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• How to Build Tomorrow’s Cow • Reproduction: It’s All About Timing • Genetics & Environment: Solving the Puzzle

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favorable Cattle on Feed Report for October spurred prices a bit the end of the month. According to the report, placements were at 98 percent from year ago. I really think that had a lot to do with building some optimism in the market. The only thing that’s going to pull us out of where we’re at is to get more for slaughter cattle. It’s been a true bloodbath in that segment of the industry, and it’s a trickle down effect. Hopefully, we’ve bounced off the bottom and can gain some momentum. If shear numbers don’t break us, we should be able to trade at this level for a while. Truly, we’re just at that point in the cattle cycle where we’re going to see lower prices. Unless we have a major drought, we will continue to grow the cowherd as cow-calf producers sell their steers and keep heifers for replacements. I told a guy the other day that it would take a historic event of some

kind to make prices 20 to 30 higher. Or, the least little hiccup could take it another 20 or 30 lower. It’s a minefield. It’s dangerous because of where we are in the cattle cycle, and the political scenario also weighs on the market.

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 Dan Haase: Pierce City, MO M(417)476-2132

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

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

We’ve got to manage our operations now down to the last penny. We have to pay more attention to where we spend our money — regardless of the segment of the industry we’re in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our big value-added feeder calf sale is coming up on Dec. 1. We’ve had a great fall, and we’ve got a lot of grass. We are blessed. We still have a lot in our favor. It will be a challenge, but I’m going to navigate my way through it the best way I can. Let’s play the cards we’re dealt. There are a lot of cattle around; I’m looking forward to selling ‘em.

Alice Myrick: Mapleton, KS H(620)743-3681, M(620)363-0740

Good luck and God bless.


Bob Shanks: Columbus, KS H(620)674-3259, M(620)674-1675

Doc Haskins: Diamond, MO H(417)325-4136, M(417)437-2191 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 Troy Yoder: Chouteau, OK M(918)640-8219 MISSOURI Rick Aspegren: Mountain Grove, MO M(417)547-2098 Clay Barnhouse: Bolivar, MO M(417)777-1855

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 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 M(417)437-4552 Charlie Prough: El Dorado Springs, MO H(417)876-4189, M(417)876-7765

Sherman Brown: Marionville, MO H(417)723-0245, M(417)693-1701

Dennis Raucher M(417)316-0023

John Bussey: Neosho, MO M(417)592-4891

Russ Ritchart: Jasper, MO M(417)483-3295

Joel Chaffin: Ozark, MO M(417)299-4727

Lonnie Robertson: Galena, MO M(417)844-1138

Rick Chaffin: Ozark, MO H(417)485-7055, M(417)849-1230

Alvie Sartin: Seymour, MO M(417)840-3272 CATTLE RECEIVING STATION

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

Jim Schiltz: Lamar, MO H(417)884-5229, M(417)850-7850 David Stump: Jasper, MO H(417)537-4358, M(417)434-5420

Tim Durman: Seneca, MO H(417) 776-2906, M(417)438-3541

Matt Sukovaty: Bolivar, MO H(417)326-4618, M(417)399-3600

Jerome Falls: Sarcoxie, MO H(417)548-2233, M(417)793-5752

Brandon Tichenor: Fairview, MO M(417)540-4717

Skyler Fisher: Collins, MO M(417) 298-9051 CATTLE RECEIVING STATION

Mike Theurer: Lockwood, MO H(417)232-4358, M(417)827-3117

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

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

Brent Gundy: Walker, MO H(417)465-2246, M(417)321-0958



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The fall breeding season is upon us. Find out how pregnancy diagnosis can increase your profitability. See story on page 17. — Cover photo by Joann Pipkin.

Features 12 14 17 21 24 27 28 32 34

Attention to the Details Finding Their Match Increase Profitability: Diagnose Pregnancy Building Tomorrow’s Cow Winter Cowherd Management Too Much of a Good Thing Feed ‘Em Right Training the Herd Is Your Farm Winter Ready?

In Every Issue 3 5 6 8 10 36 37

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

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.

If you wish to discontinue a subscription to Cattlemen’s News, please send request or address label to: Cattlemen’s News - PO Box 634, Carthage, MO 64836

Cattlemen’s News, published by Joplin Regional Stockyards, is a nutsand-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 More Beginning, Small Farmers Can Gain Access to Credit The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of a streamlined version of USDA guaranteed loans, which are tailored for smaller scale farms and urban producers. The program, called EZ Guarantee Loans, uses a simplified application process to help beginning, small, underserved and family farmers and ranchers apply for loans of up to $100,000 from USDA-approved lenders to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations. —Source: Missouri Farm Service Agency.

Harvest Projections Promising According to USDA’s October 12 crop production report, a record soybean harvest is on the horizon for Missouri farmers while corn production is also on the rise. Here’s a look at USDA’s projections: Corn: Planted area is estimated at 3.70 million acres, up 14 percent from last year. Harvested area, forecast at 3.55 million acres, is up 15 percent from 2015. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, the Missouri corn yield is forecast at 165 bushels per acre, unchanged from September but up 23 bushels from 2015. Production is forecast at 586 million bushels, unchanged from the previous forecast but 34 percent above last year’s production. If realized, this would be the second highest yield and production on record behind 2014. Soybeans: Planted area is estimated at 5.6 million acres, up 23 percent from last year. Harvested area, forecast at 5.55 million acres, is up 24 percent from 2015. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, the Missouri soybean yield is forecast at a record 50 bushels per acre, a 9.5 bushel increase from 2015. Production is forecast at 278 million bushels, up 54 percent from 2015 and the highest production level on record for Missouri.

SHOW-ME-SELECT™ Replacement Heifer Sale 7 p.m. • Nov. 18, 2016

Joplin Regional Stockyards

I-44 East of Carthage, Mo. at Exit 22

375 Crossbred & Purebred Heifers Breeds & crosses include: Angus, Hereford, Gelbvieh, Red Angus, Simmental and Lim-Flex. About 80% are black or black whiteface, balance red. Many are synchronized and AI-bred. A few Tier Two and Show-Me-Plus heifers are in the offering.

Pre-sale catalog listing: Video preview and sale may be viewed at and Online bidding may be arranged in advance.

Program Requirements:

• Heifers have met minimum standards for reproductive soundness, pelvic size, body condition and weight and are free of blemishes. • Heifers have been bred to bulls meeting strict calving ease/birth weight EPD requirements. • A strict immunization program has been followed including official Brucellosis calfhood vaccination. All heifers have been found negative for BVD-PI. • Heifers will calve from January to April 30 and were preg-checked within 30 days of the sale.

Consignors Include:

A&W Brooks Farm, Exeter; Alan Glor, Bolivar; Bart Renkoski, Purdy; Bill & Georgia McCloy, Licking; Circle S Chicks, Stark City; Cupps Farms, Shell Knob; Gary Goostree, Rocky Comfort; Goodnight Angus, Carthage; Grellner Farms, Owensville; Haden Cattle Co., Rogersville; Jane Rogers, Pottersville; Jason Hudson, Jenkins; Jerry Carnes, Diamond; John Wheeler, Marionville; Kathy Wheeler, Marionville; Kunkel Farms, Neosho; Mark McFarland, Stella; Mast Farms, Lamar; Sam Schaumann, Billings; Sampson Farms, Hartville; and Weber Cattle, Lamar.

For more information contact: Eldon Cole 417.466.3102 or 466.3386 •

—Source: Missouri Department of Agriculture

USDA Moves Forward with Flawed GIPSA Rules In a letter to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, USDA acknowledged that the agency would continue the rulemaking process on the 2010 Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act proposed rules. The proposed rulemaking was initially undertaken in 2010 and quickly defunded by Congress, which recognized them as a flawed concept that limits producers’ marketing options while adding layers of bureaucracy and opening the door to litigation. NCBA President Tracy Brunner said these provisions were troubling in 2010 and remain a major concern six years later. USDA has announced the GIPSA rules include an interim final rule on competitive injury and two proposed rules to address undue preference and the poultry grower ranking system. The agency has said they will provide additional opportunity for public comment on all the rules and will announce if any amendments will be made. While USDA notes they will exclude marketing arrangements from these rules, these provisions are outweighed by the competitive injury provisions of the GIPSA rule that do not require a showing of injury in order to claim a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act. In 2010, NCBA submitted comments on the GIPSA rules citing concerns. These concerns remain as relevant today as they were six years ago. NCBA calls on USDA to immediately withdraw the GIPSA rules and work with the industry to address the Administration’s concerns with livestock marketing. —Source: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association release.



On Target

Keeping an Eye on BRD Observe how to keep calves, healthy, profitable Story By Justin Sexten


eaned calves in the preconditioning or backgrounding pen should have come in with a plan. For those happy with weanling prices, calves in the pen might be limited to replacement heifer prospects. Others might see this as a year to retain ownership through finishing or just waiting to sell calves in a new year. No matter why you’re feeding those calves now, you face significant challenges from bovine respiratory disease (BRD). Even fall-born, nursing calves are at risk with the fluctuating temperatures and frequent changes in weather.

California-Davis summarizes. Coughing, wheezing, nasal discharge, gauntness, listlessness, anorexia and fever are a few of the 21 BRD symptoms observed. Unique to this study is the reported grooming behavior of steers. Contrary to what most ranchers believe, the fever response to an infection is a necessary and beneficial component of sickness behavior. It reduces the infecting microbe’s reproductive ability, which lets the animal overcome the disease. Still, the “energetic” cost of fever is high, as an active immune system uses a lot of energy. Figure in the reduction in feed intake associated with fever, and you get an environment where the steers need to conserve their energy.

How can you tell if calves are coming down with this disease? A recent article in the Journal of Animal Science from Dr. Rachel ToaffRosenstein and veterinary co- The authors hypothesized workers at the University of there would be less groom-



ing as expressed by licking and scratching, and observing that could provide more insight into early sickness detection. Calves were challenged with several diseases, including multiple BRD strains, and assigned a clinical illness score using the symptoms described. In addition, grooming behavior was recorded to see if steers used an automated brush or licked their hair coat. Contrary to hypothesis, they found no correlation to grooming behavior and BRD onset or severity. Observations did confirm usefulness of past diagnostic tools, however. Clinically ill steers exhibited a nearly 2-degree greater fever and spent 35 percent less time eating than healthy calves. The efficacy of fever and its magnitude in fighting disease was not tested, but confirmed as the calf’s first disease response. It was documented that as disease progressed, temperature increased beyond the normal 101.5 and exceeded the 103-degree treatment threshold temperature.

