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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

January 30, 2018

Get a Newborn Calf to Breathe

Cody Creelman, veterinarian with Veterinary Ag-Health Services, a five-veterinarian beef cattle practice at Airdrie, Alta., Canada, says a few traditional practices to get newborn calves to breathe are actually harmful, even though they were recommended by veterinarians in earlier times. For instance, stockmen traditionally held the calf up by the hind legs to theoretically allow fluid to drain from the airways. Likewise, swinging the calf was supposed to help clear the airways.

“This is no longer standard practice. You’ll see fluid coming from the calf’s mouth and nose, but it’s been proven that this is fluid from the stomach. Hanging upside down or swinging actually makes it harder for the calf to breathe because of all the weight of the gut putting pressure on the lungs,” says Creelman.

He advises putting the newborn calf in recovery position — upright, rather than lying flat, resting on the sternum (breastbone), with head and neck extended forward. This allows maximum oxygenation in the lungs because they can both fully expand. When the calf is lying on its side, the bottom lung can’t expand.

Continue reading this Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.

Cattle on Feed Numbers

Early futures trading shrugged off the bearish implications of the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report. The USDA survey indicated that placements of cattle on feed in +1,000 head lots in December were 1.799 million head, 0.8% higher than a year ago. This contrasts with analyst expectations for a 3.1% decline in placements. However, the higher-than-expected number may have not come as a surprise as regional surveys already were pointing to higher placements. Looking at the breakdown of placements, the bulk of the increase was due to placements of very light cattle, animals that will likely take until summer to become market ready. Placements of cattle under 600 pounds (lb.) were up 35,000 head while placements of animals between 600 and 800 lb. were down 35,000 head. Feedlots placed some 6.291 million head of cattle on feed in the last quarter of 2017.

This represented an increase of 492,000 head (+8.5%) from the same period the previous year. However, almost half of this increase in placements (48.8%) was due to feeders that were less than 600 lb.

Read the full report online at

Minimize Cold Stress with Windbreaks and Feed

The two most important aspects of cold-weather care for cattle are adequate feed and shelter from wind. If cattle have adequate nutrition and are in good body condition, they have more insulation against cold and enough energy to keep warm.

“The part of the diet we focus on is energy during cold weather,” says Russ Daly, Extension veterinarian and associate professor at South Dakota State University. “Protein is really important, too, but energy for calves is crucial. Weaning-age calves need a high-energy diet that usually includes grain. Producers here in the Northern Plains also recognize that cattle increase their intake in response to the cold,” he says.

Daly says cattlemen have to be sure they are providing the additional feed cattle need. For animals with a functional rumen — older calves, adult cattle — having adequate protein to utilize the energy is important. Microbes in the rumen break down roughage in forage into useable energy, but they need protein to do this.

With the cold weather last winter, stockmen were able to help the animals maintain themselves, but that’s about it, Daly notes.

Learn more in this Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.

Making Sense of Forage Analysis Results

Results from forage analyses aren’t just for ration formulations. The numbers can also help producers adjust management processes to avoid future problems altogether.

“The results of forage analysis can be really useful,” says Bob Charley, forage products management, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “For instance, it can show if the crop was harvested correctly or if silages are prone to spoilage.”

Charley advises producers to review these parameters:

Keep reading this Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.

Alfalfa Loss? Annual Ryegrass is a Win

Meet alfalfa, a perennial legume used mainly as high-quality feed for dairy cattle. Alfalfa is also used as feed for beef cattle, horses, sheep and goats. It’s high in protein (16%-20% crude protein). It contains a lot of calcium and other minerals and vitamins. It contributes billions of dollars to the United States economy annually.

Finding forage crops that can help farmers offset losses due to alfalfa winterkill will have widespread benefits. In 2013, 93% of alfalfa growers surveyed in Wisconsin and Minnesota reported alfalfa winterkill or injury. Many reported alfalfa losses that were greater than 60%.

Alfalfa faces a cold challenge.

In the United States, alfalfa is grown mainly in western and northern states. The cold winters and other factors in many of these states can damage alfalfa crops. That can lead to losses for farmers and forage shortages.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota are working to help farmers offset losses caused by alfalfa winterkill. They are trying to identify annual forage crops that can be cultivated in fields with winterkilled or terminated alfalfa.

Read more of this Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.


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