Angus — The Business Breed

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Prime for Health

Getting calves off to a healthy start during the first 60 days primes calves for life.

At an early morning Cattlemen’s College® session Feb. 1 during the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Victor Cortese took attendance by asking cow-calf producers to raise their hands. He then joked that the stocker and feedlot operators in the room had better take a good look at those cow-calf folks because, he said, “Your problems start there.”

Cortese, a veterinarian and director of cattle and equine immunology for Zoetis, explained that he made that point to underscore that more and more research indicates calf health in the first 60 days is paramount to the long-term performance of the animals.

He added, “A calf’s highest genomic potential is the day they are born, and then we start to screw it up.” Read more.

Emerging Health Issues

Working group considers use of chlortetracycline under the new VFD rules, economic costs of a potential FMD outbreak and calfhood pneumonia.

Beef cattle producers, veterinarians and extension educators, as well as state and federal animal health officials assembled for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Emerging Health and Research Issues Working Group, hosted during the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tenn. Three guest speakers led discussions regarding the recently implemented veterinary feed directive (VFD) requirement, the economic consequences of a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak and the incidence of pneumonia among preweaned calves. Read more.

Using Genetics to Select for Healthier Cattle

Genetic prediction for resistance to bovine respiratory disease is on the horizon.

“Genomics allow us to look ‘under the hood’ of an animal so to speak,” said Alison Van Eenennaam with University of California–Davis as she addressed Cattlemen’s College® attendees in Nashville, Tenn. Van Eenennaam provided an overview of the history in DNA sequencing that has brought the industry to where it is today. She commended breed associations for the incorporation of genomic information into their national cattle evaluation (NCE) programs.

However, Van Eenennaam said, a hindrance for the future is collection of new data to develop new trait selection tools for fertility, feed efficiency or disease traits not currently represented in the NCE.

A five-year USDA-funded project is helping address that lack of data, at least with regard to bovine respiratory disease (BRD). Titled the Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex (BRDC) Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP), the effort is a collaboration among researchers at multiple institutions. Read more.

Beat the Buzz

Knock out horn flies with a fly-control plan that will last all season long.

Did you know that just a few adult flies can quickly populate to 4,000 flies or more per animal? Pesky horn flies can become prolific in spring. However, early-season planning can help keep fly populations under control all season long.

“You need to kill the very first wave of flies that hatch so that you don’t have nearly as many flies to deal with later,” says Ted Perry, cattle nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “But in order to kill that first wave, you must be prepared and have an effective fly-control plan in place.” Read more.

Preventing Scours

Careful management can help reduce the negative effects of scours in your herd.

Many ranchers see a few cases of diarrhea in young calves, and some years are worse than others. Scours is often due to multiple factors, including exposure to pathogens and stress. Good weather, clean ground and stress reduction (including shelter from bad weather and minimal confinement) can help reduce incidence of scours.

Chris Clark, associate professor of large-animal medicine for the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, says there are two aspects to scours prevention. Read more.

Why Treat the Cow?

Parasites can draw down cows in body condition and affect immunity and reproductive performance.

When cow-calf producers think about management efforts to boost herd fertility and reproduction, parasite control may not be at the top of the list. However, it needs to be on the list and addressed, according to Merial technical services veterinarian Tony Moravec. He shared remarks with producers during a Learning Lounge educational session at the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show hosted Feb. 1-3 in Nashville, Tenn.

Moravec emphasized that timely deworming for parasite control among cow herds is essential, not only to the health and performance of the cow, but also to the performance of her calf, and even the performance of her next calf — thus, affecting three generations. Read more.

Fescue Toxicity Weapon

Mitigate fescue toxicity by stopping seedheads via herbicide.

With fescue toxicity costing the U.S. cattle industry an estimated $1 billion annually, management methods to mitigate this issue are continually sought. One solution now being evaluated with success is application of Chaparral™ herbicide to suppress fescue seedheads.

“It’s not a new herbicide, but a new benefit we’ve found from Chaparral,” explained Casey Onstot during a special seminar to share Dow AgroSciences field research to support the claim. The event was hosted at the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tenn. Onstot is range and pasture portfolio marketing leader for Dow AgroSciences.

Dow AgroSciences field specialists have been looking at the use of Chaparral to suppress fescue seedheads since 2009. They and producers are noting that early application of the herbicide — in April and early May — not only suppresses fescue from setting seed, but also still provides good control of late-emerging weeds from June through August.
Read more.

Cattle Diseases: Common Conditions/Terms

Click here for a list of common conditions and terms related to beef cattle diseases, such as anaplasmosis, brucellosis, BVD, E. coli, IBR and others.

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