That predictable temperature increase to the treatment threshold offers consistency in treatment protocols. Animals have a variable “normal” temperature that fluctuates with the environment, so it’s best to work with your local veterinarian to determine treatment program and posttreatment intervals before retreating. Spending 35 percent less time eating fits in with previous work that showed ill calves ate less often than well pen mates. The fact hasn’t changed, but it is more significant now, given the changing rules on use of feed-grade antibiotics. If you plan to feed antibiotics to treat calves, keep in mind the target animal eats less than healthy cattle, resulting in a poor treatment response and marginal prevention of BRD. Since prevention really is key, perhaps the take-home from the California study is the mandate to observe calves for signs of illness and start by monitoring animals at the bunk for feeding behavior. If CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

KEEPING AN EYE ON BRD • FROM PREVIOUS PAGE you have trouble finding enough time to watch them eating, consider closing off the automatic waterer and set up a tank – just make sure to monitor that. Waiting on the water tank to fill provides plenty of time to observe calves while providing clean water.

demonstrates calves that need treatment for respiratory disease rack up more than $70 in carcass discounts while those needing treatment twice cost more than $300 compared to healthy steers. The cost of lung damage to future replacement heifers is difficult to determine, but certainly could change a keeper to a cull.

If you think your time is too valuable to watch for symptoms, We know respiratory illness saps profit at any stage of the beef remember the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity (TCSCF) data production system. TCSCF data suggests calves that get sick one time are significantly less profitable while those that are treated two or more times are several times less profitable in that terminal system. Logically, our replacement heifer prospects that had an early bout of BRD could face limited productivity in hot weather because any lung damage would reduce respiration ability in the adult cow.


Funds Available to Help Veterans, Latinos, Women Farm

—Justin Sexten is director of supply development, Certified Angus Beef.

USDA extends monies to University of Missouri


he U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $179,614 grant to the University of Missouri to support efforts to help veterans, Latinos, women and socially disadvantaged persons to farm or go into agribusiness. The grant will fund eight workshops over the course of a year, said MU Extension health and safety specialist Karen Funkenbusch. MU Extension specialists will offer “Understanding the Alphabet Soup of USDA Programs” and “Grow Your Farm” near military bases and “StrikeForce zones,” locations USDA has identified as highpoverty areas. The MU sessions explain available USDA resources and offer agriculture business education. Funkenbusch and MU rural sociologist Eleazar Gonzalez serve as co-program directors. Funkenbusch also serves as director of the Missouri AgrAbility Project, which assists the growing population of farmers and ranchers living with disabilities to help them remain active in production agriculture. Gonzalez has worked extensively with beginning Latino farmers and ranchers. He will lead four workshops in Spanish in areas with large Latino populations. MU Extension specialists will offer the beginning farmer series in rural and urban areas near Fort Leonard Wood, Whiteman Air Force Base and Scott Air Force Base. Specialists Patricia Barrett, Debi Kelly, Nathanial Cahill and Jim Spencer Jr. will teach the “Grow Your Farm” program. The grant comes at a critical time, said Funkenbusch. “Returning veterans and Latinos represent the fastest-growing groups of beginning farmers and ranchers in Missouri.” For more information, contact Karen Funkenbusch at 573-884-1268 or

—Source: University of Missouri Cooperative Media Group.



on proper nutrition. In other words, adequate protein and energy should be provided to maintain a body condition score (BCS) of 5.5 throughout pregnancy and breeding.


Is Your Stool Balanced? Managing to allow expression of genetic potential Story By David Rethorst for Cattlemen’s News


or cattle to truly express their full genetic potential, management must keep several factors in balance. My good friend, Dr. Randall Spare, uses a four-legged milk stool as an illustration on keeping these factors in balance. The top of the stool represents herd performance. The legs represent nutrition, health, genetics and docility. If each of the four leg components is managed properly, the stool top is level and the herd performance is optimal. If one or more of the legs is not managed as it should be, the stool is unstable — resulting in less than optimal performance. In recent years, several fetal programming studies have shown us that the need to manage nutrition properly begins early in pregnancy. It makes



sense when I see a study that shows under-nutrition early in pregnancy reduces the number of muscle and fat cells formed in the fetus. The intriguing thing is that another study shows over-nutrition early in pregnancy reduces the number of muscle and fat cells in the developing fetus. The take-home on this is that if you are breeding cattle that you want to market on a grid, you want the optimal number of muscle and fat cells. A study, led by Dr. Rick Funston at the University of Nebraska several years ago, documented the practical application of fetal programming. In that study, the steer calves whose dams received supplemental protein during the last trimester of pregnancy performed better in the

feedyard and graded better than the steers whose dams were not supplemented. The supplemental protein also had an impact on the reproductive performance of the in-utero heifer calves. The yearling pregnancy rate in the heifers out of supplemented cows was significantly better than that of the heifers whose dams were not supplemented. Studies such as this reinforce the fact that managing the lifetime health and performance of a calf begins at conception rather than at birth. Supplementation of adequate protein in late pregnancy also plays a role in the absorption of colostrum. The fat found in colostrum serves as an energy source for the newborn calf. Optimal reproductive performance is dependent

Prevention of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the primary focus of nearly all beef cattle health programs. Reducing treatment costs, death loss and labor costs are the primary reasons for this focus. Equally important is the fact that each time an animal is treated for BRD, its performance is reduced as well as the animal’s chances of grading well. In other words, the animal was not able to express its genetic potential. Several components to the health leg of our stool exist. Stress management is one of these components. Early in life castration reduces stress, that in many cases has been associated with weaning and allows the immune system to function better. Low-stress handling throughout life and low-stress weaning methods improve the health of the calves. Viruses such as infecCONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

IS YOUR STOOL BALANCED? • FROM PREVIOUS PAGE tious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine virus diarrhea (BVD) play a significant role in the development of respiratory disease, as well as other issues. The vaccination protocol should address both of these viruses. A protocol should also be in place to address the removal of cattle persistently infected (PI) with BVD virus from the herd. Nutrition is also part of the health leg of the stool because the cow transfers trace minerals to the fetus during the last three months of pregnancy for the calf’s immune system to function properly the first 60 days of life. Protein and trace mineral supplementation play a role in cattle health performance in the feedyard. Two studies led by J.T. Mulliniks at New Mexico State indicate that the manner in which protein is supplemented to cows has an effect on feedyard health, as measured by the number of cattle that were treated for or died because of BRD even though the calves were put through a 45-day preconditioning program on the ranch. A difference in the manner in which trace minerals were supplemented in these cows was present, which might have also contributed to this health effect while the cattle were in the feedyard.

Keeping the top of the stool level requires a thoughtful, systembased approach. Care must be taken to ensure unintentional consequences are not the result of a change. Let’s keep the top of the stool level and the cattle performing at an optimal level. —Dr. David Rethorst is director of outreach for the Beef Cattle Instute at Kansas State University.



The tools available today to aid in genetic selection are absolutely amazing! Forty years ago the industry used actual birth weight, adjusted 205-day and yearling weights, weaning and yearling ratios and a lot of “eyeball” in the selection process. The predictability of the outcome was low, and progress was relatively slow. The use of EPDs began in the early 1980s. Because of the size of the database used to develop EPDs, predictability improved along with the rate at which progress could be made. Today EPDs exist for many measurements. Calving ease direct and dollars beef are two EPDs that come to mind as very useful and combine several parameters into one EPD. In recent years, genomic testing has been added to the toolbox. When the use of this tool is combined with the use of EPDs, predictability and consistency of the end product is excellent. We now have the tools to select bulls to address deficiencies in a herd with pinpoint accuracy. Docility is the fourth leg of the stool for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that docile cattle are easier to handle. This helps keep tempers in check while working cattle, but more importantly improves the safety of the crew. Docile cattle are easier to wean, thus reducing weaning-associated stress and improving cattle health. Improved feedyard performance is another advantage of docile cattle. Profitability is improved because of higher average daily gain, feed efficiency and grading. Genetics comprises a portion of the docility leg of our stool because an EPD for docility exists. As with other EPDs, selecting animals in the top five percent of a breed for docility will allow for faster progress than selecting an animal in the top 20 percent of a breed. Please remember that while we can improve docility by selecting for it, docility is slighty less than 40 percent heritable. This means that just over 60 percent of the way cattle act is in response to the way in which they are handled!




Making a Plan for Peace Farm’s future requires an action plan Story By Darren Frye for Cattlemen’s News


hen you’re thinking about how to best transition your farming operation to the next generation, it can seem like a huge undertaking. There’s so much to do such as finding out the hopes and wishes of the next generation, deciding how you want the transition to happen, how to best accomplish it and how to train and develop the next generation. Getting started can be overwhelming. Plus, uncertainty

about the future might exist — which family members are going to be involved on the farm or what their roles are going to be. Financial uncertainty or uncertainty about some landlord relationships might also be involved. Everything is up in the air.

Putting it off Here’s what most people tend to do in the face of uncertainty: nothing! When situations are the most uncertain, most

But we already know the remedy to decrease uncertainty: take action to learn more, about what our options are. If we wait to start a legacy plan for the farm until we are certain about the farm’s entire future, then the farm will never have a legacy plan. This can lead to a lot of anxiety for younger generations as they people hold tight. They delay don’t know what will happen to the farm — or their own fuaction. ture on it. It’s often this way for families and farm transition planning. Plans and peace Families might feel uncertain about how the transition will Can you imagine the pressure take place — legally and finan- the farm’s next leader would cially. They might be uncer- feel if the generation currenttain about how the younger ly leading the farm suddenly generation will learn the skills said, ‘Well, I’m ready to retire. and knowledge they need to The farm is all yours; you’ll be making all the decisions now. prepare to lead the farm. Good luck!’ It doesn’t have to be that way. By taking action to start building a legacy plan now — no matter how many years there are until you want to retire — you can gain a lot of peace of mind for yourself and the younger generation. With the help of a legacy advisor, you can create plans to address all aspects of your farm’s transition. The plan can include a succession path that details how the younger generation will learn what is needed to know to lead the farm, and the incremental steps they’ll take toward leadership. Getting started on your farm’s legacy plan is the best action to take when situations are the most uncertain as it helps bring some direction for the future. The planning you do is the clearest communication you can provide about the farm’s future — and it might be one of the greatest gifts you can give the next generation as part of your legacy.

Learning opportunity I also wanted to let you know about a learning opportunity taking place this month in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Water Street EDGE farm business seminar is an opportunity to learn from experts, network with other farm leaders and to take home insights to help as you make plans for your farm’s future. Some of the speakers featured at this year’s seminar will be Dr. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE



A PLAN FOR PEACE FROM PREVIOUS PAGE David Kohl, Dr. Matt Roberts and Eric Snodgrass on a number of business and leadership topics important for today’s farm leaders. I’ll be speaking at the event, too, on ‘Pulling the Four Levers of Farm Success.’ It will all take place in Lincoln, Nebraska on Nov. 28 and 29. You can learn more about the Water Street EDGE seminar and register by visiting www. or you can call 866.249.2528 for more information. You can also register online for the same program taking place in January, in Champaign, Illinois. Read the new issue of the Smart Series publication, bringing business ideas for today’s farm

leader. This issue features the story of a farm family who is working on a legacy plan to keep the farm in the family while maintaining family harmony, items to consider as you select an estate planning attorney for your legacy plan, and how to work toward increasing your operation’s efficiency. Your free issue is available at: —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 them at or call (866) 249-2528.


