Farm Talk


November 19, 2013

Watch winter cow condition

Parsons, Kansas — Winter is a time of increased vigilance for  livestock producers, according to Tom Troxel, animal scientist at the University of Arkansas.

“One climate model is projecting winter to be warmer and wetter than normal,” Troxel said. “If predictions are wrong and the weather turns cold and wet, it can compound dangers to cattle, and producers need to keep a closer eye on herds.”  

Cattle are in rather good body condition due to good rainfall and excellent growing conditions in 2013, but hay quality may be disappointing so cattle producers need to monitor body condition carefully as spring calving approaches.

“Calving increases nutritional demand on the cow’s system,” Troxel said. “For example, as a cow calves and begins to lactate, her energy requirements increase by 36 percent; her protein requirements increase by 62 percent and dry matter requirements increase by 17 percent. As weather becomes colder and wetter, this also adds nutritional demands on the cow’s system.”

To meet that demand, cows need more calories, protein and roughage.

“With much of the state receiving rain in early May and June, many producers were unable to bale hay when the forage was at its peak quality,” he said.  “This is going to result in feeding lower quality hay than normal to late gestating cows and lactating cows later in the winter and early spring.”

That may mean cow body condition can suffer resulting in lower milk production and slower bred back. Body condition becomes very critical as the production cycle moves into calving.

“All of these conditions could add up to the cow producing less colostrum and less concentrated colos-trums,” Troxel said. If the newborn calf isn’t well protected, scours – or diarrhea – may become a real problem this year.

“Cows in poor body condition produce less milk compared to cows in moderate body condition,” he said. “This will affect the weaning weights of the 2014 calf crop. In addition, cows in poor body condition take longer to rebreed.

Forage testing is critical to ensure the health of beef cattle through the winter and healthier calves come springtime. “The key is quality and quantity ration,” he said. “The first step is to obtain a forage test to determine the hay quality.“

“Once the protein and energy values of the hay are known, the proper supplement can be determined to balance the diet,” Troxel said. £

Text Only
  • Stockers015.jpg Pressure builds on cattle prices

    With boxed beef prices down sharply from the second rollercoaster high of the year, fed cattle prices may have peaked seasonally.  
    Fed prices are currently holding mostly steady near $150/cwt. but will likely decrease into May as fed cattle marketings increase seasonally. Cattle slaughter typically increases from April through May to seasonal peaks in June.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • calving-season_ksu.jpg Shortening breeding and calving seasons

    Calves born in the first 21 days of the calving season are often the heaviest in their contemporary group at weaning, and that advantage often carries through to harvest, if the producer retains ownership.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • heifers-peel-052_fixed.jpg Late spring adds to cattle challenges

    A myriad of factors are at work in cattle and beef markets now. Spring has arrived according to the calendar but it isn’t obvious yet in many parts of the country. Cold weather continues to delay grass green-up in many regions in a fashion that is reminiscent of last year.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Beef Talk: Are your cows ready to rebreed?

    The question of the day: Are the cows ready to breed? I hope the nutritional plan is in place and the cows are doing fine. Although nutritional adjustments can be made if needed, precalving should be a time of contentment for the cow, so all she needs to do is enjoy late-term pregnancy.

    March 25, 2014

  • How much is a good bull worth?

    I often get the question “How much should I pay for a bull?” My first answer is “Whatever the market will bear.”

    March 18, 2014

  • cull-cows.jpg Slaughter cow market following seasonal pattern — only more so

    Boning cow prices in Oklahoma City were reported at just over $102/cwt. in the first week of March. This level suggests that March slaughter cow prices will exhibit a more than seasonal price increase.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hollis_ksu.jpg Anaplasmosis a stealthy profit-robber

    For a disease that’s not contagious, anaplasmosis sure gets around.
    Speaking to a whole passle of beef producers at last week’s Animal Health Day in Independence, Kan., K-State Veterinarian Larry Hollis urged area cattlemen to get the costly disease in their sights.

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Livestock indemnity program retro-funded to Oct., 2011

    USDA announced it will expedite the implementation of its livestock disaster assistance program and will begin accepting applications on or near April 15.

    February 25, 2014

  • charherfcow.jpg Ark. cattle numbers up despite trend

    Arkansas cattle numbers are recovering nearly two years after the start of a drought that caused $128 million damage to the state’s beef industry, while national numbers plummet to their lowest levels in more than 60 years.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Champions picked at Kansas Angus Futurity Jr. Show

    February 11, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content