How to get new feedlot calves settled and gaining quickly; advice from producers, veterinarians and feedlot consultants

Getting calves settled, keeping them healthy and getting them gaining involves serious management that considers many variables. A successful program to keep these calves healthy and growing should involve co-operative consultation between the feeder, herd health veterinarian and the livestock nutritionist. Stress on calves is the number one offender and the degree of stress can vary widely between calves and loads of calves. If not managed properly, freshly weaned calves heading to a feed yard can be very susceptible to pneumonia and other illnesses.

While herd health veterinarians and feedlot production specialists can each have slightly different approaches to getting new feeders ramped up to the intended full-feed ration, all have a common starting point — get calves unloaded into a receiving pen, don’t over crowd them, make sure they have access to good quality grass hay, are drinking water, the lot is well bedded, and the cattle get a few hours of rest before processing.

It sounds like a simple enough plan when introducing newly weaned calves to the feed yard. But, to successfully get calves eating and gaining, ideally from day one, takes both planning and management. Continue reading

Managing pregnant cows for improved cow and calf performance: Webinar October 18

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm

Management of pregnant cows has a major effect on calf performance, cow performance, and the ability to of cows to rebreed. Register for this webinar to hear tips on managing cows during this critical time period.

When


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Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 pm MT

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB and SK
  • 8:00pm in MB
  • 9:00pm in ON and QC
  • 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI 

Watching on a tablet or mobile device?

If you plan to join the webinar using your tablet or mobile device, you will need to Continue reading

Better Tests for Trich and Vibrio



This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

Trichomoniasis (trich, or “trick”) and bovine genital campylobacteriosis (vibrio) are venereal diseases that cause early embryonic death, repeat breeding, large numbers of open cows at the end of the breeding season, an extended calving season, and enormous economic losses. The microbes that cause trich and vibrio live in the reproductive tracts of infected cattle, but don’t enter the tissues or the bloodstream. Cows and heifers can clear these infections but bulls generally can’t, because the microbes live in the folds of the foreskin. These diseases are difficult to treat, because Continue reading

A more efficient screening test for trichomoniasis



Trichomoniasis (or trich, pronounced “trick”) and other venereal diseases can result in large numbers of open cows at the end of the breeding season, and cause enormous economic losses in the cow-calf sector. Good diagnostic tests are available for trich, but these tests require that bulls be tested three times, one week apart, with no breeding activity in between.

A recently-completed research project funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster studied whether samples from multiple bulls could be pooled together and tested as a group using PCR trich tests. If effective, pooling strategies would make testing for trich more affordable and feasible during routine breeding soundness examinations. Continue reading

Do DDGS affect feedlot cattle health?



Corn, wheat and other grains contain 68-70% starch, 10-13% protein, 2-4% oil, 2-3% fiber and 2% minerals. Bioethanol production only uses the starch from the grain. Therefore, the protein, oil, fiber, and minerals are much more concentrated in the dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS) by-product than in the original grain.

DDGS may be incorporated into feedlot diets depending on cost and availability. Feeding DDGS may have positive or negative impacts on animal health. The increased sulfur concentration in DDGS may increase the risk of polioencephalomalacia (PEM), a nervous disorder that has been observed in both high grain diets and high sulfur diets.

Continue reading

Improved test for vibriosis in bulls



Venereal diseases like trichomoniasis (trich) and vibriosis (vibrio) remain common causes of reproductive failure in cow-calf herds in western Canada. Unlike trich, there is no good diagnostic test available for vibrio.

A recently-completed research project funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster studied polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which detect specific DNA sequences, as a potentially cost-effective and practical diagnostic testing strategy for identifying beef cattle with vibrio. Continue reading

Johne’s disease and the ethical dilemma

This article written by Dr. Steve Hendrick, from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Connection magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Ever wondered why some cows remain thin while the rest of your herd thrives? Although there are lots of possibilities for this, Johne’s disease is becoming more commonly recognized in Saskatchewan beef herds. Cows with Johne’s disease are typically in their prime (3 to 6 years of age) and often have evidence of diarrhea on their tail. What most producers don’t realize is that Continue reading