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Where do Profits Begin? 10 Tips for Calving Season Success How to Keep Cows through Winter

SPRINGFIELD, MO Permit #96 P O Box 634 Carthage, MO 64836







Field Representatives



he market is the craziest thing I have ever seen. It’s up and down and vulnerable all around. We ended the year on a little bit of a higher note. And, we’ve started off this year with a bang! Problems throughout the world, devalued currency and cheap oil mean there are a lot of factors weighing on the market, which makes it especially vulnerable. These are very trying times to be in the livestock marketing business, in any phase of it, because the market is so vulnerable and it moves so fast. We moved over 16,000 head of live cattle through the auction the first week of the year, in addition to more than 5,000 head on video. In our valueadded sale on Jan. 7, the cattle under 600 pounds were about 10 higher than Monday’s offering. Those over 600 pounds started the day 3-5 higher, but finished about steady due to cattle futures closing limit down. Our video sale also

brought good trade despite the market turmoil. There has been a lot of equity lost in the feeding segment of the industry the past four to five months, and it will be struggle to get a big price for the calves and yearlings simply because of the tough times cattle feeders have endured recently. Buyers are still willing to pay more for those preconditioned calves because they come with less health risk. Cow and bull trade is some higher as we start the year. Early sales saw slaughter cows about $10 higher than the end of last year. The next three months is typically the time when we see cow and bull prices gain some momentum, and I expect that will be the case again this year. Replacement cow trade is also still good. Good luck and God bless.


Bailey Moore: Granby, MO M(417)540-4343

Skyler Moore: Mount Vernon, MO M(417)737-2615

ARKANSAS Dolf Marrs: Hindsville, AR H(479)789-2798, M(479)790-2697

MISSOURI Jim Hacker: Bolivar, MO H(417)326-2905, M(417)328-8905

Billy Ray Mainer: Branch, AR M(479)518-6931

Bruce Hall: Mount Vernon, MO H(417)466-7334, M(417)466-5170

Jr. Smith: Melbourne, AR M(870-373-1150

Mark Harmon: Mount Vernon, MO M(417)316-0101

Kent Swinney: Gentry, AR H(479)736-4621, M(479)524-7024

Bryon Haskins: Lamar, MO H(417)398-0012, M(417)850-4382

KANSAS Chris Martin (Video Rep): Alma, KS M(785)499-3011

Doc Haskins: Diamond, MO H(417)325-4136, M(417)437-2191

Alice Myrick: Mapleton, KS H(620)743-3681, M(620)363-0740 Bob Shanks: Columbus, KS H(620)674-3259, M(620)674-1675

J.W. Henson: Conway, MO H(417)589-2586, M(417)343-9488 CATTLE RECEIVING STATION

LOUISIANA James Kennedy: DeRidder, LA M(337)274-7406 CATTLE RECEIVING STATION

Joe David Hudson: Jenkins, MO H(417)574-6944, M(417)-342-4916

OKLAHOMA Russell Boles: Watson, OK M(903)276-1544

Larry Jackson: Carthage, MO H(417)358-7931, M(417)850-3492

Chester Palmer: Miami, OK H(918)542-6801, M(918)540-4929 John Simmons: Westville, OK M(918)519-9129, M(417)310-6348 Shane Stierwalt: Shidler, OK M(918)688-5774 MISSOURI Rick Aspegren: Mountain Grove, MO M(417)547-2098 Clay Barnhouse: Bolivar, MO M(417)777-1855 Sherman Brown: Marionville, MO H(417)723-0245, M(417)693-1701 Joel Chaffin: Ozark, MO M(417)299-4727 Rick Chaffin: Ozark, MO H(417)485-7055, M(417)849-1230 Jack Chastain: Bois D’Arc, MO H(417)751-9580, M(417)849-5748 Ted Dahlstrom, DVM: Staff Vet Stockyards (417)548-3074 Office (417)235-4088 Tim Durman: Seneca, MO H(417) 776-2906, M(417)438-3541 Jerome Falls: Sarcoxie, MO H(417)548-2233, M(417)793-5752 Skyler Fisher: Collins, MO M(417) 298-9051 CATTLE RECEIVING STATION Nick Flannigan: Fair Grove, MO M(417)316-0048 Kenneth & Mary Ann Friese: Friedheim, MO H(573)788-2143, M(573)225-7932 CATTLE RECEIVING STATION Fred Gates: Seneca, MO H(417)776-3412, M(417)437-5055 Brent Gundy: Walker, MO H(417)465-2246, M(417)321-0958 Dan Haase: Pierce City, MO M(417)476-2132

Mark Henry: Hurley, MO H(417)369-6171, M(417)464-3806

Steve Hunter: Jasper, MO H(417)525-4405, M(417)439-1168

Jim Jones: Crane, MO H(417)723-8856, M(417)844-9225 Chris Keeling: Purdy, MO H(417)442-4975, M(417)860-8941 Kelly Kissire: Anderson, MO H(417)845-3777, M(417)437-7622 Larry Mallory: Miller, MO H(417)452-2660, M(417)461-2275 Kenny Ogden: Lockwood, MO H(417)537-4777, M(417)466-8176 Jason Pendleton: Stotts City, MO H(417)285-3666, M(417)437-4552 Charlie Prough: El Dorado Springs, MO H(417)876-4189, M(417)876-7765 Russ Ritchart: Jasper, MO H(417)394-2020, M(417)237-0988 Lonnie Robertson: Galena, MO M(417)844-1138 Justin Ruddick: Anderson, MO M(417)737-2270 Alvie Sartin: Seymour, MO M(417)840-3272 CATTLE RECEIVING STATION Jim Schiltz: Lamar, MO H(417)884-5229, M(417)850-7850 David Stump: Jasper, MO H(417)537-4358, M(417)434-5420 Matt Sukovaty: Bolivar, MO H(417)326-4618, M(417)399-3600 Brandon Tichenor: Fairview, MO M(417)540-4717 Mike Theurer: Lockwood, MO H(417)232-4358, M(417)827-3117 Tim Varner: Washburn, MO H(417)826-5645, M(417)847-7831 OFFICE: (417)548-2333 Sara Engler VIDEO CATTLE PRODUCTION Matt Oschlaeger: Mount Vernon, MO M(417)466-8438



inside this issue About the Cover

Tips for maintaining cows through winter and how to prepare for a successful calving season inside this issue. —Cover photo by Joann Pipkin.

Features 11 12 18 19 20 22 24

Too Much of a Good Thing 10 Tips for Successful Calving All is Not Equal at Calving Time What to Do With All That Wrap? Where Profits Begin Ahead of the 8-Ball Maintaining Cows Through Winter

In Every Issue 3 5 6 8 10 28 29

View from the Block Beef in Brief On Target with Justin Sexten Health Watch with K-State’s Dr. David Rethorst Next Generation with Darren Frye Market Watch Event Roundup

Contact Us

Coming Soon

to Cattlemen’s


•Where’s the value in preconditioning?

•importance of a health program

on a website near you


Publisher/Advertising: Mark Harmon | Email: Phone: 417-548-2333 | Mobile: 417-316-0101 Fax: 417-548-2370 Editor/Design/Layout: Joann Pipkin | Email: Ad Deadline: 2nd Monday of Each Month for Next Month’s Issue Cattlemen’s News, PO Box 634, Carthage, MO 64836 Subcription questions can be answered by calling 417-548-2333. Although we strive to maintain the highest journalistic ethics, Joplin Regional Stockyards limits its responsibilities for any errors, inaccuracies or misprints in advertisements or editorial copy. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertisements printed, and also assume responsibility for any claims arising from such advertisement made against the Stockyards and/or its publication.

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Cattlemen’s News, published by Joplin Regional Stockyards, is a nuts and bolts news magazine dedicated to helping cattle producers add value to their operations. From “how-to” articles to economics and industry trends, our mission is to put today’s producers in touch with the information and products that will make them profitable for tomorrow. Published monthly. Circulation 10,000.

