7th Annual

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Silas Chapman (403) 741-2099 | Blake Chapman (403) 741-8625 | Shane Castle, Castlerock Marketing (306) 741-7485 | Auctioneer: Don Raffan (250) 558-6789 54 Canadian cattlemen / CALVING SPECIAL 2013

breeders. If you think you have such an animal, contact the CGA office at Ph: 403-250-8640, Fax: 403-2915624, email:

Brian took on a management position with Carbury Feeders, a division of Nestle foods. In 1991 he moved to the position of International Marketing with Alta Genetics, focusing on beef exports. In 1996 he started his own marketing company, Bouchard Livestock International, while continuing to work with Alta Genetics on their export business. Bouchard Livestock International offers complete import and export services for live cattle, frozen embryos and semen, plus sales consulting and sales management. The WSFF Golden Book Award is given to individuals who have contributed to the expansion and growth of the Simmental breed, and are leaders in the development of international trade. Brian has visited and marketed genetics in 25 countries around the world with an estimated total value of $10 million. “Brian’s leadership and commitment has been a true asset and I look forward to continuing to work with him to promote the Simmental breed,” said CSA general manager Bruce Holmquist in making the presentation.

ber annual meeting in Ponoka. The Andersons have been using Gelbvieh bulls for a number of years. Laine and Krista calve out 200 cows and farm 1,600 acres with their three children, Ashtyn (20), Hulaina (8) and Chas (6). Ashtyn is currently in 4-H and Hulaina and Chas will start when they are old enough. The Andersons are very prond of the calves and the quality of their herd. They hope to continue farming and provide their children with the opportunity to be the fourth generation to run cattle on the Anderson family farm.

◆ On November 21, 2012, at Canadian Western Agribition, Brian Bouchard of Crossfield, Alberta, was honoured with the prestigious World Simmental Fleckvieh Federation (WSFF) Golden Book Award. A longtime leader in the Simmental business, Brian and his family began Bouchard Simmentals in 1971 and raised Simmental cattle for 20 years. In 1987



◆ The Canadian Gelbvieh Association

has negotiated a special price of $35 for 50k SNP panels down from the regular price of $85 until March 31, 2013. The association says the 50K SNP panels are important in order to have Canadian genetics as part of the training population and ensure that the MBV calculations will not be skewed too heavily toward the U.S. genetic pool.

◆ 2012 was another busy year at Gentec. Ongoing development projects on the genomics of pig diseases and tools to improve hard-to-select bovine genetic traits are expected to generate $300 million in benefits to these sectors over the next 10 years. This summer a Gentec team visited China to discuss research collaborations with researchers at Sichuan

looking for “Up & Coming Gelbvieh Sires.” The project (www.canadacow. ca ) has asked the Canadian Gelbvieh Association to identify 40 young sires with the potential to influence the breed in the coming years that have generated some interest amongst





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◆ Canadian Cattle Genome Project is




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Agricultural University, China Agricultural University, Northwest A&F University(NAFU) and Huazhong Agricultural University. A team from HZAU visited the Gentec offices Edmonton in August. Genetc is working with Olds College, Alberta Agriculture, the Canadian Hereford Association and Cattleland Feedyards on a new project to characterize RFI in purebred Hereford bulls to produce feed-efficient progeny, and collaborating with breed associations and Beefbooster Inc. to optimize genetic selection tools for bulls and heifers.

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◆ On December 1 Bruce Holmquist

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◆ The initial Steaks for Soldiers event

Ta xes

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their gratitude for the service of the Canadian troops. The CCA sponsored the 1,700 AAA Canadian striploin steaks that were served to the returning troops and their families at this event. In early 2010, Manitoba cattle broker Harvey Dann and his daughter Jackie took up the Steaks for Soldiers campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of their company, Alert Agri Distributors. Since then with assistance from the CCA and donations from cattle producers they have fed returning soldiers between 1,200 and 1,800 steaks at CFB Edmonton in 2010 and 2012, CFB Shilo in Manitoba in both 2010 and 2012 and then served 3,800 steaks at CFB Valcartier in Quebec in 2011. Harvey says organizers hope to take the event to CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick and then return to CFB Petawawa and CFB Edmonton. For more information on how to become involved see the Steaks for Soldiers page on Facebook.