Farm Service Agency Acreage Report Deadlines Approaching Current, future participants required to file


armers wanting to participate in any program offered through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) must complete acreage reports by the following deadlines:

Nov. 15, 2016: Final reporting date for all 2017 crops including hay, pasture, rangeland and forage.

Dec.15, 2016: Final reporting date for all 2017 crops including

fall-seeded wheat, rye, oats, barley and other fall-seeded small grain acres. Late-file fees apply per farm if acreage is not timely reported. For additional information, visit your local FSA office.

—Source: Newton/McDonald Farm Service Agency.

news to use

Producer Input Sought for Beef Quality Audit B

eef producers from every segment of the industry, are encouraged to participate in a survey that will help establish a benchmark and course for the beef industry for 2017 and beyond. The Producer Survey of the checkoff-funded 2016 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) will collect producer information and opinions to help form an in-depth look at where the industry stands and what its successes and shortcomings are.

Completely anonymous, the survey will include both information about the industry’s cattle operations and the opinions of the people who run them about the strengths and weaknesses of the industry. Input from every segment of the industry — cow-calf, stocker, feeder, dairy and others — is valued and will become part of the detailed picture of the U.S. cattle industry. Access the survey at the Beef Quality Assurance website at http:// Final results of the 2016 NBQA will be released in July 2017. —Source:




Attention to the Details New tools assist management and reproduction Story By Lisa Henderson for Cattlemen’s News


eproduction is by far a cow-calf operation’s most economically important trait, experts say. Research suggests that reproduction is anywhere from double to 10 times more important than growth or carcass traits, depending on assumptions. “Paying attention to reproduction is critical to the bottom line and as such deserves an investment of time,” says Sandy Johnson, extension specialist and associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University. The use of artificial insemination by beef cattle operations remains relatively low compared to other livestock enterprises such as dairy and swine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that about 5 percent of cows and 16 percent of heifers in the U.S. beef herd are bred artificially. Despite the fact AI offers a way to access proven genetics that otherwise would be unavailable or unaffordable for the average commercial producer, the low adoption rate of AI is based on the producer assumption that the practice is expensive and difficult compared to natural service. Johnson and other extension beef cattle specialists are working on various projects that may change producer opinions of AI. For instance, Johnson says two digital tools are now available to assist cow-calf producers with the timing of reproduction and management. At the 2016 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle symposium held in Des Moines, Iowa, Sept., 7-8, she told attendees about these new tools and provided an overview of how they are used. Using advice from the popular book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, Johnson says if the end goal is to produce calves, “reproduction should be the first point of focus and effective



people take proactive steps toward reproduction.” She notes that offspring can result without any proactive measures but the end result might not be the same. “Late-born calves will be lighter at weaning, and some bulls can help you reach a target market and some do not,” she says. Management is crucial to the success of an artificial insemination program, and attention to detail is key. The two tools Johnson described – the Estrus Synchronization Planner and the Management Minder – can help producers improve the timeliness and precision of cow management and the application of estrus synchronization protocols. “The Estrus Synchronization Planner focuses on helping producers select a protocol and administer it correctly (right product at correct time) to achieve the desired results,” Johnson says. “The Management Minder helps producers ensure timely management of the herd year-round to opti-

mize nutrition, reproduction and health.” The Estrus Synchronization Planner is an Excel spreadsheet program for computers developed to help cow-calf producers select an appropriate synchronization protocol for cows or heifers, utilizing heat detection, fixed-time AI, or a combination of both. Producers will need a copy of MS Excel or Open Office, and the planner can be downloaded at no charge from the Iowa Beef Center at html. That page also provides additional reference materials related to synchronization of estrus and AI. Using the Estrus Synchronization Planner, producers enter the day and time they wish to begin breeding. The program then calculates the day and hour that each protocol treatment — including product name and dosages – should be administered. Johnson says the dates transfer to a printable calendar that should be checked to ensure they work for your operation.

The program asks for users contact information which allows the administrators to provide updates when they are made to the planner, usually on an annual basis. The current version was released in March 2016. The Estrus Synchronization Planner also has a mobile-friendly version, which needs Internet access to use, but is available at The second tool Johnson described at the symposium is the Management Minder. “This program is your personal assistant in keeping key dates in front of you,” she says. Designed to help ensure that year-round management steps happen in a timely manner, the Management Minder is a free web-based annual production calendar that helps producers organize and manage their cattle operations. The program offers reminders for tasks that producers often put off that can influence profitability. “By charting out key annual activities The Estrus Synchronization Planner can help producers improve timeliness and precision of cow management during breeding season. —Photos by Joann Pipkin.

such as breeding, grazing and weaning, you can increase your efficiency, productivity and profit,” Johnson says. “The program will create a calendar that can be used with electronic calendars such as Outlook, Google or Yahoo.” The Management Minder contains a list of activities that you can add to your calendar and a suggested date based on a default interval from a key time point such as the start of breeding or calving, Johnson says. You can easily edit the default dates to fit your unique operation. You can get started with the Management Minder by going to: http://www.asi.k-state. edu/species/beef/researchand-extension/managementminder/.




Finding Their Match Do more with less by suiting cows to the environment Story By Joann Pipkin, Editor


atching a cow’s genetics to her environment. The concept might seem simple. Yet, accomplishing it is easier said than done. It’s called genetic adaptation, and University of Missouri Geneticist Jared Decker is heading up a research project to ultimately develop region-specific genomic-enhanced EPDs that will help cattle producers find AI sires and replacement females suited to their production environment.

“We want to identify and select cattle that are genetically predisposed to handle the stressors they are going to face in their environment, whether that is heat, cold, dry, humidity, toxins or pests,” Decker explains. Decker and his team of researchers are currently gathering genotype and trait data from breed associations. They hope to identify patterns of selection in the cattle’s DNA. “We are looking for selected DNA variants that have made some cattle more successful than others in the different regions of the United States,” Decker says. “We are also looking for gene by-environment effects. These will be DNA variants that have a large effect in one environment, but a small effect in a different environment.” Gene-by-environment effects can mean animals are ranked differently depending on the environment in which they are being evaluated, Decker says. “Cattle producers have tried to select easier-fleshing cattle, and our initial result suggests cows that deposit fat easier are more likely to be successful,” Decker says. He adds that about 8,000 head of cattle have been recruited to be included in research to examine genetic control of hair shedding. “Cows that shed off earlier in the spring handle the heat better and tend to wean a heavier calf,” Decker notes. “With this part of the project, we will create genomic predictions of hair shedding, thus providing another tool to select for heat tolerance.” Decker is hopeful the end of the project will bring GE-EPDs that put data and information behind selection decisions for cattlemen and women. “When they select an AI sire, they can have more confidence that his daughters will work in their herds,” he says. Environmental stress is the root of billions of dollars in lost revenue for the beef industry, Decker says. “We want to minimize these losses and gain more efficiency from selecting cattle that are adapted to their environments. This will mean cattle will have higher welfare, which society wants.” This also means beef production will have a smaller environmental footprint by doing more with fewer resources, Decker says. The genetic adaptation research could also help relieve stress fescue toxicosis brings to cattle. “In our research, we hope to find if there are any gene-by-environment interactions,” Decker says. “We hope with fescue-belt specific EPDs that beef producers will be able to select cattle that have the genetics to perform on fescue.” Decker expects initial results from the study about 18 months from now, with the project concluding in 2019. “Hopefully, our research results will be convincing and breed associations and cattle producers will be motivated to adopt this approach and technology,” Decker says.



animal. The cycle begins with female lice laying eggs, or nits, which are glued to the host’s hair. Nymphs hatch from the eggs one to two weeks later, becoming fully developed adults in about two weeks.


Don’t Let Lice Drain Your Cattle or Your Profits Take control of these pests now as lice season begins Story By Dr. Doug Ross, Bayer Animal Health


ice can take a big bite out of your bottom line, so it’s important to get them under control, especially in the fall as their numbers increase. These cool-weather pests can be more than just a nuisance, costing livestock producers collectively an estimated $125 million a year, according to the USDA. To protect your operation, it’s important to understand the damage lice can cause (and how to spot it), the types of lice affecting cattle, the lice life cycle and effective methods of control.

Damage From Lice Lice can make cattle uncomfortable and unproductive, negatively impacting not only the animal, but also facilities and equipment. For cattle, lice infestation can cause restlessness, agitation and excessive rubbing and scratching. Left untreated, this itching and scratching can cause hair loss, raw spots and skin damage that can increase exposure to disease and the risk of infection. Excessive scratching can damage property as well. Lice-infested cattle are more inclined to scratch themselves by rubbing against edges of structures, which due to their size, can damage sides of barns, fences, trees or other property that could serve as a scratching post. Infestation also can result in lameness, allergic responses and anemia, leading to lower milk production, decreased feed efficiency and reduced weight gain. Furthermore, lice can increase the animal’s susceptibility to diseases and mortality; cattle infected with lice tend to recover from diseases more slowly than healthy cattle.

Types of Lice Two types of lice live on cattle — sucking lice and biting lice: • Sucking lice feed on the host’s blood. They generally can be found along the top line of an animal’s back, but can spread to the poll and tail head as well. • Biting lice ingest skin, hair and scabs. They tend to be more widespread on the body. Both types of lice can cause discomfort and negatively impact cattle health and productivity.

Lice Life Cycle The life cycle of lice is generally three to four weeks in length, during which time the lice spends the entirety on the

Lice are spread by contact between infested animals. With an adult female able to lay about 30-40 eggs during her lifetime, a single adult louse in September can result in approximately 1 million lice by January – if left uncontrolled.

Lice Prevention and Control Fortunately, effective lice management is possible with a variety of easy-to-use, versatile treatment options, including dusts, pour-ons and sprays. While traditional treatments involve a two-step process (the first to kill the adults and nymphs on the animal, the second treatment three weeks later to kill those that hatched after the first treatment), new treatments are available that can kill adult lice, nymphs and eggs with a single application through use of an insect growth regulator.

later, regardless of the treatment method used. Because lice primarily are spread through animal-toanimal contact, taking action to prevent re-infestation is critical as well. Experts recommend that facilities used by infested cattle either be treated with insecticide or remain empty for 10 days before being used by clean stock. In addition, any new animals should be isolated from the resident herd and treated before being added to the herd.