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beef in brief Country-of-Origin Labeling Repealed With bipartisan support, Congress passed the $1.15 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that funds much of the government through fiscal year 2016. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis said the bill contained several victories for cattlemen and women. Coming within days of facing retaliation from two of our largest trading partners, the bill repeals mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling for beef. The omnibus maintains congressional oversight to ensure the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans remain within the scope of nutrition and health and are based on the latest nutritional evidence. Kristina Butts, senior executive director of government affairs for NCBA, said the guidelines serve as the foundation for federal nutrition policy and that it is critical the recommendations are based on the latest science. Additionally, Ellis said the bill requires a more stringent regulatory process for allowing beef imports from regions with a history of animal disease outbreaks. Continued assurance on several environmental regulations is also maintained in the bill. Specifically, the bill keeps the Environmental Protection Agency in check by continuing to prohibit the agency from requiring livestock producers to obtain Clean Air Act permits or report greenhouse gas emissions on livestock operations. Unfortunately, EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule is not addressed in the omnibus. However, the nationwide stay is still in place currently, and NCBA will continue to push back on the rule through the courts. Also key for cattlemen and women is passage of tax extenders legislation, passed in the House and the Senate. Section 179 is permanently extended at $500,000, up from $25,000 previously. Bonus depreciation is set at 50 percent for property acquired during 2015, 2016 and 2017 and phases down, with 40 percent in 2018, and 30 percent in 2019. Additionally, the conservation easement tax credit is made permanent. —Source: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association release

Missouri Agribusiness Academy Applications Available The Missouri Department of Agriculture is offering 30 high school students representing 4-H clubs and FFA chapters, as well as farm families, throughout Missouri the opportunity to explore careers in agriculture through the 2016 Missouri Agribusiness Academy (MAbA). MAbA is a competitive program for sophomores interested in pursuing agriculture-related college degrees and careers. “Spending a week surrounded by 29 of your agriculture peers from around the state is an experience our young people will never forget,” said Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce. “These future leaders walk away with an increased knowledge and passion for agriculture, which is exactly what we need in order to ensure a bright future for our industry.” The 2016 MAbA will be held June 6-10, and marks the program’s 29th year. Students interested in participating must submit an application by Feb. 1, 2016. This year, the students selected have the opportunity to learn about the many unique opportunities for careers in the Springfield area. The 2016 schedule will be finalized in the spring and will include visits with industry and agribusiness leaders and tours of their facilities. Applications for the 2016 class are available online at and are due no later than Feb. 1, 2016. For applications and guidelines, as well as more information, visit the department online at –Source: Missouri Department of Agriculture



On Target

The Growing Cowherd Match cows to management, marketing and nutritional environments Story By Justin Sexten


e’ve seen a declining inventory of beef cows since the 1970s, with a couple of partial recoveries. Now that a fairly steady 20-year decline hit bottom a year ago, we have to wonder how many cows our market and resources can sustain. CattleFax estimates the beef cow inventory grew from around 29 million at the start of 2014 to 30.7 million head as 2015 came to a close. Depending on consumer responses and producers’ ability to satisfy the growing demand for higher quality, some economists suggest the U.S. could support 33 million cows or more by the end of this decade. It remains to be seen how steady the expansion can be in the face of a near-30 percent decline in calf prices that could discourage



producers from retaining as many replacement heifers. Those are big-picture concerns, and “big” is a word to examine in the smaller picture of individual cow size as well. Any talk about how big our cowherd can be must include the related topic of how big our cows have become and why. As the cow inventory began to decline 40 years ago, carcass weight began a steady increase to nearly 300 pounds heavier now. Sometimes that increase was only 5 pounds. a year, but sometimes, like last year, it was extreme. The 930-pound average steer weights seen in October were 30 pounds higher than the previous fall. The heavier carcass weights came from a favorable cost

of gain and – for a long time – higher cattle prices. Carcass weights are leveling off but history suggests they will merely fall back to the lower average increase. A 40year trend that rewarded more pounds per animal certainly had an impact on the size of cows on farms and ranches. Feedyard demand for calves with the growth potential to hit heavier finished targets boosted demand for bulls with more growth genetics. Some producers are left with much larger cows and questions about whether they fit the ranch environment. Matching the cow to the environment is a complex issue because no two are the same. Some say massive regions have similar enough environments for an “average cow.” I will grant that for the biological environment. However, management and economics are very different not only across state lines, but also across the road. How each rancher selects, culls, manages and markets his or her cowherd over time is a critical component of the

environment. Matching cows to all those resources first requires a set of goals. To paraphrase Dirty Harry, a cow-calf producer has got to know his or her limitations. To begin making selection progress, you must determine what you can change, what you will not change and what you cannot change. Then, design a program around those limitations. Marketing is one of the greatest operational limits because that’s where you have the least experience, and no individual can do much to change market demand. Therefore, make sure you are producing what the market demands: cattle with the genetics to gain and grade. The most common management limitation is calving difficulty in heifers. The typical shortage of labor means a cow only fits her environment if she calves unassisted. When there is no surviving calf, its market suitability becomes less important. Many ranchers are willing to modify environment to help CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE


Cattle Feeding Returns in 2016 What is the immediate future of cattle feeding returns?


ith 2015 left in the dust, eyes are fixed on what will happen in agriculture in the coming year, including the cattle feeding industry. Glynn Tonsor, livestock economist for Kansas State University and K-State Research and Extension, said based on the most recent “Focus on Feedlots” survey, the industry looks to be particularly bleak over the next six months. Tonsor stressed that if cattle feeders utilized price risk management strategies, this projection does not necessarily apply to their situation.

It takes approximately six months to finish an animal, he said, so those involved in the cattle feeding industry can look ahead in this six-month cycle, based on projections, to plan and make buying and selling decisions. While the immediate future for feedlots will be rough, Tonsor added that he holds hope for the second half of 2016. Beef demand, both domestic and international, could help the industry improve prices, perhaps not in the next month or two but further into 2016.

THE GROWING COWHERD FROM PREVIOUS PAGE cows adapt nutritionally. Strategic supplementation or improved grazing systems can help cows express their genetic potential. An alternative is efficiency selection, using expected progeny differences (EPDs) based on residual gain or a weighted index such as the $EN from the American Angus Association. Simply reducing mature size might improve efficiency when comparing weaned calf weight per unit of cow weight, but forage consumed is not directly related to body mass.

Residual feed intake testing has shown efficiency is not determined by size alone. The “growing” cowherd will continue to change the market, and how ranchers manage their operations. As this new year begins, spend time considering the opportunities and limitations in your operation that lead to better matching cows to your management, marketing and nutritional environments. —Justin Sexten is director of supply development for Certified Angus Beef.

—Source: K-State Extension.

“Anyone who locked in corn for their feeder cattle or fed cattle would have a different experience, maybe better or maybe worse,” he explained. “But, unless you protected yourself against a fed cattle (price) decline at or near the time of placement, you’re going to experience substantial losses in these fourth quarter closeouts.”

Projected returns for 2016 Tonsor projected the environment to be slightly better by June 2016, with a projected loss of $67 per head. He stressed that while a loss is projected, the margin for error given variation across operations in cost of gain is easily a $50 per head movement either way, which makes the situation a potential breakeven for some operations. While there isn’t much of a change in projection of fed cattle prices for 2016, the cost of feeder cattle at placement is projected to change substantially. “For the November (2015) closeouts, I am assuming someone paid $219 for feeder cattle,” Tonsor said. “In the June 2016 closeouts, I am assuming they pay $150 for the animals replaced. I’m using June to make my point that we have the price of feeders down, corn prices haven’t changed much, so the cost of gain is such that we get closer to a breakeven projection.”




Let’s Talk Colostrum Antibodies play critical role in calf’s life Story By David Rethorst for Cattlemen’s News


hen the topic of colostrum is discussed, the emphasis is usually on the antibodies that are present in colostrum and their importance in a calf’s life. While antibodies are a very important component of colostrum, other components also play a critical role.