◆ Profiles of Cattlemen’s Young Leaders for 2012/13: • Ashley Shannon — mentor: Dr. David Chalack. Ashley holds a BSc in agriculture, animal science, with distinction from the University of Alberta and graduated in Ashley Shannon June from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, with a doctor of veterinary medicine degree. She was raised on a family farm east of Innisfail, Alta., where her family raises purebred cattle. After graduation she was planning to join a rural practice in central Alberta while continuing to be involved in her family’s purebred operation. Over the years she has been actively involved with her local 4-H Beef Club, the Alberta Junior Maine Anjou Association, University of Alberta Agriculture Club and the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners. She is excited to be involved in the CYL program and looks forward to serving the agricultural industry as a veterinarian and volunteering with youth programs such as 4-H and Classroom Agriculture. • Tyson Lowe — mentor: Don Armitage. Tyson holds an agricultural business degree from the University of

Saskatchewan. He is a third-generation rancher from Nanton, Alta., and sixth generation in southern Alberta. Early on in his youth he dabbled Tyson Lowe in the yearling business and his interest in agriculture has grown from there. Before attending university he worked at his family’s 5,000-head feedlot. During university he developed an operating interest in ranching and grain farming operations which continues to the present day. • Brodie Haugan — mentor: Ryan Thompson. Brodie holds a diploma in agribusiness from the University of Saskatchewan. He is a fifth generation farmer raised on a mixed farming operation. He currently works alongside his father and grandfather from whom he learned the importance of inno- Brodie Haugan vation, education and a strong work ethic. At a young age he started playing volleyball and continued to play well into university. Brodie used his CYL time to broaden his understanding of marketing, backgrounding, finishing cattle and making good use of the programs available to producers. He also hopes to gain the practical and theoretical knowledge required to grow a small farming operation into a large thriving corporate business. C

SALES Peak Dot Ranch Bull and Female Sale Dec. 6, 2012, Wood Mountain, Sask. 26 130 272 Total

Heifer calves, av. $4,154 Bulls, av. $4,272 Commercial heifers, av. $1,500 $1,071,300

13th Annual Cudlobe Farms Angus Bull Sale Dec. 5, 2012, Stavely, Alta. 8 2-year-old bulls, av. $4,895 123 Yearling bulls, av. 4,655

Geis Angus Farms Dispersal Sale Dec. 12 & 13, 2012, Clyde, Alta. 245 43 68 18 6 54 434

Cow-calf pairs, av. $5,916 Cows, av. $3,252 Bred heifers, av. $3,691 Calves, av. $1,974 Herd bulls, av. $9,542 Long yearlings bulls, av. $5,462 Lots, av. $5,133


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Cozy Caps for Calves


Stop by Booth # 117 Main Street N. & S. at ”Manitoba Ag Day’s” January 15,16,17th at the Brandon Keystone Center! FREE Admission

The most “foolproof” ear protection ever designed! Warm fleece with velcro snug bands; 2 sizes and many colors available. Reasonably priced.

For more information contact Betty at 306•577•4664 Cheryl at 306•739•2924


23-25—Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference, Saskatoon Inn, Saskatoon, Sask. 29—Alberta Cattle Feeders AGM, Memorial Centre, Lacombe, Alta.

February 5-7—Canadian International Farm Show, International Centre, Toronto, Ont. 7-8—Manitoba Beef Producers AGM, Victoria Inn, Brandon, Man. 12-13—Western Canadian Holistic Management Conference, Russell Community Centre, Russell, Man. 13—Alltech’s North American Lecture Tour, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Canad Inns Club Regent, Winnipeg, Man. 14—Alltech’s North American Lecture Tour, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Sheraton Hotel, Red Deer, Alta. 15—Alltech’s North American Lecture Tour 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Lethbridge Lodge, Lethbridge, Alta. 20-22—10th Annual Alberta Beef Industry Conference, Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alta.


