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Mississippi Beef Cattle Producer Pocket Guide

Filed Under:
Publication Number: P2714
View as PDF: P2714.pdf

Introduction

Monthly Mississippi Beef Cattle Management Calendar

Beef Cattle Terminology

Mississippi Frost Dates

Forage Classifications and Characteristics

Forage Planting

Environment: Best Management Practices

Soil Testing

Fertilizer Composition

Forage Herbage Mass

Rotational Stocking Guidelines

Forest Harvest Stages

Forage Dry Matter Percentage

Forage Sampling and Quality

Forage Intake

Forage-related and Nutritional Disorders

Mycotoxins Affecting Cattle

Grazing Methods

Grazing Formulas

Body Condition Score (BCS)

Beef Cattle Water Intake Estimates

Cattle Nutrient Requirements

Minerals and Vitamins

Feed Nutritive Values

Feed Storage

Feeder Space Requirements

Relative Feedstuff Value with Selected Corn and Soybean Meal Prices1

Basic Ration Balancing

Limiting Feed Intake

Feed Additives

Stages of Female Reproduction in Cattle

Normal Estrous Cycle of Cattle

Measures of Reproductive Efficiency

Timeline for Estrus (Heat) Signs in Cattle

Estrous Synchronization

Estrus (Heat) Detection Aids

Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BSE)

Benefits of Controlled Breeding and Calving Season

Description of Reproductive Tract Scores

Characteristics of Pregnancy

Calving Management

Udder Suspension and Teat Size Scores

Animal Identification Methods

Guidelines for Aging Cattle by Teeth

Growth-Promoting Implants

Castration and Dehorning

Beef Cattle Breeds

Economically Relevant Traits (ERT)

Heritability and Heterosis

Matching Genetic Potential to Production Environment

Crossbreeding Systems

Performance Data Collection

Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs)

Sire Selection

Traits Controlled or Largely Influenced by One Gene Pair

Beef Cattle Conformation

Temperament Scores

Hair Shedding Scores

Frame Scores and Size

Muscling (muscle thickness)

Feeder Calf Value

Market (Cull) Cow Price Classes

Beef Cattle Marketing Channels

Mississippi Livestock Markets

Price Risk Management

Partial Budget

Beef Cattle Enterprise Financial Statements

Annual Payments ($ of Principal and Interest) to Amortize a $1,000 Loan

Beef Cattle Enterprise Financial Measures

Herd Health

Biological Risk Management (Biosecurity)

Vaccines

Cattle Diseases

Parasites

Identifying Sick or Injured Cattle

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Marketing Code of Ethics

Dosage by Animal Body Weight1

Diagnostic Labs

Livestock Carcass Disposal

Shade, Heat, Cold, and Mud

Animal Welfare

Cattle Handling Techniques

Shrink

Cattle Handling Facilities

Cattle Transportation

Fences

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Beef Carcass Primal (Wholesale) Cuts

Beef Carcass Yield Grade

Beef Carcass Quality Grade

Standard Measurements

Information Resources

Introduction

Top

Beef Cattle Production in Mississippi

Beef cattle production is a significant component of Mississippi agriculture. The total value of production of cattle and calves in Mississippi contributes millions of dollars annually to the local economy and ranks highly among the state’s agricultural commodities. Cow-calf and stocker cattle operations are very prominent parts of the Mississippi beef cattle industry.

Mississippi State University Extension Service

This pocket guide was authored by beef cattle specialists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Extension’s overall purpose is education. Extension provides research-based information, educational programs, and technology transfer focused on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi. Extension recognizes that agriculture and its related enterprises are of major economic importance in Mississippi, and directs programs and resources to reflect this importance. Extension state beef cattle specialists, area livestock/forages agents, and county directors are available to assist beef cattle producers.

http://extension.msstate.edu/agriculture/livestock/beef

Mississippi Beef Cattle Improvement Association

The printing of this pocket guide was funded by the Mississippi Beef Cattle Improvement Association (MBCIA). The MBCIA encourages the production and identification of genetically superior animals by purebred breeders and promotes the use of these animals by commercial producers through sale offerings.

The purposes of the MBCIA are to:

  • promote the use of performance records as a tool for herd improvement
  • emphasize economically important traits that can be improved through selection and culling based on performance records
  • encourage good management practices

Member benefits include access to and information about:

  • monthly MBCIA newsletter
  • annual membership meeting
  • bull marketing programs
  • centralized bull testing programs
    • Hinds Community College Bull Test
    • Gain-on-Forage Bull Test
  • ultrasound body composition scanning
  • Miss Premium replacement heifers
  • feeder calf marketing programs
  • Mississippi Farm to Feedlot program
  • Cattlemen’s Exchange groups
  • BIF producer award nominations
  • MBCIA educational projects

The MBCIA promotes the use of high-quality Mississippi-raised bulls as herd sires. These bulls are better adapted to the local environment than cattle from other regions. Mississippi-raised herd sires can be readily compared with other bulls on a national basis using expected progeny differences. Breed-leading genetics are found in Mississippi bulls of many breeds. Beyond bulls, Mississippi is home to well-managed feeder calves and heifers. Purchasing high-quality cattle locally reduces freight costs and supports the local economy.

Demand EPDs. Demand health records. Demand Mississippi cattle.

Monthly Mississippi Beef Cattle Management Calendar

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January

February

March

General Recommendations

Control lice

Supplement as needed (energy, protein, Vit. A)

Prevent grass tetany

Gather income tax records

Set yearly goals

Control lice

Supplement as needed (energy, protein, Vit. A)

Prevent grass tetany

Fertilize cool-season forages

Control weeds

Collect soil samples

Gather income tax records

Attend MBCIA meeting

Control lice

Prevent grass tetany

Control weeds

Service forage harvesting equipment

Prepare income taxes

Spring-calving Recommendations

Monitor calving

Acquire herd sires, semen, and breeding supplies

Collect yearling data

Monitor calving

Acquire herd sires, semen, and breeding supplies

Collect yearling data

Monitor calving

Administer pre-breeding vaccinations and deworming

Acquire herd sires, semen, and breeding supplies

Perform bull BSEs

Collect yearling data

Fall-calving Recommendations

End breeding

Diagnose pregnancy

Cull open females

Diagnose pregnancy

Cull open females

Plan pre-weaning vaccinations

April

May

June

General Recommendations

Prevent grass tetany

Start fly control as needed

Deworm cattle

Plant warm-season forages

Fertilize warm-season forages

Meet income tax deadline

Provide adequate shade

Reduce cattle heat stress

Control flies

Plant warm-season forages

Fertilize warm-season forages

Provide adequate shade

Reduce cattle heat stress

Control flies

Test stored forage for quality

Monitor feed prices

Be prepared as hurricane season begins

Spring-calving Recommendations

Begin breeding

Continue breeding

End breeding season

Fall-calving Recommendations

Wean calves (deworm and vaccinate)

Precondition calves

Cull herd for performance and health

Select replacements

Deworm adults at weaning

Wean calves (deworm and vaccinate)

Precondition calves

Cull herd for performance and health

Select replacements

Deworm adults at weaning

Precondition calves

July

August

September

General Recommendations

Provide adequate shade

Reduce cattle heat stress

Control flies

Deworm adults and yearlings

Test stored forage for quality

Monitor feed prices

Be prepared as hurricane season continues

Provide adequate shade

Reduce cattle heat stress

Control flies

Test stored forage for quality

Monitor feed prices

Be prepared as hurricane season continues

Provide adequate shade

Reduce cattle heat stress

Control flies

Plant cool-season forages

Fertilize cool-season forages

Test stored forage

Monitor feed prices

Be prepared as hurricane season continues

Spring-calving Recommendations

Diagnose pregnancy

Cull open females

Diagnose pregnancy

Cull open females

Plan pre-weaning vaccinations

Wean calves (deworm and vaccinate)

Precondition calves

Cull herd for performance and health

Select replacements

Deworm adults at weaning

Fall-calving Recommendations

Prepare for calving

Prepare for calving

Monitor calving

Acquire herd sires, semen, and breeding supplies

Collect yearling data

 

 

 

October

November

December

General Recommendations

Monitor feed prices

Supplement as needed (energy, protein, Vit. A)

Plant and fertilize cool- season forages

Be prepared as hurricane season continues

Control lice

Monitor feed prices

Supplement as needed (energy, protein, Vit. A)

Be prepared as hurricane season continues

Plan holiday labor

Control lice

Supplement as needed (energy, protein, Vit. A)

Prevent grass tetany

Plan holiday labor

Make end of tax year purchases and sales

Spring-calving Recommendations

Wean calves (deworm and vaccinate)

Precondition calves

Prepare for calving

Precondition calves

Prepare for calving

Cull herd for performance and health

Select replacements

Deworm adults at weaning

 

 

Fall-calving Recommendations

Monitor calving

Administer pre-breeding vaccinations and deworming

Acquire herd sires, semen, and breeding supplies

Perform bull BSEs

Collect yearling data

Monitor calving

Begin breeding

Acquire herd sires, semen, and breeding supplies

Collect yearling data

Continue breeding

Beef Cattle Terminology

Top

Ad libitum: free choice; allowing animals to eat all they want; on full feed

Bloom: haircoat has a luster (shine) that gives the appearance of a healthy animal

Breed character: a combination of masculine or feminine qualities with ideal breed type features. Head and color markings are given considerable attention in estimating breed character

Brindle: coat coloring pattern with narrow, vertical, alternating stripes of black and red pigmentation; base color may range from light red or fawn to dark brown or even nearly white; “tiger striped”

Brockle-faced: white-faced with other colors splotched on face and head; mottle-faced

Broken mouth: some teeth missing or broken

Bull: male bovine animal, usually of breeding age

Bullock: young bull, typically less than 20 months of age

Bunk breaking: process of acclimating calves to consume feed from a bunk or other feeder

Calf-feds: cattle placed on feed as calves and finished at less than 16 months of age, usually on feed for 150 to 200 days, and placed in the feedlot directly following weaning.

Cancer eye: cancerous growth on eyeball or lid

Closed herd: herd in which no outside breeding cattle are introduced

Colostrum: first milk produced by a female after calving; high in antibodies that protect calves from invading microorganisms

Concentrate: feed high in energy, low in fiber, and highly digestible; typically grains

Cow: sexually mature female bovine animal that has usually produced a calf

Creep feeding: providing supplemental nutrients to nursing calves through the use of gates or exclosures which allow calves but not cows to access the creep feed or forage

Cryptorchid: male with one or both testicles retained in abdominal cavity

Cwt: abbreviation for hundredweight (100 lb.)

Dam: female parent

Diet: a controlled selection of feedstuffs provided on a continuous schedule

Dark cutter: color of muscle in carcass has a dark appearance, often results in price discount

Depreciation: decrease in value of an asset due to age, use, and obsolescence; pro-rated expense of owning an asset

Drench: to give fluid by mouth

Dry (cow): non-lactating cow

Dystocia: difficult birth

Efficiency: ratio of output to input

F1: offspring resulting from mating a purebred bull to purebred females of another breed

Fed cattle: steers and heifers that have been fed concentrates, usually for 90 to 120 days in a feedlot

Feeder cattle: cattle that need further feeding prior to slaughter

Fill: contents of the digestive tract

Finish: degree of fatness of an animal

Flushing: placing females on a high level of nutrition before breeding to decrease postpartum interval and possibly stimulate an increased conception rate

Freemartin: female born twin to a bull; the female is sterile about 90% of the time

FOB: free on board; buyer pays freight after loading

Grid: method of pricing slaughter cattle which offers premiums and discounts for cattle; cattle which are leaner and have a higher quality grade receive premiums; grids generally have other specifications for carcass weight and dark cutters

Hard keeper (doer): animal that does not do well

Heifer: young female bovine animal prior to the time she has produced her first calf

Heiferette: heifer that has calved once, after which she is fed for slaughter; the calf has usually died or been weaned at an early age

NPN (nonprotein nitrogen): nitrogen in feeds from substances such as urea and amino acids, but not from preformed proteins

Off feed: animal refuses to eat or consumes only small amounts of feed

Open: non-pregnant cow or heifer

Pay weight: actual weight for which payment is made; in many cases it is the shrunk weight (actual weight minus pencil shrink)

Pencil shrink: deduction (percent of liveweight) from an animal’s weight to account for fill

Phenotype: characteristics of an animal that can be seen and/or measured

Polled: naturally or genetically hornless

Pons: accumulation of fat over pin bones

Postpartum interval: length of time from calving until the dam is pregnant again

Preconditioning: preparation of feeder calves for marketing and shipment; may include vaccinations, castration, and training calves to eat and drink in pens

Prolapse: abnormal protrusion of part of an organ, such as the uterus or rectum

Purebred: animal eligible for registry with a recognized breed association

Ration: feed offered during a 24-hour period

Scurs: small growths of hornlike tissue attached to the skin of polled or dehorned animals

Shipping fever: respiratory disease of cattle

Sire: male parent

Supplement: mixture of nutrients added to the diet to meet nutrient shortages not supplied by the forage or grain of the base diet

Stag: bovine male castrated after puberty

Steer: bovine male castrated prior to puberty

Stocker: weaned calf fed high-roughage diets (including grazing) before going into a feedlot

Terminal sire: sire used in a terminal crossbreeding program where the sire’s offspring are intended to be sold as market animals

Thermoneutral zone (TNZ): range in temperature where rate and efficiency of gain is maximized; comfort zone

Total mixed ration (TMR): all feed ingredients mixed together in a nutritionally balanced ration and fed to the animal rather than each ingredient being fed individually

Type: physical conformation; physical traits that contribute to animal value for a specific purpose

Undegradable intake protein (UIP): protein not fermented in the rumen but digested in the small intestine; escape or bypass protein

Yardage: charges incurred each day that cattle are in the feedlot, usually expressed on a cents per head per day basis

Adapted from R. E. Taylor. Beef Production and Management Decisions. 2nd ed. 1994; www.eXtension.org. 2012. Beef Cattle Glossary.

Mississippi Frost Dates

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Mississippi Location

Average Date of First Frost

Average Date of Last Frost

Batesville

October 15

April 14

Biloxi

November 24

March 8

Brookhaven

October 26

April 5

Carthage

October 21

April 8

Corinth

October 14

April 14

Greenville

November 2

March 27

Greenwood

October 31

April 1

Grenada

October 19

April 11

Hattiesburg

November 3

March 29

Hernando

October 27

April 7

Holly Springs

October 11

April 18

Jackson

October 29

April 5

Laurel

November 3

March 30

McComb

November 3

April 1

Meridian

October 25

April 6

Natchez

November 7

March 27

Philadelphia

October 22

April 6

Poplarville

November 9

March 23

Starkville

October 24

April 7

Tupelo

October 20

April 16

Vicksburg

November 6

March 30

Woodville

November 11

March 24

Yazoo City

November 3

March 31

Adapted from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2011. Freeze/Frost Occurrence Data.

Forage Classifications and Characteristics

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Forage Classifications

Classification criteria

Classes

Form and function

Grasses:

generally herbaceous (not woody) plants, parallel leaf veins, fibrous root systems, bear seed on elongated stem stalk, produce only 1 seed leaf; ex: bermudagrass, annual ryegrass

Legumes:

produce seed in a pod, netted leaf veins, tap root systems, produce 2 seed leaves; most interact with Rhizobium bacteria to fix nitrogen in root nodules; ex: clovers, alfalfa

Lifespan

Annuals:

plants that germinate, grow, reproduce, and die in 1 year’s time or 1 growing season; reproduce only by seed; ex: crabgrass, wheat

Perennials:

plants that, under suitable conditions, have the ability to live for more than 1 year; may die back or become dormant and later recover from tubers, rhizomes, or stolons; reproduce vegetatively or by seed; ex: bahiagrass, alfalfa

Growth season

Warm-season forages:

begin growth and/or are planted in the spring or early summer and make most of their growth during the warmest months of the year; ex: dallisgrass, pearl millet

Cool-season forages:

begin growth and/or are planted in the autumn or sometimes early spring and make most of their growth the year, except for the coldest periods of the winter; ex: tall fescue, white clover

Characteristics of Forage Grasses

Forage Species

Seedling Vigor

Tolerance1 to Soil Acidity

Tolerance to Poor Drainage

Tolerance to Drought

Tolerance to Grazing

Warm-season perennial grasses

Bahiagrass

P

E

G

E

E

Bermudagrass

F

E

P

E

E

Dallisgrass

P

F

E

G

G

Johnsongrass

G

F

E

G

P

Switchgrass

P

F

F

E

P

Warm-season annual grasses

Corn

E

F

P

P

P

Crabgrass

G

G

P

F

E

Pearl millet

E

E

P

E

F

Sorghum

G

P

P

E

F

Sorghum-sudan

E

P

F

G

F

Cool-season perennial grasses2

Tall fescue E+

G

G

G

G

E

Tall fescue E-

F

G

G

F

F

Cool-season annual grasses

Annual ryegrass

G

G

E

F

E

Oats

E

F

F

F

G

Rye

E

G

F

F

G

Wheat

E

P

P

F

G

1E = excellent; G = good; F = fair; P = poor
2E+ = endophyte-infected; E- = endophyte-free Adapted from Ball et al. 1999. Forage Crop Pocket Guide. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Characteristics of Forage Legumes

Forage Species

Seedling Vigor

Tolerance1 to Soil Acidity

Tolerance to Poor Drainage

Tolerance to Drought

Tolerance to Grazing

Warm-season perennial legumes

Perennial peanut

Vegetatively propagated

G

P

G

F

Sericea lespedeza

P

E

F

E

P3

Warm-season annual legume

Annual lespedeza

F

E

F

G

G

Cool-season perennial legumes

Alfalfa

G

P

P

E

P2

Red clover

E

F

F

F

G

White clover

F

F

G

F

E

Cool-season annual legumes

Arrowleaf clover

F

F

P

G

G

Berseem clover

G

P

E

F

F

Caley pea

G

F

G

F

F

Crimson clover

E

G

P

F

F

Hairy vetch

E

G

P

F

F

Rose clover

P

G

P

G

G

Subterranean clover

G

G

G

F

E

1E = excellent; G = good; F = fair; P = poor
2Grazing-tolerant varieties are rated G
Adapted from Ball et al. 1999. Forage Crop Pocket Guide. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Forage Planting

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Planting Information for Perennial Grasses in Mississippi

 

Adaptation

Seeding Rate2, lb/acre

Planting Depth, inches

Optimum Planting Dates

MS Area1

Soils

Bahiagrass

N, C, S

Moist, sandy bottoms to droughty uplands

B: 15 to 20

¼ to ½

Early spring after frost; S only: late summer, fall

Bermudagrass (seed propagated)

N, C, S

Well drained, light sand to clay loam

Hulled B: 5 to 10

Unhulled B: 10 to 15

¼ to ½

Mar 15 to early summer

Bermudagrass (vegetatively propagated)

N, C, S

Well drained, light sand to clay loam

Rows: 10 bushels sprigs B: 30 to 40 bushels sprigs

 

Late Feb to early summer with adequate soil moisture

Dallisgrass

N, C, S

Moist, fertile, well drained

B: 20 (10 pounds pure, live seed)

¼ to ½ (Adjust for low germination)

Feb 15 to May 15

Johnsongrass

N, C

Medium to heavy, fertile

B: 20 to 30

D: 10 to 15

½ to 1

Apr to Jul

Tall fescue

N, C

Moist, fertile bottoms; productive uplands; S only: heavy, moist soils

B: 15 to 20

D: 10 to 15

¼ to ½

Sep to Oct

1N = North; C = Central; S = South
2B = broadcast; D = drilled
Adapted from Ball et. Al. 2007. Southern Forages. 4th ed. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Planting Information for Annual Grasses

 

Adaptation

Seeding Rate2, lb/acre

Planting Depth, inches

Optimum Planting Dates

MS Area1

Soils

Pearl millet

N, C, S

Well drained, fertile (avoid lime soils)

D: 12 to 15

B: 25 to 30

½ to 1

N: Apr 20 to Jul 1

C: Apr 15 to Jul 1

S: Apr 1 to Jul 15

Sorghum-sudan hybrids

N, C, S

Well drained, productive

D: 20 to 25

B: 30 to 35

½ to 1

N: May 1 to Aug 1

C: Apr 15 to Aug 1

S: Apr 1 to Aug 15

Sweet and forage sorghum

N, C, S

Well drained

B: 15 to 20

Syrup: D: 3 to 5

Silage: D: 4 to 6

1

Late Apr to May 15

S only: late as Jul 1 for forage types

Sudangrass

N, C

Light sandy to heavy clay

D: 20 to 25

B: 30 to 40

½ to 1

May 1 to Aug 1

Barley

N, C

Well drained, productive

Grain: B: 75 to 100 Grazing alone: D: 75

B: 100 to 120

In mixtures: 60 to 75

1 to 2

Sep to Oct

Oats, rye, wheat

N, C, S

Well drained, sandy to clay loams

Grain: 60 to 90

Grazing alone: 90 to 120

In mixtures: 60 to 90

1 to 2

N: Sep 1 to Oct 1

C: Sep 1 to Oct 15

S: Sep 15 to Nov 1

Overseeded: 5 weeks later

Annual ryegrass

N, C, S

Clay loam to sandy

Grazing alone: B: 30 to 35; D: 25-30

In mixtures: 20

0 to ½

Same as for oats, rye, wheat

1N = North; C = Central; S = South
2B = broadcast; D = drilled
Adapted from Southern Forages. 4th ed. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Planting Information for Perennial and Warm-season Annual Legumes

 

Adaptation

Seeding Rate2, lb/acre

Planting Depth, inches

Optimum Planting Dates

MS Area1

Soils

Sericea lespedeza

N, C, S

Well drained (avoid lime soils)

B: 20 to 30

D: 15 to 20

¼

Mar to May

Alfalfa

N, C, S

Deep, fertile, well drained

B: 20 to 25

0 to ¼

N: Aug 15 to Oct 1

C: Sep 1 to Oct 1

S: Oct 1 to Nov 1

White and ladino clover

N, C, S

Moist bottoms and productive uplands

B: 3

0 to ¼

Sep to Oct (also Feb to Mar in N, C)

Red clover (acts as annual in south MS)

N, C, S

Moist bottoms and productive uplands

D: 8 to 10

B: 12 to 15

¼ to ½

Sep to Oct

Alyce clover

S

Fertile, well drained

B: 15 to 20

¼ to ½

May 15 to Jul 15

Cowpeas

N, C, S

Well drained

D: 30 to 40

B: 120

2 to 3

May 1 to Jun 15

Annual lespedeza

N, C

Well drained (avoid lime soils)

B: 25 to 35

¼ to ½

Feb 15 to Mar 15

1N = North; C = Central; S = South
2B = broadcast; D = drilled
Adapted from Ball et. Al. 2007. Southern Forages. 4th ed. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Planting Information for Cool-season Annual Legumes

 

Adaptation

Seeding Rate2,

lb/acre

Planting Depth, inches

Optimum Planting Dates

MS Area1

Soils

Caley peas

Black Belt

Black Belt soils; pH 6.5 or greater

B: 50

½ to 1

Sep to Oct 15

Arrowleaf clover

N, C, S

Well drained, medium to very fertile

B: 5 to 8 (scarified seed)

0 to ½

N: Sep 1 to Oct 1 C: Sep 15 to Oct 15

S: Sep 15 to Nov 1

Overseeded: 5 weeks later

Ball clover

N, C, S

Sandy loam to clay; tolerates moist soils

B: 2 to 3

0 to ¼

Sep to Oct

Berseem clover

N, C, S

Black Belt soils; tolerates moist soils

B: 20 to 25

D: 10 to 15

¼ to ½

Sep

Crimson clover

N, C, S

Well drained (avoid lime soils)

B: 20 to 30

D: 15 to 20

0 to ½

Same as for arrowleaf clover

Subterranean clover

N, C, S

Well drained, productive

B: 8 to 10

¼ to ½

Sep to Oct

Common vetch

N, C, S

Well drained

B: 30 to 40

1 to 1½

N: Sep 1 to Oct 15

C: Sep 1 to Oct 15

S: Sep 15 to Nov 1

Hairy vetch

N, C, S

Well drained

B: 20 to 25

1 to 1½

Same as for common vetch

1N = North; C = Central; S = South
2B = broadcast; D = drilled
Adapted from Ball et. Al. 2007. Southern Forages. 4th ed. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Environment: Best Management Practices