Fat is the first of these components. Fat serves as an energy source early in the newborn’s life. It plays a critical role in warming the calf as it makes it’s adaptation from the comfortable confines of mom’s uterus to the often not-so-comfortable

environment into which calves are born. In order for colostrum to contain adequate fat, it is essential for cows to be a minimum body condition score (BCS) of 5 to 5.5. The next of these other components is the fat-soluble vitamins —vitamin A and vitamin E. Vitamin A is necessary for many tissues in the body while vitamin E is essential for immune function in addition to tissue requirements. White blood cells (WBC) are the other important component of colostrum. These white blood cells play a very important role in both viral and bacterial immunity early in the calf’s life. If the cow is adequately vaccinated for diseases such as infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine virus diarrhea (BVD), the lymphocytes, a type of WBC in the colostrum, are primed to fight these viral diseases. In reality, colostrum boosts the calf’s immune system in a number of ways and provides an energy source early in life. The absorption of colostrum is referred to as passive transfer because of the transfer of immunity from cow to calf. To facilitate this transfer, pores in the calf’s gut allow for the absorption of the very large antibody molecules. These pores start to close when the calf is approximately 6 hours old; closure is essentially complete by 12 hours of age, making it essential for a calf to get adequate colostrum in the first few hours of life. In a study done at the Meat Animal Research Center in the early 1990s, colostrum absorption was checked a prescribed number of days after birth using a blood test, and the health of the calves was monitored throughout their lives. Calves that absorbed colostrum but not an amount deemed adequate, partial failure of passive transfer (PFPT), were 6.4 times more likely to require treatment as a neonate than the calves that absorbed adequate colostrum. The PFPT calves were also 3.2 times more likely to require treatment prior to weaning. An interesting fact from this study is that statistically more of the PFPT calves required treatment for foot-rot prior to weaning. The use of colostrum from other operations, particularly dairies, is common in the beef industry. This practice poses a biosecurity risk as colostrum is raw milk and as such has the potential to contain E.coli or Salmonella. The transfer of Johne’s disease via colostrum is also a possibility. Because of this biosecurity risk, I do not recommend the use of colostrum from another operation nor do I recommend buying calves to put on a cow that lost her calf from another operation because of biosecurity concern. Very good colostrum replacers that do not pose a biosecurity risk are available commercially. Other items to keep in mind related to colostrum include the fact that colostrum starts forming approximately 30 CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE




Enrollment underway for Conservation Reserve Program 30th anniversary for the nation’s most successful voluntary conservation program


nrollment is underway for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and runs Feb. 26, 2016. CRP is a federally funded program that assists agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. As of September 2015, 24.2 million acres were enrolled in CRP. CRP also is protecting more than 170,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world seven times. “Over the past 30 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP one of the most successful conservation programs in the history of the country,” said Vilsack. “Today, CRP continues to make major environmental improvements to water and air quality. This is another longstanding example of how agricultural production can work hand in hand with efforts to improve the environment and increase wildlife habitat.”

Participants in CRP establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. In return, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. At times when commodity prices are low, enrolling sensitive lands in CRP can be especially attractive to farmers and ranchers, as it softens the economic hardship for landowners at the same time that it provides ecological benefits. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish native plant species on marginal agricultural lands for the primary purpose of preventing soil erosion and improving water quality and related benefits of reducing loss of wildlife habitat. Contracts on 1.64 million acres of CRP are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2016. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to

LET’S TALK COLOSTRUM • FROM PREVIOUS PAGE protein-supplemented days prior to calving. Because the of this fact, if a scours vac- heifers absorbed significantcine is going to be utilized, it ly more antibody than the should be given one month calves out of the non-suppleprior to calving in order to op- mented heifers. timize the impact of the vaccine. Also, ensuring adequate When we examine judicious protein intake during the last use of antibiotics and antibiotthree months of pregnancy ic stewardship, the discussion will optimize the absorption centers on prevention. Prevenof colostrum. A weak calf tion includes the use of sound syndrome study at the Uni- animal husbandry practices versity of Idaho a number of rather than using “manageyears ago looked at antibody ment in a bottle,” or antibiotabsorption in calves from ics. These practices include protein-supplemented heif- good nutrition, biosecurity ers versus non-supplement- and adequate vaccination. ed heifers. The calves out of evaluate their options under CRP. Since it was established on Dec. 23, 1985, CRP has: · Prevented more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks; · Reduced nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively;

· Sequestered an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road. Since 1996, CRP has created nearly 2.7 million acres of restored wetlands. —Source: USDA release.

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Take Action to Protect Operation, Family in 2016 What’s really important in your farm business? Story By Darren Frye for Cattlemen’s News


n the farm, it can become easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rush of what needs to get done. That focus on the urgent can even distract us from what’s most important in our lives. With another year in the books, we might take time to consider the many blessings the past year has brought us. I think it’s good to have opportunities like that to slow down and consider what’s truly important. Thinking about how we treasure our families and want the best for them can lead us to take action to protect them and their futures. The key here is taking action. We love our family members and want to take care of them. But sometimes we put off the very actions we need to take to make sure they will be protected.

His wife and young son were the lights of his life, and he wanted to provide for them the best he could. He knew he needed to make sure they would be protected if anything were ever to happen to him. One day, a couple of advisors who could help visited his farm, but he didn’t feel he had time to meet with them. He asked them to come back in the winter, when he might have time to talk. Tragically, he was killed in a machinery accident that fall. His wife, who didn’t work outside the home, and his son were left with little income. There was no life insurance or other measures in place and little savings for them to live on.

The unthinkable

Taking action

As many of us know, tragedies can happen – on or off the farm. Sadly, one young farm family experienced the unthinkable. The farmer was leading a successful, up-and-coming operation that kept him very busy.

These situations, while unusual, aren’t unheard of in the farming community. Farming is, and continues to be, a dangerous job. None of us knows how many days we have left.

It’s not a reason to become alarmed, but a time to consider what we’ve put in place for the ones we love. We can ask, “What are the consequences to my family if I were to die tomorrow?” Take action to ensure your family would be protected if something were to suddenly happen to you. None of us knows the future, so we don’t know if tomorrow could end up being too late. A legacy advisor can help your family with legacy planning and measures like life insurance to provide financial protection.

What creates success? I’ve also been thinking about what farm leaders can do to help ensure that their operations are successful. What makes the biggest difference to a farm’s success? Production work on the farm is extremely important, of course. A farm has to be very good at what it’s producing – or probably isn’t going to do very well. But farms have to be able to do other things – and do them well – for the farm to be successful as a business. Today’s farm leader must wear multiple hats, and many of them have to do with the business side of the operation – financial decision-maker, marketer and employee manager, to name a few.

Sorting it out What are the critical few things that are most important to focus on, that will make the biggest difference to the overall farm operation? Potentially hundreds of different things are demanding the farm leader’s attention at any given moment. The key is to determine what’s really important from a business standpoint. Where does an investment of time and attention make a big difference? What’s not really going to move the needle – and might not be as important right now? This requires the farm leader to take a step back and study the farm business as a whole – and themselves as a leader. You can do this by asking yourself: What part of my business, if really invested in and focused on, could be taken to the next level? What are the top two skills I believe are keeping me from making my operation even more effective? Darren Frye is President and CEO of Water Street Solutions, a farm consulting firm that helps farmers with the challenges they face in growing and improving their farms – including the challenge of transitioning the farming operation to the next generation. Contact Darren at or call (866) 249-2528.

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Too Much of a Good Thing? Know your mineral needs before supplementation begins Story By Joann Pipkin, Editor


t’s no secret. When it’s cold outside, your cows require more energy. That said, it’s especially important to know the quality of your forage before you can begin meeting their supplement needs. “In any given situation, we should determine what we need to supplement feed, then feed to correct nutrient deficiencies,” explained Jim White, ruminant nutritionist, MFA, Inc. “This year, I have seen many conserved forages, hays, silages, that have somewhat lower than normal protein content and substantially lower energy, which is due to the higher than usual fiber content of the forages,” he said.

there are significant weather and temperature changes. Adaptation is required. “Producers need to be aware that their cow herd may need some time to adapt to the changes in their environment,” Hill said. According to White, the season effect of mineral and vitamin requirements on the animal is largely discounted in the field. Cool season young grasses are

low in magnesium, he said. So, feed a magnesium mineral in the spring and fall when those grasses are growing rapidly. Phosphorus content declines in mature forage. “On a completely forage diet, it is impossible to meet the animal’s sodium requirement,” White said. “So, of any mineral that is a must to feed, it would be salt. To avoid feeding unnecessary minerals, Cosby said a cattleman can invest money wisely by purchasing a mineral that balances his overall feed program. “For example, if a winter feeding program involves delivery of a ration with hay and/or silage along with corn or corn byproducts, supplemental phosphorus needs are much

lower,” he explained. “In this case, a lower phosphorus balancer or formulator mineral designed to balance the diet deficiencies in vitamins and trace minerals that can be directly incorporated into the ration may save on mineral cost.” Bottom line: more isn’t always better. Oversupplementing trace minerals might be as bad as under supplementation of trace minerals, according to Hill. “When we oversupplement, the animal can only absorb so much,” he explained. “The more we supply, the system shuts down. So, it makes them less efficient at actually absorbing the trace minerals. It’s a catch-22. Look at more moderate levels. Focus more on the source.”