Keeping Safety in Mind Finally, be sure to read the label and know what personal protection equipment is required for the products being used for lice control. Also, be sure that the employees applying these products are trained in the proper use of each product and use of the appropriate equipment. With proper planning and treatment, producers can limit the destruction caused by lice this season. —Dr. Doug Ross is senior technical services entomologist, Bayer Animal Health.

Treated cattle should be reexamined about two weeks

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A Letter to JRS Customers Cattle Industry Convention Set for Nashville


ear Cattlemen:

The 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show will be Feb, 1-3 in Nashville, Tennessee. I hope you will consider attending and participating. The Nashville location is always a favorite of cattlemen. This year’s schedule looks to be the best ever.

more than six acres of trade show booths unveiling many new and exciting technologies and products to benefit cattle farmers and ranchers. Convention headquarters at the Opryland Hotel is a great respite from a Midwest winter. You will surely fall in love with it’s tropical gardens and waterfalls!

Perhaps the greatest part of convention is the Beef Industry Trade Show. Three hundred fifty international vendors and exhibitors will fill

While in Nashville, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Council’s joint committees will discuss and chart our Beef Check-

off supported research and promotion programs. And, the NCBA business meetings are always great forums for the development of NCBA Policy. The folks at your Joplin Regional Stockyards are recognized nationally for their innovation and dedication to serving their customers. As a longtime buyer of your NCBA President Tracy Brunner —Photo provided by BEEF magazine. calves at JRS, I am proud to have customers improve and grow witnessed many of these im- their cattle businesses along provements in cattle market- with their marketing partner. ing. And, I have seen the seller Your management and staff from JRS have also supplied leadership for our national organizations and the beef industry at large. Their voice and ideas always represent the four-state area and its importance in the U.S. beef community. When possible, help me in thanking them for their ongoing commitment to beef industry improvement. The past few years have not been the best for cattle prices. The landscape seems to change faster and faster in the world around us. On the global scale though, we know more and more people want and can afford our high quality beef. I believe progressive producers who continue to invest in keeping their farms and ranches competitive will always be rewarded. Our industry continues to be exceptionally strong and the cornerstone of American agriculture. It’s times such as these that show what cattlemen are made of. Please join your friends and neighbors from across the country as we gather to learn, to innovate, and to celebrate Feb. 1-3 at the 2017 Beef Industry Convention and Trade Show in Nashville, Tennessee! Sincerely,

Tracy Brunner Tracy Brunner 2016 President National Cattlemen’s Beef Association




Increase Profitability: Diagnose Cow Pregnancy Don’t let open cows suck profits from your operation Story By Rebecca Mettler for Cattlemen’s News


ailure to diagnose pregnancy in a cow-calf operation is a huge missed opportunity to increase efficiency in the herd. With multiple ways to detect pregnancy, it’s a management practice that can effectively identify the open cows that are sucking profit out of the operation. “The most expensive cow in your herd is the open cow that’s using your resources and not producing a calf,” said Dr. Ky Pohler, assistant professor of animal science, University of TennesseeKnoxville. Even with the high cost of keeping non-productive cattle, only 20 percent of U.S. beef producers evaluate the pregnancy status of their fe-

males, according to a 2008 United States Department of Agriculture cow-calf management practices survey. Roughly 18 percent of beef producers use palpation, and only 2.2 percent use ultrasound for pregnancy diagnosis. The list of reasons for not utilizing pregnancy detection includes many factors. The most popular reason producers voice is that labor and time is a limiting factor, while others cite the process is too complicated, too expensive or that they don’t have access to facilities to easily accomplish the task. Pregnancy diagnosis isn’t thought of from a one-sizefits-all approach. Rather, Pohler believes the timing

Rectal palpation is the most common method of pregnancy detection. Diagnosis is most often performed from 40-to-60 days postbreeding. —Photo by Joann Pipkin.

and type of pregnancy diagnosis that works for one producer might not work for another. “With pregnancy diagnosis, it comes down to individual management,” he explained. “If you have a vet that’s close to you, that is perfect, there’s no reason to change. But, if

you have a hard time identifying a vet or getting on (his or her) schedule, blood-based pregnancy testing is an option.” When comparing the types of pregnancy diagnosis methCONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE



exists to utilize early pregnancy detection to identify open females for re-synchronizing, much like the current practices in the dairy industry. Pohler says he routinely has producers asking what the new method of pregnancy diagnosis will be; however, the research community has more in mind than just a new way of doing things. “We are not only thinking about the open females, but also thinking about successful pregnancies and are interested in predictive methods to determine if they are pregnant today and will have successful pregnancies,” Pohler said. “Both of these gain headway to advancing the herd forward.”

Ultrasound can detect pregnancy as early as 25 to 28 days. —Photo by Joann Pipkin.

tificial insemination and 64.8 percent in predicting pregnant females, but the accuracy hinges on the experience of ods, the ones currently avail- the technician. able are fairly comparable across the board from a cost One of the latest advanceand management point of ments in pregnancy diagnosis view — and the accuracies are is chemical pregnancy detecsimilar, Pohler said. tion, specifically the identification of pregnancy-associThe most widely used method ated glycoproteins (PAGs) in of pregnancy detection is rec-

time artificial insemination program. It can also be used to sort off early and late-bred cows if a producer is looking to tighten up a calving season and make added income for the sale of late-bred and open cows.

tal palpation. Depending on the skills of the examiner and the age and size of the dam, pregnancy can be detected as early as day 30 of gestation, but traditionally is not done earlier than 40 to 60 days.

whole blood or milk samples. Producers are able to pull blood samples themselves and can expect results back from most labs within one to two business days after arrival at the lab.

Ultrasound can detect pregnancy as early as 25 to 28 days, but is limited before then. If done with a Doppler ultrasound machine, a more precise assessment of the uterus, ovarian follicles and corpus luteum can be gathered by detecting blood flow to these areas. Blood flow to the corpus luteum can also be used to predict non-pregnant females, with 98.5 percent accuracy 20 days after timed ar-

Pregnancy detection can be effectively performed any time from 28 days of gestation to term. However, producers are good at finding opportunistic times to preg-check when cattle are already being put through the chute or within close proximity to a working facility.

For example, some areas of the country are dry this season. “If you are making drought management decisions, use early pregnancy diagnosis to identify the cows that are bred early in the season and sell the latebred or open cows,” Pohler said. “It’s something that gets glossed over sometimes, but it’s a management plan that can get you some more income to make it through the hard times.”




Early pregnancy diagnosis provides producers added information during a fixed-

Utilizing pregnancy detection during a drought can also be a great management tool.

In the crystal ball Within the beef industry, pregnancy detection is primarily used to cull open females. However, opportunity

The goal is to perform one early pregnancy diagnosis and be able to tell producers if a pregnancy has the ability to sustain itself through the stages of early embryonic loss (day 17 to 28 of gestation) and late embryonic mortality (day 28 to 60 of gestation), which can be a big enough percentage to cause worry. According to research, a fertilization rate of 95 percent is not uncommon, however by day 28 of gestation, producers can expect to have a 60 to 70 percent pregnancy rate. Then from day 28

to 60, late embryonic mortality can account for another 5 to 10 percent reduction in pregnancy rates. Pohler and his colleagues are currently working on a project in Brazil to develop a management plan for early pregnancy diagnosis with the option to re-synchronize open females as well as bred females whose pregnancies are likely to end in embryonic loss. Early research has found serum PAG levels in blood and milk can accurately predict the possibility of embryonic mortality.




Vet’s Opinion Preg testing equals profitability Story By W. Mark Hilton

As cattle margins tighten, there is temptation to cut costs to improve profits . . .and I’m all in favor if the cost cutting actually makes your beef business stronger. The first place to look at cost cutting is in feed cost, which accounts for around 50 percent of the total cost of keeping a cow.

sis is way out of line compared with other available feedstuffs? Calling your beef herd nutritionist or the nutritionist from the company where you buy your feed or mineral to ask about alternatives should be your first option. Ask if the product you are using is the most cost-effective or if there is a more economical substitute. Are you feeding an expensive Maybe your Extension educa“convenience feed” that on a tor or herd health veterinarcost-per-unit-of-nutrition ba- ian has advanced training in

beef nutrition and they could answer those questions to help you save money. As a veterinarian you might think I would feel that health costs are “off limits” in helping to reduce overall costs. My father told me when I graduated from veterinary school to “treat all your clients like mom and me” and that philosophy has served me well for my entire career. If a producer is spending money on an unnecessary vaccine, dewormer or other treatment, he needs to know that. There are no sacred cows when it comes to being frugal. One area that would be foolish to eliminate is pregnancy checking cows. Having a freeloader eat your feed all winter long and produce nothing in return is akin to paying full wages and benefits to an employee who never shows up to work. And not only is the employee contributing zero work, she’s stealing from you by showing up for every meal at your expense. Tell me you wouldn’t fire that worker as soon as she was discovered! The last National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) report showed only 20.2 percent of herd owners pregnancy checked their cows. In herds over 200 cows, the numbers were better at 71.7 percent, but that still leaves many “thieves” in these herds. With beef production being already less efficient than poultry or swine production, we must do the things that will keep us competitive with these other sources of protein. A friend who is a swine veterinarian tells me, “Over 90 percent of the sow herds are rou-

20 NOVEMBER 2016

tinely checked, i.e. weekly that are 500 sows and larger.” What about a hen that stops producing eggs? Ever hear of chicken soup? Beef may never be as efficient as swine or poultry production, but we have to do the easy tasks to keep us competitive and pregnancy checking is easy. If your total cost of production is $650 per cow per year1 and it costs $6.50 to $13.00 per cow to preg check, that’s only 1-2 percent of your total cost of production. Is skipping this very cost-effective procedure really worth it to save 1-2 percent? In a 200-cow herd, if the pregnancy test, trip charge and owner labor amounts to $2,500 (many would say that is on the high side), it will take only eight open cows (a 96 percent pregnancy rate) to make pregnancy checking pay. If your DVM also provides value-added services like identifying cows with health issues, staging pregnancies, providing advice on vaccines, deworming, etc., your payback is even greater. Is this a time to scrutinize every cost? Absolutely, and I suggest doing this on a regular basis. Should every expense be examined to see the impact it will have on herd health and productivity? Again, absolutely. Just remember not to save a few pennies that will cost you many dollars in the end. —Source: W. Mark Hilton, DVM, PAS, DABVP (beef cattle practice), is clinical professor emeritus, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine; Senior Technical Veterinary Consultant, Elanco Animal Health. Reprinted with permission from BEEF magazine,


Building Tomorrow’s Cow Developing replacement heifers for the long haul Story By Austin Black for Cattlemen’s News

mend producers aim for lower target weights just to save money. Funston is at the forefront of this research. His studies show several benefits to a lower target weight.