Top

Goal: to conserve and protect soil, water, and air resources

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive nutrient management plan
  • Test soil to determine fertilizer needs
  • Use most suitable fertilizer based upon crop, application method, and climatic conditions
  • Apply with proper rate, technique, and timing
  • Maintain and calibrate equipment
  • Inject or incorporate fertilizer applications
  • Avoid fertilizer application to surface waters
  • Minimize chemical spray drift
  • Follow chemical label instructions and laws
  • Practice safe chemical storage and disposal
  • Use cover crops to control soil erosion
  • Protect heavy-use areas
  • Use riparian forest buffers as appropriate
  • Protect stream banks and shorelines using stabilizing vegetation or structures
  • Use field borders and vegetative filter strips to reduce water runoff problems
  • Control livestock access to surface water
  • Use prescribed grazing practices
  • Use legumes
  • Appropriately manage cattle mortalities

Soil Testing

Top

Set a testing schedule for each field

  • Once every 3 years or per crop rotation Select the proper tools
  • Soil probe or auger and bucket Divide fields into uniform sampling areas
  • Sample based on soil maps and judgment
  • Sample different soil types separately Use the correct sampling technique
  • Sample away from fence rows, trees, fertilizer or lime spills, or unusual areas
  • Sample to a 6-inch depth Get a composite sample
  • Gather at least 15 to 20 cores
  • Gather cores at random in zigzag pattern Process the soil sample
  • Break up clods
  • Dry at room temperature
  • Thoroughly mix the dried sample
  • Mildly crush the soil
  • Place 1 pint of sample in soil sample box
  • Label box with 5-digits or less to ID

MSU Extension Soil Testing Laboratory
(662) 325-3313
http://extension.msstate.edu/lawn-and-garden/soil-testing
Box 9610, Mississippi State, MS 39762
Standard tests: pH, available phosphate, potash, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and zinc

Fertilizer Composition

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Fertilizer Material

Nitrogen (N)
%

Phosphate (P2O5)
%

Potash (K2O)
%

Sulfur (S)
%

Ammonium nitrate

33.5

0

0

0

Ammonium nitrate and limestone

20.5

0

0

0

Anhydrous ammonia

82

0

0

0

Urea-ammonium nitrate solution

28 to 32

0

0

0

Ammonium sulfate

21

0

0

24

Urea

46

0

0

0

Ammonium thiosulfate

12

0

0

26

Sewage sludge

4 to 6

2.5 to 4

0

<1

Ammonium polyphosphate (APP)

10

34

0

0

Diammonium phosphate (DAP)

18

46

0

0

Monoammonium phosphate (MAP)

10 to 12

50 to 55

0

0

Triple superphosphate (TSP)

0

44 to 46

0

1

Ground rock phosphate

0

26 to 35; 3% available

0

0

Basic slag

0

10 to 25

0

0

Potassium chloride

0

0

60 to 62

0

Potassium nitrate

13

0

44

0

Potassium sulfate

0

0

48 to 52

18

Sulfate of potash-magnesia

0

0

22

22

Poultry litter1

2 to 6

1.4 to 9

1 to 6

0 to 0.8

1Varies by bird and litter management practice
Adapted from Ball et al. 1999. Forage Crop Pocket Guide. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Forage Herbage Mass

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Forage Species

Dry matter, lb/inch/acre

Average

Range

Alfalfa or alfalfa-grass mixture

225

75 to 400

Arrowleaf clover

200

100 to 300

Bermudagrass

260

150 to 500

Crimson clover

200

100 to 300

Native warm-season bunchgrasses

100

50 to 250

Red clover

220

100 to 300

Annual ryegrass

250

75 to 400

Oats, rye, wheat

150

75 to 250

Tall fescue

210

100 to 350

Tall fescue with white clover

190

80 to 325

Adapted from Ball et. Al. 2007. Southern Forages. 4th ed. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Rotational Stocking Guidelines1

Top

 

Target Grazing Height, inches

Crop

Begin Grazing

End Grazing2

Usual Days Rest

Alfalfa (hay)

10 to 16

3 to 4

35 to 40

Alfalfa (grazing)

10 to 16

2 to 3

15 to 30

Annual ryegrass

6 to 12

3 to 4

7 to 15

Bahiagrass

6 to 10

1 to 2

10 to 20

Bermudagrass

4 to 8

1 to 2

7 to 15

Big bluestem

15 to 20

10 to 12

30 to 45

Clover, white & subterranean3

6 to 8

1 to 3

7 to 15

Clover, all others3

8 to 10

3 to 5

10 to 20

Dallisgrass

6 to 8

3 to 4

7 to 15

Eastern gamagrass

18 to 22

10 to 12

30 to 45

Indiangrass

12 to 16

6 to 10

30 to 40

Johnsongrass

16 to 20

8 to 12

30 to 40

Pearl millet

20 to 24

8 to 12

10 to 20

Sericea lespedeza

8 to 15

4 to 6

20 to 30

Small grains

8 to 12

3 to 4

7 to 15

Sorghum (forage)

20 to 24

8 to 12

10 to 20

Sorghum-sudan hybrids

20 to 24

8 to 12

10 to 20

Switchgrass

18 to 22

8 to 12

30 to 45

Tall fescue

4 to 8

2 to 3

15 to 30

1The more closely pastures are grazed, the longer the rest period needs to be for defoliation-sensitive species.
2The closer a pasture is grazed, the poorer the forage nutritive value will be toward the end of grazing cycle.
3Clovers are typically grown in mixtures with grasses.
Adapted from Ball et al. 1999. Forage Crop Pocket Guide. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Rotational Stocking Benefits

  • Increased carrying capacity
  • Cattle easier to handle
  • Closer observation of cattle
  • Better pasture persistence and productivity
  • Improved utilization of more forage species
  • Less trampling
  • Better manure and urine distribution
  • Environmental benefits

Forest Harvest Stages

Top

Recommended Harvest Stage for Silage

Forage

Recommended Harvest Stage

Alfalfa

Bud to early bloom

Bermudagrass (hybrid)

Height of 15 inches for 1st cutting, 4- to 5-week intervals thereafter

Cool-season grasses

Boot to early head for 1st cutting, 4- to 6-week intervals thereafter

Forage sorghum

40 inches or late boot stage

Grain sorghum

Late milk to late dough stage

Small grains, annual ryegrass

Boot to early head

Soybeans

Late bloom and before bottom leaves begin to fall

Summer-annual grasses

40 inches or boot stage (whichever comes 1st)

Recommended Harvest Stage for Hay

Forage

Recommended Harvest Stage

Alfalfa

Bud stage for 1st cutting, 1/10th bloom for later cuttings

Annual lespedeza

Early bloom and before bottom leaves begin to fall

Bermudagrass (hybrid)

Height of 15 to 18 inches for 1st cutting, 4- to 5-week intervals thereafter

Big bluestem, indiangrass, switchgrass

Early head stage

Oats, wheat

Boot to early head stage

Pearl millet, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan

Height of 30 to 40 inches

Red, arrowleaf, crimson clovers

Early bloom

Sericea lespedeza

Height of 15 to 18 inches

Soybean

Mid- to full-bloom and before bottom leaves begin to fall

Tall fescue

Boot to early head stage for 1st cutting, 4- to 6-week intervals thereafter

White clover

Stage for companion grass

Adapted from Ball et al. 1999. Forage Crop Pocket Guide. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Forage Dry Matter Percentage

Top

Dry matter, %

Forage description

8 to 15

Young, green, succulent (i.e., small grains, tall fescue, annual ryegrass, especially in seedling stages)

15 to 20

Young, green leafy grasses in spring or when growth is rapid and succulent; white clover in mature stages; alfalfa in prebud stage

20 to 30

Older, slightly brown, or slow-growing plants; headed cool-season grasses; actively growing bermudagrass; alfalfa at 10% bloom

40 to 50

Growth that is more than 40% brown; stockpiled growth in winter and dormant grasses; may be stored in an airtight silo or tightly wrapped bales

40 to 80

Plants cut for storage; feel slightly damp or pliable, but too wet to bale

80 to 85

Hay freshly baled; mold forms if stored below 80% dry matter

85 to 92

Hay stored inside after several months; in samples that are air dried in cloth bags, the leaves will break easily when crumbled or twisted

Adapted from Ball et. Al. 2007. Southern Forages. 4th ed. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

Forage Sampling and Quality

Top

Forage Sampling for Laboratory Analysis

  • Follow specific directions for the laboratory selected
  • Do not use grab samples
  • Use a ⅜- to ⅝-inch internal diameter forage probe to core bales
  • Keep forage probe cutting edge sharp
  • Sample at random from each hay lot (single cutting, field, and maximum quantity of 200 bales)
  • Collect ½ to ¾ lb of sample per lot
  • Combine at least 20 core samples from each hay lot into one sample for submission
  • Sample round bales stored under cover at a 45 degree angle from the top of the bale
  • Sample round bales stored outside without cover at a 90 degree angle from the top of the bale
  • Sample square bales from the center of their ends
  • Uniquely identify each sample
  • Protect from heat and direct sunlight
  • Include completed sample submission forms and necessary payments
  • Package securely and ship promptly
  • Ship perishable samples under refrigeration

Forage Quality Terminology

Dry matter (DM)

  • % of plant sample remaining after water removed
  • 100 - moisture % = dry matter % In vitro digestible dry matter (IVDMD)
  • digestibility determined via laboratory test Total digestible nutrients (TDN)
  • indicator of forage energy content Crude protein (CP)
  • quantity of true protein and non-protein nitrogen present in plant tissue
  • nitrogen x 6.25

Neutral detergent fiber (NDF)

  • percentage of cell walls or other plant structural material present
  • cellulose + hemicellulose + lignin
  • only partially digested by animals
  • higher NDF associated with lower animal intake

Acid detergent fiber (ADF)

  • percentage of highly indigestible plant material
  • cellulose + lignin
  • higher ADF associated with lower digestibility

Dry matter intake (DMI)

  • amount of forage an animal will eat
  • estimate based on results from animal feeding trials and measured NDF concentration of a forage

Digestible dry matter (DDM)

  • percentage of forage sample which is digestible
  • estimate based on results from animal feeding trials and measured ADF concentration of a forage Relative feed value (RFV)
  • expression of a forage’s expected intake by animals and its energy value
  • index ranking forages on ADF and NDF
  • DDM x DMI ÷ 100
  • compared to full bloom alfalfa (RFV = 100)
  • forage quality increases as RFV increases Relative forage quality (RFQ)
  • similar to RFV but uses TDN in place of DDM
  • includes digestible fiber, so more representative of animal performance than RFV
  • use with all forages except corn silage

Forage Quality Standards by Forage Type

Forage Type

Standard

Total Digestible Nutrients1

Crude Protein1

Moisture

pH

 

Silage2

Excellent

65% or above

8% or above

70% or below

4.2 or below

Good

60 to 64%

7 to 8%

71 to 74%

4.3 to 4.7

Fair

55 to 59%

6 to 7%

75% and above

4.8 to 5.1

Poor

Below 55%

Below 6%

75% and above

5.2 or above

 

Grass Hay3

Excellent

58% or above

12% or above

 

 

Good

55 to 57%

10 to 11%

 

 

Fair

52 to 54%

8 to 9%

 

 

Poor

Below 52%

Below 8%

 

 

 

 

Legume Hay3

Excellent

64% or above

18% or above

 

 

Good

60 to 63%

16 to 17%

 

 

Fair

57 to 59%

14 to 15%

 

 

Poor

Below 57%

Below 14%

 

 

1Dry matter basis.
2Determine silage quality by total digestible nutrients rating. If silage does not meet either crude protein or moisture requirement for quality, lower one standard.
3Determine hay quality by total digestible nutrients rating. If hay does not meet crude protein requirement or is less than 83% dry matter, lower one standard.

General Forage Quality Standards1

Quality Standard

Crude Protein (CP)

Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF)

Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF)

Digestible Dry Matter (DDM)2

Dry Matter Intake (DMI)3

Relative Feed Value (RFV)4

Prime

Above 19%

Below 31%

Below 40%

Above 65%

Above 3.0%

Above 151

1

17 to 19%

31 to 35%

40 to 46%

62 to 65%

2.6 to 3.0%

125 to 151

2

14 to 16%

36 to 40%

47 to 53%

58 to 61%

2.3 to 2.5%

103 to 124

3

11 to 13%

41 to 42%

54 to 60%

56 to 57%

2.0 to 2.2%

87 to 102

4

8 to 10%

43 to 45%

61 to 65%

53 to 55%

1.8 to 1.9%

75 to 86

5

Below 8%

Above 45%

Above 65%

Below 53%

Below 1.8%

Below 75

1 Dry matter basis; applicable to legume, grass, or grass-legume hay.
2 Digestible dry matter (DDM%) = 88.9 – 0.779 ADF (% of dry matter).
3 Dry matter intake (DMI) = 120 ÷ forage NDF (% of dry matter).
4 Relative feed value (RFV) calculated from DDM x DMI ÷ 1.29. Reference hay of 100 RFV contains 41% ADF and 53% NDF.

Hay Heating Effects

Hay Core Temperature1, F°

Possible Event

120

Protein breakdown

140

Sugar caramelization

150 to 180

Fire (likely)

1Maximum temperature typically occurs 1 week after baling but can happen up to 3 weeks later.
Adapted from Ball et al. 1999. Forage Crop Pocket Guide. Intl. Plant Nutr. Inst., Norcross, GA.

To reduce risk of hay heating, manage moisture content of hay at baling:

  • Large round bales: <18% moisture
  • Small square bales: <20% moisture

Forage Intake

Top

Factors Affecting Forage Intake

  • animal weight, condition, stage of production, milk production level
  • environmental conditions
  • forage nutritive value
  • pasture herbage mass (available forage)
  • amount and type of forage or feed offered
  • palatability
  • toxic factors
  • management

Predicting Hay Intake

Dry matter intake as % of body weight = 120/neutral detergent fiber content of hay

Forage Intake Capacity of Beef Cows1

Forage Type and Maturity

Stage of Production

Forage Dry Matter Intake Capacity, % of body weight

Low quality forage (< 52% total digestible nutrients)

Non-lactating

1.8

Lactating

2.2

Average quality forage (52 to 59% total digestible nutrients)

Non-lactating

2.2

Lactating

2.5

High quality forage (> 59% total digestible nutrients)

Non-lactating

2.5

Lactating

2.7

Lush, growing pasture

Non-lactating

2.5

Lactating

2.7

Silage

Non-lactating

2.5

Lactating

2.7

1Intake estimates assume protein requirements are met in the total diet. When protein requirements are not met, forage intake will be lower than the table values. Adapted from Hibbard and Thrift, 1992.

Dry Matter Intake Adjustment Factors for Specific Environmental Conditions

Environmental Condition

Dry Matter Intake Adjustment Factor1

Temperature, degrees Fahrenheit

> 95 with no night cooling

.65

> 95 with night cooling

.90

77 to 95

.90

59 to 77

1.00

41 to 59

1.03

23 to 41

1.05

5 to 23

1.07

< 5

1.16

Mud, inches

None

1.00

Mild, 3.9 to 7.9

.85

Severe, 11.8 to 23.6

.70

1Multiply factor by predicted dry matter intake to determine adjusted dry matter intake for the condition.
Adapted from NRC. 1987. Predicting Feed Intake of Food-Producing Animals.

Methods to Minimize Forage Losses

  • Use management intensive grazing methods
  • Reduce leaf shatter at harvest
  • Minimize stored forage contact with soil
  • Minimize stored forage exposure to weather
  • Use hay feeding equipment designed to reduce trampling and waste

Forage-related and Nutritional Disorders

Top

As-fed to Dry Matter (DM) Conversion As-fed basis = as-received basis = forage/feed including moisture content

Dry matter basis = forage/feed excluding water

lb as-fed consumed x % DM = lb DM consumed

Forage/Feed Nitrate Level Guide for Cattle

Nitrate Concentration

Recommended Management

0.0 to 0.5%

0 to 5000 ppm

Safe to feed

0.5 to 1.0%

5000 to 10,000 ppm

Risk to pregnant animals and cattle not accustomed to high nitrate containing forage

1.0 to 2.0%

10,000 to 20,000 ppm

Not more than half of the diet

>2.0%

>20,000 ppm

Do not feed

Nitrate concentration conversions: Nitrate-N = nitrate x 0.23 Potassium nitrate = nitrate x 0.14

Parts per million (ppm):

To convert ppm to percent, move the decimal 4 places to the left.

Example: 5,000 ppm = 0.5%

Forage-related Disorders of Cattle

Disorder

Cause

Signs

Prevention

Ergot poisoning (Dallisgrass staggers)

Consumption of toxin produced by parasitic fungus in the seed heads of bahiagrass, annual ryegrass, small grains, and especially dallisgrass; most common in late summer or fall after wet growing conditions

Lameness, sloughing of tail switch and hooves, elevated body temperature, increased respiratory rate, increased heart rate

Clip pastures to limit seed head development and ergot growth; avoid harvesting fields with large quantities of potentially infected seed heads for hay

Fescue toxicosis

Consumption of alkaloids in toxic-endophyte-infected tall fescue plants

Rough hair coat, depressed weight gain

Removal from or dilution of toxic pastures and hay

Grass tetany

Consumption (especially by lactating cattle) of lush forage containing low levels of magnesium or calcium

Nervousness, muscle twitching around the face and ears, staggering, reduced feed intake, convulsions, death

Provide magnesium and calcium supplement to cattle at least 30 days prior to and during grass tetany season

Nitrate poisoning

Consumption of excessive nitrate from forage (most common in warm-season annual grasses), weeds (especially pigweed), water, or other sources; nitrate is absorbed into red blood cells and combines with hemoglobin to produce a type of hemoglobin that cannot carry oxygen in the blood causing a lack of sufficient oxygen transport to tissues

Bluish skin discoloration, bluish-brown mucous membranes, labored or rapid breathing, tremors, lack of muscle control, staggering, weakness, diarrhea, frequent urination, dark- to chocolate-colored blood, rapid pulse, abortion, coma, suffocation

Avoid grazing livestock on heavily nitrogen- fertilized pastures of suspect species during drought or wet conditions through cool, cloudy weather; observe carefully for signs of nitrate poisoning; test forages of concern for nitrate-nitrogen levels

Prussic acid poisoning

Consumption of prussic acid- containing forage (leaves of johnsongrass, sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, and wild cherry); most likely after frost or drought)

Excessive salivation, rapid, breathing, muscle spasms, death

Avoid toxic forages; prussic acid levels in forages deteriorate over time; feed as hay, 3+ weeks after ensiling, or 1+ week after frost

Nutritional Disorders of Cattle

Disorder

Cause

Signs

Prevention

Acidosis

Shift from a forage- based diet to a high concentrate-based diet or excessive consumption of fermentable carbohydrates causing low rumen pH

Slowing or stopping of gut movement, diarrhea, dehydration, weakness, incoordination, gray and foamy manure, poor nutrient absorption, reduced but variable feed intake, decreased performance, heart and lung failure, death

Limit feed consumption; introduce high-concentrate feeds gradually over 3 to 4 weeks; keep at least 10% roughage in the final diet; feed a combination of grains, feed dry grain with high-moisture grain; feed ionophores

Frothy (feedlot) bloat

Foam development in rumen from high-grain diet prevents belching and leads to suffocation

Rapid swelling on left side, display of discomfort (kicking at sides, stomping feet), sudden death

Slowly adapt cattle from forage-based diets to grain- based diets over a period of at least 3 weeks, manage nutrition of chronic bloaters carefully

Pasture (legume) bloat

Foam development in rumen from diet with high levels of soluble protein (alfalfa, winter annual grasses, white clover) prevents belching and leads to suffocation

Rapid swelling on left side, display of discomfort (kicking at sides, stomping feet), sudden death

Fill cattle on hay before turning out on lush legume or winter-annual grass pastures, feed poloxalene or monensin, manage nutrition of chronic bloaters carefully

Hardware disease

Sharp, heavy object consumed punctures reticulum wall, diaphragm, and/or heart sac causing damage to and infection of the abdominal cavity, heart sac, or lungs

Loss of appetite, depression, reluctance to move, arched back, indications of pain, grunting when forced to walk, bloat appearance on upper left side with fluid accumulation on lower right, fluid accumulation in brisket, death

Keep pastures, paddocks, and feed bunks free of wire, nails, fencing staples, and other sharp objects (even heavy plastic items) that could be swallowed; place magnets on feeding equipment; administer an intraruminal magnet

Mycotoxins Affecting Cattle

Top

Mycotoxin

Risk

Conditions

Risk Feeds

Effects on Cattle

Signs of Toxicosis

Aflatoxin (most common mycotoxin in MS)

Hot, dry conditions

Corn, cottonseed, peanuts, sorghum

Causes cancer, inhibits protein production, suppresses immune system, disrupts rumen function

Dry muzzle, decreased body temperature, young cattle more susceptible

Fumonisin

Cool, wet following hot, dry weather

Corn, particularly screenings

Damages liver

Elevated serum liver enzymes, liver lesions

Vomitoxin (Deoxynivalenol, DON)

Cool, wet conditions

Wheat, barley, rye, oats

Inhibits protein production, affects digestive tract and immune system

No apparent adverse effects at low levels in ruminating cattle

Ochratoxin A

Hot, dry conditions

Corn, barley, wheat, rye

Possibly causes cancer, causes frequent urination leading to kidney damage

Increased water consumption and urination

Zearalenone (F-2 toxin, giberella toxin)

Cool, wet conditions

Corn, wheat, barley, oats

Produces estrogenic effect

Infertility, estrous cycle disruptions

FDA Action Levels for Total Aflatoxins in Livestock Feed

Animal Class

Feed

FDA Action Level

Finishing beef cattle

Corn and peanut products

300 ppb

Beef cattle, swine, or poultry

Cottonseed meal

300 ppb

Corn and peanut products

Corn and peanut products

100 ppb

Immature animals

Animal feeds and ingredients, excluding cottonseed meal

20 ppb

Dairy animals or unknown use

Animal feeds and ingredients

20 ppb

Grazing Methods

Top

Continuous stocking is a method of grazing livestock on a specific unit of land where animals have unrestricted and uninterrupted access throughout the time period when grazing is allowed. Set stocking is the practice of allowing a fixed number of animals on a fixed area of land during the time when grazing is allowed.

Continuous stocking with fenced off area during forage surplus growth: Areas can be fenced off from continuous stocking during periods of surplus forage growth to help keep the forage being grazed from becoming overmature. The stockpiled forage can then be either grazed at a later date or harvested for hay. Stockpiling forage (deferred grazing) is where forage is allowed to accumulate for grazing at a later period.

Rotational stocking is a grazing method that utilizes recurring periods of grazing and rest among 2 or more paddocks in a grazing management unit through the period when grazing is allowed.

Strip grazing involves confining animals to an area of grazing land to be grazed in a relatively short period of time, where the paddock size is varied to allow access to a specific land area. Mob grazing is a variation of strip grazing where a large number of animals are grazed on a relatively small number of acres to rapidly remove forage from the paddock. Mob grazing is useful when forage growth needs to be removed prior to sodseeding another forage crop in the same paddock.

Creep grazing is a form of preweaning supplementation of nursing calves. It is the practice of allowing nursing calves to graze areas that their dams cannot access at the same time. This is accomplished through use of a creep gate that the calves can pass through freely but their dams cannot.

Forward creep grazing is a method of creep grazing in which dams and calves rotate through a series of paddocks with calves as first grazers and dams as last grazers. Calves have more opportunity for selectivity than their dams. This is a specific form of forward grazing. Forward grazing (leader-follower, preference-follower, top and bottom grazer, first-last grazing) is a method of utilizing 2 or more groups of animals, usually with different nutritional requirements, to graze sequentially on the same land area.

Greenchop is where green, actively growing forage is chopped mechanically and fed to livestock. This method reduces waste by grazing animals so that more animals can be fed per acre. However, forage selectivity is reduced, and individual animal performance is often lower. Equipment, fuel, and labor costs are higher with this forage harvest method.