N.T. Cosby, Purina Animal Nutrition agrees, and said dormant and harvested forages can have lower mineral levels than growing forages and are less digestible. “Consequently, availability of minerals for absorption by the cow can be compromised. Supplementation is critical during this time of year because the cow receives less mineral and vitamin nutrition from the forage at a time when her requirements are increasing whether she is a lactating, fallcalving cow or a spring-calving cow in her last trimester when a majority of the fetal growth occurs.” Take that spring-calving cow. You want the calf to be born in the best status possible. “Consider better quality trace mineral levels for those spring calvers,” added Dr. Jeff Hill, beef business manager and nutritionist, ADM Animal NutritionTM, a division of Archer Daniels Midland Company. When it comes to feeding minerals, Hill said phosphorus is always a key mineral that is needed. Still, that doesn’t mean you should over-supplement. “Typically, it’s the most costly nutrient that we supplement,” he noted. “Be sure that it’s adequate and don’t go over what is needed.” Cold weather puts added stress on an animal, especially when




10 Tips For Successful Calving Start with a plan before calving begins Story By Lisa Henderson for Cattlemen’s News


alving season can be viewed as the foundation of your annual payday. And, your management of calving season might influence your operation’s profits more than any other task throughout the year. Since calving time is so critical for cow/calf producers, it’s wise to seek the counsel of experts to make sure you avoid any mistakes. One such professional is Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University emeritus extension animal scientist, who offers 10 tips for a successful calving season. Selk’s first tip is to develop a calving protocol as a reminder for employees or anyone working in a cow/calf operation that might find a situation that requires providing calving assistance for a cow or heifer.

1. Develop a plan. “Before calving season starts, develop a plan of what to do, when to do it, who to call for help (along with phone numbers), and how to know when you need help,” Selk says. “Make sure all family members or helpers are familiar with the plan. It may help to write it out and post copies in convenient places. Talk to your local veterinarian about your protocol and incorporate his/her suggestions. Encourage everyone that will be watching and helping cows and heifers this calving season to read Oklahoma State University Extension Circular E-1006, Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers.”



Selk also suggests hanging a laminated sheet in the barn where all of the equipment is stored that lists general items, such as a reminder that a 2-year-old heifer giving birth for the first time will generally deliver 1-1.5 hours after the water bag or feet show. For cows, that time should decrease to about 30 minutes. If progress isn’t made by these two timetables, then you should call someone to help.

2. Timing is critical. “Research shows that if a 2-yearold delivers a calf unassisted and the cow is healthy and all goes well, on average the labor should last 1 hour, and for an adult cow under 30 minutes,” Selk says. “This doesn’t mean much in August or January in extreme weather situations. We can’t sit back for 2-3 hours and allow a cow to strain, and a calf to get respiratory acidosis. Long labors leave the calf compromised and may allow damage to major organs especially the brain resulting in a ‘dummy calf.’ Furthermore, extended labor will leave the heifer slower to return to estrus cycles for the next breeding season.”

obstetrical handles, mechanical calf pullers and injectable antibiotics. Also, include a good flashlight and extra batteries and some old towels or a roll of paper towels.

4. Know how to handle unusual births. “For example, a backwards calf shows its hind legs first,” Selk explains.” At the point that the tail is first visible, there is a high likelihood that the umbilical cord is being pinched. That is the calf’s lifeline. Data shows once the cord is clamped there is approximately 4 minutes before the calf’s health is compromised to a lethal level. Before you start to pull, make sure you have help to assist so that once you see the tail he doesn’t get stuck and get him out to air.

5. Lubricate. Selk says the best lubrication for pulling a calf is non-detergent soap and warm water.

6. Determine that the cervix is dilated and the calf is coming head and both front feet first.

7. Don’t pull until the cervix is 3. Know where the calving kit is completely dilated. located. Apply a one-quarter turn as You should have a calving kit that includes the following: disposable obstetrical sleeves, non-irritant antiseptic, lubricant, obstetrical chains (60-inch and/or two 30-inch chains), two

hips go through the pelvic bone.

8. A backward calf must be delivered within 4 minutes after the calf’s tail appears.

9. Tickle their noses. According to Selk, one of the most simple and effective ways to get a calf to start breathing is to pick up a piece of straw or hay and tickle the calf’s nostrils. “This will cause the calf to sneeze, snort, cough and you will see the calf take in a big first breath of air,” he says. This will give the calf a good chance to start breathing. Then hopefully, the next thing is to see him pant. When the calf breathes rapidly and pants, it shows us that it is breathing naturally and is capable of breathing on its own.

10. Get the calf colostrum! “Research shows after 6 hours from birth the calf’s ability to absorb the necessary nutrients from the colostrum has dropped by more than 50 percent,” Selk says. “After 12 hours it is substantially lower, and by 24 hours it is nearly nonexistent. Getting colostrum into the calf quickly allows the large antibodies and proteins to reach the calf’s lining of the lower gut, which helps immensely with disease prevention. The longer you wait to get the colostrum into the lining of the gut, the less it will absorb and the more likely the calf is to fall ill. The worst thing a producer could do is feed the calf whole milk first without the colostrum. This would speed up the closing of the gut lining and lowers disease prevention capabilities.”









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Opinions Clear on Checkoff

Director of Agriculture Approves Beef Referendum

Both sides of the fence say let producers vote

Cattle producers to vote on a beef checkoff assessment


Story By Cattlemen’s News Staff

Give us a chance to vote on whether we need this or not,” said Darrell Franson, a Lawrence County cattleman. He was one of more than 70 Missouri beef producers who attended the Dec. 9 hearing in Sedalia to decide the fate of a Missouri Beef Checkoff referendum, which would establish a $1 per head state beef checkoff assessment. Cattlemen and women representing both sides of the issue turned out in droves for the hearing. Brandon West, regional executive officer for the Livestock Marketing Association, represented Missouri LMA at the hearing. He said a vast majority of the state’s livestock auctions are in opposition of the dollar increase (in the checkoff. West told Cattlemen’s News



in an interview after his testimony, “Markets are telling me they already face backlash from their producers based off the fallen cattle prices. They think raising the checkoff a dollar at this time adds insult to injury.” Ashley Bailey, Missouri State University Collegiate Cattlemen, spoke in favor of the checkoff. “I am in favor of the beef checkoff. I think it’s very important to invest in the future. We need to stand together as one industry and the checkoff is a great way to support this.” Missouri Beef Industry Council Executive Director Mark Russell said the hearing provided the perfect opportunity to start future dialogue so people can understand more of what the checkoff does. “Producers can’t be everywhere, but those checkoff dollars can,” he said.


issouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce has approved the petition to conduct a referendum of cattle producers, pursuant to section 275.352 RSMo as amended, to establish a $1 per head state beef checkoff assessment. Cattle producers will now vote for or against the establishment of the state checkoff. The director hosted a public hearing on the referendum on Dec. 9 at the Missouri Electric Cooperatives building on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. At this hearing, more than 75 producers shared their opinions regarding the referendum to establish a $1 per head state beef checkoff assessment. The director based his decision on that testimony. “I appreciated the large and diverse turnout and the courteous and professional manner of the participants,” Director Fordyce said. “While listening to the opinions and concerns

of those testifying, a common theme emerged: cattle producers should be given an opportunity to vote on whether a state beef checkoff should be established.” Cattle producers will be required to register in order to vote. Beginning Jan. 4, 2016, producers can register online at or by visiting their county USDA-FSA office. Producers can also request a voter registration form by calling (573) 751-5633 or sending an e-mail to Voter registration will end March 4, 2016. Ballots will be mailed to registered producers April 4, 2016. Ballots must be returned with a postmark deadline of April 15, 2016, to be considered valid. Results will be announced April 25, 2016. —Source: Missouri Department of Agriculture.