“The age of puberty has changed dramatically from when the original studies were done,” he said.

Proper development also helps heifers perform in environments they will experience later in life.

Lowering the target weight reduces the amount of feed heifers need to reach that goal. This approach works especially well with springcalving herds, and Funston

roper heifer development is crucial to ensure longevity. Heifers need the proper nutrition at the right time. Otherwise their growth and reproductive development can be inhibited. Lancaster said good arguments exist for this approach, however he doesn’t recom-

said feeding heifers low-cost forages through the winter promotes compensatory gain after breeding. His research starts weaned heifers on a forage-based diet with protein supplement. He feeds corn by-products to provide energy and keep the diet palatable. This ensures calves will eat during weaning, which is key. After weaning, Funston turns the calves out to dormant winter grass and corn residue. “We will develop them CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

Heifer development revolves around getting females to a target body weight at breeding. Producers need to determine this target and develop a feeding program to reach this goal. “Body weight and amount of fat are triggers that initiate the onset of puberty in females,” said Dr. Phillip Lancaster, Missouri State University assistant professor of animal science. Estrous cycling begins at puberty, so early onset ensures higher success of early breeding. Dr. Rick Funston, University of Nebraska reproductive physiologist, said the timing of her first conception impacts a heifer’s longevity. If a heifer breeds early in her first cycle, she will calve earlier. This allows her more time to rebreed, ensuring she stays on a 365-day or less calving interval. Routine calving secures her place in the herd and improves lifetime profitability. Two approaches exist to a target body weight for heifers. For several years, the recommendation has been 65 percent of mature body weight. If the target mature weight is 1,200 pounds, heifers should be at least 780 pounds at breeding. New research shows potential for the target to be only 55 percent of mature weight. At this weight, heifers would only need to be 660 pounds at breeding to hit the same 1,200-pound target.

Not keeping back enough heifers is a common mistake many producers make. Often, producers only keep back the number of heifers they expect to breed. —Photo by Joann Pipkin.



TOMORROW’S COW FROM PREVIOUS PAGE like yearlings until about 4045 days prior to breeding,” he said. At that point, he puts the heifers in a feedlot setting to allow for synchronizing with melengestrol acetate (MGA).

Energy is key Regardless of which target weight producers choose, the key is to reach that goal. Heifers need to grow from weaning through their second calving. That means protein and energy levels are important throughout. Weaning and pre-breeding diets should be forage-based with high-quality supplement. Lancaster

Heifers are sometimes difficult to get re-bred after calving because they haven’t reached mature weight. said corn, corn by-products and soybean hulls are all good options. “By-products have highly digestible fiber instead of starch,” he said. “They don’t have the negative consequences on forage digestion that starch can have.” Distiller’s grains are high in both energy and protein. But, diets with corn and soybean hulls will need extra protein sources. Soybean and cottonseed meal work well in this situation. Lancaster said a heifer’s protein requirement is about two pounds per day. As a heifer grows, it’s important to maintain adequate sources of energy.  “In her second and third trimester, her pregnancy needs go up,” Lancaster said. “Plus, she’s still trying to grow.” After calving, she uses nutrients for milk production, but again she is trying to grow still. “She’s a young cow and hasn’t reached her mature weight, which is why we tend to have a little tougher time getting those cows rebred,” he added. In addition to protein and energy, heifer rations should have trace minerals, ionophores and fat. Lancaster said a lot of trace minerals are involved in reproductive

22 NOVEMBER 2016

health. “You always want to make sure they have a wellbalanced mineral in front of them,” he said. Ionophores play a big role in development diets by improving feed efficiency and reproductive performance. “Research has shown that adding ionophores to the feed improves glucose metabolism and causes a reduction in the age of puberty,” Lancaster said. Fat works in a similar manner. Unsaturated fats improve pregnancy rates and can help heifers conceive earlier. Lancaster said heifer diets should have no more than 5 percent fat added. “Much more than that and you’ll have negative effects on forage digestion,” he said. Added fat in the diet requires a reduction in grains to prevent the energy density from getting too high. This can cause heifers to get too fat. Funston said producers should manage the rate-ofgain throughout heifer development. “Sometimes to achieve a more desirable gain that means not having them gain as much going up to breeding. Just have them in a positive plane of energy up to breeding and that sets them up more favorably post-breeding,” he said. Gaining weight too fast leads to a number of heifer development problems. Funston said heifers with a high rateof-gain pre-breeding are very fertile. But, that rate often decreases post-breeding, resulting in embryonic loss. Lancaster added that overfeeding heifers also affects milk production long-term. “(Heifers) will get too much fat deposit in the udder, and it reduces mammary gland production. Lifetime milk production can be negatively impacted,” he said.  

Avoid the pitfalls Producers might make two common mistakes when developing heifers. The first is not keeping enough heifers back. Funston said producers often only keep back the number of heifers they expect to breed. Heifers need to be fed a diet similar to what they will experience later in life. But not all heifers will

perform under these conditions. Producers might have to cull those that don’t respond, leaving them with a shortage of replacements. Lancaster said many smaller producers don’t have a clear plan for heifer development. “They probably don’t know how big their mature cows are and don’t know what their target body weight

should be,” he said. This might cause producers to miscalculate the rate-of-gain needed. Feeding too much or too little is the result. Often times, after breeding, producers manage heifers the same as their cows. But their nutrient requirements are different. Lancaster said managing heifers separately is important. This ensures they get the nutrients they need.

Hitting the Target BCS of 6 is magic number for bred replacement heifers Story By Glenn Selk


red replacement heifers that will calve in January and February need to continue to grow and maintain body condition. Ideally, 2-year-old heifers should be in a body condition score of 6 at the time that their first calf is born. (See example of BCS = 6 heifer below.) This allows them the best opportunity to provide adequate colostrum to the baby, repair the reproductive tract, return to heat cycles, rebreed on time for next year and continue normal body growth. From now until calving time, the heifers will need to be gaining about 1 pound per head per day, assuming they are in good body condition coming out of summer.  Heifers will need supplemental protein if the major source of forage in the diet is bermudagrass or native pasture or grass hay. If the forage source is adequate in quantity and average in quality —6 to 9 percent crude protein — heifers will need about 2 pounds of a high protein (38 to 44 percent CP) supplement each day. This will probably need to be increased with higher quality hay, such as alfalfa, or additional energy feed (20 percent range cubes) as winter weather adds additional nutrient requirements. Soybean hulls or wheat mids might also be used to ensure adequate energy intake of pregnant heifers. Wheat pasture can be used as a supplement for pregnant replacement heifers. Using wheat pasture judiciously makes sense for pregnant

heifers for two reasons. One, pregnant heifers consuming full feed of wheat pasture will gain at about 3 pounds per head per day. If they are on the wheat pasture too long the heifers can become very fat, which causes calving difficulty. Two, the wheat pasture can be used for gain of stocker cattle or weaned replacement heifers more efficiently. If wheat pasture is used for bred heifers, use it judiciously as a protein supplement by allowing the heifers access to the wheat pasture on at least alternate days.  Some producers report one day on wheat pasture and two days on native or bermuda will work better. This encourages the heifers to rustle in the warm season pasture for the second day rather than stand by the gate waiting to be turned back in to the wheat.   Heifers need to be on the wheat only 4 to 6 hours to get their fill.  After that, they will lie down and waste some of the wheat forage.  Monitor heifer growth and body condition as they go through the winter. If need be, a change in the rotation pattern back to every other day on wheat, instead of two days off, might be warranted. Whatever method is used to grow the pregnant replacement heifers, plan to have them in good body condition — where BCS score equals 6 — by calving so that they will grow into fully developed productive cows.  — Glenn Selk is Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist.




Winter Cowherd Management Nutrition, vaccination key components of getting your cows ready for cold weather Story By Elizabeth Walker for Cattlemen’s News


y husband was driving my car the other day and noticed it was way behind on being serviced — like double the miles. Before it goes in, I will stress to him that I will need new windshield wipers because truly, swishing away slush from my windshield and making sure that the defrost is working are about all I worry about regarding my car’s maintenance. You can roll your eyes and think I am a fool now as I am sure he will when he reads this paragraph. What we do for our vehicles in the fall, whether better tires or changing out the antifreeze, are similar concepts to

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24 NOVEMBER 2016

what needs to be done for our livestock. As we consider strategies to prepare our livestock and our farms for winter, low-cost techniques must be forefront in our minds considering the current cattle market outlook. Most producers have minimal control of the price they receive for their saleable livestock. You can control, to some extent, your inputs; a penny saved is truly a penny earned. As we think about cattle, a little review of some physiology is in order. The lower critical

temperature zone for cattle is that at which a cow loses heat to the environment at a rate that exceeds that can be produced by their bodies metabolism. In order for that animal to survive during periods of cold, the animal must increase the breakdown of food or breakdown tissue reserves. Fortunately, mature, well-conditioned cattle are pretty cold-hardy. When an animal is in good condition — say a 5-plus body condition score — with access to quality food, that animal is able to sustain the increase in metabolism with little detriment to its productive capacity. Keep in mind that as temperatures become cooler this winter, feed intake will also increase. At temperatures less than 5°F, feed intake can increase by up to 25 percent over normal. Even when temperatures are between 40°F and 60°F, intake can be stimulated by up to 5 percent. Bulky feeds will limit intak, and animals will not consume the extra calories needed to maintain body condition, especially if we have extended days of cold, windy and wet weather.

In mature animals, an increased risk of cold is seen when wind speeds reach 15 mph or greater and thermometer readings 0°F or below. As wind speeds increase, there is a greater risk to cattle even at temperatures as warm as 10°F. In Missouri we will see weather conditions when animals will be in danger of cold stress. A good, low-cost way to help animals be more comfortable during these nasty winter days is a simple wind break. Be sure to consider the orientation of the wind and sun when planning your windbreaks. A wind break perpendicular to the sun will increase the cow’s surface area exposed to the sun, which can increase her body temperature. We have had a pretty good year for hay production. Unfortunately, not all hay is of high quality. Still, a supply of poor- quality hay can provide windbreaks and some added roughage, increase organic matter in the soil, and provide a dry place for cattle to lie down when unrolled. To extend your hay supply, a polywire and fence charger might be one of your best investments. Research from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has shown that winter strip-grazing can extend your hay supplies. Moreover, when using winter strip-grazing, you can save approximately 50 cents per head per day as compared to feeding hay all winter. An Iowabased study showed that for CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

WINTER COWHERD MANAGEMENT • FROM PREVIOUS PAGE each acre of grazed stockpiled forage, an estimated 1,200 to 1,700 pounds of hay could be saved. Even if you cannot graze through the entire winter, you can save approximately $1,500 per 100 cows for each month you extend the grazing period. While planning your winter grazing plan, you should also think about pregnancy checking your cattle. Open cows and heifers might need to be sold, especially if feed resources are of concern. I don’t think you will be making any money keeping these unproductive animals through the winter. Maintaining an animal on a farm costs significant money, and if we look at cattle production as a business, which we should, then unproductive employees must be fired. While you are at it, any marginally productive employee should also be fired. If she hasn’t raised a decent calf yet, she probably won’t.