By Jerry Palen

20-21—Ontario Cattlemen’s Association AGM and Conference, Doubletree Inn by Hilton, Toronto, Ont. 27-28—Ag Expo 2013, Exhibition Park, Lethbridge, Alta.

March 2-3—94th Annual Pride of the Prairies Bull Show and Sale, Lloydminster Exhibition, Loydminster, Sask. 6-7—Calgary Bull Show and Sale, Stampede Park, Calgary, Alta., www.calgarybullsale. com

12-14—Ottawa Valley Farm show, CE Centre, Ottawa, Ont. 21-22—2013 Livestock Care Conference hosted by AFAC, Executive Royal Inn, Calgary, Alta.

June 7-9—Lakeland College-Vermilion, 2013 Alumni Homecoming and Rose Ball — 100th Anniversary Lakeland College, Vermilion, Alta., Ph: 780-853-8628,

9-11—Saskatchewan Stock Growers Annual General Meeting, Heritage Inn, Moose Jaw, Sask.

SALES January 26—M C Quantock Bull Sale, at the ranch, Lloydminster, Sask., www.mcquantock.

9—Soderglen Ranch Bull Sale, at the ranch, Airdrie, Alta., 14—Chapman Cattle Company 7th Annual “100% Forage Developed” — Angus and Red Angus Bull Sale, Stettler Auction Mart, Stettler, Alta., www.chapmancattle. com

16—P & H Ranching Co. Ltd. and Circle G Simmentals and Angus Bull and Gelding Sale Innisfail Auction, Innisfail, Alta. 18—Ole Farms 8th Annual Family Day Sale — Angus Bulls, at the farm, Athabasca, Alta. 18—Ulrich Hereford Ranch 7th Annual Bull and Heifer Sale, Balog Cow Palace, Lethbridge, Alta. 19—Rawes Ranches 30th Annual Charolais Bull Sale — 120 2-yr.-old bulls, at the ranch, Strome, Alta., www.rawesranches. com

19—Hirsche Herefords & Angus Ltd. with Anderson Family Herefords Spring Bull Sale, at Hirsche Ranch, High River, Alta. 23—Lewis Farms 28th Annual Bull Sale, at the farm, Spruce Grove, Alta. 26—Rainalta and Guests Simmental and Charolais Bull Sale, Bow Slope Shipping, Brooks, Alta. 25—Simmental Summit Bull and Female Sale, Beechinor Bros. Sale Barn, Bentley, Alta. 27—Erixon Simmentals Bull and Female Sale, Saskatoon Livestock Sales,


26—Lazy S Ranch Bull Power Sale plus Females, at the ranch, Mayerthorpe, Alta.,


By Jerry Palen


“Oh look, Elmo, your size is on sale!”

2—Hill 70 Quantock Ranch Bull Sale, at the ranch, Lloydminster, Sask., www. 4—Lazy RC Ranch Red and Black Angus Long Yearling Bull Sale, at the ranch, Beechy, Sask., 7—Stauffer Ranches Angus Bull Sale, Sout hern Alberta Livestock, Fort MacLeod, Alta. 7—Midwest Horned Hereford Sale, Lloydminster Exhibition, Lloydminster, Sask. 9—MJT Cattle Co. Back to the Basics 19th Annual Hereford and Angus Bull Sale, at the ranch, Edgerton, Alta.,

Harvie Ranching Holloway Farms Ltd. International Stock Foods Lakeland Group/Northstar Lewis Farms Ltd. LLB Angus Lloydminster Exhibition Assoc. McMillen Ranching Ltd. Merck Animal Health MJT Cattle Co. Ltd. Midwest Horned Hereford Murphy Ranch Norheim Ranching Ole Farms Rainalta Simmentals Rawes Ranch Real Industries Red Brand Fence Reese Cattle Co. Salers Assoc. of Canada Saskatchewan Equine Expo Saskatoon Gelbvieh Bull and Female Sale Soderglen Ranch Stauffer Ranches Stewart Cattle Co. Tru-Test Inc. Ulrich Hereford Ranch V&V Farms

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28—Holloway Farms Ltd. Annual Hereford Sale, Dryland Cattle Trading, Veteran, Alta., 28—Stewart Cattle Co. and Guests 5th Annual Black Angus Bull Sale, Neepawa Ag-Plex, Neepawa, Man.