New Ways to Battle Johnsongrass Study examines the noxious weed, resistance to pests


or many agricultural producers, dealing with noxious weeds can be an irritable part of daily life, but what if that noxious weed is a close relative to one of the prominent crops grown in Kansas and throughout the United States? Johnsongrass is a noxious weed that is closely related to grain sorghum, and it is seemingly more tolerant to some of the pests—including insects and pathogens—that negatively affect grain sorghum. Michael Smith, Kansas State University professor of entomology, is part of a new five-year, $4.8 million research project supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which intends to find genetic material in Johnsongrass that could help fight the noxious weed and improve grain sorghum’s tolerance of these pests.

The researchers aim to find a genetic marker among these Johnsongrass types for, say a chemical or physical factor that could be added into grain sorghum, and build more pest resistance into grain sorghum hybrids. In addition to improving resistance to pests in grain sorghum, the research could help the other way by combating Johnsongrass, Smith said. Finding what makes Johnsongrass resilient against pests and some herbicides, and taking that defense out of the plant to make it more susceptible, might eliminate it as a successful, invasive weedy species. Smith said an extension objective is included in the grant to enhance the knowledge base for improved cost-effective management decisions for producers. This involves partnering with KState Research and Extension and other stakeholders as results become known. —Source: K-State Research and Extension news.

Smith said the researchers are examining how Johnsongrass is able to survive in different altitudes, different soil types, by contact with different pests and pathogens, and many more angles. “(Johnsongrass) seems to survive quite well from year to year and will sustain populations of, for instance, greenbugs, chinch bugs, fall armyworms, bird cherry oat aphids and many of the other pests we have in Kansas,” Smith said. “You will find these pests on the plants. Plants will be alive. Pests will be alive.” “We want to know how the Johnsongrass that is surviving is serving as a reservoir for pests that could be as damaging or more damaging to grain sorghum,” Smith continued. “We want to look at the pests that perhaps feed on the roots that could be harboring viruses that affect the crops; aphid pests will do that. We also want to know about the leaf-eating pests and if their growth is better on Johnsongrass than it is on sorghum.” In the next 12 to 18 months, Smith and other researchers hope to get a rudimentary genetic fingerprint of each of these pest populations to have a baseline marker to compare them, such as looking for differences within all the greenbug populations. Once they feel comfortable if any differences exist, the next step would be to test the 200 types of Johnsongrass and their reaction to each of the insects. “A lot of diversity exists in Johnsongrass, because it is spread all over the globe,” Smith said. “Specific types have been collected in all these different global locations. As you would expect, each one is going to be different, because it’s had to adapt to different conditions and different pests.” “We hope to use the well-known diversity in Johnsongrass to tell us why some of these types have survived better than others, and in our case, survived pest damage better than others.”








All is Not Equal at Calving Time Cows and first-calf heifers require different management Story By Elizabeth Walker for Cattlemen’s News


alving time is often the most stressful, yet exciting time of the year for beef cattle producers. The fruits of our labors emerge as the pastures become filled with calves running around enjoying life. After the husband and I were married, we had our first taste of marital bliss combined with calving season, Missouri style. I had done lambing, Missouri style, and felt I was quite proficient in that, but calving, Missouri style, was a whole new experience. We did everything

that most Missourians do. We calved in February and called it spring calving. We got up every few hours and did nightly calf check. A few were born between checks on cold nights and didn’t make it. That calving was horrible. We had cold calves, cold humans, worried mommas, and we decided there had to be a better way. My first tip for calving is simply plan your calving season when your environment is most conducive to calving. In Missouri, I can honestly say there

are challenges with every month of the year in regard to calving, but in my opinion, January and February are the least conducive and least humane for the chore. I know I’ll ruffle some feathers with that comment, but I won’t apologize for it. Calving heifers can be a challenge for both you and the heifer. A heifer is expected to give birth, figure out what that thing is trying to nurse, raise her calf, lactate, maintain her body condition, cycle and get pregnant again all while still growing and maturing. What makes matters worse, she is losing her 2-year-old teeth, which makes grazing and consuming enough calories to do all that is

expected, even more of a challenge. Some producers hesitate supplementing heifers for fear that calves will be born too large if their dams are on too high a plane of nutrition the last months of gestation. Feeding full feed to a heifer in a barn is different than providing a supplement (if your environment warrants the extra calories) to a heifer out on pasture. Research has shown that when heifers were fed at their energy requirements, their calves were born heavier and healthier than those heifers that were fed at 65 percent of their energy needs with no differences in dystocia or calving difficulty. Calves need to be healthy enough to get up and nurse and calves that are born small and/or weak, will certainly be at a disadvantage. We have an ideal calf weight that time has taught us tends to have the fewest problems, and we try to make sure our animals receive the necessary nutrients to ensure we hit our idea target weight. If you manage your heifers in a different pasture from your cows, place them in the best pasture with the most high quality forage. Nutrition isn’t just important for the heifer; research has shown that the nutrition of the dam during the last two-thirds of gestation can affect muscle and marbling in her offspring. While I can’t find research to prove it, I worry that if an animal is butted or jostled close to term, the calf can be hurt or its birthing position affected. I am not certain this can lead to dystocia, but it does give me concern for the safety of the calf and heifer. Unrolling hay is best for soil health, but it might also be advantageous to your animals in that it provides plenty of surface area for grazing, decreasing the opportunity of injury during feeding. If you feed a concentrate feed, be sure you have enough bunk space to decrease opportunities for an animal to be injured. Having heifers in a different pen or pasture, away from more dominant cows, would be to your advantage if you are bunk feeding them. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE



pasture planning

What to do With All That Wrap? Plastic Used to Wrap Hay Bales Poses Farm Dilemma


ost everyone in the livestock business agrees that using plastic for baled forage is a great tool that benefits both the farmer and livestock. However, proper disposal of the plastic after it has been used is a major obstacle and problem according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist for University of Missouri Extension. “Southwest Missouri farmers have used plastics to protect baled forages for many years,” said Cole. “It started in the form of twine before moving to cape-like plastic sheets, then bags that totally covered bales (except the ends) and then net wrapping became popular.” Plastic can be a great asset by preserving hay stored outside, speeding up baling and allowing high moisture haylage to be made. Cole says the major drawback is the proper disposal. Burning is not acceptable from an environmental standpoint. A lot of plastic is burned, sent to a landfill or thrown in abandoned wells or ditches. Recyclers of agriculture-related plastics exist, but most of them do not accept plastics used for silage, haylage or hay because it is too dirty or expensive.

“There are a few however that will take it, and one use I’ve read about is to convert it into non-concrete sidewalk pavers,” said Cole. The first challenge is to gather up the plastic wraps from the vast number of farms, so you have a sufficient amount to ship or process. Some communities in the eastern part of the United States offer collection points where the plastic is compacted into bales suitable for shipping. Collection points with dumpsters could be a workable idea. Those points might be located where farmers gather. Places like coffee shops, feed and farm supply stores and sale barns. “Some even suggest companies that sell the material should offer that disposal service to customers — perhaps for a small fee — like tire shops charge for used tires,” said Cole. “In the meantime, farmers who use plastics in their forage handling should do their best not to allow the plastic wrapping to litter the roadside and fields.” —Source: University of Missouri Extension release.