Take time to consider your vaccination strategies for pregnant cows or fall calves. Vaccination can save you money in the long run, especially if an animal becomes sick and requires veterinary care or dies. Visit with your veterinarian. Tell him or her your management goals and ask for vaccination advice. Keep in mind, though, administering the vaccine is critical to its efficacy. Don’t rush the process. Be sure each vaccine is handled and administered appropriately. Winter is on its way, though one wouldn’t know it for the fall we have had, but I have a feeling Mother Nature is just lulling us into complacency. Don’t put off business management decisions. Plan ahead. —Elizabeth Walker is associate professor of animal science at Missouri State University.


Lower Prices Need Lower Costs Lower costs by knowing the costs Story By Kris Ringwall


he daily CattleFax report just popped into my email and was not the positive news one would like. The Oct. 10 values were $98.87 for live cattle and $124.65 for feeder cattle. I had a simple thought: “What, two-digit live-cattle prices!” My second thought: “We have got to get costs down!” For someone trained in genetics, my mind was trying to make sense of a $1.30 cost per pound of weaned calf per exposed cow. This was not good because this was my conclusion of costs when gross margins per cow were exceeding $1,000 in many beef operations. Prior to this thought, I was thinking of what would happen if gross margins dropped to $600, and direct and overhead expenses were $650 per cow. Earlier this fall, I expected a gross margin of $700 and expenses of $650; this was a positive thought based on the new market prices. Now I am thinking I should go back to my original thought and check the savings account. Beef production management is a swing from market highs to market lows and back and forth. Sometimes the swing goes really high; sometimes it moves very little. But swing it does, and beef production swings with it. Of course, we have those who want to find someone to blame, but finding blame does not stop the swing. I can remember one spring a pen of market heifers that the Dickinson Research Extension Center owned, and every day CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE



LOWER PRICES FROM PREVIOUS PAGE the cattle were worth less, and the discussions of breakeven were long gone. Finally, the cattle were sold, and the center took a significant loss on the cattle. Through the years, that has been the exception — but exceptions are still real. We all should learn the supply-anddemand principle very early. If I have something that everyone else has and the demand is small, my asking price will be low. If I have what few people have, and the product is desirable, my asking price will be higher. And I actually might have the ability to ask for a price, although I cannot

say I ever have had that option. The movement up or down in beef prices results in many news stories indicating the consequences. The challenge for beef producers is to develop a production system in which expenses are underneath the ever-changing swinging commodity prices while learning to utilize the appropriate financial tools to help minimize risk. This balance of risk protection as investments mount versus limiting investment by decreasing expenses is a fundamental split in the beef world. For producers, balancing these two principles is the

challenge. At what point do producers quit putting money into the trough versus trying to make the trough smaller? Today, I am going to go down the hard path of controlling expenses. I suggest producers also visit with those who have much more expertise in managing risk. At the center, our yearly response to the cattle business has been to look at production systems that will lower expenses and keep us under the swings. Expenses can be controlled, and the first step to lowering costs is to know what the costs are in the first place. Unfortu-

nately, despite efforts, many beef producers do not have an adequate handle on expenses. That is not meant to be critical of beef producers but simply acknowledging the difficulty in tracking expenses. At the center, we do track costs. Presenting those costs as typical would be misleading because every cow-calf enterprise is unique. Ranch and farm records are very diverse, resulting in difficulty in clearly understanding what the records mean. This diversity also results in even more difficulty in trying to take the concepts of one cow-calf enterprise and model that enterprise on one’s own operation. Producers must take care to ensure the accuracy of the numbers needed to answer the question. In addition, even if the expenses are known, the market price of a calf minus the direct expenses of producing that calf is far from any indication of the financial status of a beef operation. The issue of controlling expenses has no simple answers because answers start with tax preparation, loan renewals, checking account balances, gross margins, direct and indirect expenses, depreciation, net returns, labor and management charges, and, ultimately, return on total assets. Management needs to provide the financial analysis that determines an acceptable return on total assets, which leads to sound decisions regarding the future of the beef enterprise, rather than a knee-jerk reaction to the markets. That being said, an evaluation of expenses and reduction of the cost of production, along with improved production and marketing efficiency, is still a good place to start. We can all do, and must do, that, but this effort generates some interesting thoughts. Start pondering. —Source: Kris Ringwall is beef specialist with North Dakota State University Extension Service.

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26 NOVEMBER 2016

Management matters

Too Much of a Good Thing A look at the effects of excess crude protein on fertility Story By Lisa Henderson for Cattlemen’s News


ow-calf producers know reproductive success herd begins with proper nutrition. Extension specialists note that while reproductive failure can occur for several reasons, management and the environment are often important contributing factors. And, they say, part of the environment and management of any animal is nutrition. “Nutrition influences reproductive functions from follicular development to ovulation, hormone production, fertilization and ultimately pregnancy,” explains Patrick J. Gunn, assistant professor and beef cow-calf extension specialist, Iowa State University. “Restricting dietary nutrients prepartum have been shown to lengthen postpartum interval, decrease conception rates, and subsequently, pregnancy rates of beef cows.” While the effects of poor nutrition might be commonly understood, research has also shown an excess of protein in dairy cow rations has a negative relationship with fertility. In a presentation to the 2016 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this fall, Gunn discussed how protein affects a beef cow’s fertility. He noted that protein is a key nutrition element that might be overlooked in rations, especially when cows are grazing low-quality forages. Previously, over-feeding crude protein to beef cows was uncommon because it was economically unfeasible. “While overfeeding protein in the form of legume-based hay and pastures does occasionally occur in the beef industry, consequences of oversupplementing crude protein was rarely a concern prior to the mass availability of ethanol coproduct feeds such as distillers grains, as it was economically impractical to supplement protein beyond the requirement of the cow,” Gunn says.

Continued expansion of the ethanol industry, however, means meeting the protein requirements of beef cows is not as expensive as it once was. Ethanol coproducts are both a cost-effective energy and crude protein source for ruminants, utilizing distillers grains as an energy substitute for corn, and “overfeeding protein has become more commonplace,” Gunn says. What researchers know about how excess protein affects dairy cows caused some concern for beef producers. For instance, dairy cows are often fed excess protein to stimulate greater milk production. Unfortunately, while increasing levels of protein maximizes milk production, reproductive efficiency is usually sacrificed.

“Thus, excess rumen-degradable protein does not appear to be related to suppressed pregnancy in beef females to the extent as is noted in dairy females,” Gunn says. “However, as both classes of females are typically under lactational stress near breeding, any extra energy expended to metabolize excess protein might cause females to fall into a negative metabolic energy status, reducing the amount of energy available for reproductive functions if diets are only designed to meet and not exceed energy requirements.” Gunn notes the amount of data in the dairy literature relating excess dietary protein to suppressed fertility, primarily through increased con-

centrations of urea impacting reproductive function is undeniable. He says those observations are “likely exacerbated by metabolic stressors and negative energy balances often created during peak lactation, which often coincides with timing of AI in many herds.” For beef cattle, however, Gunn says recent research suggests that “when metabolizable energy is not a limiting factor, excess dietary protein does not negatively impact reproductive processes and fertility.” He recommends more research be conducted on the effects of abrupt changes in diet around the time of insemination that result in acute increases in dietary protein.

Gunn, however, says protein requirements for reproduction have not been fully characterized and the impacts of excess supplementation on reproduction have not been established in beef cows. Dietary crude protein is broken into rumen-degradable and rumen-undegradable protein. Gunn explained that degradable proteins are those absorbed as amino acids for microbial protein synthesis, and that providing beef cows a protein supplement is designed to supply rumen degradable protein to feed the rumen’s microbial population to support production. Undegradable protein is that which is left over and passes to the intestine. Examining the issue of excess crude protein’s effect on reproduction, Gunn noted a 2008 study that found no difference in AI pregnancy rates of postpartum lactating beef cows fed a 42 percent crude protein soybean meal supplement. A previous study on beef heifers fed soybean meal at 100 percent and 150 percent of crude protein requirements found no differences in conception rates.




Feed ‘Em Right Receiving management: Get calves eating from day one Story By Austin Black for Cattlemen’s News


he success of stocker and feedlot cattle is determined as soon as they arrive to the pen. It’s important they start eating right away. This ensures continued weight gain and promotes animal health. Newly received cattle often have decreased appetites due to the changes they have experienced. To compensate for reduced intake, a nutrient-dense diet is necessary. At the recent K-State Stocker Conference in Manhattan, Kansas, Dr. Sean Montgomery, beef cattle nutritionist for Corn Belt Livestock Services, said a nutrient-dense diet should supply necessary nutrients without feeding too much starch and causing morbidity. He recommends a diet high in protein and calcium, but low in potassium. Protein should come from ingredients high in energy rather than starch. Corn by-

products are a good option. Wet corn gluten and dried distiller’s grains provide as much or more energy as straight corn. “The fiber in these by-products is very fermentable,” Montgomery said. “In a receiving diet, they fit so well. We can get energy into calves without disrupting the rumen.” Corn by-products also have direct fed microbials (DFMs) that aid in digestion. DFMs are divided into three categories, one of which is yeast. When cattle experience stress or dietary changes, DFMs replenish bacteria and promote rumen health. Montgomery said when cattle eat a high-roughage, low-starch diet, DFMs help develop lactateproducing bacteria early. This allows a smoother transition to high-starch finishing diets. “By introducing acid early on with a safer diet, you produce the appropriate bacteria and avoid lactic acid problems when cattle start eating a high-starch diet,” Montgomery said. His research shows by-products in receiving diets might end the need for a transitioning diet.  Corn by-products make receiving diets more palatable, too. Montgomery said this is important. “On paper I can put

28 NOVEMBER 2016

Decreased appetite is common among newly received cattle. A nutrient-dense diet is necessary to compensate.—Photo by Austin Black.

the best diet together,” he said. “But if the animals don’t eat it, you’ve defeated the purpose.” Wet corn gluten and dried distiller’s grain add moisture to receiving diets. This helps reduce dust and creates texture in the feed. Nutrient-dense diets should also include trace minerals. Montgomery said feeding an organic trace mineral promotes immune function and animal health. Organic trace minerals differ from inorganic in that they bond to an amino acid. This enables the small intestine to absorb the mineral in its true form. “The advantage is they say you can feed less mineral,” Montgomery explained. “The chances are good that what you feed will make it to the rumen.” In contrast, inorganic minerals are often overfed to compensate for intestinal nutrient loss.