March 2—McMillen Ranching Ltd. 19th Annual Bull Sale, at the ranch, Carievale, Sask. 2—Davidson Gelbvieh and Lonesome Dove Ranch 24th Annual Bull Sale, at their bull yards, Ponteix, Sask. 2—Brandl Cattle Co. Black and Red Angus Bull Sale, at the farm, Jarvie, Alta., Guest Consignor — Lake Bottom Simmentals 2—High Country Charolais Bull Sale, Pincher Creek, Alta. 2-3—94th Annual Pride of the Prairies Bull Show and Sale, Lloydminster Exhibition, Loydminster, Sask. 6-7—Calgary Bull Show and Sale, Stampede Park, Calgary, Alta., www.calgarybullsale. com

8—Richmond Ranch 16th Annual Grass Country Limousin Bull Sale, at the ranch, Rumsey, Alta., 15—V & V Farms Bull and Female Sale, at the farm, Redcliff, Alta., Guest Consignor — Towerview Farms 15—Reese Cattle Co. Charolais Bull Sale, Innisfail Auction Mart, Innisfail, Alta. 16—Boynecrest-Skridge 1st Annual Simmental Bull Sale, Rathwell, Man. 20—Advantage Bull Sale — Simmental and Angus, Saskatoon Livestock Sales, Saskatoon, Sask. 25—Harvie Ranching Co. Ltd. Annual Bull Sale — Charolais, Simmental, Polled Hereford, at the ranch, Olds, Alta., www.

31—Saskatoon Gelbvieh Bull and Female Sale, Saskatoon Livestock Sales, Saskatoon, Sask.

April 3—Peak Dot Ranch Spring Bull and Female Sale at the ranch, Wood Mountain, Sask., 4—Crowfoot Cattle Co. 21st Annual Red and Black Angus Bull Sale, at the ranch, Standard, Alta., 6—Summit 3 Speckle Park Sale, Northlands, Edmonton, Alta.

AD INDEX Page A. Sparrow Farms 29 Alberta Beef Industry 23 Alberta Cattle Breeders Assoc. 34 Allen Leigh Security & Communications Ltd. 56 Bar T5 Agra Services 56 Bayer CropsScience 17 Beechnoir Bros. Simmentals 47 Beefbooster 21 Belvin Angus 24 Boynecrest Stock Farms 44 Brandl Cattle Co. 53 Braun Ranch 28 Canada Beef 8 Canadian Angus Assoc. IFC Canadian Charolais Assoc. OBC Canadian Gelbvieh Assoc. 13 Canadian Hereford Assoc. 4, 5 Canadian Limousin Assoc. 30, 31 Canadian Shorthorn Assoc. 25 Canadian Simmental Assoc. 19 Canadian Welsh Black Society 41 Chapman Cattle Company 54 Cozy Caps 56 Garth Cutler 20 Davidson Gelbvieh 43 Erixon Simmentals 12 Frost Free Nose Pumps 44 Greener Pastures 55

Saskatoon, Sask., www.erixonsimmentals.

“That was fun! I invited them all back tomorrow for leftovers.”

 Event listings are a free service to industry.  Sale listings are for our advertisers. Your contact is Deborah Wilson at 403-325-1695 or

Three little people perusing CATTLEMEN magazine over the holidays. It’s good to have loyal readers at such a young age! PHOTO: TARA MULHERN DAVIDSON MELISSA CAMERON



Doing business with the folks at Soderglen has been a tremendous blessing, reminding me that there are still real people in our cattle industry who are honest, trusting, and stand behind what they produce. In a world full of ‘takers’, Soderglen continues to do business with traditional values as their foundation, while producing quality bulls and delivering excellent service for the future of our Canadian cattle industry.

Andrew Reimer, Bar XW Ranch, Fort St. John BC The Reimer family: Andrew, Karla, Wade & Coy

SODERGLEN RANCHES RR1 Site 12 Box 6 • Airdrie Alberta • T4B 2A3 • Phone: 403-948-6700 Fax: 403-948-3972 • •

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