ALL IS NOT EQUAL AT CALVING • FROM PREVIOUS PAGE Choosing the right bull for your es brought on due to a greater heifers is one of the most im- concentration of animals. portant decisions you can make as your prepare for calving. Lastly, be sure your animals Be sure to select a proven, low are up-to-date on their vaccibirth-weight bull. Dystocia can nations. Have a good working result in a costly veterinary bill relationship with your veteriand can jeopardize the bonding narian and be sure to vaccinate between a dam and her calf. It according to his or her recomis dangerous for the cattle and mendations. Keep in mind that for you. Calving should be as the handling of vaccinations, stress-free as possible for both syringes and needles is critical to the vaccination status of people and the animals. your animals. Soap should not Many producers elect to breed be used to clean syringes as their heifers 30 days or so be- the soap residue can destroy a fore their main herd. Having modified live vaccine. Hot wacalves a bit older might also de- ter, no soap, should be used to crease their chances of getting clean your instruments. Invest calf scours, which unfortunate- in new needles and use lowly hits many herds during calv- stress animal management ing. Nutrition has major im- when working your animals. pacts on the immune system, If you haven’t attended a Beef and calves out of heifers might Quality Assurance class, try to be nutritionally challenged find one being offered in your due to having less milk. Giv- area or complete one online. ing them an advantage in age might help ensure they are able —Elizabeth Walker is associate to cope with immune challeng- professor of animal science at Missouri State University.

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Where Profits Begin Visual observation, data collection unite to create a more profitable cow Story By Rebecca Mettler


he potential for an increase in profit on the cow-calf operation can come down to a handful of time-tested management strategies and a few new technological resources. Simply put, a more profitable operation starts with a more profitable cow. A focus on an increased lifetime productivity of the cowherd was a main topic at the first annual Cattlemen’s Profit Roundup held in conjunction with the American Gelbvieh Association’s National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, in mid-December.

in dramatic change in a relatively short amount of time. “We’ve finished all of our male progeny in our operation for 24 years and that data probably more significantly impacts my operation in individual cow matings more than anything I do,” Tucker said. Developing a cowherd with heritability in your favor is only part of the equation. Utilizing the free lunch of heterosis, or hybrid vigor, with

mental stress and how it can affect his profitability. “If we are going to build fertile cows that have a long lifetime in our herd, they have to be adapted for environmental variability between seasons,” Tucker said. Early in his career as a cattle producer, Tucker observed ongoing at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center research that showed Gelbvieh cattle exceled across seven breeds in maternal characteristics and lifetime productivity under unlimited resources. “When I really got tied into Gelbvieh was under real world challenges,” Tucker said. “With less flesh, they maintained that level of fertility while other breeds in the contemporary settings dropped in

It’s hard to talk cowherd productivity without talking about maternal traits. Bill Tucker, of Amherst, Virginia, is a progressive commercial cow-calf producer that uses extensive data collection along with his livestock observation skills to assess his herd’s longevity. “To be profitable, she has to deliver a profitable calf and in order to do that a few things have to come together,” Tucker said. “It’s an interaction of behavior, genetics and the environment.” To Tucker, a maternal trait is more than just milk. His short list of important maternal traits include observational type examples such as: Is she manageable in a herd setting? Does she cycle back? Is she too fat or too thin? What is udder quality and quantity? As the seventh generation to operate Tucker Family Farms, Tucker uses a strict crossbreeding system of Gelbvieh, Red Angus and Angus genetics to improve his herd. His selection processes are centered on optimizing profitability at each stage of production. In Tucker’s mind, producers need to start developing a cowherd in the last place normally considered —starting with carcass traits. He explained that carcass traits are highly heritable; selecting for or against the traits can result

20 JANUARY 2016

“What we wanted to know is that after we depressed their nutrition, would they meet the challenge,” he explained. “Do they respond and do they cycle?” Tucker’s goal is a 10 percent lower conception rate in the heifers. “Those open heifers are the most valuable animals I have because that’s progress in my herd,” Tucker said. “I’m finding them when they are heifers; because when do we normally find them, when they are two-year-olds and don’t breed back.” During 12 years of data collection, Tucker improved his wet 2-year-old retention rate by 18 percent and the wet 3-year-old retention rate by 26 percent. In Tucker’s example, it all came down to visual observation and data collection to develop a plan for a much more efficient cowherd. Increased data collection and management should be on the minds of cowcalf producers as a way to use technology to advance their respective herds. Recently, the American Gelbvieh Association released the Smart Select Service, a data management system that provides genetic tools to aid commercial cattlemen in the selection process.

crossbreeding makes up the latter part.

fertility when their flesh went down.”

“Through hybrid vigor, we can impact the lifetime productivity of those cows better than any other tool,” Tucker said.

Tucker believes that cows must thrive on their own and accept and respond to each environmental challenge with the ability to bounce back when appropriate resources come back into the system.

Studies show an 18 percent added increase in productivity with a crossbred female, according to Tucker. The key is to make strategic mating decisions to create the building blocks of a herd. “Let’s make sure that we understand that crossbreeding in a planned system is for optimal outcome is very different than the gradual slide to mongrelization,” Tucker said. Working in the favor of heritability and taking advantage of heterosis are just two profitbuilding examples. More specific to his operation are his observations regarding fertility during times of environ-

Tucker Family Farms collected data for 12 years, ending in 2012, on reproductive performance as the herd responded to environmental challenges. A part of the data collected was a bounce-back heifer program. It features a 45-day postweaning mob grazing period with a goal of having the females lose between one half to one full body condition score, which was achieved without causing harm to cattle health. After reaching that goal, Tucker ramps up their plane of nutrition 45 days before artificial insemination.

“It allows them to identify the strengths and weaknesses within their herd,” said Kelli Retallick, AGA data services coordinator. “We can analyze the bottom 20 percent and decide how to make better breeding decisions. That will make them more profit than trying to move up that top one or two cows in the herd.” Smart Select Service is nonbreed specific and is available for all commercial producers who want to increase the genetic value of their herds for the potential to increase profitability. With an annual cost of $1 per head, it’s an affordable way to track advancements in an individual herd setting. —Rebecca Mettler is editor of Gelbvieh World magazine, the official publication of the American Gelbvieh Association.




Ahead of the 8-Ball How to stay on top of newborn calf diseases Story By Lisa Henderson for Cattlemen’s News


live calf is always worth more than a dead one. That might be an old one-liner, but preventing calf diseases is easier said than done, especially if you’re calving in cold, wet weather.

than 50 percent, so prevention is key. Calves born to heifers are usually more susceptible to scours, but those calves can easily pass it on to other calves if their environment becomes contaminated.

The ability of your calves to thrive begins at birth with a clean calving environment, says Heidi Ward, D.V.M., with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Newborn calves do not have a functional immune system, so many illnesses can be prevented with proper sanitation.”

If you believe that a calf has become ill, you should contact your veterinarian. Ward offers a few signs of illness to watch for in newborn calves.

Veterinarians suggest that you calve in a clean, dry environment in an area where you didn’t winter your cows. The calving area should be welldrained because moisture is often called a calf-killer. University of Missouri Associate Extension Professor Craig Payne says newborn calf health begins with the cow. “Healthy calves start with the nutritional status of the mother,” Payne explains. “Fetal programming impacts the health of the newborn calf and its lifelong performance.” Experts agree, colostrum is critical for newborns. “After birth, calves must have adequate quantity of colostrum from the mother,” Payne says. “Calves that don’t receive adequate colostrum have a higher risk of dying from diseases.” The primary newborn calf disease is scours, often caused by a contaminated environment. “Disease thrives in hay rings and areas where cattle concentrate,” Payne says. “Cattle should be spread out during calving. They also need shelter during inclement weather that provides an area where they can stay dry.” Scours are actually a symptom of disease that can be caused by many different bacteria and viruses. Severe outbreaks can result in mortality of more

22 JANUARY 2016

• Enlarged, painful umbilicus with or without drainage (navel ill). • Weak and unable to stand or nurse (hypoglycemia or hypothermia). • Lameness (birth trauma or congenital defect). • Watery, yellow diarrhea and dehydration in calves (scours). Additionally, Ward says, cattlemen should be prepared to avoid newborn diseases. Calves should be vaccinated and allowed access to that clean, dry environment. The following are other best practices she recommends: • Vaccinate cows/heifers 30 days prior to breeding for IBR-BVD-PI3, 7-way Blackleg and Leptospirosis. • Vaccinate cows/heifers with a scours vaccine in late pregnancy on advice of veterinarian. • Separate cows/heifers close to calving and give plenty of room and dry space. • Ensure that the calf gets colostrum within the first 2 hours after birth. • If calf will not or cannot nurse, give colostrum via a feeding tube. • Give colostrum at 5 percent of calf’s body weight every 8 hours for first 24 hours. • If cow/heifer has inadequate colostrum, give commercial colostrum.

