Farm Talk

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October 8, 2013

2013 K-State Beef Stocker Days


Parsons, Kansas —

Field warned that the agriculture industry can’t be selectively transparent.

“We must evaluate decisions, processes, inputs and technologies by asking these three questions:”

1. Will this decision affect eating satisfaction?

2. Does this decision improve product integrity and thus consumer trust?

3. Am I proud to make this part of the beef story?

Field emphasized that delivering best in world products and services to customers was directly correlated to how beef producers treat their employees and how they handle health and welfare of their cattle.

Speaking on receiving health programs was Mark Spire of Merck Animal Health, something he said has been changed in the last five years by weather.

Weather extremes play a major role in animal health programs. Drought impacts protein quality and energy content of forage along with water quality. Low feed abundance can lead to management practices like early weaning and out of season supplementation. Heavy rainfall brings an increase of flies and weed bloom, while extreme cold hurts calves viability and cow immune response ­­— all things that must be taken into consideration.

“It cost us money when Mother Nature is not providing forages. It also changes management styles.” Spire said. “If we start having forage issues, we start changing immune response.”

Spire said cows will be more likely to abort and get phenomena, while calves will be weak and prone to scours.

Shortage of quality forage also impacts implant programs for commuter cattle.

“Whenever we start adjusting cattle to new social groups, that ends up costing us in the long run. We end up having to move from a more aggressive implant program to a softer implant program,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot more Ralgro and Revalor-G used in programs where we know we may have shortage in quality forage.”

Spire also stressed that having a good deworming program was essential. For the last 30 years Ostertagia (brown stomach worm) has been the number one parasite, until recently being replaced by an intestinal parasite.

“It’s changed the products that we routinely use. It’s changed the way that we use the products,” Spire stated.

According to him, pour-on’s are around 60 percent effective.

“We know that if we don’t connect with parasite control in beef stocker cattle, it’s going to effect gain and it’s going to impact immune response,” Spire said.

Injectables hold a similar pattern at 57 percent effective. To get a greater impact with dewormers, he suggested to use a combination of products.

“One thing that’s come to work that we’ve seen, is the use of combination products. Each one of them, whether they’re a pour, injectable, or oral administerd product, have their advantages and disadvantages,” he explained. “But if we come back to look at what happens when we use them together, we see a very high efficiency rate.”

Beef Stocker Day attendants also heard from Professor Emeritus Terry Mader, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, on the environmental impacts of beef stocker health and wellness, along with carry-over effects of stocker cattle systems on feedlot performance and carcass characteristics by Ryan Reuter of Nobel Foundation. At the end of the presentations, Associate Editor of BEEF Magazine, Wes Ishmael, conducted a producer panel. Panelist included:

Mike Arndt, Emporia, Kan., Frank Brazle, Chanute, Kan.; Tracy Brunner, Ramona, Kan.; Kevin Gant, Wilsey, Kan; and Mark Sullivan, Dickson, Tennessee. Topics included cost of grass, surviving drought and risk management. Full sessions of the 2013 Beef Stocker Day will be posted on DVAuction’s Website in the future at www.dvauc £

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