Limit grazing is where livestock are maintained on lower quality pasture but allowed to access a higher quality pasture (typically winter annual grass pasture) for a few hours each day or every few days. Waste from trampling is reduced with this method. This method provides good nutrition at relatively low cost as the area needed for high quality pasture is relatively small. Cattle learn to move to and from paddocks with relative ease after a routine is established.

Grazing Formulas

Top

Number of paddocks=days of rest/days of grazing +1

Acres required per paddock = average animal weight x dry matter consumed per animal as % of body weight x number of animals x days on pasture/dry matter available in grazing area x % of dry matter utilized by grazing

Total acres required = number of paddocks x acres required per paddock

Stocking rate = number of animals grazed/total acres grazed

Stocking density = number of animals grazed/paddock size in acres

Body Condition Score (BCS)

Top

  • Tool used to evaluate nutritional status
  • Body condition (fat cover) indicates the energy reserves of an animal
  • Females in thin body condition at calving are slower to rebreed, produce less colostrum, may not have sufficient nutrient reserves for maximum milk production, and are less likely to wean a live calf
  • Over-conditioning is expensive and can result in calving problems and lower dry matter intake early in lactation
  • Easily evaluated by visual appraisal
  • Does not require cattle handling

Recommended body condition scores at calving:

  • mature cows: BCS 5
  • first-calf heifers: BCS 6

Ideal times to body condition score beef cattle:

  • When calves are weaned
  • 45 days after weaning
  • 90 days prior to calving
  • At calving
  • At the start of the breeding season

BCS 1 = Emaciated: No palpable fat is detectable over the spinous processes, transverse processes, ribs, or hooks. The tailhead and ribs appear very prominent.

BCS 2 = Poor: Animal is still somewhat emaciated but the tailhead and ribs are less prominent. Individual spinous processes are still sharp to the touch. Some tissue cover is present over the ribs towards the top of the back.

BCS 3 = Thin: Individual ribs including foreribs are easily identified but are not quite as sharp to the touch. Some fat can be felt along the spine and over the tailhead. Some tissue cover is present over the ribs towards the top of the back.

BCS 4 = Borderline: Individual ribs may not be visually obvious. Individual spinous processes can be felt when palpated but feel rounded rather than sharp. Some fat cover is present over the ribs, transverse processes and hooks.

BCS 5 = Moderate: Overall appearance is generally good. Fat cover over ribs feels spongy. Palpable fat cover is present on either side of the tailhead.

BCS 6 = High moderate: A high degree of palpable fat exists over the ribs and around the tailhead. Firm pressure is needed to feel the spinous processes.

BCS 7 = Good: Considerable fat cover is present with a fleshy overall appearance. Fat cover over the ribs and around the tailhead is very spongy. Fat “pones” or “rounds” may be starting to form alongside the tailhead.

BCS 8 = Fat: The animal is very fleshy and appears over-conditioned. Palpation of the spinous processes is near impossible. Large fat deposits are present over the ribs and around the tailhead. Fat pones around the tailhead are obvious.

BCS 9 = Extremely fat: The overall appearance is blocky with extremely wasty and patchy fat cover. The tailhead and hooks are buried in fatty tissue with fat pones protruding. Bone structure is no longer visible and barely palpable. Large fatty deposits may even impair animal mobility.

Nutrient requirements to increase body condition score of beef cows from 4 to 5 during the last 90 days of pregnancy1

Animal Description

Dry Matter Intake

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients per Animal

Mature BW at body condition score 5, lb

DMI, lb/day

DMI, % of BW

TDN, % DM

NEm , Mcal/lb

CP, % DM

TDN, lb

NEm , Mcal

CP, lb

1,000

20.5

2.1

60

.59

7.7

12.3

12.1

1.57

1,100

22.0

2.0

60

.58

7.5

13.2

12.8

1.65

1,200

23.5

2.0

59

.58

7.4

13.9

13.6

1.74

1BW = shrunk body weight or 96% full body weight, DMI = dry matter intake, TDN = total digestible nutrients, NEm = net energy for maintenance, CP = crude protein, Ca = calcium, P = phosphorus Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition.

Nutrient requirements to increase body condition score of non-pregnant beef cows1

Animal Description

Body Condition Score

Dry Matter Intake

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients per Animal

Mature BW at BCS 5, lb

BCS

Days to gain 1 BCS

DMI, lb/day

DMI, % of BW

TDN, % DM

NEm ,

Mcal/lb

CP, % DM

TDN, lb

NEm , Mcal

CP, lb

1,000

3

30

18.8

1.9

64

.65

6.1

12.0

12.2

1.14

60

17.7

1.8

57

.55

6.4

10.1

9.8

1.14

4

30

20.5

2.1

66

.67

5.9

13.5

13.8

1.21

60

19.0

1.9

58

.56

6.4

11.0

10.7

1.21

1,100

3

30

20.3

1.8

65

.66

6.0

13.2

13.4

1.22

60

19.0

1.7

58

.56

6.4

11.0

10.6

1.22

4

30

22.2

2.0

67

.69

5.9

14.9

15.3

1.30

60

20.4

1.9

58

.57

6.4

11.8

11.6

1.30

1,200

3

30

21.0

1.8

65

.69

6.2

13.7

14.5

1.30

60

20.3

1.7

58

.56

6.4

11.8

11.3

1.30

4

30

23.5

2.0

67

.68

5.9

15.7

16.0

1.38

60

21.8

1.8

58

.56

6.3

12.6

12.3

1.38

1BCS = body condition score, DMI = dry matter intake, BW = shrunk body weight or 96% full body weight, TDN = total digestible nutrients, NEm = net energy for maintenance, CP = crude protein
Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition.

Beef Cattle Water Intake Estimates

Top

Weight, lb

Water intake estimates, gallons

Temperature, oF

40

50

60

70

80

90

Growing beef calves

400

4.0

4.3

5.0

5.8

6.7

9.5

600

5.3

5.8

6.5

7.8

8.9

12.7

800

6.3

6.8

7.9

9.2

10.6

15.0

Finishing cattle

600

6.0

6.5

7.4

8.7

10.0

14.3

800

7.3

7.9

9.1

10.7

12.3

17.4

1,000

8.7

9.4

10.8

12.6

14.5

20.6

Pregnant cows

9001

6.7

7.2

8.3

9.7

NA

NA

Lactating Cows

900

11.4

12.6

14.5

16.9

17.9

16.2

Mature bulls

1,400

8.0

8.6

9.9

11.7

13.4

19.0

1,600+

8.7

9.4

10.8

12.6

14.5

20.6

1NA = not available. Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle,7th rev. ed.

Adequate Water Availability

  • adequate number and size of water sources
  • do not allow supplies to run low or out
    • livestock may go thirsty
    • livestock may damage water troughs
    • water quality declines
  • check daily

Stock Tank Capacity1

Circular Type

Round-end Type

Diameter, ft

Capacity, gallons

Width, ft

Length, ft

Capacity, gallons

3

100

2

4

95

3 ½

140

2

5

120

4

185

2

6

140

4 ½

235

2

7

185

5

290

2

8

195

5 ½

350

2

10

250

6

420

3

5

175

6 ½

495

3

6

220

7

570

3

7

260

7 ½

660

3

8

300

8

750

3

10

385

9

950

3

12

475

10

1170

3

14

560

1Height = 2 ft
Adapted from NCBA.2001. IRM Pocket Reference. 1st ed.

Acceptable Drinking Water for Cattle

  • pH: 6.5 to 8.0
  • ≤3,000 ppm total dissolved solids
  • ≤100 ppm nitrate-nitrogen
  • <500 mg sulfate per liter (contribute to <0.4% total dietary sulfur on a dry matter basis)
  • ≤1 coliform per 10 mL water
  • Free of nutrient enrichment, blue-green algae

Cattle Nutrient Requirements

Top

Growing Steer and Heifer Nutrient Requirements: 1,100 lb at Finishing1

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients/Animal

Body weight, lb

ADG, lb

DMI, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

300

0.5

7.9

54

9.2

4.3

0.73

1.0

8.4

59

11.4

5.0

0.95

1.5

8.6

64

13.6

5.5

1.17

2.0

8.6

69

16.2

5.9

1.39

2.5

8.5

75

18.9

6.4

1.61

3.0

8.2

83

22.2

6.8

1.83

400

0.5

9.8

54

8.7

5.3

0.85

1.0

10.4

59

10.4

6.1

1.08

1.5

10.7

64

12.1

6.8

1.30

2.0

10.7

69

14.1

7.4

1.51

2.5

10.6

75

16.3

8.0

1.72

3.0

10.2

83

19.0

8.5

1.94

500

0.5

11.6

54

8.4

6.3

0.97

1.0

12.2

59

9.8

7.2

1.19

1.5

12.6

64

11.2

8.1

1.41

2.0

12.7

69

12.8

8.8

1.63

2.5

12.5

75

14.7

9.4

1.84

3.0

12.1

83

16.9

10.0

2.05

600

0.5

13.2

54

8.2

7.1

1.08

1.0

14.0

59

9.4

8.3

1.31

1.5

14.4

64

10.6

9.2

1.53

2.0

14.6

69

11.9

10.1

1.74

2.5

14.4

75

13.6

10.8

1.95

3.0

13.8

83

15.7

11.5

2.17

700

0.5

14.9

54

8.0

8.0

1.19

1.0

15.8

59

9.0

9.3

1.42

1.5

16.2

64

10.1

10.4

1.64

2.0

16.3

69

11.4

11.2

1.85

2.5

16.1

75

12.8

12.1

2.06

3.0

15.5

83

14.6

12.9

2.27

1ADG = average daily gain; DMI = dry matter intake; TDN = total digestible nutrients; CP = crude protein
Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition

  • Lightweight and early-weaned calves need
    • More nutrient dense diets
    • Greater % crude protein
    • Good source of digestible energy
  • Provide acceptable levels of critical nutrients with extra care for stressed calves
    • Minimize potential for nutritional disorders
    • Keep concentrate level <55% in receiving diets

Growing Steer and Heifer Nutrient Requirements: 1,200 lb at Finishing1

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients/Animal

Body weight, lb

ADG, lb

DMI, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

300

0.5

7.8

54

9.4

4.2

0.73

1.0

8.3

58

11.5

4.8

0.95

1.5

8.6

63

13.7

5.4

1.17

2.0

8.6

68

16.2

5.8

1.40

2.5

8.6

73

18.7

6.3

1.61

3.0

8.3

80

22.0

6.6

1.83

400

0.5

9.7

54

8.8

5.2

0.85

1.0

10.3

58

10.4

6.0

1.07

1.5

10.6

63

12.2

6.7

1.30

2.0

10.7

68

14.1

7.3

1.51

2.5

10.7

73

16.1

7.8

1.72

3.0

10.4

80

18.7

8.3

1.94

500

0.5

11.5

54

8.4

6.2

0.97

1.0

12.2

58

9.8

7.1

1.19

1.5

12.6

63

11.2

7.9

1.41

2.0

12.6

68

12.9

8.6

1.63

2.5

12.6

73

14.6

9.2

1.84

3.0

12.2

80

16.8

9.8

2.05

600

0.5

13.2

54

8.2

7.1

1.08

1.0

14.0

58

9.3

8.1

1.31

1.5

14.4

63

10.6

9.1

1.52

2.0

14.4

68

12.1

9.8

1.74

2.5

14.4

73

13.5

10.5

1.95

3.0

14.0

80

15.4

11.2

2.16

700

0.5

14.8

54

8.0

8.0

1.18

1.0

15.7

58

9.0

9.1

1.42

1.5

16.2

63

10.1

10.2

1.64

2.0

16.3

68

11.3

11.1

1.85

2.5

16.2

73

12.7

11.8

2.05

3.0

15.8

80

14.4

12.6

2.27

1ADG = average daily gain; DMI = dry matter intake; TDN = total digestible nutrients; CP = crude protein
Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition

  • Encourage consumption
    • Use very palatable feeds/forages
    • Proper feed and water placement
    • May prefer dry over wet feeds at first
  • Receiving diets
    • At least maintenance requirements for protein, vitamins, and minerals when feed consumption is 1.0 to 1.5% of body weight
    • Keep fat less than 4% total dietary dry matter
    • Non-protein nitrogen is not recommended for calves <600 lb.
    • Avoid heat-damaged feeds

Growing Bull Nutrient Requirements: 2,000-lb Mature Weight1,2

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients/Animal

Body weight, lb

ADG, lb

DMI, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

300

0.5

8.0

55

9.1

4.4

0.73

1.0

8.3

58

11.4

4.8

0.95

1.5

8.5

61

13.8

5.2

1.17

2.0

8.6

65

16.3

5.6

1.40

2.5

8.7

68

18.5

5.9

1.61

3.0

8.6

72

21.3

6.2

1.83

400

0.5

9.9

55

8.6

5.4

0.85

1.0

10.3

58

10.5

6.0

1.08

1.5

10.5

61

12.4

6.4

1.30

2.0

10.7

65

14.1

7.0

1.51

2.5

10.7

68

16.2

7.3

1.73

3.0

10.7

72

18.1

7.7

1.94

500

0.5

11.7

55

8.3

6.4

0.97

1.0

12.2

58

9.8

7.1

1.19

1.5

12.5

61

11.3

7.6

1.41

2.0

12.6

65

12.9

8.2

1.63

2.5

12.7

68

14.5

8.6

1.84

3.0

12.6

72

16.3

9.1

2.05

600

0.5

13.4

55

8.1

7.4

1.08

1.0

13.9

58

9.4

8.1

1.31

1.5

14.3

61

10.7

8.7

1.53

2.0

14.5

65

12.0

9.4

1.74

2.5

14.5

68

13.4

9.9

1.95

3.0

14.5

72

14.9

10.4

2.16

700

0.5

15.1

55

7.9

8.3

1.19

1.0

15.6

58

9.1

9.0

1.42

1.5

16.0

61

10.3

9.8

1.64

2.0

16.3

65

11.4

10.6

1.86

2.5

16.3

68

12.7

11.1

2.07

3.0

15.3

72

13.9

11.7

2.27

800

0.5

16.7

55

7.7

9.2

1.28

1.0

17.3

58

8.7

10.0

1.51

1.5

17.7

61

9.7

10.8

1.72

2.0

18.0

65

10.7

11.7

1.93

2.5

18.1

68

11.8

12.3

2.13

3.0

18.0

72

12.9

13.0

2.33

900

0.5

18.2

55

7.5

10.0

1.37

1.0

18.9

58

8.3

11.0

1.57

1.5

19.4

61

9.1

11.8

1.77

2.0

19.6

65

9.9

12.7

1.95

2.5

19.7

68

10.9

13.4

2.14

3.0

19.6

72

11.9

14.1

2.33

1For bulls less than 12 months of age
2ADG = average daily gain; DMI = dry matter intake; TDN = total digestible nutrients; CP = crude protein
Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition

Growing Yearling Nutrient Requirements: 1,200 lb at Finishing1

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients /Animal

Body weight, lb

ADG, lb

Dry matter intake, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

660

0.7

17.5

50

7.3

8.8

1.28

2.0

18.4

60

10.2

11.0

1.88

3.0

18.0

70

13.0

12.6

2.34

3.8

17.0

80

15.8

13.6

2.69

4.2

15.7

90

18.4

14.1

2.89

720

0.7

18.6

50

7.1

9.3

1.32

2.0

19.7

60

9.7

11.8

1.91

3.0

19.2

70

12.2

13.4

2.34

3.8

18.2

80

14.6

14.6

2.66

4.2

16.8

90

17.0

15.1

2.86

780

0.7

19.8

50

6.9

9.9

1.37

2.0

20.9

60

9.2

12.5

1.92

3.0

20.4

70

11.4

14.3

2.33

3.8

19.3

80

13.6

15.4

2.62

4.2

17.8

90

15.8

16.0

2.81

840

0.7

20.9

50

6.8

10.5

1.42

2.0

22.1

60

8.8

13.3

1.94

3.0

21.6

70

10.8

15.1

2.33

3.8

20.4

80

12.8

16.3

2.61

4.2

18.8

90

14.7

16.9

2.76

900

0.7

22.0

50

6.6

11.0

1.45

2.0

23.3

60

8.4

14.0

1.96

3.0

22.7

70

10.2

15.9

2.32

3.8

21.5

80

12.0

17.2

2.58

4.2

19.8

90

13.8

17.8

2.73

960

0.7

23.1

50

6.5

11.6

1.50

2.0

24.4

60

8.1

14.6

1.98

3.0

23.9

70

9.7

16.7

2.32

3.8

22.5

80

11.3

18.0

2.54

4.2

20.8

90

13.0

18.7

2.70

1ADG = average daily gain; TDN = total digestible nutrients; CP = crude protein
Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition

  • Project and monitor cost of gain
  • Determine target weight gains
  • Place bulls on test to evaluate growth
  • Match nutrition program with animal requirements
  • Monitor weight gains periodically
  • Do not allow heifers to lose weight or become too fat during development

Pregnant Replacement Heifer Nutrient Requirements1

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients /Animal

Mature body weight, lb

Months since conception

Dry matter intake, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

1,000

1

16.7

50.1

7.2

8.4

1.20

2

17.2

50.2

7.2

8.6

1.24

3

17.7

50.4

7.2

8.9

1.27

4

18.2

50.7

7.2

9.2

1.31

5

18.7

51.3

7.3

9.6

1.37

6

19.4

52.3

7.6

10.1

1.47

7

20.0

54.0

8.0

10.8

1.60

8

20.7

56.8

8.7

11.8

1.80

9

21.3

61.3

10.0

13.1

2.13

1,200

1

19.3

50.5

7.2

9.7

1.39

2

19.8

50.5

7.2

10.0

1.43

3

20.3

50.7

7.2

10.3

1.46

4

20.9

50.9

7.2

10.6

1.50

5

21.5

51.4

7.3

11.1

1.57

6

22.2

52.3

7.5

11.6

1.67

7

23.0

53.8

7.9

12.4

1.82

8

23.7

56.2

8.5

13.3

2.01

9

24.4

59.9

9.6

14.6

2.34

1,400

1

21.7

50.7

7.3

11.0

1.58

2

22.3

50.8

7.2

11.3

1.61

3

22.9

50.9

7.2

11.7

1.65

4

23.5

51.2

7.2

12.0

1.69

5

24.2

51.6

7.3

12.5

1.77

6

24.9

52.4

7.5

13.0

1.82

7

25.8

53.7

7.8

13.9

2.01

8

26.6

55.8

8.4

14.8

2.23

9

27.4

59.0

9.3

16.2

2.55

Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition

  • Feed heifers separately from mature cows
    • Keeps heifers from being bossed out of feed trough by cows (feeding competition)
    • Allows better matching of nutritional resources to different cattle classes
  • Target 85 to 90% of mature body weight at first calving
  • Pregnant heifer nutrient requirements increase throughout gestation and are greatest in the last trimester

Two-year-old Lactating First-calf Heifer Nutrient Requirements1,2

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients/Animal

Mature body weight, lb

Months after calving

DMI, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

1,000

1

20.4

61.0

10.6

12.4

2.16

2

21.2

62.1

11.1

13.2

2.36

3

21.8

59.8

10.4

13.0

2.26

4

21.2

58.5

9.7

12.4

2.06

5

20.7

57.1

9.0

11.8

1.87

6

20.3

56.0

8.4

11.4

1.71

1,200

1

22.9

60.4

10.2

13.8

2.34

2

23.8

61.4

10.7

14.6

2.55

3

24.5

59.2

10.0

14.5

2.44

4

24.0

58.0

9.4

13.9

2.25

5

23.4

56.8

8.8

13.3

2.05

6

23.0

55.8

8.3

12.8

1.90

1,400

1

25.3

60.0

10.0

15.2

2.52

2

26.2

60.9

10.4

16.0

2.72

3

27.1

58.7

9.7

15.9

2.62

4

26.6

57.6

9.1

15.3

2.43

5

26.1

56.5

8.5

14.7

2.23

6

25.7

55.7

8.1

14.3

2.08

120 lb daily peak milk production
2TDN = total digestible nutrients; DMI = dry matter intake; CP = crude protein
Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition

Two-year-old Dry (Non-lactating) First-calf Heifer Nutrient Requirements1

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients/Animal

Mature body weight, lb

Months after calving

DMI, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

1,000

7

18.8

48.6

6.9

9.1

1.29

8

18.9

49.4

7.0

9.3

1.33

9

19.1

50.7

7.3

9.7

1.39

10

19.4

52.7

7.7

10.2

1.50

11

19.9

55.5

8.3

11.0

1.66

12

20.6

59.1

9.3

12.2

1.92

1,200

7

21.5

48.9

6.9

10.5

1.48

8

21.7

49.7

7.1

10.8

1.53

9

22.0

51.0

7.3

11.2

1.61

10

22.3

53.1

7.8

11.8

1.73

11

22.8

55.9

8.5

12.7

1.93

12

23.7

59.7

9.4

14.1

2.23

1,400

7

24.2

49.1

6.9

11.9

1.67

8

24.4

49.9

7.0

12.2

1.72

9

24.7

51.3

7.3

12.7

1.81

10

25.1

53.4

7.8

13.4

1.96

11

25.7

56.4

8.5

14.5

2.19

12

26.7

60.2

9.5

16.1

2.54

1TDN = total digestible nutrients; DMI = dry matter intake; CP = crude protein
Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition

Mature Lactating Cow Nutrient Requirements: 20 lb/day peak milk1

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients/Animal

Body weight, lb

Months after calving

DMI, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

1,000

1

24.0

59.6

10.5

14.3

2.53

2

25.0

60.9

11.2

15.2

2.79

3

25.4

58.6

10.4

14.9

2.64

4

24.4

57.0

9.7

13.9

2.36

5

23.5

55.4

8.9

13.0

2.08

6

22.7

54.0

8.2

12.3

1.85

1,200

1

26.8

58.7

10.1

15.7

2.71

2

27.8

59.9

10.7

16.7

2.97

3

28.4

57.6

9.9

16.4

2.82

4

27.4

56.2

9.3

15.4

2.54

5

26.5

54.7

8.5

14.5

2.26

6

25.7

53.4

7.9

13.7

2.04

1,400

1

29.5

58.0

9.8

17.1

2.88

2

30.5

59.1

10.3

18.0

3.14

3

31.3

56.8

9.6

17.8

2.99

4

30.3

55.5

8.9

16.8

2.70

5

29.4

54.1

8.3

15.9

2.44

6

28.6

53.0

7.7

15.2

2.21

1TDN = total digestible nutrients; DMI = dry matter intake; CP = crude protein
Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition.