“Calves that don’t receive adequate colostrum have a higher risk of dying from diseases.” ­—Dr. Craig Payne University of Missouri Payne says, “The lion’s share of problems are taken care of with adequate colostrum. It’s critical.” If you’re unsure whether a calf has nursed – maybe the calf seems clueless or is gaunt – milk the cow and feed the calf 2-3 quarts of colostrum immediately. If the calf hasn’t learned to nurse, you’ll need to milk the cow and feed it to the calf through a tube twice a day until he figures it out. Additionally, take note if you seem to have too many calves that have trouble nursing. If you have too many similar calves, geneticists suggest you send the bull to market and buy a bull that will provide increased vigor at birth. Once you are prepared and know what to look for, Ward says you should take action to prevent the diseases from occurring. Again, she stresses the calf’s environment, good nutrition and proper sanitation. Here are some other prevention techniques: • Ensure that cows/heifers have a good plane of nutrition. • Clean naval with 7 percent iodine solution soon after birth.

• Give calf vitamin/mineral injections on advice of veterinarian. • Give calf oral scours vaccine, intranasal respiratory vaccine or antibody colostrum supplement if colostrum intake is unknown. • If ill, separate cow/calf pair for treatment and to prevent spread of illness. • Health of calf depends largely on the vaccine and nutritional status of the dam. • The dam’s antibodies in the colostrum protect the calf for approximately 2 months. • Calves should get their first vaccines at 2 to 4 months of age to maintain protection from disease. Payne and Ward both encourage producers to develop and implement an overall herd health program with a veterinarian. The cow’s immune status will directly affect the quality of the colostrum she delivers to her calf. Veterinarians also emphasize that good nutrition for the cow will help her maintain a high immunity level, and that can help maximize colostrum quality.




Maintaining Cows Through Winter Nutrition is key in successful cow production Story by Brittni Drennan for Cattlemen’s News


015 was an interesting year in the cattle business.

According to Mike John, director of Health Track Operations for MFA, Inc., a volatile market coupled with forage management issues provided the backdrop for uncertainty the past 12 months. Plentiful spring and early summer rainfall throughout most of the Midwest region provided generous amounts of forage for cattle producers through the summer. However, the wet weather conditions created havoc for hay growers, prohibiting some from getting good quality hay dried and put up in a timely fashion. “It was hard in some parts of Missouri to get hay put up very well,” John said. “So for

24 JANUARY 2016

this winter, I think people are going to have to do some things they might not be used to doing to ensure they have a cow that is prepared for calving and for rebreeding.” There’s no argument about the importance of quality nutrition and keeping cows in good body condition to achieve optimal production. “When you allow cows to go back down to a body condition of 4 or 3 after calving, the costs associated with getting her back to a body condition where she is ready to breed back and carry another calf is much higher than maintaining her throughout the season,” said Chad Holt, Midcontinent Livestock Supplements representative.

Failure to meet the cowherd’s nutrient requirements could potentially be detrimental to an operation’s entire production system, affecting the cow’s colostrum, calf’s immune system strength and ability of that calf to gain, and the cow’s breed-back ability. “If we don’t have those cows in good condition going into winter, they’ll be weaker, their colostrum will not have the same potency that it would have if it were in good condition because the cows are lacking nutrients, and you could experience more difficulty with calving,” said Bud Mareth, Purina Animal Nutrition sales specialist. “Most critically, if the cows are losing condition after calving and go into the breeding season in the spring, it’s very difficult to get a cow that’s losing weight bred back.” Providing adequate nutrition can improve a cowherd’s reproductive performance and not only affect a producer’s bottom line, but also have a long lasting impact on calf performance. Research in fetal programming indicates nutrition to the fetus and the

environment in which that fetus grows has a long-term effect on progeny performance for generations. Nutrition is where it starts. “The biggest factor on profitability is reproduction, and we’ve learned over the years that the trace mineral fortification to that cow will have an impact on how her heifers reproduce in the future,” said Mark Wellman, account manager for Hubbard Feeds. “If we can get those cows bred earlier in the season, it’s going to have a major impact on the profitability of our operation. So, the more cows we can get bred earlier in the season, the heavier and more uniform calf crop we’re going to have and therefore increase the opportunity to be profitable.” Holt, Mareth and John agree the key to ensuring cows are getting adequate nutrition is to test forages and hay. Nutrient quality is going to be questionable and will vary across the country. John said if producers know what nutrients they are lacking in their forages, they can CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE


Haskins Honored During Agriculture Conference Producers recognized with Missouri Agriculture Awards


r. Harold Haskins, Diamond, Missouri, veterinarian and Joplin Regional Stockyards’ field representative was among agriculture leaders from across Missouri receiving high honors during the 46th Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture, hosted by Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Haskins received the Missouri Food Animal Veterinarian Award during the conference banquet, and was recognized by Gov. Nixon and Missouri’s Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce. “Progress in our beef cattle, rice, pork, biofuels and other products continues to drive Missouri agriculture’s growth, and the hardworking people behind these products deserve recognition,” Gov. Nixon said. “To continue this progress, it will require bold ideas, innovative solutions and collaboration among many partners willing to take the challenge and lead. And Missouri farmers have proven time and again their ability to tackle that challenge.”

The Missouri Agriculture Awards recognized producers for their commitment to innovation, support of their communities, dedication to good land stewardship and to being a great example for future generations.

“Missouri agriculture’s top commodity is the men, women and families who work on behalf of the state’s No. 1 industry each day,” said Director Fordyce. Other area honorees included Larry Purdom, Purdy, Missouri, who received the Missouri Agriculture Dairy Legacy award, and Everett Forkner, Richards, Missouri, who was presented with the Missouri Agriculture Pork Legacy award. –Adapted from a Missouri Department of Agriculture release.

MAINTAINING COWS FROM PREVIOUS PAGE accurately determine what they need to supplement, how much they need and how often they need it. With numerous types of supplements available from tubs to cubes and everything in-between, producers can select a product that coincides with their management style.

producers can give buyers, the more value those calves bring to the table. Test forages and talk with a nutrition specialist to determine the best nutrition program that closely aligns with your management practices and operation goals.

“Another thing to keep in mind is that we’re still in a positive value of gain situation, which is the net return for adding additional pounds to calves,” John said. “Following a good vaccination protocol, establishing good immunity in those calves, ensuring an adequate nutritional component to their diet, and putting a cost effective weight gain on those calves not only increases your bottom line, but also decreases reduction in shrink and prepares calves for the next stage because they already know how to eat from a bunk, they’ve already been immunized. You’re going to reduce your death loss and increase your average daily gain and your feed conversion.” These known benefits reiterate the value in preconditioning calves. John foresees as the market continues to rebuild, the cowherd and the supply will start increasing. And, that means it’s going to be more important for cattlemen to differentiate their calves from other producers’. Buyers will be more selective and want more insurance to reduce risks. The more documentation and information



on the calendar

KOMA Beef Cattle Conference Slated for Jan. 19 Preregister by Jan. 15 for Stockton, Missouri, event


he KOMA Beef Cattle Conference begins at 4 p.m., Jan. 19, 2016, at the Stockton United Methodist Church Family Life Center in Stockton. The KOMA (4 – State) Beef Cattle Conference is a joint effort by the Extension Services in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas. It is designed to provide the latest information on beef cattle production, marketing, economics, nutrition and forage utilization. Presenters and presentations at the meeting include: • Dr. David Lalman, professor and beef cattle extension specialist Oklahoma State University, will be discussing “Cattle Mineral Supplementation.” • Dr. Scott Brown, assistant research professor agricultural and applied economics University of Missouri—Colum-

26 JANUARY 2016

bia, will deliver “Do lower cattle prices signal the use of risk management tools by cattle producers?” • Dr. Craig Payne, University of Missouri associate extension professor veterinary medicine, will present “Antibiotic Label Changes and Veterinary Feed Directive.” The evening meal will be catered by Maggie Mae’s Tea Room of Miller, Missouri. The cost of the event for those who preregister and pay prior to Jan. 15, 2016, is $20 per person. Payment at the door is $30 per person. To register or for details on this event, contact the Cedar County MU Extension Center at (417) 276 – 3313 or send an email to cedarco@missouri. edu.