Cattle stressed during transport lose nutrients. Organic trace minerals can replenish their reserves and ensure rapid recovery.

Managing feed intake After formulating a proper receiving diet, producers should ensure correct feeding methods. Newly received cattle need quality forage. “Cattle know what forage is,” Montgomery said. “When a calf puts his head in the feed bunk, we want him to recognize the forage.” Calves might not have access to feed for 24 hours or more during transport. Long-stem grass hay helps the rumen function again and keeps calves eating upon arrival. This also encourages them to come back to the bunk the next day. That’s CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE


Bayer Releases Study Results on Zelzate Performance Overall mortality reduced with Zelzate


ayer Animal Health announces results from a clinical field study for the performance of Zelnate DNA Immunostimulant on arrival with modified live viral (MLV) vaccine on arrival or delayed. Goals for the study were to examine how Zelnate might improve health and performance outcomes when used on arrival, and to observe the potential benefits of delaying the MLV vaccine until after initial stress and Mannheimia haemolytica challenges are experienced. Key study results are as follows: • At the conclusion of the study, Zelnate significantly reduced overall mortality at every measured time frame (60 days, 116 days and close-out), regardless of whether the MLV vaccine was administered on arrival or MLV delayed 30 days. • Zelnate significantly reduced BRD mortality at 60 days (with a 30.2 percent reduction in total mortality and a 28.4 percent reduction in BRD mortality) and 116 days (with a 31.5 percent reduction in total mortality and a 27.5 percent reduction in BRD mortality) compared to calves not treated with Zelnate. Zelnate followed the same trend at close-out. • Although not statistically significant, Zelnate showed a trend in reducing the BRD case fatality rate throughout the study. • Delaying the MLV significantly reduced second BRD treatments at all three time frames, and significantly reduced BRD re-treatment risk at 116 days and close-out. “Because BRD remains such a challenge in the cattle industry, Bayer is focused on finding new and innovative ways to attack this devastating disease,” says Jim Sears, senior technical services veterinarian, Bayer Animal Health. “That includes looking at how recently developed products, such as Zelnate, can be used in different

ways and at different stages in a producer’s BRD prevention and treatment protocol.” The study included a total of 5,179 crossbred heifer calves at a commercial feedlot in southwest Kansas and looked at whether multiple biologicals in the arrival processing of medium- to high-risk cattle in a feed yard may be causing undue levels of stress and compromising the immune system. The primary BRD challenges faced by such cattle in the early stages of their feeding period are usually associated primarily with or caused directly by Mannheimia haemolytica infections.

FEED ‘EM RIGHT FROM PREVIOUS PAGE when feed is added on top of the hay. Montgomery said to start with feeding 1 percent of the calf’s body weight in feed on top of two pounds of hay. “Slowly build the feed up and pull the hay out after a couple of days,” he said. “As you gradually increase feed intake, they will overcome stress and be hungrier.” Feed should be increased no more than two pounds per head per day. The goal is to feed 2 percent of the calf’s body weight within seven to 10 days after arrival. Once calves are eating, bunk management ensures they receive the right amount of feed each day. Montgomery said producers should keep good records of feed intake for at

least seven days. “You have to know what they ate yesterday in order to calculate what to deliver today,” he said. It’s important calves clean the bunk each day. Monitoring bunk levels reduces the chance of feeding too much or too little. Montgomery said managing feed levels also trains calves to eat as a group. This results in more consistent feed intake throughout the pen. “We want to condition them early on that when the feed truck comes around, half the cattle should be at the bunk waiting to get fed and the others should be standing up ready to eat,” he said. “We don’t want them rushing to the bunk, but we want them stimulated to eat.” Montgomery said cattle should remain on a receiving diet for 28 days. This allows time to recover from any sickness and start eating well.

“Overall, we saw an added value of including Zelnate in processing cattle, with Zelnate consistently improving survivability, resulting in a 22 percent reduction in overall death loss, regardless of on arrival or delayed processing,” says Sears. “These study results remain consistent with prior studies in demonstrating how Zelnate reduces mortality in cattle herds.” —Source: Release from Bayer Animal Health.

Grigsby Ranch Private Treaty Silent Auction Starts Friday, November 11, 2016 • 9 a.m. Closing Bids, November 12, 2016 • 4 p.m.

Selling 35 Bulls 29 Registered Angus Bulls • 6 SimAngus Bulls Cabin Creek Instyle 5321

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• All Bulls Genomic Tested • Ultrasound & Semen Tested • Vaccinated • Declared sound by Vet • Raised in large grass pastures; bred for high docility Cabin Creek Road Tour 5307

CED +11 BW +.6 WW +48 YW +90 Doc +29 CEM +13 MILK +27 Marb +.70 RE +.98 $W +53.46 $B +137.17

DOB 9-10-2016 18437505 Sire: +PVF Insight 0129 • MGS: SAV Net Worth 4200

DOB 9-4-2015 +18441317 Sire: +RB Tour Of Duty 177 • MGS: SAV 8180 Traveler 004

Cabin Creek Star Tour 5328

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CED +13 BW -.1 WW +60 YW +106 Doc +31 CEM +15 MILK +32 Marb +.72 RE +.59 $W +70.31 $B +147.95

DOB 9-15-2015 +18441288 Sire: +RB Tour Of Duty 177 • MGS: S Chisum 6175

For more information contact: Derek Grigsby (C) 918.961.1176 • (H) 918.788.3633 Steve Grigsby 918.533.8376

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Grigsby Ranch 440535 East 110 Rd., Welch, OK 74369



chased genetics show up in the next calf crop.


In With the New Show-Me-Select heifers add genetics when replacing old beef cows in herd roven replacement heifers build genetics in beef herds. They increase future calf value from the herd.


superior SMS replacements. Buying them adds heifers from the top proven sires in the breed.

Buying Show-Me-Select (SMS) replacement heifers gives a quicker boost to herd genetics than growing your own, says Dave Patterson, University of Missouri Extension beef specialist.

Joplin Regional Stockyards will host a sale for springcalving SMS heifers at 7 p.m., Nov. 18.

Increasing numbers of herd owners specialize in raising

Producing superior heifers with calving-ease genetics isn’t a quick process. Heifer buyers gain benefits of years of work by developers. Pur-

This fall, MU Extension regional livestock specialists say sellers are uncertain about expected prices. Calf prices and beef futures markets dropped sharply this year from record prices two years ago. Specialists remind sellers that many more bidders know the value of beef genetics. They pay more for quality. However, Eldon Cole, MU Extension specialist at Mount Vernon, says, “It could be a buyers’ market.” MU Extension leads the nation in heifer development education, which has been


NOV. 17 on






SIRE Schiefelbein Effective DAM’S SIRE Game Changer CED 16.5 | BW -1.8 | WW 57.6 YW 100.4 | API 158.8

SIRE Schiefelbein Effective DAM’S SIRE Steel Force CED 15.9 | BW -2.5 | WW 68 YW 111.6 | API 160.8


14-15 MOS. OLD MM Cattle Co. Mark and Maranda Moriondo Moriondo Farms Larry and Rita Moriondo


Mark 417-366-1249 Larry 417-366-1243 30 NOVEMBER 2016

underway since 1997. Buyers from 19 states have bought heifers at SMS sales. Patterson said repeat buyers tend to bid more for ShowMe-Select. “They know what they are buying,” he said. Bidders get data as well as heifers. Sale-day catalogs give genetic details such as sire EPDs (expected progeny differences) on sale offerings. Major emphasis in the early years was on adding calving-ease EPDs. Herd owners almost eliminated need for cesarean-section births of large calves. Veterinarians like that. With calving ease, buyers cut death losses of heifers and offspring at calving. Along with calving ease, breeders add EPDs for carcass traits such as marbling. With fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI), all cows can be bred on the same day. That shortens calving seasons. Producers spend fewer nights checking calving. Best of all, they find fewer heifers need assistance at birth. SMS is more than genetics, Patterson said. Good health and nutrition help heifers reach puberty earlier. Prebreeding exams cull heifers that can’t calve. That groups calving dates and boosts calving rates as well. Dead calves hurt herd profits. In recent talks at beef meetings, MU Extension economist Scott Brown says growing quality beef gives risk management. Carcasses grading USDA prime sell for more than lower-quality grades. Also, prime quality smooths price volatility. Information on the SMS program and sales can be found at —Source: University of Missouri Cooperative Media.

SAVE THE DATE Value-Added Feeder Cattle Sale

Dec. 1, 2016


Top Dollar Angus Announces Seedstock Partnership Program Value-added marketing opportunity for Angus, Red Angus bull customers


op Dollar Angus, Inc., is pleased to announce its new Seedstock Partnership Program. With the fall sale season going strong, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this new opportunity. The Seedstock Partnership Program allows seedstock providers to elevate their Angus and Red Angus bulls and females that genetically excel in growth and carcass value potential. It will also allow seedstock breeders to offer their bull customers a value-added marketing opportunity through Top Dollar Angus. For a modest fee, seedstock suppliers who participate in the partnership program can incorporate the Top Dollar Angus logo into their sale catalogs, identifying each bull or female that meets required genetic

specifications — top 25 percent growth and carcass traits. The certification process is simple and involves providing the list of sale animals for review. Top Dollar Angus will then promptly return the list to the breeder, indicating which animals will qualify for the Top Dollar designation. The Seedstock Partnership Program will allow a top dollar seedstock operation to stand out from the competition. By becoming a Top Dollar Angus Seedstock Partner and directly supporting your customers’ involvement in Top Dollar Angus, you will be offering them a marketing advantage in today’s challenging calf market. Top Dollar Angus

SPECIAL YEARLING HIGHLIGHT SALE MON., NOV. 21, 2017 YOUR ANJIMAL H]EALl'fa PROf[SSIOltf ALS Keepinq ijou11 He11d Health11 & £Hicient Best Quality Products Shipped or Delivered to Your Door at the Lowest Prices • Antibiotics • Electronic ID • Implants • Pest Control • Vaccines • Animal Health • Supplies


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—Source: Release by Top Dollar Angus.

Aurora FFA Will be having an hosting an Open House November 11th at the Aurora High School on 305 W Prospect St, Aurora, MO. The newly renovated cattle, animal and class room facility is located on the north side of the high school. Refreshments will be served starts at 5:30 Come out and join them and see what can be done when the community and students work together.

Any questions Christi Pliger and be reached AHS @ 417-678-3355 or Mobile 417-872-7705 or email




Training the Herd Cattle working easier with low-stress handling practices Story and Photo By Austin Black for Cattlemen’s New


roper handling techniques are essential to work cattle in the smoothest and safest manner. Still, many cattlemen and women don’t know or understand the correct methods. Production Animal Consultation veterinarian Dr. Tom Noffsinger said there is a need for education and training.