Mature Dry (Non-lactating) Cow Nutrient Requirements1

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients/Animal

Body weight, lb

Months after calving

DMI, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

1,000

7

19.5

46.8

6.5

9.1

1.26

8

19.8

47.2

6.6

9.3

1.30

9

20.3

47.9

6.7

9.7

1.35

10

21.1

48.9

6.9

10.3

1.45

11

21.0

52.1

7.7

10.9

1.61

12

21.4

55.9

8.7

12.0

1.86

1,200

7

22.4

46.9

6.5

10.5

1.45

8

22.8

47.3

6.5

10.8

1.49

9

23.3

47.9

6.7

11.2

1.56

10

24.3

49.0

6.9

11.9

1.67

11

24.1

52.3

7.7

12.6

1.86

12

24.6

56.2

8.8

13.8

2.16

1,400

7

25.2

46.9

6.5

11.8

1.63

8

25.6

47.3

6.5

12.1

1.67

9

26.2

48.0

6.7

12.6

1.75

10

27.3

49.1

6.9

13.4

1.89

11

27.0

52.6

7.8

14.2

2.11

12

27.6

56.6

8.9

15.6

2.45

1TDN = total digestible nutrients; DMI = dry matter intake; CP = crude protein

Growing and Mature Bull Nutrient Requirements: 2,000-lb Mature Weight1,2

 

Diet Nutrient Density

Daily Nutrients/Animal

Body weight, lb

Average daily gain, lb

DMI, lb/day

TDN, % dry matter

CP, % dry matter

TDN, lb

CP, lb

1,000

0.5

23.8

50

6.1

11.9

1.44

1.7

25.2

60

7.5

15.1

1.89

2.8

24.6

70

9.1

17.2

2.23

3.5

23.2

80

10.5

18.6

2.46

1,200

0.5

27.3

50

5.8

13.7

1.59

1.7

28.9

60

6.8

17.3

1.96

2.8

28.2

70

7.9

19.7

2.22

3.5

26.6

80

9.0

21.3

2.40

1,400

0.5

30.7

50

5.7

15.4

1.74

1.7

32.4

60

6.3

19.4

2.03

1,600

0.5

33.9

50

5.5

17.0

1.88

1.7

35.8

60

5.8

21.5

2.09

1,800

0.5

37.0

50

5.5

18.5

2.02

1.7

39.1

60

5.5

23.5

2.16

2,000

0.0

37.2

46

5.6

17.1

2.07

0.5

40.1

50

5.2

20.1

2.15

1For bulls that are at least 12 months of age and weigh more than 50 percent of their mature weight
2Body weight = shrunk body weight; DMI = dry matter intake; TDN = total digestible nutrients; CP = crude protein

Minerals and Vitamins

Top

Mineral Maximum Tolerable Concentrations in Beef Cattle

Mineral Element

Maximum Tolerable Concentration

Aluminum

1000 ppm

Arsenic

50 ppm (100 ppm for organic forms)

Bromine

200 ppm

Cadmium

0.5 ppm

Chromium

1000 ppm

Cobalt

10 ppm

Copper

100 ppm

Fluorine

40 to 100 ppm

Iodine

50 ppm

Iron

1000 ppm

Lead

30 ppm

Magnesium

0.4%

Manganese

1000 ppm

Mercury

2 ppm

Molybdenum

5 ppm

Nickel

50 ppm

Potassium

3%

Selenium

2 ppm

Strontium

2000 ppm

Sulfur

0.4%

Zinc

500 ppm

Mineral and Vitamin Levels

Mineral/Vitamin

Recommended Level in Supplement

Comments

Ca

1.6:1 Ca:P ideal (1:1 to 4:1 acceptable)

Forages high in Ca, Grains high in P

P

4 to 8%

More needed with poor forage

Mg

2% (low quality forage); 4% (intermediate quality forage)

At least 10% for grass tetany prevention

(preferably 13-14%)

K

Not critical on pasture

Needed on high-concentrate diets

NaCl (Salt)

10 to 25% of supplement

Dietary levels ≥6.5% reduce feed intake; Be aware of water salt content

Co

15 ppm (4-oz intake supplement)

 

Cu

1250 ppm (4-oz intake supplement)

 

I

50 ppm (4-oz intake supplement)

Max legal EDDI rate 50 mg/hd/day

Mn

2000 ppm (4-oz intake supplement)

 

Se

Use max legal rate in deficiency areas

No more than 0.3 ppm complete feeds or 120 ppm in salt- mineral mix

Zn

4000 ppm (4-oz intake supplement)

 

Vitamin A

100,000 to 200,000 IU (4-oz intake

supplement)

Deficiency most likely when lush forage for grazing is lacking

Vitamin D

7,500 to 20,000 IU (4-oz intake supplement)

Not of practical importance for cattle housed outdoors

Vitamin E

50 to 100 IU (4-oz intake supplement)

Particularly important for stressed calves

Adapted from NRC, 2000. NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 7th revised edition.​

To increase mineral/vitamin supplement intake

  • Do not let supplement run out
  • Add salt
  • Move away from water and loafing areas
  • Change mineral mix
  • Break up hardened loose supplement

To decrease mineral/vitamin supplement intake

  • Add dry molasses or protein meal
  • Make sure salt is not offered separately
  • Move closer to water and loafing areas
  • Change mineral mix

Feed Nutritive Values

Top

Nutritive Values of Selected Beef Cattle Feeds on a Dry Matter Basis1

Feedstuff

Dry Matter %

Total Digestible Nutrients %

Crude Protein %

Crude Fiber %

Crude Fat %

Calcium %

Phosphorus %

Energy Feeds

Whole Shelled Corn

90

90

9

2

4

0.03

0.32

Hominy Feed

90

91

11

7

8

0.06

0.58

Soybean Hulls

90

80

12

39

2

0.60

0.17

Wheat Midds

89

77

18

9

5

0.15

1.00

Rice Bran

90

70

16

12

15

0.10

1.73

Cane Molasses

74

72

6

1

0

0.01

0.10

Citrus Pulp

90

80

6.5

13

4

1.90

0.13

Protein Feeds

Corn Gluten Feed

90

83

24

10

4

0.07

0.95

Whole Cottonseed

93

90

24

22

18

0.20

0.73

Cottonseed Meal

92

76

41

13

3

0.18

1.21

Soybean Meal

90

84

48

7

2

0.34

0.70

Peanut Meal

88

77

53

2

2

0.32

0.66

Dried Distillers Grains

92

86

27

12

10

0.26

0.83

Brewers Grains

24

69

26

15

11

0.30

0.57

Roughages

Cottonseed Hulls

91

42

4

48

2

0.10

0.07

Cotton Gin Trash

92

46

8

38

 

0.60

0.20

Peanut Hay

91

48

11

33

 

1.20

0.15

Peanut Hulls

91

22

9

63

 

0.20

0.07

Corn Stalks

85

50

6.6

34

2

0.50

0.10

Soybean Stubble

88

40

5

44

 

1.00

0.06

Wheat Straw

92

40

4

42

2

0.17

0.04

1The nutritive values presented are intended as a general guide to nutritive values of feedstuffs. Significant variation in nutritive values exists among different feed sources.

Feed Storage

Top

Feed Storage Requirements for Selected Beef Cattle Feedstuffs

 

Feed Storage Requirement

Feedstuff

lb/bushel

lb/ft3

ft3/ton

Wet brewers grains

81

65

31

Whole corn

56

45

44

Soybean meal

52

42

48

Soybean hulls, pelleted

50

40

50

Cottonseed meal

47

38

53

Corn silage

44

35

57

Corn gluten feed

41

33

61

Hominy feed

35

28

71

Soybean hulls, loose

35

28

71

Oats

32

26

77

Whole cottonseed

31

25

80

Wheat midds

25

20

100

Rice bran

25

20

100

Cottonseed hulls

19

15

133

Dried brewers grains

19

15

133

Dried distillers grains

19

15

133

Peanut skins

14

11

182

Cotton gin trash

9

7

286

Commodity Shed Considerations

  • Able to accommodate ~24-ton loads
    • Walking-floor, dump, or auger trailer
  • Road for 53-foot trailer to maneuver
  • Minimum 14 feet of vertical clearance
  • Minimum bay width of 12 to 14 feet
  • Clearance on sides for truck to open doors
  • Feeds typically piled 6 to 8 feet high
  • Front loader may be needed to move feed
  • Allow for 25% extra space beyond storage requirements based on feed bulk density

Hay Storage Considerations

  • Use hay storage sheds when possible
  • Bale tightly-packed (dense) bales
  • Avoid high-moisture bales: heating/fire risk
  • Place on rock or pallets (avoid soil contact)
  • Cover tops and sides of bales
  • Store on gently sloping, well-drained site
  • Store out from under shade or trees
  • Butt flat ends tightly together
  • Run bale rows down slope with north/south orientation and southern exposure
  • Do not allow rounded bale sides to touch
  • Maintain 3 feet of space between rows
  • Keep away from lightning attractants
  • Eliminate vegetation 3 feet around hay

Feeder Space Requirements

Top

Feeding Management

Cattle Class

Feeder Space Requirements

Hand-feeding supplement

Cows

30 linear inches/head

Calves

24 linear inches/head

Free-choice feeding

Nursing calves

6 linear inches/head

Weaned calves

12 linear inches/head

Creep feeding

Nursing calves

Creep gate openings 16 to 20 inches wide and 36 to 42 inches high

Calculating $/Unit of Nutrient of a Feed To calculate the price of a feedstuff on a $/lb of crude protein (CP) basis:
2000 lb x %CP of feed = lb CP in ton of feed Price/ton ÷ lb CP in ton of feed = $/lb CP of feed

Example:
For a 20% CP supplement at $233/ton: 2000 lb × 0.20 CP = 400 lb CP
$233/ton ÷ 400 lb CP = $0.58/lb CP

Price Conversions
$/ton ÷ 20 = $/cwt = ¢/lb
$/ton ÷ 2000 = $/lb

Relative Feedstuff Value with Selected Corn and Soybean Meal Prices1

Top

 

Corn Price, $/ton

Feedstuff

175

200

225

250

275

300

Whole cottonseed

$207

$220

$233

$225

$238

$251

$243

$256

$269

$261

$274

$288

$280

$293

$306

$298

$311

$324

Cottonseed hulls

$82

$83

$83

$94

$94

$94

$105

$106

$106

$117

$117

$117

$128

$129

$129

$140

$140

$140

Soybean hulls

$149

$153

$157

$167

$171

$175

$185

$189

$193

$203

$207

$211

$221

$225

$229

$239

$243

$247

Corn gluten feed

$182

$197

$211

$196

$210

$225

$210

$224

$239

$224

$238

$252

$238

$252

$266

$251

$266

$280

Hominy feed

$166

$167

$169

$188

$189

$191

$210

$212

$213

$232

$234

$235

$254

$256

$258

$276

$278

$280

Dried distillers grains

$209

$227

$245

$223

$241

$259

$237

$255

$273

$251

$269

$288

$265

$283

$302

$279

$298

$316

Wheat midds

$172

$182

$191

$189

$198

$208

$205

$215

$224

$222

$231

$241

$238

$248

$257

$255

$264

$274

Rice bran

$142

$149

$155

$156

$163

$170

$170

$177

$184

$185

$192

$198

$199

$206

$213

$213

$220

$227

Cane molasses

$104

$103

$102

$120

$119

$117

$136

$134

$133

$152

$150

$149

$168

$166

$165

$184

$182

$181

1Top, middle, and bottom values are estimated based on soybean meal costing $300/ton, $350/ton, and $400/ton, respectively.
$/cwt = ¢/lb; $/ton ÷ 20 = $/cwt; $/ton ÷ 2000 = $/lb

Basic Ration Balancing

Top

With one nutrient and two ingredients:

Pearson Square Method

  1. Place the nutrient concentration of the final ration in the middle of the square
  2. List the feed ingredients and their nutrient concentration on the right side of the square
  3. Subtract diagonally across the square for each feed ingredient, and place values on the right side of the square
  4. Divide each number on the right hand side by the sum of the two right hand values and multiply by 100 to convert it to a percentage

Example:

The 16% CP ration contains: 73.8% corn and 26.2% SBM

When a known amount of hay/feed will be fed:

Modified Algebra Method

  1. Determine animal
  2. Determine amount of known
  3. Determine nutrient content of feeds included in the ration
  4. Determine amount of total
  5. Make a table and setup
  6. Solve equation for x to determine amount of unknown feeds

Ingredient:

Corn

Soybean Meal

Hay

Diet

% CP

10

49

9

12

Amount

x

90-x

10

100

Equation

10x

4410-49x

90

1200

Example:
For 100 lb of a 12% CP ration, using the table; Solve the equation for x:
10x + 4410 – 49x + 90 = 1200
4320 – 39x = 1200
-39x = -3120
x = 80

The 12% CP ration contains:
80% corn, 10% soybean meal, and 10% hay

Limiting Feed Intake

Top

  • Limit feed offering (hand feed)
    • Added labor for daily feeding
    • Feeding space (trough) requirements
    • Timid cattle may consume less than others
  • Use intake limiting ingredients in diet
    • Makes self-feeding practical
    • Add bulky ingredients such as cottonseed hulls or hay to the diet
    • Add salt or commercial limiter to diet
  • Salt as an intake limiter
    • Not a precise intake regulator
    • Cattle consume about 0.1 pounds of salt per 100 pounds of body weight
    • Uniform distribution in mix needed
    • Cattle may consume less mineral if separate
    • Corrosive to metal equipment

Expected Daily Salt Consumption by Cattle

Body Weight, lb

Low

Average

High

300

0.3

0.5

0.6

500

0.5

0.6

0.7

700

0.6

0.7

0.9

900

0.7

0.9

1.1

1,100

0.8

1.1

1.3

1,300

0.9

1.3

1.5

1,500

1.0

1.5

1.6

Feed Additives

Top

Feed Additive Intake

Daily Supplement Consumption, ounces

Daily Additive Consumption, mg/head/day*

1,200 g/ton supplement

1,620 g/ton supplement

1

37.5

50.6

2

75.0

101.3

3

112.5

151.9

4

150.0

202.5

5

187.5

253.1

6

225.0

303.8

7

262.5

354.4

8

300.0

405.0

*mg/head/day = ounces consumed/16 x g per ton/2

Feed Additives

Additive Type

Purpose(s)

Example(s)

Antibiotic

Prevention and treatment of diseases, improvements in rate of gain and efficiency

Chlorotetracycline, oxytetracycline, bacitracin, tylosin

Bloat prevention aid

Prevent bloat on legume and other lush pasture

Poloxalene

Buffer

Reduce fluctuations in rumen pH to decrease acidosis risk

Sodium bicarbonate

Estrus suppressant

Suppress estrus (heat or cyclic sexual activity) for estrus synchronization or to reduce heifer riding behavior in feedlot, improve gain and feed efficiency in females

Melengestrol acetate (MGA®)

Fly control

Kill fly larvae as they hatch in the manure

Insect growth regulators

Ionophore

Improve feed efficiency; improve average daily gain; “spare” protein; reduce incidence of coccidiosis, acidosis, and bloat

Monensin (Rumensin®), lasalocid (Bovatec®), Laidlomycin propionate (Cattlyst®), bambermycin (Gainpro®), and virginiamycin (V-max®)

Nutrient repartitioning agent (Beta- agonist)

Redirects nutrients that would have become fat and makes them into protein; increase live weight gain, improve feed efficiency, and increase red meat yield

Ractopamine hydrochloride (Optaflexx®)

Worm control

Deworming when animal handling for direct dewormer delivery is difficult

Safe-Guard® dewormer block

Yeast cultures

Possibly improve feed efficiency, gain, and health

Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Stages of Female Reproduction in Cattle

Top

Stage

Description

Comments

Prepubertal

non-cycling, growing heifers

do not overfeed or underfeed; do not implant replacement heifers

Puberty

first estrus (begins normal cycles)

average age at puberty 10 to 12 months; age at puberty ranges from 6 to 24 months; varies by breed

Estrous cycles

continued cycles with even intervals

normal cycle averages 21 days and ranges from 17 to 24 days

Gestation

pregnancy duration (not cycling)

length averages 283 days and ranges from 273 to 290 days; varies with breed

Parturition

birth (calving)

 

Postpartum

recovery after calving (not cycling or “short” cycling)

interval to first heat after calving averages 45 days and ranges from 16 to 90+ days; must rebreed in ~82 days to maintain annual calving cycle

Normal reproductive life is 10 years. Cows may reproduce through 15 years of age but rarely longer.

Normal Estrous Cycle of Cattle

Top

Estrous cycle: period from one estrus (standing heat, sexual receptivity phase) to the next estrus

Day 1: egg ovulated from a follicle on ovary

Day 5: site of ovulation develops into a CL

Days 6 to 16: CL secretes progesterone

Day 17: in non-pregnant animal, uterus secretes prostaglandin causing CL to regress; in pregnant animal, embryo prevents prostaglandin release, CL continues secreting progesterone, and pregnancy maintained

Days 17 to 21: CL regressing; new egg-containing follicle develops and secretes estrogen

Day 20 or 21: animal comes into standing heat

Measures of Reproductive Efficiency

Top

Measure

Calculation

Management

Conception rate

Number of females conceiving ÷ Number of females exposed to breeding x 100

Percent conceived

Typically not measured due to difficulty in determining if conception has taken place

Cattle may conceive and then suffer early embryonic death; challenging to distinguish from cattle that never conceived

Pregnancy rate

Number of females diagnosed pregnant ÷ Number of females eligible for pregnancy x 100

Percent pregnant

Measure of breeding season success

Live calving rate

Number of live calves born ÷ (Number of females exposed to breeding – Number of breeding herd females sold or died + Number of pregnant females purchased) x 100

Percent birth calf crop

Measure of collective results of breeding and calving seasons

Cattle must not only conceive, but they must also give birth to live, healthy calves

Reproductive losses between breeding and calving may be due to reproductive disease

Weaning rate

(Number of calves weaned + Number of calves sold preweaning) ÷ (Number of females exposed to breeding – Number of breeding herd females sold or died + Number of pregnant females purchased) x 100

Percent calf crop weaned

Single most descriptive measure of herd reproductive performance

Evaluates conception, pregnancy, calving, and preweaning success or failure

Calving interval

(Age in days at first calving – Age in days at last calving) ÷ Number of calvings

Number of days between successive calvings

Measures reproductive success over the last year

Ideally 365 days or less and not average more than 365 days over multiple years to maintain the desired calving season and produce a marketable calf on an annual basis

Timeline for Estrus (Heat) Signs in Cattle

Top

 

Coming into Heat (8 hours)

Standing Heat (18 hours)

Going out of Heat (14+ hours)

Heat Signs

Stands and bellows

Curious

Smells other cows

Headbutts other cows

Attempts to ride other cows but will not stand to be mounted

Red, moist, slightly swollen vulva

Clear mucous discharge from vulva

Stands to be mounted

Rides other cows

Bellows frequently

Nervous and excitable

Attempts to ride other cows but will not stand to be mounted

Smells other cows

Clear mucous discharge from vulva

Estrous Synchronization

Top

Estrous synchronization is a reproductive management tool. It involves manipulating females’ estrous cycles with one or more hormones for the purpose of bringing cattle into estrus (heat) within a short period of time. It is used to conveniently time the breeding of cattle in artificial insemination and embryo transfer programs.

Bovine Estrous Synchronization Hormones

Hormone

Function

Commercial Names

GnRH

stimulates ovulation through release of LH

Cystorelin®, Factrel®, Fertagyl®, OvaCyst®

Progestin

are or act like progesterone; inhibits estrus and ovulation

MGA® (melangestrol acetate), CIDR® (progesterone)

PGF2α

lyses (removes) the CL, thus removing progesterone from the blood and letting ovulation occur

estroPLAN®, Estrumate®, In-Synch®, Lutalyse®, ProstaMate®

Estrus (Heat) Detection Aids

Top

Detection Aid

Application1

Detection Method

Management Concerns

Kamar Heatmount Detector

Apply with adhesive between tail head and hip bone over sacrum of female

Detector remains white until triggered by weight of mounting animal, then it turns bright red

Partial activation of detectors makes it hard to tell if heat has occurred

Dislodged detectors

Estrotect Heat Detector

Apply with self- adhesive between tail head and hip bone over the sacrum of female

Detector remains silver until friction of mounting animal(s) reveals fluorescent color below scratched-off silver layer

False positives from low branches, gates, and cattle

Dislodged detectors

Bovine Beacon

Glue to tail head of female

Contains fluorescent dye that glows in the dark when female is mounted by another animal

False positives from low branches, gates, and cattle

Dislodged detectors

Tail Head Markers

Smear liberal amounts of crayon, chalk, paste, or paint on tail head

When marker is rubbed off of tail head (hair ruffled and pulled back), female has stood to be mounted

False positives from low branches, gates, cattle, humidity, and rain

Reapply every few days

Chin-Ball Marker

Fit marker device under the chin of a teaser (gomer) bull or androgenized female

Animal wearing the device mounts and slides off the female in heat, leaving an ink mark on back and hip of female

Maintenance necessary for continuous use (ink refills)

Broken or stretched harness

Some markings from chin resting instead of mounting

HeatWatch II System

Place small, digital radio transmitter in a piece of polyester material (patch) and glue onto tail head of female

Mount data (female mounted, date and time, duration) sent from transmitter to radio receiver (base station) then wirelessly to a computer

Dislodged patches

Transmitters can fall out of patches

Battery replacement

Increased heat detection accuracy over other aids

1Comb the application area first to remove dead or shedding hair.

Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BSE)

Top

  • What and when
  • Evaluation of bull breeding potential
  • 1 to 2 months prior to each breeding season

Components

  • Physical examination
  • Semen evaluation
    • Minimum 30% motility
    • Minimum 70% normal
  • Scrotal circumference measurement
    • Minimums on table on next page

Potential outcomes

  • Satisfactory potential breeder
    • Fertile
    • Passed all BSE components
  • Unsatisfactory potential breeder
    • Subfertile or sterile
    • Did not pass at least 1 BSE component
  • Classification deferred
    • Did not pass at least 1 BSE component but may resolve with time
    • Should recheck at later date

Limitations

  • Does not evaluate libido (sex drive)
  • Does not guarantee free of disease
  • Fertility status may change abruptly with injury, disease, or other factors

Scrotal Circumference Measurement

Hold testicles at bottom of scrotum with fingers above testicles
Place scrotal tape around scrotum at widest point
Read with tape snug

Minimum Recommended Scrotal Circumference

Age, months

Scrotal Circumference, cm

< 15

30

> 15 ≤ 18

31

> 18 ≤ 21

32

> 21 ≤ 24

33

> 24

34

Adapted from Breeding Soundness Evaluation Form. Society for Theriogenology. Hastings, NE.

Ratio of Heifers or Cows per Bull

Age of Bull

Ratio of Heifers or Cows per Bull

12 to 18 months

1:10 to 15

2 years

1:15 to 20

3 to 7 years

1:25 to 30

Aged (7+ years)

1:20 to 40

Benefits of Controlled Breeding and Calving Season

Top

A controlled calving season facilitates matching nutritional needs of the herd to forage resources, monitoring breeding and calving more intensely, working more calves of a similar age at once (vaccinating, castrating, implanting, collecting performance data), and marketing calves of uniform age in groups to capture sale premiums. Herd sires have time to rest and regain lost body condition, and risk of injury to bulls is reduced.

3-Year Plan for Converting from Year-round to 90-day Calving Season of September, October, and November

 

1st Year

(6 months breeding)

2nd Year

(4 ½ months breeding)

3rd Year

(3 months breeding)

Breeding begins

Heifers

November 2

November 2

November 2

Cows

November 23

November 23

November 23

Breeding ends

Heifers

January 1

January 1

January 1

Cows

May 21

April 6

February 20

Calving begins

Heifers

August 12

August 12

August 12

Cows

September 2

September 2

September 2

Calving ends

Heifers

October 11

October 11

October 11

Cows

February 28

January 14

November 30

3-Year Plan for Converting from Year-round to 90-day Calving Season of November, December, and January

 

1st Year

(6 months breeding)

2nd Year

(4 ½ months breeding)

3rd Year

(3 months breeding)

Breeding begins

Heifers

January 3

January 3

January 3

Cows

January 24

January 24

January 24

Breeding ends

Heifers

March 3

March 3

March 3

Cows

July 21

June 6

April 22

Calving begins

Heifers

October 12

October 12

October 12

Cows

November 2

November 2

November 2

Calving ends

Heifers

December 11

December 11

December 11

Cows

April 30

March 16

January 30

3-Year Plan for Converting from Year-round to 90-day Calving Season of January, February, and March

 

1st Year

(6 months breeding)

2nd Year

(4 ½ months breeding)

3rd Year

(3 months breeding)

Breeding begins

Heifers

March 3

March 3

March 3

Cows

March 24

March 24

March 24

Breeding ends

Heifers

May 2

May 2

May 2

Cows

September 19

August 5

June 21

Calving begins

Heifers

December 11

December 11

December 11

Cows

January 1

January 1

January 1

Calving ends

Heifers

February 9

February 9

February 9

Cows

June 29

May 15

March 31

Description of Reproductive Tract Scores

Top

Reproductive

Tract Score

Approximate Size of Ovaries, mm

Uterine Horns

Length

Height

Width

Ovarian Structures

1

Immature <20mm diameter, no tone

15

10

8

No palpable follicles

2

20 to 25 mm diameter, slight tone

18

12

10

8 mm follicles

3

20 to 30 mm diameter, good tone

22

15

10

8 to 10 mm follicles

4

30 mm diameter, good tone

30

16

12

>10 mm follicles, possible corpus luteum

5

>30 mm diameter, good tone, erect

>32

20

15

>10 mm follicles, Corpus luteum present

Adapted from Anderson, K. J., D. G. Lefever, J. S. Brinks, and K. G. Odde. 1991. The use of reproductive tract scoring in beef heifers. Agri-Practice 12(4):19.