Hay School Set for January Learn how to improve your hay operation


niversity of Missouri Extension will conduct a regional hay school in Greene County during January. The three-session program will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, Thursday, Jan. 14 and Thursday, Jan. 21 inside the Missouri State University Bond Learning Center at the Darr Agricultural Center, 2401 S. Kansas Expressway, Springfield, Missouri. Dinner will be served at the beginning of each session followed by presentations. “The course is specifically designed for livestock producers who may already have their own hay equipment or have hay custom harvested on their land,” said Tim Schnakenberg, MU Extension agronomy specialist. “The goal is to give attendees the fundamental knowledge needed to improve their hay operation,” said Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist with MU Extension.” Hay School attendees will learn what kinds of forages are best

for the area. Speakers will also address nutritional requirements for livestock, supplements, hay testing, field fertilization, round bale silage, the economics of hay and managing pests. Also, attendees will learn how to effectively cut, rake, ted and bale hay and to reduce losses when storing and feeding hay. “There is a lot at stake when making hay and many things to consider to make it worth your time and to be profitable,” Schnakenberg said. “This program will provide the fundamental knowledge needed to improve the product and the bottom line.” A registration fee of $20 per person covers all three sessions. For more information or to register, contact the Greene County Extension office by telephone at (417) 881-8909 or by email at Additional information can be found online at

on the calendar

Workshop Series Next Month Building it from the Ground Up


uilding it from the Ground Up is a workshop series to help farmers/landowners improve their property as well as their outputs and profitability of their farming operation. This workshop series will begin on Feb. 4 and continue on Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. until April 7. The classes will be held at the Osceola First Baptist Church, in Osceola, Missouri. Subject areas include: • Economics business;



Spring Forage Conference set for March 1 in Springfield, Mo. Trent Loos to headline annual event


he 32nd annual Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference will be held Tuesday, March 1, 2016, at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Missouri. Each year this conference attracts an increasing number of people interested in learning more about management strategies for forages and livestock. This year’s keynote speaker will be Trent Loos, who owns and operates a ranch in central Nebraska where he and his family raise beef cattle, horses

and hogs. An advocate and activist for promoting production agriculture in America, he travels the globe to unearth stories about the people involved in the many different facets of production agriculture and to spread the good word about food producers. Loos will share his thoughts and advice with the conference audience about how each farmer can tell their own story and be an advocate for agriculture. The conference will also feature breakout sessions throughout

the day. Topics will include understanding forage tests, forage quality versus quantity, how to graze 300 days a year, using annual forages, the new antibiotic rules, how to get started with livestock grazing, ranching tips for making a profit, preparing the next generation to farm, retaining versus buying heifers, the benefits of trees in a grazing system, and tips for managing a successful grazing system. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with sessions from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A banquet luncheon is included with the registration. Cost is $35 per person in advance or $45 at the door. To pre-register (by Feb. 18) or for more information, contact the Laclede County USDA Office at (417) 532-6305, ext.3 or visit


• Sheep and goat production; • Pasture conditions; • Cow-calf operation; • Stocker and backgrounder; • Soils, soil nutrition, and soil health; • Equipment needed on the farm; • Laying out and developing a farmstead/facilities needed on a farm; and • Hobbies that pay (generating income in non–traditional ways). Each subject area will be presented in one evening. Refreshments will be provided each night. If you choose to take the entire workshop series the cost is $110 per person or if you choose to take individual classes the cost is $15 per person per class. If registering for the entire workshop series, please send registration to St. Clair County MU Extension Center (Courthouse, PO Box 523, Osceola, Mo. 64776) by Jan. 29. Make checks payable to the St. Clair County MU Extension Center. Registration includes a three-ring binder for handout materials. If registering for individual classes, please do so by Tuesday of the week the class is held.




Joplin Regional Stockyards Market Recap | Feeder Cattle & Calf Auction • 2015 Total Receipts 381,832

JRS Sale Day Market Phone: (417) 548-2012 Mondays (Rick Huffman) | Wednesdays (Don Kleiboeker) Market Information Provided By Tony Hancock Mo. Department of Agriculture Market News Service Market News Hotline (573) 522-9244 Sale Day Market Reporter (417) 548-2012

Feeder Cattle Auction for 01/04/16 Receipts: 9,693 Two Weeks Ago: 2,579 Year Ago: 6,146

No sale last week, steers under 450 lbs 10.00 to 20.00 higher, steers 450 to 700 lbs and all weights of heifers 5.00 10.00 higher, steers over 700 lbs 7.00 to 12.00 higher, compared to a light test two weeks ago. Demand good, supply heavy. The feeder supply included 61 percent steers, 35 percent heifers, 04 percent bulls, with 62 percent over 600 lbs.

Special Value Added Feeder Cattle Sale for 1/07/2016 Receipts: 5,627 Month Ago: 6,279 Year Ago: 3,400

The last Value Added sale was one month ago, too far back for a meaningful price comparison. Compared to Monday’s sale, steers and heifers under 700 lbs steady to firm, steers over 700 lbs steady to 3.00 lower, heifers over 700 lbs steady on comparable sales. Demand moderate to good, supply moderate. Strong fundamentals have developed the last two weeks, but Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle futures locked limit down on Thursday. All calves are on a wean-vac program and heifers guaranteed open. The feeder supply included 63 percent steers, 36 percent heifers, with 66 percent over 600 lbs.

Video Markets from 1/7/2016 • Total Video Receipts 5,409 head

Tune in to the JRS Market Report Monday 12:40 p.m. Wednesday 12:40 p.m. Monday 12:15 p.m. Wednesday 12:15 p.m.

28 JANUARY 2016

M-F 9:55-10:05 a.m. (during break before AgriTalk) M/W/F Noon Hour (during Farming in the Four States) T/Th Noon Hour (after news block)

Monday 11:30 a.m. Wednesday 11:30 a.m. Monday 11:45 a.m. Wednesday 11:45 a.m.

Monday 11:38 a.m. Wednesday 11:38 a.m.

Monday 12:50 p.m. & 4:45 p.m. Wednesday 12:50 p.m. & 4:45 p.m.


KOMA Beef Cattle Conference United Methodist Church Family Life Center, Stockton, Missouri FMI 417-276-3313


Heart of America Dairy Expo Ramada Oasis Hotel & Convention Center, Springfield, Missouri FMI: 417-548-2333


Carswell-Nichols Herefords 3rd Annual Production Sale at the ranch in Alton, Kansas FMI: 785-346-6096

27-29 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show San Diego, California


February 20

Genetic Blend Bull & Commercial Female Sale Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage, Missouri FMI: 319-850-1694


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419

March 1

Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference University Plaza Hotel, Springfield, Missouri FMI:


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419


Bud Williams Lvstk Marketing and Stockmanship Clinic Springfield, Missouri FMI: 417-327-6500


Sunflower Genetics 20th Annual Production Sale at the ranch near Maple Hill, Kansas FMI: 785-640-8060


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419


KW Cattle Co. Angus Bull Sale at the ranch, near Fort Scott, Kansas FMI: 620-224-7305


Cow Camp Ranch Annual Spring Bull Sale at the ranch near Lost Springs, Kansas FMI: 785-466-6475


Building It From the Ground Up Workshop Series First Baptist Church, Osceola, Missouri FMI: 417-646-2419







KO Reg. Angus Bulls | AI Bred Heifers Bred Cows & Pairs | Quarter Horses

Trevon 417-366-0363

Kenny 417-466-8176


Your New Gooseneck Dealer Is:

B & B Sales & Service Bolivar, Missouri 65613


In Stock!



Your Ad Could Be Here Contact Mark Harmon at 417-548-2333 to advertise with Joplin Regional Stockyards in



AC-DC Hay Company Specializing in your hay needs

Need Hay?

Prairie ~ Alfalfa ~ Straw ~ Brome Tony Carpenter 208 North NN Hwy Lamar, MO 64726 Call: 417.448.7883

30 JANUARY 2016



32 JANUARY 2016

January 2016 issue of Cattlemen's News  

January 2016 issue of Cattlemen's News published by Joplin Regional Stockyards

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