Train the Herd Cattle need training as well for low-stress techniques to have the full impact. “Start training at birth,” Noffsinger said. Calves can be trained to wean without bawling or stress if

“Handling doesn’t make cattle gentle but trains them to move correctly.”

look up and walk at the same time. If you have a pen or alley with solid sides, cattle can’t see you and move accordingly.”

Dr. Tom Noffsinger Production Animal Consultation Veterinarian

Straight alleys with open sides are the best option to keep cattle moving. They can see the handler and see where to go. The proper alley and proper handling can make loading cattle a breeze rather than a chore. Noffsinger said to remain quiet, apply pressure to the lead animal only and keep cattle in a single file. “Cattle love to follow. Once they understand where to go, they

ing cattle in a square inside a square. Acclimation starts with proper unloading methods to keep cattle calm upon arrival. Handlers then use the animal’s instincts of working around pressure to train it to move.

Low-stress handling is using a cow’s instincts to communicate direction and encourage movement. “I think one of the things that’s been deceiving is our tendency to be behind cattle and yell,” Noffsinger said. “It’s a natural thing.” From a cow’s perspective, humans are a predator and the natural place for a predator is behind a cow. But to move cattle with ease, the handler has to move from that position.

Understand Instinct            Producers have been taught for years to use the shoulder of a cow as the point of balance when moving them. “The shoulder is mostly to keep the animal off the ground,” Noffsinger said. “The eye is the part of the animal we have to be available to. Cattle need to see what is pressuring them and where they need to go.” What makes this approach difficult is the handler must be in front of the animal to start movement. The instinct of a human is to start from the rear and push. Once cattle see a person, they are ready to respond. Noffsinger said cattle crave to go around people rather than move away from them. They want to know where to go and what to do, so position and pressure is critical. “People have to understand how to move cattle in a voluntary fashion,” Noffsinger said. Handlers need to know the basics of caregiver interaction. The best way to teach this is to move cattle into and out of a pen. “It’s a basic skill that’s easy to understand,” he said.

32 NOVEMBER 2016

“Cattle need to see what is pressuring them and where they need to go,” said Dr. Tom Noffsinger, Production Animal Consultation veterinarian. —Photo by Austin Black.

they are handled correctly ahead of time. Reducing stress when working young calves acclimates them to handling. Recreating the weaning scenario beforehand helps also.

“Make them go single file around the pen and don’t push them to the bunk,” Noffsinger said.

Noffsinger said to separate cows and calves overnight when giving pre-weaning vaccinations. “Put them in a pen they know and do it once more before weaning,” he explained. “At weaning the cattle will know what to expect.”

The benefit of low-stress handling is seen most when moving cattle through alleys. This is true for both processing and hauling. For years, producers heard that cattle like to go back in the direction from which they came. To encourage this perceived instinct, the industry promoted crowding tubs and curved alleys. Solid sides were necessary to prevent outside distractions.

The result is minimal bawling at weaning time and reduced sickness. If calves weren’t trained early on, acclimation at weaning is important. Noffsinger said acclimation is a complicated procedure. It involves work-

Generate Movement

“We’ve learned since then that cattle love to go straight and see what’s guiding them,” Noffsinger said. “Cattle can’t

will go until they can’t go any further,” he said. If cattle are loaded in a calm and gentle manner, they will often unload with the same attitude. This area is especially important when loading weaned calves or fat cattle. Noffsinger said loading fat cattle properly results in three times fewer dark cutters. Low-stress loading also reduces sickness and disease in weaned calves. “Handling doesn’t make cattle gentle but trains them to move correctly,” Noffsinger said “Ask them to do easy things and go toward an open area. Be honest with them. Offer them confident footing, a confident view and ample room.”



trending now

Is Your Farm Winter-Ready? Get your tools, equipment stored for cold weather Story By Jillian Campbell for Cattlemen’s News


he hay has been harvested, fall calving is winding down, and the leaves have left the trees. But, work is never done for a cattleman. Before cold weather sets in, tools and equipment are in need of proper pre-winter maintenance.

University of Missouri Natural Resource Engineer Bob Schutheis says proper farm tool and equipment maintenance can save time, effort and money. Maintaining equipment is a task that must be reviewed beforehand, Schulteis says. Although many cattlemen try to avoid those printed directions to get straight to the problem at hand, Schultheis suggests cracking the manual open before diving into any maintenance projects. “The first step (to maintaining equipment before cold weather) is finding the equipment operator’s manuals and reviewing the maintenance recommendations, so nothing is overlooked,” Schulteis says. “You should also check the manual for recommended servicing intervals, using the ‘severe service’ schedule.” Schultheis explains that farm safety during wintertime depends on both equipment and farm maintenance. Trees and buildings with accumulated ice and snow can become a threat for ranchers and livestock when cold weather strikes.

waterers and roadways. Schultheis says ranchers should ensure gates remain unfrozen from the ground to avoid possible injuries. He also recommends a regular examination of livestock waterers. “Farmers should conduct a routine fall checkup of electrically-heated waterers to ensure they are fused and bonded properly to the electrical system,” Schulteis says. “They should also check for damaged insulation or broken or missing box covers before

Some farm equipment should always be stored inside a sheltered location. If shelter space is limited, use a firmly secured tarp to seal out the elements. winter strikes. This can help prevent loss of livestock due to electrical shock.” Ranchers should also remain stocked with plenty of ice-melt and sand for traction to avoid any falls or potential collisions, Schulteis says.

“Every one inch of ice or one foot of snow adds about five pounds per square foot to the roof load,” Schultheis notes.

Although ice-melt and sand are useful for winter maintenance, these are not the only tools that should be available during colder months.

Although the task is easy to avoid, it is crucial to make sure trees are trimmed and buildings are free from the risk of a collapse. Schultheis reminds farmers to consult with their local utility companies before trimming trees near power lines to avoid major safety risks.

Grinders, files, sandpaper, lubricating oil, dry-lubricant spray, water displacement spray, grease guns, jumper cables, battery chargers, torque wrenches and an inventory of common replacement parts and fasteners should also be on hand for maintenance projects.

In addition to potential building collapses, snow and ice cause impending danger on rural properties to gateways,

Clothing is equally important to Schultheis as he performs winter maintenance projects. He recommends farmers and

34 NOVEMBER 2016

Before prepping your tractors and other farm equipment for winter storage, break open the owner’s manual to review proper techniques. —Cattlemen’s News Stock Photo

ranchers dress in warm layers to avoid the hidden threat of hypothermia and wear boots with nonskid soles. Schultheis is no stranger to cold weather maintenance tasks that require plenty of layers. “My most memorable experience was starting a tractor in -50°F weather with a -90°F wind chill index,” Schulteis recalls. “I had to build a fire under the engine oil pan in order to warm the engine enough to start it. In extreme cold weather, we always kept the diesel engine equipment running to prevent the fuel from gelling. We also kept everything that had to move well-greased so we didn’t have to fight rust.” Like the need for warm clothing, Schultheis also recognizes the need for a dependable and accessible generator. “The standby generator fails to work,” he says. “It should be serviced and operational. You should run the generator under a load for a couple of hours at least every two months and set up the generator in place before an impending storm. If you’re using a PTO-type generator, make sure the tractor being used has no fuel or oil leaks to prevent a fire hazard.” Some farm equipment should always be stored inside a sheltered location, Schulteis says. If shelter space is limited, he recommends the use of a firmly secured tarp to seal out the elements.

anything with a motor or pump — and weigh scales should be stored in a building to protect from the weather. This will always improve equipment reliability and resale value,” Schultheis explains. In addition to power equipment, Schulteis says proper chemical storage will help avoid potential environmental hazards. “Chemicals can become ineffective or environmentally dangerous if stored improperly,” he says. “Certain stored chemicals can freeze and rupture containers. Farmers should read the label and note storage temperatures. They may also want to store dry pesticides above liquids to be safe.” Finding spoons inside persimmons this fall might mean putting wrenches and WD-40 in hand this winter. And, Schultheis says while cold weather maintenance work isn’t always a fun activity, it is worthwhile in the long run. “The failure to maintain equipment puts greater stress on all components,” Schulteis says. “When one component fails, it can cause a cascading effect to other overstressed parts. Keeping chains and bearings lubricated and fluid levels in the recommended range can save time and money on repairs, also saving costly downtime during the next harvest season.”

“At a minimum, any powered equipment and sprayers —


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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


Joplin Regional Stockyards Market Recap | Feeder Cattle & Calf Auction Oct. 2016 • Total Receipts 15,784 | Last Month 12,789 | Last Year 15,162 Total Video Receipts from Oct. 24, 2016: 186

Tune in to the JRS Market Report

Monday & Wednesday 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. Monday 12:40 p.m. Wednesday 12:40 p.m. Monday 12:15 p.m. Wednesday 12:15 p.m.

36 NOVEMBER 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.

November 7-8


Missouri Forage & Grassland Council Annual Conf. Jefferson City, Missouri FMI:

11-12 Grigsby Ranch Private Treaty Bull Silent Auction Welch, Oklahoma FMI: 918-961-1176 12

Moser Ranch Bull Sale Wheaton, Kansas FMI: 785-396-4328


Smith Angus Ranch Production Sale Green Forest, Arkansas FMI: 913-755-1105


Moriondo Farms & MM Cattle Co. Online Bull Sale FMI: 417-466-1249


Schrader / Kansas Land Auction FMI: 972-768-5168


LeForce Hereford Production Sale Pond Creek, Oklahoma FMI: (580) 532-6100


Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Sale Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage, Missouri FMI: 417-466-3102


Genetrust Brangus Sale Jacksonville, Texas FMI: 417-425-0368

November 21

Yearling Highlight Sale Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage, Missouri FMI: 417-548-2333


Sydenstricker Angus Farms Production Sale Mexico, Missouri FMI: 573-581-1225


Green Springs Bull Sale Nevada, Missouri FMI: 417-448-7416


Ogden Angus Ranch Angus & Charolais Bull Sale Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage, Missouri FMI: 417-466-8176


Replacement Cow & Bull Sale Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage, Missouri FMI: 417-548-2333


OHOA Beefmaster Fall Roundup Sale Locust Grove, Oklahoma FMI: 417-827-9391

28-29 Farm Auction by Kaufman Realty near Stark City, Missouri FMI: 855-439-4111

December 1

Value-Added Feeder Cattle Sale Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage, Missouri FMI: 417-548-2333

14-16 Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture Tan-Tar-A, Osage Beach, Missouri








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38 NOVEMBER 2016



40 NOVEMBER 2016

November 2016 Cattlemen's News  

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

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