Characteristics of Pregnancy

Top

Characteristics of Open (Non-pregnant) Cow Reproductive Tract

Organ1

Size

Shape

Remarks

Vagina

varies with tract position

thin-walled, hollow tube

difficult to palpate

Cervix

2 to 12 inches long; ¾ to 8 inches in diameter; average diameter 1½ inches

tube-like; thick-walled

tube-shaped, but may be funnel-shaped in some cows or bent and crooked; firm, gristle-like feel; good landmark

Uterine Body

interior: ¼ to ¾ inch long; exterior: 1 to 3 inches long

intersecting region of two uterine horns

feels like soft, flat muscle; not as firm as cervix

Uterine Horns

5 to 12 inches long; ½ to1½ inches in diameter

tube-like; sometimes coiled

feels meaty and soft to slightly firm, depending on stage of estrous cycle

Oviducts

⅟₁₆ to ⅛ inch in diameter

long, crooked tube

difficult to feel because of small diameter and soft texture

Ovaries

½ inches wide; ¾-inch thick; 1-inch long

rounded or elliptical shape

feels firm and distinct as if holding a grape or plum

1It is not necessary to feel the vagina, oviducts, and ovaries when palpating for pregnancy. Adapted from B. B. Carpenter and L. R. Sprott. 2008. Determining Pregnancy in Cattle. B-1077. Texas AgriLife Extension Service, College Station, TX.

Rectal palpation, ultrasound technology, and tests of body fluids are methods of pregnancy determination. It requires a skilled technician, especially at earlier stages. Physical manipulation at very early stages of pregnancy may cause damage to the embryo or abortion. Positive signs of pregnancy: amniotic vesicle, fetal membrane slip, placentomes (must feel at least 3 to rule out palpating ovary), or fetus. The uterine artery is in the broad ligament and movable unlike the iliac artery.

Characteristics of Pregnancy in Cattle

Gestation length

Amniotic vesicle

Placentome diameter

Fetal membrane slip

Uterine position

Uterine character

Fetal size

30 days

Detectable; less than ½ finger width

Not detectable

Not detectable

Pelvis

Soft walled but has tone

0.3 to 0.4 inch crown to rump

40 days

Detectable; 1 finger width

Not detectable

Detectable; thread size

Pelvis

Soft walled; allows pinching for slip test

0.7 to 1 inch crown to rump

50 days

Detectable; 2 fingers width

Not detectable

Detectable; small string size

Pelvis

Soft walled; allows pinching for slip test

1.4 to 2.2 inches crown to rump

60 days

Detectable; softens; 4 fingers width

Small and difficult to perceive

Both horns may slip; string size

Pelvis

Soft walled; allows pinching for slip test

Mouse size; 2.4 to 3.1 inches crown to rump

70 days

 

0.5 to 0.75 cm

Both horns may slip; large string size

Descending out of pelvis

 

2.8 to 3.9 inches crown to rump

80 days

 

0.5 to 1 cm; pea size

Slip prominent in both horns

Descending

Enlarged; notable tone; bladder-like

3.1 to 5.1 inches crown to rump

90 days

 

1 to 1.5 cm; dime size

Slip prominent in both horns

Descending

 

Rat size; 5.1 to 6.7 inches crown to rump

120 days

 

1.5 to 2.5 cm; quarter size

Slip prominent in both horns

Descending

May “bounce” fetus with hand

Small cat size; lemon size head; 8.7 to 12.6 inches crown to rump

150 days

 

2.5 to 4 cm; half dollar size

Slip prominent in both horns

On abdominal floor

Buoyant, lumpy surface; artery has detectable “buzz”

Large cat size; 11.8 to 17.7 inches crown to rump

180 days

 

4 to 5 cm

 

Descended

Difficult to palpate

Beagle dog size; 15.7 to 23.6 inches crown to rump; movement

210 days

 

5 to 7.5 cm

 

Ascending towards pelvis

Can palpate fetal parts; finger thick artery

21.7 to 29.5 inches crown to rump; movement

240 days

 

6 to 9 cm

 

Ascending towards pelvis

Thick walled; enclosing bony fetus; artery “buzz” readily felt on pregnant side

23.6 to 33.5 inches crown to rump; movement

270 days

 

8 to 12 cm

 

Ascended; readily palpable

Thick walled; enclosing body

27.6 to 39.4 inches crown to rump; movement

Adapted from R. S. Youngquist, Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology.

Calving Management

Top

Stages of Calving

Stage

Duration

Events

Stage I Preparatory

2 to 6 hours

Uterine contractions (15 minutes apart initially)

Cervical dilation

Cattle appear uncomfortable

Water sac expelled

Stage II Delivery

30 to 60 minutes

Fetus enters birth canal

Uterine contractions (2 minutes apart)

Calf delivered

Stage III Cleaning

6 to 12 hours

Cotyledon-caruncle (button) attachments relax

Oxytocin released during suckling

Uterine contractions

Expulsion of afterbirth

Calving Ease Scores

1 = No assistance, calf born normally
2 = Assisted, easy pull
3 = Assisted, very difficult, hard pull
4 = Caesarean delivery
5 = Breech birth, abnormal presentation

Pelvic Area and Calf Birth Weight Ratios for Various Heifer Weights and Ages

 

Age at time of measurement, months

Heifer weight, lb

8 to 9

12 to 13

18 to 19

22 to 23

500

1.7

2.0

--

--

600

1.8

2.1

--

--

700

1.9

2.2

2.6

--

800

--

2.3

2.7

3.1

900

--

2.4

2.8

3.2

1000

--

2.5

2.9

3.3

1100

--

--

--

3.4

Adapted from Deutscher, G. H. Pelvic measurements for reducing calving difficulty. Nebraska Cooperative Extension Service. NebGuide G88-895.

Factors Affecting Calving Difficulty

  • Age of dam
  • Calf birth weight
  • Calf sex
  • Dam’s pelvic area
  • Dam’s body size
  • Gestation length
  • Calf shape
  • Sire breed
  • Dam breed
  • Sire’s genotype
  • Dam’s genotype
  • Uterine environment
  • Hormonal control
  • Nutrition of dam
  • Condition of dam
  • Position of fetus
  • Geographic region
  • Season of year
  • Environmental temp.
  • Feeding time
  • Exercise
  • Implants
  • Feed additives
  • Unknown factors

Adapted from H. D. Ritchie and P. T. Anderson. Calving Difficulty in Beef Cattle: Part I. BIF Fact Sheet. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI.

Normal calving presentation: front feet emerging first with the soles of the feet pointing down followed by the calf’s head as if the calf were diving out of the birth canal

Normal posterior (hindquarters first) presentation: hind legs and tail come first instead of forelegs and head. Make sure the tail is protruding with the hind legs. Consider all posterior (rear feet first) deliveries as emergencies because the umbilical cord is pinched between the fetus and pelvis early in delivery.

Retained foreleg presentation: one or both forelegs are retained and the head is presented in a normal position. Push the calf back into the female a little ways and use a second arm to reach for the calf’s foreleg. Straighten out the forelegs so that the head rests on top of them before attempting delivery. Guard the hooves in each hand to protect the uterine wall from damage.

Anterior (head first) head turned down presentation: head is underneath both forelegs. Move the head so that it rests on top of the forelegs for delivery to proceed.

Anterior (head first) head turned back presentation: head is turned back or to the side. Straighten out the neck and place the head on top of the forelegs for delivery to proceed. Grasp the calf’s mouth or nostrils to pull the head. Do not use excessive force to keep from breaking the calf’s jaw.

Anterior (head first) upside-down retained foreleg presentation: best option often a cesarean section (C-section). Otherwise, attempt to rotate the calf upright. Consider rolling the cow over while keeping the calf in position.

Posterior (hindquarters first) upside-down presentation: The best option is often a cesarean section (C-section). Otherwise, attempt to rotate the calf to an upright position. Consider rolling the cow over while keeping the calf in position.

Breech presentation: hindquarters are presented first with both hind legs retained. This is very difficult to correct. Push the calf deep into the female with one arm. With the other arm, reach for a hind leg. Straighten out and place both hind legs and the tail in the birth canal for delivery to proceed. Cover the calf’s hooves during manipulation to keep from damaging the uterus.

A calf hoof with a chain wrapped once around the lower portion and once closer to the toe.
Proper obstetrical chain placement on calf leg

Key situations to contact a veterinarian for calving assistance:

  • calf position cannot be determined
  • correct calf position cannot be attained
  • calf is presenting in a posterior position
  • calf is too large for the birth canal
  • reasonable progress in the delivery is not made in a timely manner
    • more than 2 hours after water bag appears
    • more than 30 minutes without progress
  • uterine prolapse occurs

Udder Suspension and Teat Size Scores

Top

Score

Udder Suspension

Teat Size

1

Very pendulous, broken floor

Very large, balloon- shaped

3

Pendulous

Large

5

Intermediate, moderate

Intermediate, moderate

7

Tight

Small

9

Very tight

Very small

Adapted from BIF. 2010. 9th ed. Guidelines for Uniform Beef Improvement Programs. Raleigh, NC.

Unsound udders

  • reduced productive life
  • inferior calf performance
  • major reason for culling cows Udder and teat scores
  • suspension score: udder support
  • size score: teat length and circumference
  • assign annually within 24 hours of calving
  • base on weakest quarter

Animal Identification Methods

Top

Method

Permanence

Placement

Ease of reading

Comments

Hanging ear tag

Removable; easily lost; remove hay bale strings to improve retention

Apply tag inside ear between cartilage ribs halfway between head and ear tip

Can be read at a distance if free of mud

Easily customizable; available in different colors and preprinted or blank

Metal ear tag

Removable

Clamp along edge of ear

Cattle must be restrained to read

Examples: Bangs vaccination orange tag, USDA “Brite” silver tag

Electronic ear tag

Removable

Apply tag inside ear between cartilage ribs and nearer to head than ear tip

Cattle must be restrained or near electronic reader

Unique 15-digit ID

Tattoo

Permanent

Apply in center of ear between cartilage ribs; liberally apply ink

Cattle must be restrained to read

Ensure proper letter/number orientation; may be required by breed associations

Hot-iron brand

Permanent

Place high on the hip; use smallest irons possible to reduce hide damage

Can read at a distance if good brand and hair growth not excessive

Use good technique to avoid illegible scarring; typically 5-digits or less

Freeze brand

Permanent

Place high on the hip; use smallest irons possible to reduce hide damage

Can read at a distance if good brand; harder to read on light hair coats

Use in place of hot-iron brand when possible; typically 5-digits or less

Freeze Branding Steps

  1. Gather branding supplies: irons, liquid nitrogen or ice chest of dry ice and denatured alcohol, clippers, spray bottle, rag or brush,timer, and gloves.
  2. Match the desired ID, records, and irons.
  3. Let irons cool for 20 minutes before first use.
  4. Properly restrain the animal.
  5. Clip the area to be branded.
  6. Brush or wipe the area clean.
  7. Spray a liberal coat of alcohol on clipped area.
  8. Firmly apply the branding iron for the predetermined amount of time. If the iron moves, reapply it to the depressed area and add a few seconds to the application period.
  9. If an iron needs to be used twice (e.g., 77 or MM), let it re-cool for at least 2 minutes between applications.

Time Irons Should Contact Hide for an Effective Freeze Brand

Iron Cooling Method

Dark Hair Coat

Light Hair Coat (bald brand)

Dry ice/alcohol

45 to 50 seconds

75 to 90 seconds

Liquid nitrogen

20 to 45 seconds

45 to 50 seconds

International Letter Designations by Year for Animal Identification1

A 1991

S 2006

J 2021

B 1992

T 2007

K 2022

C 1993

U 2008

L 2023

D 1994

W 2009

M 2024

E 1995

X 2010

N 2025

F 1996

Y 2011

P 2026

G 1997

Z 2012

R 2027

H 1998

A 2013

S 2028

J 1999

B 2014

T 2029

K 2000

C 2015

U 2030

L 2001

D 2016

W 2031

M 2002

E 2017

X 2032

N 2003

F 2018

Y 2033

P 2004

G 2019

Z 2034

R 2005

H 2020

A 2035

1Letters I, O, Q, and V are not used.
Adapted from Beef Improvement Federation. 2010. Guidelines for Uniform Beef Improvement Programs. 9th ed. Raleigh, NC.

Placement of Identification in Ear

  • Avoid puncturing cartilage ribs
  • Place tag back (flat button) on back side of ear
  • Apply visual hanging tag at least halfway between ear base and tip
  • Apply electronic tag between hanging tag and ear base and at least 3 in away from any metal tags
  • Apply tattoo between hanging tag and ear tip
  • Make sure records match IDs

Guidelines for Aging Cattle by Teeth

Top

Permanent Teeth

Tooth Eruption

In Wear

Neck of Tooth Visible Above Gum Line

First incisors (2 central incisors)

1 ½ to 2 years

2 to 2 ½ years

6 years

Second incisors

2 to 2 ½ years

2 ½ to 3 years

7 years

Third incisors

3 years

3 ½ years

8 years

Fourth incisors (2 outer incisors)

3 ½ to 4 years

4 ½ years

9 years

  • Mature cattle have 32 teeth (8 are lower jaw incisors; no upper jaw incisors)
  • Temporary teeth (milk teeth) are whiter and smaller than permanent teeth
  • The rate of teeth wear depends upon feed conditions
  • Several years after a tooth erupts, the neck (a narrow area at the base of the tooth) begins showing above the gum line

Growth-Promoting Implants

Top

Proper implant administration location in cattle ear between the cartilage and skin

Place implant in the middle third of the backside of the ear.

Potential causes for implant ineffectiveness

  • missing implant (through the ear)
  • partial implant (gun failure or poor technique)
  • crushed or bunched pellets
  • improper implant site (in cartilage)
  • abscess (poor sanitation or technique)
  • inadequate implant storage (moisture, refrigeration)
  • inappropriate timing or target animal

Castration and Dehorning

Top

Castration Tools

Callicrate bander, scalpel, elastrator, Newberry knife, burdizzo, and emasculator.

Dehorning Tools

Barnes dehorners, hot iron, keystone dehorners, two dehorning saws, and scoop.

Calf Castration Options

Method

Instruments

Procedure

Advantages

Disadvantages

Surgical

Newberry knife, scalpel, emasculator

Open the skin of the scrotum with large incisions or removal of the bottom 1/3 of the scrotum to promote adequate drainage. Grasp and slowly pull the testicles downward until the spermatic cord muscle separates. Do not “dig” for the testicles. In young calves, pull out the testicles until the cord breaks. In older calves, use emasculators to crush the spermatic cord or a dull knife to scrape the cord in a shaving motion. Do not cut the cord, because excessive bleeding may occur. Treat wounds with fly repellant. Release surgically castrated calves to a clean, dry area.

Certainty of complete castration

Blood loss

Infections may result if there are drainage problems or irritation from flies.

Slower to perform than banding

Emasculatome

Burdizzo, clamps

Move one testicle to the bottom of the scrotum. Locate the spermatic cord above the testicle, and move it to the side of the scrotum. Place the emasculatome over the cord about two inches above the testicle. Pinch the spermatic cord through the skin of the scrotum. The instrument should be 1/3 of the way across the width of the scrotum and never across the middle of the scrotum. The cord should snap apart. Hold the instrument with jaws closed for 30 seconds. Double clamping can increase success rate.

Bloodless

Used for older, larger calves

Slow, difficult

Sometimes unreliable (stags)

Emasculatomes eventually wear out and become ineffective.

Do not store an emasculatome in the closed position.

Banding

Elastrators, EZE, Callicrate banders

Place the band on the instrument and press the handles to stretch the band. Hold with the prongs pointed upward. Close the handles to open the band. Slip the band up and over the scrotum. Make sure both testicles are below the band. Allow the band to close on the neck of the scrotum. Pull the instrument out from under the band. Repeat if not done correctly. Administer tetanus and blackleg shots well before banding.

Bloodless

Used for older,

larger calves

Easy to perform, newer banders adjust bands to proper

tension levels

Potential for missed testicles

Band may break or not cut off all circulation to testicles

Infections (tetanus, Clostridial).

Calf Dehorning Options

Method

Procedure

Advantages

Disadvantages

Chemical

Apply caustic paste to horn button at 1 day to 3 weeks of age. Cut hair from around horn button before application. Apply petroleum jelly around the area of caustic paste application to minimize chemical burns. Keep the calf separated from its dam until the paste has dried.

Works well on young calves

Bloodless

Caustic paste application before a rain can cause eye injury

Hot iron

Heat irons with fire or electricity. Place hot iron over the horn and hold in place with firm pressure. Twist the iron evenly to distribute heat. Apply long enough (usually 20 seconds) to kill all horn cells at the base. The skin should appear copper or bronze. Reapply for 10 seconds if copper color is not present.

May use after the horn button appears up to 4 months of age

Works best in calves less than 2 months of age with less than 1 inch of horn growth

Bloodless

Must be done when calves are young and horns are small

Tube or spoon dehorners

Cut around the horn and surrounding skin and scoop out.

Effective on very small horns less than 1 ½ inches long

Multiple instrument sizes available

Not bloodless

Barnes dehorners

Select an instrument size large enough to remove the horn and a ¼ to ½ inch circle of skin at the horn base. Press the instrument firmly against the calf’s head. Quickly open and twist the handles. Stop any bleeding by cauterizing with a hot iron or pulling arteries with forceps.

May use on calves up to or slightly past weaning

Multiple instrument sizes available

Not bloodless

Saws, wires, keystone dehorners

Remove a ½ inch circle of skin along with the horn base to prevent regrowth. Stop any bleeding by cauterizing with a hot iron, pulling arteries with forceps, or using coagulant powder. Observe the wound for infection for an extended period of time.

For use in older cattle with large horns

Not bloodless

Exposed sinus may become infected

Beef Cattle Breeds

Top

  • Breed: a group of animals that have a common ancestral origin and possess certain traits that are readily distinguishable and are transmitted uniformly to their offspring
  • Over 100 breeds of cattle: only ~15 breeds have a major influence on the U. S. beef cattle industry
  • Breed association: organization that maintains pedigree and performance information, arranges for genetic evaluations, and promotes a breed
  • Breeds of cattle website: www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle

Breed Selection

  • Consider climate, feed/forage resources, production system, market end points, market demand, breed complementarity, seedstock cost and availability
  • Breeding management considers breed and animal selection as well as crossbreeding system (advantages: heterosis, breed complementarity)

Cattle Breed Descriptions

Cattle Subspecies

Breed Types Included

Example Breeds

Comments

Bos taurus

British (English), Continental (Exotic), Dairy

British: Angus, Hereford, Red Angus

Continental: Charolais, Gelbvieh, Simmental

Dairy: Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey

British noted for moderate frame size, fleshing ability, carcass quality, and maternal ability; Continental noted for high growth rates, heavy muscling, large frame, and carcass cutability; Dairy noted for milk yield and calving ease

Bos indicus

Brahman, Zebu

Brahman

noted for heat tolerance, mothering ability, insect resistance; “eared”; “humped”

Composites (Bos taurus × Bos indicus)

American (Brahman influence)

Beefmaster, Brangus, Santa Gertrudis

exhibit large amounts of heterosis; predominantly present in southern U. S.

Beef Cattle Breed Association Contact Information

Breed

Association1

Website

Address

Phone

Angus

American Angus Association

www.angus.org

3201 Frederick Ave. St. Joseph, MO 64506

816.383.5100

Beefmaster

Beefmaster Breeders United

www.beefmasters.org

6800 Park Ten Blvd., Suite 290 West, San Antonio, TX 78213

210.732.3132

Brahman

American Brahman Breeders Association

www.brahman.org

3003 South Loop West, Suite 520, Houston, TX 77054

713.349.0854

Brangus

International Brangus Breeders Association

www.int-brangus.org

P. O. Box 696020, San Antonio, TX 78269-6020

210.696.4343

Braunvieh

Braunvieh Association of America

www.braunvieh.org

3815 Touzalin Avenue, Suite 103, Lincoln, NE 68507

402.466.3292

Charolais

American-International Charolais Association

www.charolaisusa.com

11700 NW Plaza Circle, Kansas

City, MO 64153

816.464.5977

Chianina

American Chianina Association

www.chicattle.org

1708 N. Prairie View Road, P. O. Box 890, Platte City, MO 64079

816.431.5381

Gelbvieh

American Gelbvieh Association

www.gelbvieh.org

10900 Dover Street, Westminster, CO 80021

303.465.2333

Hereford

American Hereford Association

www.hereford.org

P. O. Box 014059, Kansas City, MO 64101

816.842.3757

Limousin

North American Limousin Foundation

www.nalf.org

Suite 100, 7383 S. Alton Way, Centennial, CO 80112

303.220.1693

Maine- Anjou

American Maine-Anjou Association

www.maine-anjou.org

204 Marshall Road, P. O. Box 1100, Platte City, MO 64079- 1100

816.431.9950

Red Angus

Red Angus Association of America

www.redangus.org

4201 N. Interstate 35, Denton, TX 76207-3415

940.387.3502

Salers

American Salers Association

www.salersusa.org

19590 E. Main Street, Suite 202, Parker, CO 80138

303.770.9292

Santa Gertrudis

Santa Gertrudis Breeders International

www.santagertrudis.com

P. O. Box 1257, Kingsville, TX 78364

361.592.9357

Shorthorn

American Shorthorn Association

www.shorthorn.org

8288 Hascall Street, Omaha, NE 68124

402.393.7200

Simmental

American Simmental Association

www.simmental.org

1 Simmental Way Bozeman, MT 59715

406.587.4531

South Devon

North American South Devon Association

www.southdevon.com

19590 E. Main Street, Suite 202, Parker, CO 80138

303.770.3130

Tarentaise

American Tarentaise Association

www.americantarentaise.org

9150 North 216th Street, Elkhorn, NE 68022

402.639.9808

1Beef cattle breed associations among the top 15 in U.S. registrations or U.S. breed associations reporting expected progeny differences

Economically Relevant Traits (ERT)

Top

  • direct economic impact to producer
  • examples: weaning weight, carcass weight
  • direct monetary value associated with traits

Indicator Traits

  • do not have direct economic value
  • aid in prediction of ERT
  • example: birth weight indicator for calving ease

Selection Indices

Based on multiple traits weighted for

  • economic importance
  • heritability
  • genetic associations among traits Account for both production and economics
  • bioeconomic values
  • expressed in dollars per head Customizable selection indices
  • rank cattle under user-specified conditions

Economically Relevant Traits and Associated Indicators

Economically Relevant Traits

Indicators

Sale weights: weaning weight, weaning maternal, yearling weight, carcass weight, pounds of retail yield

Birth weight, 205-day weight, 365-day weight, carcass weight, fat thickness, ribeye area

Likelihood of calving ease

Calving ease score, birth weight, gestation length

Feed requirements for maintenance

Mature cow weight, body condition score, milk production, internal organ weight

Productive life or stayability

Calving records, days to calving, milk production, calving interval

Likelihood of heifer pregnancy

Pregnancy diagnosis, scrotal measures

Tenderness

Shear force, marbling, color analysis

Feed efficiency

Feed consumption

Docility

Docility or chute scores

Heritability and Heterosis

Top

Heritability

  • proportion of differences between animals for a trait controlled by additive genetics
  • low heritability: environment and non-additive genetics have a larger influence on a trait
  • selection progress slower for lowly heritable traits

Heterosis

  • hybrid vigor
  • offspring perform at a higher level than the average of the parental lines
  • take advantage of via crossbreeding

Trait Heterosis and Heritability

Trait

Heterosis

Heritability

Maternal ability

High: 10 to 30%

Low

Reproduction

Health

Cow longevity

Overall cow productivity

Growth rate

Medium: 5 to 10%

Medium

Birth weight

Weaning weight

Yearling weight

Milk production

Carcass/end product

Low: 0 to 5%

High

Skeletal measurements

Mature weight

Matching Genetic Potential to Production Environment

Top

Environment

Traits

Feed Availability

Stress

Milk Production

Mature Size

Ability to Store Energy

Resistance to Stress

Calving Ease

Lean Yield

High

Low

M to H

M to H

L to M

M

M to H

H

High

M

L to H

L to H

H

H

M to H

Medium

Low

M to H

M

M to H

M

M to H

M to H

High

L to M

M

M to H

H

H

H

Low

Low

L to M

L to M

H

M

M to H

M

High

L to M

L to M

H

H

H

L to M

Breed role in terminal crossbreeding systems

Maternal

-

M to H

L to H

M to H

M to H

H

L to M

Paternal

-

L to M

H

L

M to H

M

H

Crossbreeding Systems

Top

Two-breed (Crisscross) Rotation

  • requires 2 breeds and 2 breeding pastures
  • minimum herd size is ~50 cows
  • mate cows of breed A to bulls of breed B
  • mate resulting replacement females (A×B) to bulls of breed A for their lifetime
  • mate succeeding generations of females to the opposite breed of their sire
  • market steers and non-replacement heifers
  • 67% retained heterosis
  • expected 16% increase in weaning weight per cow exposed above the average of the parent breeds

