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Angus Journal

The Angus Journal Daily, formerly the Angus e-List, is a compilation of Angus industry news; information about hot topics in the beef industry; and updates about upcoming shows, sales and events. Click here to subscribe.

News Update

April 18, 2016

Strategies to Improve Poor Pasture

There are several ways to improve degraded pasture. Joe Brummer, associate professor and extension forage specialist for Colorado State University, says a person needs to assess present condition of the pasture and decide if it’s worth trying to save what’s there and just add something to improve it.

“Determine which plants are present, and their productivity and quality,” Brummer advises. “Are there weeds you don’t want? Are they just annual weeds that are fairly easy to control or perennial noxious weeds — like Canada thistle, spurge, knapweed, etc. — that will require herbicide to get them under control?”

Glenn Shewmaker, state forage specialist at the University of Idaho, recommends taking a close look at the pasture to decide whether renovating will be economical.

To continue reading tips to improve pastures, access the Angus Media news article online.

Are Rough Times Coming?

The next 10 years could be difficult for farmers. That was the message of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) annual baseline report delivered to Congress on March 10.

“We are looking at several years of [a] pretty tight financial situation for U.S. agriculture,” says Pat Westhoff, director of FAPRI at the University of Missouri. “Farm income is less than half of the 2013 peak, and we expect it to remain low for the next several years.”

Westhoff says the huge drop in the prices for many major commodities has driven income down and will keep it down.

“Crop prices are well off the peaks that were established in the 2012 drought year. On livestock, we had peak prices in 2014 that have also come down very sharply,” Westhoff says. “We’ve had some cost reductions, but not nearly enough to offset the decline in receipts.”

View the complete analysis in this Angus Media news article online.

Beef Talk: Shifts in Calving Season

Dickinson Research Extension Center data show the pregnancy percentage for cows exposed for March-born calves was 98.96% and for cows exposed for May-born calves was 98.23%. The center has been calving in May since the 2012 calf crop. Prior to 2012, the center herd calved in March. Overall management change within a beef cow-calf operation is not easy, and the ripple effect is real.

The center reviews managerial changes regularly to provide effective management for the beef operation. A review of the change in calving season seems natural because this spring, the center will be calving in May for the fourth year.

One common question is, “How well will cows breed in late summer?” Because of late-summer heat inhibiting cattle reproduction, this is certainly a legitimate concern if, in fact, true.

Read more of this article online in the Angus Media Newsroom.

Nitrogen, K-31 Caution

Nitrogen makes grass grow. Spreading fertility produces more pounds of forage, which cows convert to protein: beef and milk. Adding nitrogen to pastures would be a no-brainer, except for toxic tall fescue.

“I get lots of calls in spring asking how much nitrogen to add per acre,” says Craig Roberts, University of Missouri Extension forage specialist. “The first thing I ask is, ‘What kind of grass?’

“If they say, ‘Kentucky 31 toxic fescue,’ I say, ‘Hold back.’ If it is a novel-endophyte fescue, I say, ‘How much can you afford?’ ”

Yes, nitrogen boosts grass yields. However, fertility also feeds a toxic fungus living unseen between plant cells of K-31 fescue. With added fertilizer, the endophyte fungus makes more toxic alkaloids that harm cattle in many ways.

To continue reading, please view the Angus Media news article online.

Emerging Cattle Health Research

Veterinary researchers say new vaccines hold promise for battling animal disease on two different fronts. Breakthroughs for immunization of cattle against foothills abortion and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) were discussed during the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention Jan. 27-29 in San Diego, Calif.

Veterinarian Jeffrey Stott of the University of California–Davis College of Veterinary Medicine offered committee members a primer on Epizootic Bovine Abortion, more commonly referred to as foothills abortion. The disease is endemic in California’s coastal range and the foothill regions of California, Southern Oregon and Northern Nevada.

Stott and fellow researchers have developed a vaccine that, so far, appears efficacious against the disease costing western ranchers, collectively, an estimated $3 million per year.

According to Stott, cattle become infected with the causative bacteria through the bite of the pajaroello tick found only in the intermountain West. Stott says the bacteria “sets up shop” in a pregnant female’s uterus, resulting in near-term abortions or weak calves.

For more information, please view the Angus media news article online.



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