Three-breed Rotation

  • requires 3 breeds and 3 breeding pastures
  • minimum herd size is ~75 cows
  • mate females sired by breed A to breed B bulls
  • mate females sired by breed B to breed C bulls
  • mate females sired by breed C to breed A bulls
  • market steers and non-replacement heifers
  • 86% retained heterosis
  • expected 20% increase in weaning weight per cow exposed above the average of the parent breeds

Two-breed Rotational/Terminal Sire

  • rota-terminal system
  • requires 3 breeds and 3 breeding pastures
  • minimum herd size is ~ 100 cows
  • two-breed rotational crossbreeding system (½ of herd, youngest females) of maternal breeds A and B to produce replacement females for entire herd
  • mate other ½ of cow herd to a terminal sire of a different breed excelling in growth
  • market steers and non-replacement heifers
  • 90% retained heterosis
  • expected 21% increase in weaning weight per cow exposed above the average of the parent breeds

Two-Breed Terminal Sire

  • requires 2 breeds and 1 breeding pasture
  • no minimum herd size
  • mate straightbred females of one breed to terminal sires of another breed
  • keep no replacement females
  • market all calves
  • no benefits of maternal heterosis with straightbred cows
  • expected 8.5% increase in weaning weight per cow exposed above the average of the parent breeds

Terminal Cross with Purchased F1 Females

  • requires 3 breeds and 1 breeding pasture
  • no minimum herd size
  • purchase replacement females
  • mate crossbred females to terminal sires of a third breed
  • market all calves
  • 100% retained heterosis in calf and cow
  • expected 24% increase in weaning weight per cow exposed above the average of the parent breeds

Rotate Bull Every 4 Years: A×B Rotation

  • requires 2 breeds and 1 breeding pasture
  • no minimum herd size
  • mate crossbred females to bulls of Breed A for 4 years followed by bulls of Breed B for 4 years, then rotate back to Breed A sires to start cycle again
  • market steers and non-replacement heifers
  • 50 to 67% retained heterosis
  • expected 12 to 16% increase in weaning weight per cow exposed above the average of the parent breeds

Rotate Bull Every 4 Years: A×B×C Rotation

  • requires 3 breeds and 1 breeding pasture
  • no minimum herd size
  • mate crossbred females to bulls of Breed A for 4 years followed by bulls of Breed B for 4 years followed by bulls of Breed C for 4 years, then rotate back to Breed A sires to start cycle again
  • market steers and non-replacement heifers
  • 67 to 83% retained heterosis
  • expected 16 to 20% increase in weaning weight per cow exposed above the average of the parent breed

Performance Data Collection

Top

Cattle Age/Event

Data to Collect

Birth

Birth date, dam ID, sire ID, calf ID, birth weight, calf vigor, calving ease score, dam udder score

Weaning

Weaning date, weaning weight, dam body condition score, disposition score

Yearling

Yearling data collection date, yearling weight, hip height, scrotal circumference, pelvic area, ultrasound body composition scans (intramuscular fat, rump fat, rib fat), disposition score

Mature

Monitor weight and body condition score, standing heat dates, breeding dates, pregnancy status, calving dates, disposition

  • Records may be written and/or electronic
  • Keep organized, accurate, and up-to-date records (software can help manage records)
  • Follow breed association record collection and reporting guidelines for registered cattle
  • Use data collected in performance calculations, management decision making, and marketing

Performance Data Calculations

Average daily gain = ADG = (starting weight – ending weight)/number of days

205-day adjusted weaning weight =205-day adj WW =

((weaning wt – birth wt)/ age in days at weaning) x 205 + birth wt + age-of-dam adj.

Age-of-dam at birth of calf, years

BIF Standard Weaning Weight Adjustment Factor

Male

Female

2

+60

+54

3

+40

+36

4

+20

+18

5 to 10

0

0

11 and older

+20

+18

Acceptable weaning age window for 205-day adj. WW calculation = 160 to 240 days Consult individual breed associations for breed-specific weaning age windows

365-day adjusted yearling weight =365-day adj. YW =
((final wt – weaning wt)/days between weights) x 160+ 205-day adj. weaning wt

Most probable producing ability = MPPA =
100 + (number of calves x 0.4)/(1+ (number of calves – 1) x 0.4) x (average WW ratio - 100)

Performance ratio = (individual performance/group average performance) x 100 Ratio = 100 = average performance
Ratio < 100 = less than average performance Ratio > 100 = greater than average performance Rank cattle within a contemporary group

Contemporary group
Common: gender, management system and group, calf age group, age of dam group, and performance data collected on the same dates

Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs)

Top

  • genetic selection tool used to rank cattle
  • predict expected performance for specific traits of the calves sired by a particular bull (or out of a particular dam) compared to expected performance of calves sired by another bull (dam) or group of bulls (dams)
  • based on performance records of an individual, its relatives, and its progeny
  • accuracy value indicates reliability of EPD (values closer to 1 are more reliable)

Expected progeny differences can be compared between animals or to a breed average. For illustration, calves sired by Bull A (yearling weight EPD = 82) are expected to be on average 18 pounds lighter at yearling age than calves sired by Bull B (yearling weight EPD = 100) when mated to similar females. This is determined by calculating the difference between the two EPD values: 82 – 100 = -18. Similarly, calves sired by Bull A can be expected to be on average seven pounds heavier at yearling age than calves sired by all other bulls in that same breed when mated to similar females (breed average yearling weight EPD = 75): 82 – 75 = 7.

Expected Progeny Difference Comparisons

EPDs

EPD values

EPD comparisons

Bull A

Bull B

Breed Average

Bull A vs. Bull B

Bull A vs. breed average

Bull B vs. breed average

Calving ease direct, %

7

1

5

+6

+2

-4

Birth weight, pounds

1.2

4.2

2.2

-3.0

-1.0

+2.0

Weaning weight, pounds

35

49

40

-14

-5

+9

Yearling weight, pounds

82

100

75

-18

+7

+25

Milk, pounds

22

15

20

+7

+2

-5

Scrotal circumference, cm

.50

-.05

.33

+.55

+.17

-.38

Calving ease maternal, %

0

8

6

-8

-6

+2

Intramuscular fat, %

.25

.05

.12

+.20

+.13

-.07

Ribeye area, inches2

-.01

.63

.23

-.64

-.24

+.40

Fat thickness, inches

.021

.005

.005

+.016

+.016

0

Sire Selection

Top

Production Scenario and Associated Sire Selection Considerations

Scenario: Growth and Carcass Sire

Sire Selection Considerations1

  • Herd size: 250 cows
  • Breeding mature cows only
  • Will not retain heifers as replacements
  • Sires used to complement the cows in terminal cross
  • Focus on uniform calf crop
  • Emphasis on rapid growth and carcass traits
  • Hired labor on hand
  • High level of management
  • Marketing after stocker phase or retaining ownership through finishing depending on market conditions
  • Utilizes value-based marketing and high level of information transfer to buyers
  • Superior yearling weight EPD (rapid growth)
  • Heavy muscling, natural thickness
  • High terminal selection indices
  • Moderately low calving ease EPD (or moderately high birth weight EPD in cases where calving ease EPD is not available) is acceptable (only breeding to mature cows, labor available)
  • Sensible frame size to maintain acceptable carcass weights
  • Milk not important (no daughters retained)
  • Consider carcass EPDs
  • Complement the cow herd and match the market
  • Structurally sound and healthy

1EPD = expected progeny difference

Production Scenario and Associated Sire Selection Considerations

Scenario: Maternal “All-purpose” Sire

Sire Selection Considerations1

  • Herd size: 100 cows
  • Seedstock producer
  • Will retain heifers as replacements
  • Desires “all-purpose” sire
  • Hired labor on hand
  • Marketing registered bulls as long yearlings and selected females after breeding
  • Optimal calving ease, milk, growth, mature size, and carcass traits (balanced trait selection)
  • Close attention to all traits, EPDs, selection indices, and pedigree (important for seedstock marketing)
  • Large scrotal size and EPD (negative correlation with daughters’ time to first estrus)
  • Optimal milk EPD (avoid extremes)
  • Disposition
  • Adaptability
  • Muscularity
  • Structurally sound and healthy

1EPD = expected progeny difference

Production Scenario and Associated Sire Selection Considerations

Scenario: Calving Ease Sire or “Heifer Bull”

Sire Selection Considerations1

  • Herd size: 25 cows
  • Breeding many first-calf heifers
  • Will retain heifers as replacements
  • No hired labor
  • Producer works full-time off farm
  • Limited cattle handling facilities
  • Marketing steers at weaning on commodity markets
  • Most calving difficulty and associated losses occur in first-calf heifers
  • Desirable calving ease EPD (or low birth weight EPD in cases where calving ease EPDs are unavailable)
  • Good calving ease and maternal selection indices
  • Large scrotal size and EPD (negative correlation with daughters’ time to first estrus)
  • Optimal milk EPD (avoid extremes)
  • Relatively high weaning weight EPD (curve bender bull with both calving ease and growth advantages)
  • Reasonable muscling
  • Manageable disposition
  • Structurally sound and healthy

1EPD = expected progeny difference

Traits Controlled or Largely Influenced by One Gene Pair

Top

Trait

Type of Gene Action

Black, red color

Black (B) dominant to red (b)

Color in Shorthorns

Red (R) has no dominance over white (r)

Color dilution

Dilution (D) dominant to nondilution (d)

Pigmentation, albino

Normal pigmentation (A) dominant to albino (a)

Polled, horned condition

Polled (P) dominant to horned (p) in British breeds

Snorter dwarf, normal size

Normal size (D) dominant to dwarf (d)

Hypotrichosis (short hair/hairlessness), normal

Normal (H) dominant to hypotrichosis (h)

Hydrocephalus, normal

Normal (H) dominant to hydrocephalus (h)

Osteopetrosis (marble bone disease), normal

Normal (O) dominant to osteopetrosis (o)

Syndactyly (mulefoot), normal

Normal (S) dominant to mulefoot (s)

Arthrogryposis (palate- pastern syndrome), normal

Normal (A) dominant to palate-pastern (a)

Double muscling, normal

Normal (D) dominant to double muscling (d)

Allele = alternate form of a gene; Coat color example:
2 black alleles = black (homozygous dominant)
1 black and 1 red allele = black (heterozygous)
2 red alleles = red (homozygous recessive)

Beef Cattle Conformation

Top

  • Visual appraisal important to evaluate potential longevity and functionality of cattle
  • Evaluate
    • Feet, legs, and overall skeletal structure
      • Impacts foraging and breeding ability
      • Back feet should step into front footprints when walking
      • Should see same distance between pasterns as between hocks
      • Front and rear feet should face forward without toeing in or out
      • Should have correct angle of front and rear legs into shoulders or hips
      • Avoid straight shoulders
      • Toes should be same width and length
      • Avoid screwclaw (1 toe thinner and grows over other toe; highly heritable)
    • Udder and teats
      • Suspension, size, mastitis
    • Teeth
      • Missing, cracked, overly worn
      • Check if unusual loss of body condition
    • Eyes
      • Pinkeye, cancer eye, injury, vision impair
    • Muscling
      • Average or above (greater value)

Temperament Scores

Top

Cattle with aggressive temperaments

  • gain weight at lower rates
  • produce carcasses with less marbling
  • are more likely to injure handlers or animals
  • are less profitable

1 = Docile: Mild disposition. Gentle and easily handled. Stands and moves slowly during processing. Undisturbed, settled, somewhat dull. Does not pull on headgate when in chute. Exits chute calmly.

2 = Restless: Quieter than average, but may be stubborn during processing. May try to back out of chute or pull back on headgate. Some flicking of tail. Exits chute promptly.

3 = Nervous: Typical temperament is manageable, but nervous and impatient. A moderate amount of struggling, movement, and tail flicking. Repeated pushing and pulling on headgate. Exits chute briskly.

4 = Flighty (Wild): Jumpy and out of control, quivers, and struggles violently. May bellow and froth at the mouth. Continuous tail flicking. Defecates and urinates during processing. Frantically runs fence line and may jump when penned individually. Exhibits long flight distance and exits chute wildly.

5 = Aggressive: May be similar to Score 4, but with added aggressive behavior, fearfulness, extreme agitation, and continuous movement which may include jumping and bellowing while in chute. Exits chute frantically and may exhibit attack behavior when handled alone.

6 = Very Aggressive: Extremely aggressive temperament. Thrashes about or attacks wildly when confined in small, tight places. Pronounced attack behavior.

Hair Shedding Scores

Top

Cattle that shed their winter coats later wean lighter calves. The recommended time to score cattle for hair shedding is in late spring.

Hair shedding scoring scale:

1 = slick, short summer coat; completely shed

2 = coat is mostly shed

3 = coat is halfway shed

4 = coat exhibits initial shedding

5 = full winter coat, no signs of shedding

Frame Scores and Size

Top

Frame Score

  • Calculated from hip height measurement and animal age within gender
  • Recommended site for hip height measurement is a point directly over the hooks
  • Most cattle maintain the same frame score throughout life
  • Frame scores may change for cattle that mature earlier or later than average for their breed

Bull frame score = -11.548 + 0.4878 (hip height) – 0.0289 (days of age) + 0.00001947 (days of age)2 + 0.0000334 (hip height)(days of age)

Age in months

Bull frame score and hip height in inches

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

5

33.5

35.5

37.5

39.5

41.6

43.6

45.6

47.7

49.7

6

34.8

36.8

38.8

40.8

42.9

44.9

46.9

48.9

51.0

7

36.0

38.0

40.0

42.1

44.1

46.1

48.1

50.1

52.2

8

37.2

39.2

41.2

43.2

45.2

47.2

49.3

51.3

53.3

9

38.2

40.2

42.3

44.3

46.3

48.3

50.3

52.3

54.3

10

39.2

41.2

43.3

45.3

47.3

49.3

51.3

53.3

55.3

11

40.2

42.2

44.2

46.2

48.2

50.2

52.2

54.2

56.2

12

41.0

43.0

45.0

47.0

49.0

51.0

53.0

55.0

57.0

13

41.8

43.8

45.8

47.8

49.8

51.8

53.8

55.8

57.7

14

42.5

44.5

46.5

48.5

50.4

52.4

54.4

56.4

58.4

15

43.1

45.1

47.1

49.1

51.1

53.0

55.0

57.0

59.0

16

43.6

45.6

47.6

49.6

51.6

53.6

55.6

57.5

59.5

17

44.1

46.1

48.1

50.1

52.0

54.0

56.0

58.0

60.0

18

44.5

46.5

48.5

50.5

52.4

54.4

56.4

58.4

60.3

19

44.9

46.8

48.8

50.8

52.7

54.1

56.7

58.7

60.6

20

45.1

47.1

49.1

51.0

53.0

55.0

56.9

58.9

60.9

21

45.3

47.3

49.2

51.2

53.2

55.1

57.1

59.1

61.0

Heifer frame score = -11.7086 + 0.4723 (hip height) – 0.0239 (days of age) + 0.0000146 (days of age)2 + 0.0000759 (hip height)(days of age)

Age in months

Heifer frame score and hip height in inches

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

5

33.0

35.1

37.2

39.3

41.3

43.4

45.5

47.5

49.6

6

34.1

36.2

38.2

40.3

42.3

44.4

46.5

48.5

50.6

7

35.1

37.1

39.2

41.2

43.3

45.3

47.4

49.4

51.5

8

36.0

38.0

40.1

42.1

44.1

46.2

48.2

50.2

52.3

9

36.8

38.9

40.9

42.9

44.9

47.0

49.0

51.0

53.0

10

37.6

39.6

41.6

43.7

45.7

47.7

49.7

51.7

53.8

11

38.3

40.3

42.3

44.3

46.4

48.4

50.4

52.4

54.4

12

39.0

41.0

43.0

45.0

47.0

49.0

51.0

53.0

55.0

13

39.6

41.6

43.6

45.5

47.5

49.5

51.5

53.5

55.5

14

40.1

42.1

44.1

46.1

48.0

50.0

52.0

54.0

56.0

15

40.6

42.6

44.5

46.5

48.5

50.5

52.4

54.4

56.4

16

41.1

43.0

44.9

46.9

48.9

50.8

52.8

54.8

56.7

17

41.4

43.3

45.3

47.2

49.2

51.1

53.1

55.1

57.0

18

41.7

43.6

45.6

47.5

49.5

51.4

53.4

55.3

57.3

19

41.9

43.9

45.8

47.7

49.7

51.6

53.6

55.5

57.4

20

42.1

44.1

46.0

47.9

49.8

51.8

53.7

55.6

57.6

21

42.3

44.2

46.1

48.0

50.0

51.9

53.8

55.7

57.7

Adapted from Beef Improvement Federation. 2010. Guidelines for Uniform Beef Improvement Programs. 9th ed. Raleigh, NC.

Measure hip height from the ground to a point directly over the hooks.

Frame Size

  • measure of skeletal structure
  • depends on hip height and age
  • indicates growth
  • related to slaughter weights at which cattle attain a given amount of fat thickness
  • impacts the time it takes a calf to finish or reach maturity
    • Larger frame: reach maturity later
    • Larger frame: weigh more at maturity
  • feeder calf price discounts for small-frame cattle vs. medium- or large-frame cattle
  • largely influenced by genetics

USDA Feeder Cattle Grades for Frame Size

  • determined by calf length and height
    • distance from fore to rear flank
    • distance from chest and hip to ground
  • “Large” steers finish over 1250 lb
  • “Medium” steers finish between 1100 and 1250 lb
  • “Small” steers finish at less than 1100 lb
  • heifers finish 100 lb lighter than steers

Muscling (muscle thickness)

Top

  • muscle to bone ratio at given fatness
  • rough indicator of yield grade at maturity
  • heavily-muscled calf
    • wide stance between rear hooves
    • center quarter wider than top of hip or base width
    • rectangular when viewed from rear
  • light-muscled calf
    • narrow distance between rear hooves
    • center quarter is flat
    • triangular when viewed from rear
  • price discounts for light muscling
  • largely influenced by genetics

USDA Feeder Cattle Grades for Muscling

  • #1: at least moderately heavy muscled
  • #2: average amount of muscle
  • #3: thin, light-muscled
  • #4: extremely light muscled

Feeder Calf Value

Top

Feeder Calf Grades: Thrifty Classification

For a calf to be assigned any of the 12 combinations of frame and muscle grades, they must be “thrifty.” A thrifty animal does not exhibit signs of mismanagement, disease, parasitism, or lack of feed. If a calf is deemed unthrifty, it is assigned the “Inferior” grade but could qualify for frame and muscle grades at a later date if the problem is corrected. Double- muscled cattle are also graded as inferior because they do not produce a carcass with enough marbling to grade Choice.

Factors Affecting Feeder Calf Value

Trait

Expected Effect on Price

Frame size

discounts for small frame

Muscling

discounts for light muscling

Weight

price per pound decreases as calf weight increases

Gut fill

discounts for excess fill

Body condition

discounts for very thin and fat

Gender

steers > bulls > heifers

Horn status

discounts for horns

Health

discounts for sick or lame

Breed type

varies

Color

varies; spotted/striped calves typically least valuable

Group size and uniformity

premiums for truckload lots of uniform calves

Market (Cull) Cow Price Classes

Top

Price Class

Percent Lean Yield

Body Condition Score

Light (small, light muscled, and/or thin)

75 to 90%

1 to 3

Lean

85 to 90%

2 to 4

Boner

80 to 85%

5

Breaker

75 to 80%

6 to 7

Premium White

70 to 75%

7 to 9

Cows in these market classes are further differentiated in price by estimated dressing percentage as low, average, or high dressing (percentage) animals.

General cow price per pound rankings:

Premium White > Breaker > Boner > Lean > Light High Dress > Average Dress > Low Dress

Beef Cattle Marketing Channels

Top

Channel

Advantages

Disadvantages

Auction market, “sale barn”

  • competitive bidding
  • convenient
  • open to all sellers and buyers
  • prompt cash payment
  • all types of livestock can be marketed
  • cattle prices are determined and known to all
  • regulated and uniform weighing and selling conditions (fairness)
  • requires no market knowledge by producer
  • no minimum number of cattle
  • seller has little control over prices
  • encourages multi-handling, speculative trading
  • high overhead cost
  • possible excessive stress and shrinkage of livestock
  • lack of volume and uniformity of animals at many markets
  • hard to get reputation for selling quality cattle
  • grade and price information difficult to interpret
  • distance is a limitation
  • prices are uncertain
  • commingling of livestock (disease spread risk)
  • number of buyers may be small, reducing bidding competitiveness

Private treaty

  • seller controls marketing process
  • seller can point out positive aspects of livestock
  • producer can establish a reputation (buyers see total program)
  • encourages marketing innovation
  • animals are farm fresh and unstressed
  • minimal disease spread
  • producer can condition animals to buyer specifications
  • costs less than other marketing methods
  • requires excellent marketing knowledge by producer
  • cattle may be overvalued or undervalued
  • less market news available
  • breeder must be an effective salesperson
  • more haggling
  • wide variation in selling conditions
  • unregulated, unsupervised
  • producer assumes risk of payment collection
  • may be little or no buyer competition

Graded or pooled sale

  • large, economical lots of livestock together
  • cost savings for buyers passed along to sellers
  • large numbers of livestock attract more buying competition
  • may facilitate reputation sales
  • grading, sorting, weighing, and penning before sale are time-consuming and expensive
  • many marketing facilities are not designed for efficient processing for this system
  • individual producers can lose identity
  • hard to get producers to agree on terms of sale

Board sale

  • potentially increases competition
  • direct buyer to seller transportation reduces stress, shrinkage, and death loss
  • reduces buyer cost
  • reduces marketing cost
  • flexible delivery
  • consignor identities preserved
  • requires prior producer commitment
  • reduces marketing flexibility
  • requires partial or full truckload lots
  • accurate and dependable descriptions of livestock required (buying sight unseen)

Video/ Satellite/ Internet, “electronic marketing”

  • largest number of potential buyers of all methods
  • provides entry to small markets
  • reduced buyer cost possibly passed to seller
  • direct buyer to seller transportation
  • delivery schedules very flexible
  • generally higher marketing cost than tele-auction
  • on-farm truckload of uniform cattle needed
  • buyer hesitation with sight unseen cattle
  • possible technical difficulties

Consignment sale

  • several potential customers come together
  • consignors can visit with prospective customers
  • sale costs divided among consignors
  • could increase private treaty sales
  • helps establish value of private treaty cattle
  • opportunity to expand market area
  • sale arranged by professionals
  • cattle compared to other breeders’ cattle
  • sale management may not be professional
  • cattle must be well displayed to be competitive
  • consignor may not select the right cattle or plan far enough in advance

Production sale

  • buyers see total program
  • breeder controls sale arrangements
  • cattle not competing with those of other breeders
  • need at least 40 to 50 lots to have a good sale and reduce per lot sale costs
  • encouraged to sell inferior cattle
  • may not attract enough buyers
  • an unsuccessful sale impacts an entire season or year of production

Open house sale

  • buyers see total program
  • breeder controls sale arrangements
  • cattle not competing with those of other breeders
  • can set minimum prices and sell only cattle that receive bids at or above minimum prices
  • can retain ownership of some cattle for sale at
  • a later date while selling other cattle if desired prices are offered
  • marketing lower end cattle may be difficult

Adapted from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. 1999. National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit. Centennial, CO.

To promote value in market cows and bulls, producers should

  • manage their cow herds to minimize quality shortcomings and defects
  • monitor the health and condition of market cows and bulls, and
  • market cows and bulls in a timely manner.

Mississippi Livestock Markets

Top

Billingsley Auction Sales, Inc.
Sale Day: Thursday, 11:30 AM Senatobia, MS (Tate Co.)
662-562-8229

Double L Cattle Auction
Sale Day: Saturday, 12:00 Noon Thaxton, MS (Pontotoc Co.)
662-489-4343

East MS Farmers Livestock Co.
Sale Day: Tuesday, 12:00 PM Philadelphia, MS (Neshoba Co.)
601-656-6732

Farmers Livestock Marketing
Sale Day: Wednesday, 1:00 PM Carthage, MS (Leake Co.)
601- 267-7884

Glenwild Stockyard
Sale Day: Monday, 1:00 PM Grenada, MS (Grenada Co.)
662-226-1900

Gowan Stockyards
Sale Day: Wednesday, 1:00 PM Kosciusko, MS (Attala Co.)
662-289-9727

Lincoln Co. L/S Commission Co.
Sale Day: Tuesday, 1:00 PM Brookhaven, MS (Lincoln Co.)
601-833-2654

Lipscomb Brothers Livestock Market
Sale Day: Wednesday, 7:00 PM Como, MS (Panola Co.)
662-526-5362

Livestock Producers Assn. #1
Sale Day: Tuesday, 12:15 PM Tylertown, MS (Walthall Co.)
601-876-3465

Lucedale Livestock Producers
Sale Day: Wednesday, 11:00 AM Lucedale, MS (George Co.)
601-947-3352

Macon Stockyards, Inc.
Sale Day: Monday, 12:30 PM Macon, MS (Noxubee Co.)
662-726-5153

Meridian Stockyards
Sale Day: Monday, 1:00 PM Meridian, MS (Lauderdale Co.)
601-482-7275

Peoples Livestock Auction
Sale Day: Monday, 1:00 PM Houston, MS (Chickasaw Co.)
662-456-3018

Pontotoc Stockyard, Inc.
Sale Day: Saturday, 11:00 AM Pontotoc, MS (Pontotoc Co.)
662-489-4385

Rutland Livestock, LLC
Sale Day: Tuesday, 1:00 PM Mize, MS (Smith Co.)
601-733-0112

Southeast Mississippi Livestock
Sale Day: Monday, 12:30 PM Hattiesburg, MS (Forrest Co.)
601-268-2587

Stockyard, Inc.
Sale Day: Wednesday, 12:30 PM Tupelo, MS (Lee Co.)
662-842-0522

Tadlock Stockyard
Sale Day: Monday, 12:00 PM Forest, MS (Scott Co.)
601-469-3642

Walnut Sales Co.
Sale Day: Saturday, 1:00 PM Walnut, MS (Tippah Co.)
662-223-4351

West Point Livestock Auction, Inc.
Sale Day: Monday, 12:30 PM West Point, MS (Clay Co.)
662-494-6635

Winona Stockyard
Sale Day: Tuesday, 12:00 PM Winona, MS (Montgomery Co.)
662-283-1652

Price Risk Management

Top

Forward contract: contractual arrangement between a cattle buyer and seller to exchange cattle for a prearranged price at a future date Futures market hedge: a means of managing price risk by taking a position in the futures market opposite that held in the cash market Feeder cattle option: legally binding contract which gives the option buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a feeder cattle futures contract under specific conditions in exchange for the payment of a premium

Call (put) option: right to buy (sell) a futures contract at a specific price during the option life

Enterprise Budget

Estimate of costs and returns associated with a production enterprise

Enterprise examples: cow-calf, calf preconditioning, stockering, cattle finishing

Partial Budget

Top

The best way to assess potential profitability of a proposed management change is to develop a partial budget comparing the two practices for the specific operation.

Partial budgeting consists of totaling additional returns and reduced costs of adopting the management change and then subtracting out the reduced returns and additional costs associated with the management change. Proposed management changes may include technology adoption, enterprise expansion, enterprise diversification, production practice changes, capital improvements, or marketing plan changes. A breakeven analysis is a specialized partial budget to evaluate cattle purchase and sale decisions

Effect on net returns = (additional returns + reduced costs) – (additional costs + reduced returns)

Example partial budget for changing from traditional weaning to early weaning

Additional returns

Amount

Additional costs

Amount

Increased calf sales from increased cow conception rate next year

A

Increased labor costs

I

Increased calf weaning weights next year

B

Increased sales of replacement heifers

C

Increased calf feed costs

J

Increased quality grade premiums (retained calf ownership, grid marketing)

D

Reduced costs

Amount

Reduced returns

Amount

Decreased cow feed costs

E

Decreased market cow sales

K

Decreased replacement female costs

F

Decreased carcass weights and values (retained calf ownership)

L

Decreased feedlot feed costs (retained calf ownership)

G

Total additional returns and reduced costs

A + B + C + D + E + F + G = H

Total additional costs and reduced returns

I + J + K + L = M

Net returns from changing from traditional weaning to early weaning

H - M

Beef Cattle Enterprise Financial Statements

Top

Financial Statement

Purpose

Key Information

Balance sheet

Statement of financial condition of business at a specific time

Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth (Equity); Current, intermediate, and long-term assets and liabilities

Cash flow statement

Used to evaluate cash inflows and outflows to determine when, how much, and for how long cash deficits or surpluses will exist

Cash inflows: cash operating and capital receipts

Cash outflows: operating and capital outlays, loan payments

Income statement (profit and loss statement)

Summary of income and expenses that occurred during a specific accounting period

Income: cash and noncash Expenses: cash and noncash

Annual Payments ($ of Principal and Interest) to Amortize a $1,000 Loan

Top

Interest rate, %

Length of loan, years

1

2

3

4

5

7

10

15

20

30

1

1,010.00

507.51

340.02

256.28

206.04

148.63

105.58

72.12

55.42

38.75

2

1,020.00

515.05

346.75

262.62

212.16

154.51

111.33

77.83

61.16

44.65

3

1,030.00

522.61

353.53

269.03

218.35

160.51

117.23

83.77

67.22

51.02

4

1,040.00

530.20

360.35

275.49

224.63

166.61

123.29

89.94

73.58

57.83

5

1,050.00

537.80

367.21

282.01

230.97

172.82

129.50

96.34

80.24

65.05

6

1,060.00

545.44

374.11

288.59

237.97

179.14

135.87

102.96

87.18

72.65

7

1,070.00

553.09

381.05

295.23

243.89

185.55

142.38

109.79

94.39

80.59

8

1,080.00

560.77

388.03

301.92

250.46

192.07

149.03

116.83

101.85

88.83

9

1,090.00

568.47

395.05

308.67

257.09

198.69

155.82

124.06

109.55

97.34

10

1,100.00

576.19

402.11

315.47

263.80

205.41

162.75

131.47

117.46

106.08

15

1,150.00

615.12

437.98

350.27

298.32

240.36

199.25

171.02

159.76

152.30

Beef Cattle Enterprise Financial Measures

Top

Measure

Calculation

Desirable Value

Cautionary Value

Undesirable Value

Asset turnover ratio

Gross farm revenue divided by average farm assets

≥40%

20 to 39%

<20%

Current ratio

Current farm assets divided by current farm debt

≥2

1 to 1.9

<1

Debt to asset ratio

Total farm debt divided by total farm assets

<40%

40 to 70%

>70%

Interest expense ratio

Interest expense divided by gross farm revenue

<10%

10 to 20%

>20%

Net farm income

Gross cash farm income minus total cash farm expense minus depreciation plus or minus inventory change

>0

0

<0

Operating expense ratio

Gross farm expense minus farm interest expense minus depreciation expense divided by gross farm revenue

<60%

60 to 80%

>80%

Operating profit margin

Net farm income plus farm interest expense minus value of operator labor & mgmt. divided by gross revenue

>5%

0 to 5%

<0%

Rate of return on farm assets

Net farm income plus farm interest expense minus value of operator labor & mgmt. divided by average farm assets

>5%

0 to 5%

<0%

Rate of return on farm equity

Net farm income minus value of operator labor & mgmt. divided by average farm equity

>10%

5 to 10%

<5%

Adapted from D. M. Gimenez et al. Alabama Beef Cattle Pocket Guide. 2008. ANR-1323. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Auburn, AL.

Herd Health

Top

Veterinary Services and Advice

A veterinarian plays a critical role in preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease. Local veterinarians can develop herd health programs to fit specific ranch needs. Establish a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

  • veterinarian responsible for herd health care
  • follow veterinarian’s treatment and drug withdrawal instructions
  • veterinarian familiar with animals on farm
  • veterinarian available for follow-up visits Veterinarians can assist with
  • vaccination program development and implementation
  • parasite control program development and implementation
  • calving difficulty
  • injured or ill animal care
  • Breeding Soundness Evaluations
  • pregnancy diagnosis
  • disease monitoring program certifications
  • necropsies

Importance of Cattle Health

Cattle are susceptible to health problems

  • infectious diseases, metabolic disorders, toxins, parasites, dystocia, injury
  • control programs help maintain healthy herds

Health problems cause economic losses

  • increased medication costs
  • reduced performance
  • lower product value
  • death losses

Health Terms

Extra-label use: giving a drug or other substance in a way that is not printed on the label

Metaphylaxis: administration of an antimicrobial product to an animal at high risk of developing a bacterial disease before clinical signs are present

Necropsy: a post-mortem examination performed on cattle; also referred to as posting

Pathogen: an infectious microorganism such as a bacterium, fungi, or virus that causes disease in its animal host

Persistently infected (PI): an animal that persistently harbors a pathogen for long periods of time, and may shed the pathogen in urine, feces, milk, or respiratory secretions. Example: BVD-PI = cattle persistently-infected with Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus.

Withdrawal period: interval between the time of last administration of a drug or vaccine and the time when the animal can be harvested for food or the milk can be safely consumed

Biological Risk Management (Biosecurity)

Top

Biosecurity is the overall process of awareness education, evaluation, and management of risk of infectious diseases entering or spreading through an animal facility.

  • Designed to improve disease control and minimize risk
  • Easy and inexpensive to implement
  • Operation specific

Plan development steps

  • Evaluate facility/operation
  • Identify challenges
  • Tailor management plan
  • Prioritize control measures

General disease prevention steps

  • Limit herd contact with other animals
  • Maintain effective fences
  • Establish biosecurity protocols for delivery vehicles and personnel
  • Lock gates
  • Isolate ill animals immediately
  • Quarantine newly introduced animals
  • Determine isolation time with veterinarian
  • Test for key diseases before placing with rest of herd

Vaccines

Top

  • Available for many diseases
  • Not all diseases are a routine threat
  • Some vaccines not sufficiently effective to justify their use
  • Every operation has unique vaccination requirements based on individual herd goals
  • Properly store and administer vaccines
  • Consult a veterinarian for appropriate vaccine selection and use instructions

Vaccine Label Claims

“Aid in disease control”: shown to alleviate disease severity, reduce disease duration, or delay disease onset

“Aid in disease prevention”: shown to prevent disease in vaccinated and challenged animals by a clinically significant amount

“Prevention of disease”: shown to be highly effective in preventing clinical disease in vaccinated and challenged animals; estimate of efficacy must be at least 80%

“Prevention of infection”: able to prevent all colonization or replication of the challenge organism in vaccinated and challenged animals “Other”: having beneficial effects other than direct disease control, such as control of disease through reduction of pathogen shedding

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Vaccine Types

Advantages

Disadvantages

Killed Vaccines (KV) and Toxoids

Available for many diseases

No risk of the vaccine organism spreading between animals

Minimal risk of causing abortion

No on-farm mixing required

More likely to cause allergic reactions and post-vaccination lumps

Two initial doses required

Slower onset of immunity

Immunity is usually not as strong or long-lasting when compared to MLV products

Usually more expensive than MLV

products

Modified-Live Vaccines (MLV)

One initial dose may be sufficient, but boosters are sometimes required

Stimulate more rapid, stronger, and longer-lasting immunity than KV products

Less likely to cause allergic reactions and postvaccination lumps

Usually less expensive than KV products

Risk of causing abortion or transient infertility, therefore should generally be administered 6 to 8 weeks prior to breeding season

Must be mixed on-farm and used within about 30 minutes

Chemically Altered Vaccines

Many of the advantages of MLV products

Safety is similar to killed vaccines

Minimal risk of causing abortion

Two initial doses required

Slower onset of immunity than MLV product

Immunity is usually not as strong or long-lasting when compared to MLV products

Often more costly than MLV products

Must be mixed on-farm and used within about 30 minutes

Adapted from D. M. Gimenez et al. Alabama Beef Cattle Pocket Guide. 2008. ANR-1323. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Auburn, AL

Cattle Diseases

Top

Disease

Cause

Signs

Management1

Anaplasmosis (Yellow bag, Yellow fever)

Blood parasite (Anaplasma species); blood transmission (needles, biting insects)

Anemia, abortion, weight loss, bull infertility, death; signs more severe in older cattle

Vaccination, insect control, chlortetracycline feeding, oxytetracycline injections

Blackleg (Clostridial disease)

Bacterial infection: Clostridium species; contaminated feed ingestion

Depression, swelling and lameness of affected limb(s), perception of air under skin, death; affects cattle 6 months to 2 years old

Vaccination, proper carcass disposal of animals dead from blackleg

Bovine leukosis

Viral infection: bovine leucosis virus (BLV); blood-borne

Malignant tumors (lymphosarcomas), eye protrusion, lymph node enlargement, weight loss, hind limb paralysis, infertility

Change needles and palpation sleeves between animals, avoid feeding milk or colostrum from infected cows

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD)

Viral infection: IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis, Rednose), PI3 (Parainfluenza-3), BVD (Bovine Virus Diarrhea), BRSV (Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus); Bacterial infection: Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, Histophilus somnus

Nasal/eye discharge, coughing, fever, depressed appetite, breathing difficulty and noise, rapid breathing, depression, droopy ears

Minimize stress, adequate nutrition, internal parasite control, vaccination (preconditioning), minimize exposure to diseased and unfamiliar cattle

Brucellosis (Bangs)

Bacterial infection: Brucella abortus; consuming or licking contaminated forage, calves, or fetuses

Late-term abortions, retained placentas, weak calves

Vaccination (heifers), herd testing (certification)

Calf scours

Infectious agents: bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites, yeasts, molds; nutritional shortcomings, inadequate newborn environment

Diarrhea, dehydration, acidosis

Proper nutrition during gestation, good calving management

Campylobacteriosis (Vibrio)

Bacterial infection: Campylobacter fetus; sexual transmission from bull prepuce

Infertility, endometritis, rare late term abortions

Vaccination, use virgin bulls, test older herd sires, use artificial insemination

Johne’s disease

Bacterial infection: Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis; spread through feces

Profuse, persistent diarrhea; chronic weight loss despite normal appetite; typically seen in cattle >2 years old

Herd testing; biosecurity; culling; reduce fecal contamination of udders, water, feed

Leptospirosis

Bacterial infection: Leptospira interrogans; contaminated feed and water

Infertility, stillbirths, late-term abortions

Vaccination; clean water source; reduce contact with rodents, dogs, wildlife

Pinkeye (Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis, IBK)

Bacterial infection: Moraxella bovis; spread by face flies, direct contact

Excessive tearing, light avoidance, squinting, eye ulceration, depressed appetite, weight loss

Control flies, remove eye irritants (pasture clipping, hazard removal), vaccination

Trichomoniasis (Trich)

Protozoan infection: Tritrichomonas foetus; sexual transmission from bull prepuce

Repeat breeders, embryonic death, early-term abortion

Use virgin or tested bulls, use AI, cull or rest infected cows

Tuberculosis (TB)

Bacterial infection: Mycobacterium bovis; spread via coughing, sneezing, milk, feces, inhalation or ingestion

Lung and lymph node lesions, weight loss, coughing, difficult breathing, death

Surveillance, herd testing (certification)

1Consult a veterinarian for disease diagnosis and treatment advice.

Parasites

Top

Internal Parasites

Major internal parasites of cattle

  • brown stomach worm (Ostertagia)
  • coccidia (intestinal protozoa)
  • liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) Effects of internal parasites on cattle
  • disease (clinical or subclinical)
  • lower growth, milking, or reproductive performance
  • reduced appetite and intake
  • tissue damage, protein loss, tissue fluid loss
  • anemia (iron deficiency)
  • impaired immune function

External Parasites

Major external parasites of cattle

  • flies (horn, stable, face, horse, deer)
  • lice
  • grubs (warbles)
  • ticks

Effects of external parasites on cattle

  • disease spread
  • reduced performance (growth, milk, reproduction)
  • hide damage
  • anemia (iron deficiency)

Identifying Sick or Injured Cattle

Top

Proper and timely ID

  • minimize unnecessary treatment
  • prevent current and future production losses

Signs of illness

  • elevated body temperature
  • depressed appetite
  • drooping head and ears
  • lagging behind herd
  • difficult breathing
  • coughing
  • eye/nasal discharge
  • bloody or mucous tinged diarrhea Signs of injuries
  • lameness
  • reluctance to move
  • inability to stand or walk
  • appetite changes
  • tissue swelling
  • lacerations (cuts)
  • bruises
  • behavioral changes

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Marketing Code of Ethics

Top

I will only participate in marketing cattle that:

  • Do not pose a known public health threat
  • Have cleared proper withdrawal times
  • Do not have a terminal condition (including advanced lymphosarcoma, septicemia, etc.)
  • Are not disabled
  • Are not severely emaciated
  • Do not have uterine/ vaginal prolapses with visible fetal membrane
  • Do not have advanced eye lesions
  • Do not have advance Lumpy Jaw Furthermore, I will:
  • Do everything possible to humanely gather, handle, and transport cattle in accordance with accepted animal husbandry practices

Finally, I will:

  • Humanely euthanize cattle when necessary to prevent suffering and to protect public health.

Mississippi BQA Program

  • Purpose: to identify areas in beef production where defects in quality occur and provide guidelines for improvement
  • Certification available at msucares.com/livestock/beef/bqa

Cow Evaluation Checklist

Use to make culling or treatment decisions

  • Pregnancy—Perform yearly; cull open cows.
  • Eyes—Bovine Ocular Neoplasia or “cancer eye” is a common cause of cow carcass condemnation. It can rapidly become severe (resulting in blindness) and spread to other body parts (leading to carcass condemnation).
  • Mouth—Must have adequate teeth to harvest forage for body condition maintenance and milk production to support calf growth.
  • Feet and legs—Lame cows have difficulty grazing and walking to feed bunks or water. As a result, they lose body condition, wean poor calves, and do not rebreed.
  • Udder—A good udder is needed to produce sufficient milk to raise a good calf. Look for “blind quarters” (quarters that are not producing milk) and “bottle teats” (teats that are large and difficult to nurse).
  • Body condition—Thin cows have trouble rebreeding and bruise more easily.
  • Disposition—Cows with bad dispositions often produce excitable calves that do not gain as well and may produce undesirable “dark cutting” meat. They can also make cattle handling difficult and dangerous.

Needle Selection Guide

Needle Dimension

Route of Administration

Subcutaneous (SubQ)

Intramuscular (IM)

Cattle Weight, lb

<300

300 to 700

>700

<300

300 to 700

>700

Gauge1

18

16 to 18

16

18

16 to 18

16 to 18

Length, inches

½ to ⅝

½ to ⅝

½ to ⅝

¾ to 1

¾ to 1

¾ to 1

1Gauge indicates needle diameter. Needle size decreases as gauge increases.

Adapted from D. M. Gimenez et al. Alabama Beef Cattle Pocket Guide. 2008. ANR-1323. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Auburn, AL.

  • Select the smallest practical needle size that fits cattle size without bending
  • Do not use a contaminated, bent, burred, or dull needle
  • Do not share needles among cattle with known blood-borne infectious disease

Acceptable Injection Sites for Cattle

Outline of a cow with a triangular area in front of the shoulder highlighted to show the proper injection sites.
Dark area: Subcutaneous (under the skin)
Light area: Intramuscular (in the muscle)

 

  • Properly restrain cattle before injecting
  • Select appropriate needle size
  • Check for proper dosage before injecting
  • Keep all injections in front of shoulder
  • Never inject in buttock or top of rump
  • Inject subcutaneous when possible
  • Use tenting technique for subcutaneous injections
  • Never inject more than 10 mL (cc) per site
  • Keep injection sites at least 5 inches apart
  • Avoid injecting in wet or manure-covered areas

Dosage by Animal Body Weight1

Top

 

Dosage rate, mL/100 lb of body weight

0.9

1

1.1

1.3

1.5

1.8

2

2.3

3

3.4

4

4.5

5

5.7

6

Animal weight, lb

Body weight per 1 mL dose, lb

110

100

90.9

75

66.7

55

50

43.5

33.3

29.4

25

22

20

17.5

16.7

Dose volume, mL

300

2.7

3

3.3

4

4.5

5.5

6

6.9

9

10.2

12

13.5

15

17.1

18

350

3.2

3.5

3.9

4.7

5.3

6.4

7

8.1

10.5

11.9

14

15.8

17.5

20

21

400

3.6

4

4.4

5.3

6

7.3

8

9.2

12

13.6

16

18

20

22.8

24

450

4.1

4.5

5.0

6.0

6.8

8.2

9

10.4

13.5

15.3

18

20.3

22.5

25.7

27

500

4.6

5

5.5

6.7

7.5

9.1

10

11.5

15

17

20

22.5

25

28.5

30

550

5

5.5

6.1

7.3

8.3

10

11

12.7

16.5

18.7

22

24.8

27.5

31.4

33

600

5.5

6

6.6

8.0

9

10.9

12

13.8

18

20.4

24

27

30

34.2

36

650

5.9

6.5

7.2

8.7

9.8

11.8

13

15

19.5

22.1

26

29.3

32.5

37.1

39

700

6.4

7

7.7

9.3

10.5

12.7

14

16.1

21

23.8

28

31.5

35

39.9

42

750

6.8

7.5

8.3

10.0

11.3

13.6

15

17.3

22.5

25.5

30

33.8

37.5

42.8

45

800

7.3

8

8.8

10.7

12

14.6

16

18.4

24

27.2

32

36

40

45.6

48

850

7.7

8.5

9.4

11.3

12.8

15.5

17

19.6

25.5

28.9

34

38.3

42.5

48.5

51

900

8.2

9

9.9

12.0

13.5

16.4

18

20.7

27

30.6

36

40.5

45

51.3

54

950

8.6

9.5

10.5

12.7

14.3

17.3

19

21.9

28.5

32.3

38

42.8

47.5

54.2

57

1,000

9.1

10

11

13.3

15

18.2

20

23

30

34

40

45

50

57

60

1,100

10

11

12.1

14.7

16.5

20

22

25.3

33

37.4

44

49.5

55

62.7

66

1,200

10.9

12

13.2

16.0

18

21.8

24

27.6

36

40.8

48

54

60

68.4

72

1,300

11.8

13

14.3

17.3

19.5

23.6

26

29.9

39

44.2

52

58.5

65

74.1

78

1,400

12.7

14

15.4

18.7

21

25.5

28

32.2

42

47.6

56

63

70

79.8

84

1,500

13.6

15

16.5

20.0

22.5

27.3

30

34.5

45

51

60

67.5

75

85.5

90

1,600

14.6

16

17.6

21.3

24

29.1

32

36.8

48

54.4

64

72

80

91.2

96

1,700

15.5

17

18.7

22.7

25.5

30.9

34

39.1

51

57.8

68

76.5

85

96.9

102

1,800

16.4

18

19.8

24.0

27

32.7

36

41.4

54

61.2

72

81

90

102.6

108

1,900

17.3

19

20.9

25.3

28.5

34.6

38

43.7

57

64.6

76

85.5

95

108.3

114

2,000

18.2

20

22

26.7

30

36.4

40

46

60

68

80

90

100

114

120

1Read product label for dosing instructions; 1 mL = 1 cc; Dose volumes rounded to the nearest 0.1 mL; Do not inject more than 10 mL per injection site.

Diagnostic Labs

Top

CVM - Diagnostic Laboratory Services

  • full-service, all species laboratory
  • provides diagnostic laboratory support to Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Center
  • serves as teaching laboratory and research and development laboratory

P.O. Box 6100, 240 Wise Center Drive Mississippi State, MS 39762
Phone: (662) 325-1104
Fax: (662) 325-4548
www.cvm.msstate.edu

MS Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Lab

  • full-service, all species laboratory
  • serves as the central reference laboratory
  • provides regulatory tests to satisfy state and federal regulatory requirements in regard to animal health and export regulations

3137 Highway 468 West
Pearl, MS 39208
Phone: (601) 420-4700
Fax: (601) 420-4719

Livestock Carcass Disposal

Top

Mississippi Board of Animal Health guidelines for disposal of livestock carcasses are as follows:

  1. Carcass(es) must be buried at a depth sufficient to prevent offensive odors, fly breeding, and unearthing by other animals, and shall be covered under at least 2 feet of compacted earth. After settling, more dirtshall be placed over surface to prevent a ponding effect.
  2. Carcass(es) shall be buried on the owner’s property, or on another’s property with specific approval of the owner, or in permitted landfills. The carcass(es) shall be buried atleast 150 feet from adjoining landowners’ property, at least 300 feet from an inhabited dwelling, or on land not in cultivation.
  3. Alternative disposal options must be approved by the State Veterinarian and/or DEQ on a case-by-case basis.
  4. In case of the disposal of large numbers of animal carcasses due to catastrophe, contact the Board of Animal Health for approval of the disposal site. A trench or pit shall be constructed in such a manner not to allow rainwater to drain and must be approved bythe State Veterinarian.
  5. www.mbah.state.ms.us

Shade, Heat, Cold, and Mud

Top

Shade

  • Reduces thermal heat load on cattle
  • Provide at least
    • 18 ft2 per head for 400-pound calves
    • 25 ft2 per head for 800-pound calves
    • 30 to 40 ft2 per head for mature cows
  • Avoid cattle crowding under limited shade
  • Minimum 10 feet high
  • Ensure adequate ventilation
  • Use at least 80% shade cloth
  • Location affects pasture utilization
  • Can develop mud problems
  • Natural, artificial (permanent or portable)

Heat Stress

  • Increases as temperature or humidity increase
  • Increases as wind speed decreases
  • Cattle more likely to get sick and die
  • Feed intake declines
  • Consider breed heat stress tolerance
  • Consider region of origin and adaptability
  • Avoid breeding during summer
  • Provide adequate water (intake increases)
  • Avoid handling cattle in extreme conditions
  • Handle cattle earlier in the day
  • Limit time cattle spend in handling facilities
  • Use shades and sprinklers
  • Avoid hauling cattle in extreme conditions
  • Avoid unnecessary stops
  • Stop only during cooler parts of the day
  • Select shaded areas for stops
  • Make stop durations as short as possible
  • Reduce trailer stocking densities
  • Handle cattle gently and patiently

Cold Stress

  • Contributors to cold stress
    • Cold temperature, wind, wet hair coat
  • Increases cattle energy requirements
  • % increase in TDN requirement per F° below lower critical temperature
    • 1% with dry winter hair coat
    • 2% with wet or summer hair coat

Mud

  • Impacts feeding behavior
    • Suction on hooves, difficult to move
  • 4 to 8 inches of mud
    • Feed intake reduced 4 to 8%
    • Average daily gain reduced 14%
  • Belly deep mud
    • Feed intake reduced 30%
  • Creates disease and health risk
    • Foot rot, scours, naval ill
    • Cattle born into or trapped in mudholes

Animal Welfare

Top

  • Ranchers are responsible for the basic requirements of animals they raise
    • access to ample feed and clean water
    • timely and appropriate veterinary care to prevent and treat disease
    • practice appropriate and efficient movement, restraint, and transport of livestock
  • Animal care and stewardship improves
    • perception
    • production

Managing Cattle Comfort

  • Adequate space
    • comfort, socialization, environmental management
  • Pasture, pen, and facilities
    • mud/dust reduction, extreme weather protection
    • safe design and sufficient maintenance/cleaning
  • Timely marketing
  • Stress reduction
  • Sufficient nutrition
  • Euthanasia considering animal welfare

Cattle Handling Techniques

Top

To reduce stress during cattle handling

  • assess cattle flow
  • use proper, maintained facilities
  • have solid footing
  • familiarize cattle with facilities
  • move cattle carefully
  • work cattle in groups
  • use point of balance concepts
  • call cattle rather than drive them
  • prevent noise and distractions
  • avoid stark lighting changes
  • remove sharp objects
  • use experienced people
  • treat cattle with respect
  • stay alert and calm
  • watch for kicks and head butts
  • limit use of prods
  • use products carefully
  • move cattle into chute easily
  • prevent backing in working chute
  • prevent turning in working chute
  • properly restrain cattle when working them

Flight Zone

  • distance cattle can be from humans and still feel comfortable
  • use to quietly move cattle

Point of Balance

  • point on shoulder
  • use to encourage cattle to go backward and forward

Shrink

Top

  • liveweight loss from feed and water deprivation and transportation
  • weight recovery takes 5 to 30 days
  • affected by transit time, transit distance, environmental conditions, cattle handling, cattle management, gut fill, frame size, gender, age, body condition
  • ~0.75% of cattle body weight will be lost per day with feed and water deprivation
  • cattle shrink ~1% per hour for the first 3 to 4 hours and then ~0.25% per hour for the next 8 to 10 hours without feed and water
  • transport increases weight loss several-fold
  • manage with preconditioning, low stress cattle handling, efficient shipping, rest during and after transit, electrolyte solutions, water

Effect of Cattle Handling on Shrink

Handling Conditions

Shrink, %

8-hour dry lot stand

3.3

16-hour dry lot stand

6.2

24-hour dry lot stand

6.6

8 hours in moving truck

5.5

16 hours in moving truck

7.9

24 hours in moving truck

8.9

Adapted from D. M. Gimenez et al. Alabama Beef Cattle Pocket Guide. 2008. ANR-1323. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Auburn, AL.

Cattle Handling Facilities

Top

Factors to consider in facilities construction

  • intended uses
  • location
  • access
  • efficiency (animals worked in a given period)
  • drainage
  • fence placement
  • utilities
  • handler and animal safety
  • neighbors
  • cost

Loading Chute Dimensions for Cattle Receiving and Shipping

Loading Chute Aspect

Dimensions

Width

26 to 30 inches

Length (minimum)

12 feet

Rise

3.5 inches per foot

Ramp height

Stock trailer

15 inches

Pickup truck

28 inches

Stock truck

40 inches

Tractor-trailer

48 inches

Double-deck trailer

100 inches

Adapted from Iowa State University. 1987. Midwest Service Plan. Beef Housing and Equipment Handbook. MWP S-6. Iowa State Univ. Ames, IA.

Size and Space Requirements for Cattle Handling Facilities

Component

Size/Space Item

Dimensions by Cattle Weight

Up to 600 lb

600 to 1,200 lb

Over 1,200 lb

Holding pen

Space per head, sq ft

14

17

20

Pen fence height, in

60

60

60

Post spacing, ft

8

8

8

Post depth in ground, in

30

30

30

Crowding pen

Space per head, sq ft

6

10

12

Post spacing, ft

4 to 6

4 to 6

4 to 6

Solid wall height, in

45

50

50 to 60

Working chute, straight sides

Width, in

18

22

28

Length, minimum ft

20

20

20

Working chute, sloped sides

Width at 4 ft height, in

20

24

28

Width inside at bottom, in

15

16

18

Minimum length, ft

20

20

20

Working chute fence

Post spacing, ft

7

7

7

Post depth in ground, in

36 to 48

36 to 48

36 to 48

Solid wall height, in

54 to 60

54 to 60

60

Top rail height for gentle cattle, in

54 to 60

60

60

Top rail height for aggressive cattle, in

60 to 72

60 to 72

60 to 72

Holding/squeeze chute

Height, in

45

50

50

Straight sides width, in

18

22

28

V-shaped sides width at bottom, in

6 to 8

8 to 12

14 to 16

Length including head gate, ft

5

5 to 8

5 to 8

Loading chute

Width, in

26

26

26 to 30

Minimum length, ft

12

12

12

Maximum rise, in/ft

3.5

3.5

3.5

Spacing of 1-in x 2-in cleats, in

8

8

8

Trailer ramp height

15

15

15

Pickup truck ramp height

28

28

28

Large truck ramp height

40

40

40

Tractor-trailer ramp height

48

48

48

Double-deck trailer ramp height

100

100

100

Adapted from J. R. Bicudo et al. 2002.Cattle Handling Facilities: Planning, Components, & Layouts. Univ. KY, Coop. Ext. Serv., Lexington, KY.

Cattle Transportation

Top

Before traveling with cattle

  • obtain necessary paperwork
  • carefully plan the route
  • make sure cattle are standing During the trip
  • make gentle turns
  • gently accelerate and brake
  • avoid heavy traffic
  • check cattle periodically
  • minimize stops

Cattle Loading and Unloading

Use low-stress handling techniques

  • allow cattle to flow onto trailer Use proper facilities

Sort into loading groups

  • size, sex, horns, source
  • load heavy cattle towards front Load at edge of operation

Make sure cattle are fit to load

  • physically sound, adequate health
  • adhere to product withdrawal times
  • no late gestation females

Maximum Recommended Number of Cattle for Various Trailer Dimensions1

Trailer Size, ft

Cattle weight under, lb

Load weight, lb

Length

Width

400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

1100

1200

1300

1400

1500

1600

Max2

14

6

16

13

11

9

8

7

6

6

5

5

5

4

4

<6,500

16

6

18

15

12

11

9

8

7

7

6

6

5

5

5

<7,400

18

6

21

17

14

12

10

9

8

8

7

6

6

6

5

<8,400

20

6

23

18

15

13

12

10

9

8

8

7

7

6

6

<9,300

22

6

25

20

17

15

13

11

10

9

8

8

7

7

6

<10,200

24

6

28

22

18

16

14

12

11

10

9

9

8

7

7

<11,100

26

6

30

24

20

17

15

13

12

11

10

9

9

8

8

<12,000

28

6

32

26

22

18

16

14

13

12

11

10

9

9

8

<13,000

30

6

35

28

23

20

17

15

14

13

12

11

10

9

9

<13,900

32

6

37

30

25

21

18

16

15

13

12

11

11

10

9

<14,800

34

6

39

31

26

22

20

17

16

14

13

12

11

10

10

<15,700

20

7

27

22

18

15

13

12

11

10

9

8

8

7

7

<10,800

22

7

30

24

20

17

15

13

12

11

10

9

8

8

7

<11,900

24

7

32

26

22

18

16

14

13

12

11

10

9

9

8

<13,000

26

7

35

28

23

20

18

16

14

13

12

11

10

9

9

<14,000

28

7

38

30

25

22

19

17

15

14

13

12

11

10

9

<15,100

30

7

40

32

27

23

20

18

16

15

13

12

12

11

10

<16,200

32

7

43

34

29

25

22

19

17

16

14

13

12

11

11

<17,300

34

7

46

37

31

26

23

20

18

17

15

14

13

12

11

<18,400

1Reduce trailer stocking density by 5 percent for cattle with horns, and reduce the number of head loaded during hot conditions.
2The maximum weight of cattle for each trailer size with these calculations. Do not exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for the truck and trailer.
Adapted from NCBA. Stock Trailer Transportation of Cattle.

Fences

Top

Comparison of Common Fences

Type

Strands

Wire Gauge

Height, inches

Stay Spacing, inches

Cost Index1

Fence Life2, years

Upkeep

Barbed wire, 2-point

3

12 ½

 

4

132

33

high

4

12 ½

 

4

143

33

high

5

12 ½

 

4

154

33

high

3

14

 

4

121

18

high

Barbed wire, 4-point

3

12 ½

 

5

132

33

high

4

12 ½

 

5

143

33

high

5

12 ½

 

5

154

33

high

Woven wire, light weight

top, bottom

11

26

6

154

19

high

filler

14 ½

32

6

165

19

high

Woven-wire, medium weight

top, bottom

10

26

6

176

30

medium

filler

12 ½

32

6

187

30

medium

filler

12 ½

39

6

198

30

medium

filler

12 ½

47

6

220

30

medium

Woven-wire, heavy weight

top, bottom

9

26

6

209

40

low

 

filler

11

32

6

231

40

low

 

filler

11

39

6

253

40

low

 

filler

11

47

6

275

40

low

High tensile wire, permanent

3

12 ½

 

 

44

30

medium

 

4

12 ½

 

 

55

30

medium

 

5

12 ½

 

 

66

30

medium

 

8

12 ½

 

 

110

30

medium

High tensile wire, temporary

2

12 ½

 

 

20 to 35

30

medium

 

1

12 ½

 

 

15 to 25

30

medium

Polywire

 

 

 

 

10 to 15

7 to 10

medium

Aluminum wire

 

9

 

 

30 to 40

30

medium

 

 

13

 

 

25 to 35

30

medium

1Labor costs are included, but costs of electric controllers are not included. One post per 16 feet.
2Fence life based on combination of post and wire life expectancy in a humid climate.
Adapted from Buschermohle et al., EP-10-95, University of Tennessee Extension, Knoxville, TN.

Life Expectancy in Years of Wood Posts

Wood Type

Untreated

Pressure Treated

Soak Treated

Osage orange

25 to 35

---

---

Red cedar

15 to 25

20 to 25

20 to 25

Black locust

15 to 25

---

---

White oak

5 to 10

20 to 30

15 to 30

Hickory

2 to 6

15 to 20

10 to 15

Red oak

2 to 6

20 to 30

20 to 30

Yellow poplar

2 to 6

20 to 25

15 to 25

Sweet gum

3 to 6

20 to 30

20 to 30

Southern pine

3 to 7

25 to 30

15 to 20

Adapted from Buschermohle et al., EP-10-95, University of Tennessee Extension, Knoxville, TN.

Post Spacing for Cattle Fences

Fence Type

Post Spacing1, feet

Woven wire

12 to 14

Barbed wire

12 to 14

Electric2

20 to 75

High tensile2

16 to 60

Board

8

Corrals

6

1Driven posts are 1.7 times as strong as tamped posts. 2Post spacing depends upon terrain. Use battens (stays or droppers).
Adapted from Buschermohle et al., EP-10-95, University of Tennessee Extension, Knoxville, TN.

Fence Post Characteristics

Post Type

Strength

Expected Life

Initial Cost

Fire Resistance

Maintenance

Steel-T, concrete

fair

25 to 30 years

medium

good

low

Steel rod, ⅜” diameter

poor

15 to 20 years

low

good

medium

Heavy-duty fiberglass-T

fair (flexible)

25 to 30 years

high

poor

low

Light-duty fiberglass-T

poor (flexible)

15 to 20 years

low

poor

medium

Pressure-treated wood

good

30 to 35 years

medium

poor

very low

Untreated wood

good

7 to 15 years

low

poor

high

Wire Spacing for Cattle Fences

Cattle Type

Distance from Ground for Wire Number, Inches

Wire 1

Wire 2

Wire 3

Wire 4

Wire 5

Cows

30

 

 

 

 

Cow and calves

17

38

 

 

 

Hard-to-hold cattle

17

27

38

 

 

Boundary fence

5

10

17

27

38

Adapted from Buschermohle et al., EP-10-95, University of Tennessee Extension, Knoxville, TN.

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Top

  • Gulf Coast hurricane season: June 1 to November 30
  • ensure that cattle are uniquely and permanently identified
  • keep good records and photos of cattle
  • maintain appropriate insurance
  • keep cattle current on vaccinations
  • make sure trailers are in good repair
  • keep fences and facilities in good repair
  • gather cattle feed and health supplies
  • put emergency supplies in a secure location
  • cover sharp edges of equipment with hay bales or other “padding”
  • secure loose items to minimize airborne hazards (fill troughs with water)
  • protect feed/hay supplies from water damage
  • place liquid fuel and other chemicals in secure locations
  • evacuate cattle when possible
  • turn cattle loose in pastures with high ground and adequate drinking water
  • do not compromise human safety by checking on livestock during a storm
  • beware of hazards after a storm
  • inventory/inspect/treat cattle after a storm
  • ensure safe water and feed supplies

Beef Carcass Primal (Wholesale) Cuts

Top

Beef wholesale cuts are chuck, shank, brisket, rib, short plate, loin, sirloin, flank, and round.

Live Weight

  • Weight of the animal just prior to harvest

Hot Carcass Weight

  • Weight of the carcass after removal of the hide, head, feet, and internal organs

Dressing Percentage

Animal

Factor

Typical Dressing Percentage

Market (cull) cow

Small amount of muscle/fat

47 to 50

Grass-fed/ short-fed steer

Small amount of fat

58 to 62

Typical YG3 feedlot steer

Mostly fat

62 to 64

Overly fat/ double-muscled steer

Great amount of muscle/fat

63 to 67

Bulls

Great amount of muscle

65 to 69

Dressing % = hot carcass wt/live wt x 100

  • measure of beef carcass yield

Beef Carcass Yield Grade

Top

  • classifies carcasses for differences in cutability or yield of boneless, closely trimmed retail cuts (BCTRC) from round, loin, rib, and chuck
  • numbered 1 (greatest cutability) to 5 (least cutability) and rounded to nearest tenth

Yield Grade = 2.50 + (2.5 x adjusted fat thickness, inches) + (0.2 x percentage kidney, pelvic and heart fat) + (0.0038 x hot carcass weight, pounds) – (0.32 x area of ribeye, square inches)

Relative Yield of BCTRC

USDA Yield Grade

Percentage of BCTRC

1.0 to 1.9

54.6 to 52.6

2.0 to 2.9

52.3 to 50.3

3.0 to 3.9

50.0 to 48.0

4.0 to 4.9

47.7 to 45.7

5.0 to 5.9

45.4 to 43.4

Factors Affecting Beef Carcass Yield Grade

Trait

Change in Trait

Resulting Yield Grade Change

Fat thickness

Increase

Increase

Percentage kidney, pelvic, and heart fat

Increase

Increase

Carcass weight

Increase

Increase

Ribeye area

Increase

Decrease

Beef Carcass Quality Grade

Top

  • determination of the eating quality of meat from a beef carcass
  • determined by evaluating carcass maturity and marbling
  • maturity
    • chronological age of animal
    • determined by evaluation of exposed bony cartilage and lean texture of carcass, not by birth records or actual age
    • connective tissue increases as animal ages
  • marbling
    • little flecks of fat within muscle
    • intramuscular fat
    • determined by trained grader or instrument
    • improves eating quality by improving flavor, juiciness, and somewhat tenderness

USDA Maturity Scores by Cattle Age

Maturity Score

Approximate Cattle Age

A

9 to 30 months (2½ years)

B

30 to 42 months (2½ to 3½ years)

C

42 to 72 months (3½ to 6 years)

D

72 to 96 months (6 to 8 years)

E

older than 96 months (> 8 years)

Standard Measurements

Top

Length (linear measure)

1 ft = 0.3048 m = 30.48 cm = 304.8 mm

1 ft = 12 in

1 in = 0.0254 m = 2.54 cm = 25.4 mm

1 yard = 3 ft = 0.9144 m = 91.44 cm = 915.4 mm

1 m = 39.37 in = 3.2808 ft = 1.0936 yards

1 cm = 0.3937 in

1 mm = 0.03937 in

1 km = 3280.84 ft = 1093.61 yards = 0.62137 mile

1 mile = 1.609344 km = 5,280 ft = 1,760 yards

1 mile = 8 furlongs = 320 rods

1 furlong = 0.125 mile

1 rod = 16.5 ft

1 hand (equine) = 4 in = 10.16 cm

Surface (area)

1 sq ft = 144 sq in 1 sq yard = 9 sq ft

1 sq rod = 30.25 sq yards = 272.25 sq ft

1 acre = 160 sq rods = 1 rod wide & 0.5 mile long 1 acre = 43,560 sq ft = 0.4047 hectares

1 hectare = 107,639 sq ft = 2.4711 acres

1 sq acre = 208.71 ft wide & 208.71 ft long

½ sq acre = 147.58 ft wide & 147.58 ft long

¼ sq acre = 104.355 ft wide & 104.355 ft long 1 circular acre = 235.504 ft in diameter

U. S. Government Land Measures

1 township = 36 sections

1 section = 640 acres = 1 sq mile

¼ section = 160 acres = ½ mile long & wide

⅛ section = 80 acres = ½ mile long & ¼ mile wide

⅟₁₆ section = 40 acres = ¼ mile long & wide

Surveyors’ Measures

1 link = 7.92 in

1 rod = 25 links

1 chain = 4 rods = 66 ft

1 acre = 10 sq chains

1 mile = 80 chains

Cubic Measure (volume)

1 cubic ft = 1,728 cubic in 1 cubic yard = 27 cubic ft

1 board ft = 1 in x 12 in x 12 in 1 cord (wood) = 128 cubic ft

1 bushel grain or shelled corn = 1.25 cubic ft 1 cubic ft grain or shelled corn = 0.8 bushels 1 bushel ear corn = 2.5 cubic ft

1 cubic ft ear corn = 0.4 bushels

1 cubic yard concrete = 81 sq ft for a 4-in floor 1 cubic yard concrete = 54 sq ft for a 6-in floor

Dry Measure

1 quart = 2 pints

1 bushel = 32 quarts

Liquid Measure

1 cup = 8 fluid oz = 16 tablespoons = 0.2366 L

1 pint = 2 cups = 16 fluid oz = 0.4732 L

1 quart = 2 pints = 32 fluid oz = 0.9464 L

1 gallon = 4 quarts = 128 fluid oz = 3.7854 L 1 gallon = 0.1337 cubic ft = 231 cubic in

1 cubic ft = 7.48 gallons

1 barrel = 32 ½ gallons

1 U.S. gallon = 0.8327 imperial gallons (British) 1 imperial gallon (British) = 1.201 U.S. gallons 1 gallon water (20°C) = 8.33 lb

1 ft of water (4°C) = 0.4335 lb per sq in 1 cubic ft = 62.427 lb of water (4°C)

1 teaspoon = 0.17 fluid oz = ⅟₆ oz 1 tablespoon = ½ oz = 3 teaspoons 1 fluid oz = 2 tablespoons

Acre in of water = 27,154 gallons = 3,360 cubic ft

Weight

1 gram = 15.43 grains = 1,000 mg

1 oz = 28.35 grams = 437.5 grains

1 lb = 16 oz = 454 grams = 7,000 grains

1 kg = 1,000 grams = 2.205 lb

1 cwt = 100 lb

1 ton = 2,000 lb

1 ton (long) = 2,240 lb = 1.016 metric tons

Yield or Rate

1 ton (U.S.)/acre = 2.2417 tonne (metric)/hectare 1 tonne (metric)/hectare = 0.4461 ton (U.S.)/acre 1 lb/acre = 1.1209 kg/ha

Calculations

Diameter of a circle = circumference x 0.31831

Circumference of a circle = diameter x 3.1416

Area of a circle = diameter x diameter x 0.7854

Surface of a ball = diameter x diameter x 3.1416

Doubling the diameter of a pipe increases its capacity 4 times

Degrees Fahrenheit = (1.8 x degrees C) +32 Degrees Centigrade = (degrees F – 32) x 0.56

Metrix Prefixes

mega = 1,000,000

kilo = 1,000

hecto = 100

deca = 10

basic metric unit = 1 deci = 0.1 = 1/10 centi = 0.01 = 1/100

milli = 0.001 = 1/1,000

micro = 0.000001 = 1/1,000,000

Adapted from D. Hofstrand. 2007. Agricultural Measurements and Conversions. File C6-84. Iowa State University Extension. Ames, IA.

Information Resources

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MSU Extension Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences

MSU Extension Beef Cattle Website

Mississippi Beef Cattle Improvement Association

MSU Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences

MSU College of Veterinary Medicine

Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association

Mississippi Beef Council

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation

Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce

Mississippi Board of Animal Health

Animal Disaster Hotline: 888-722-3106

Mississippi Market Bulletin

Mississippi Coliseum and Fair Grounds

Mississippi Commodity Feed Directory

Mississippi Hay Directory

Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory

Mississippi Agricultural Statistics Service

USDA Memphis Weekly Feed Report

USDA Southeast Weekly Hay Report

Beef Improvement Federation

National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium

Ultrasound Guidelines Council


Publication 2714 (11-22)

By Jane A. Parish, PhD, Professor and Head, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, and Brandi B. Karisch, Associate Extension/Research Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences.

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Authors

Portrait of Dr. Jane Parish
Professor & Head & Int Head
Beef cattle
Portrait of Dr. Brandi Bourg Karisch
Assoc Extension/Research Prof
Beef Cattle, Nutrition, Management, Health

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