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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 14 May 2014

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Wednesday 14th May 2014.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley

Novus International

MSD Animal Health

How to Keep Feedlots Efficient

Maximising cattle performance as they progress through feedlots relies heavily on feed efficiency, which can be tinkered with at any level.

This is according to expert advice which states that feed efficiency remains a top priority in the beef sector, accounting for over 70 per cent of costs. 

After working with ranchers for over 20 years, Nebraska feedlot owner Tom Williams has outlined seven steps to set up youngstock for an efficient feedlot phase.

Firstly, Mr Williams insists to look as far back as the pregnant dam.

“Management of the pregnant cow has lasting impacts on her calf through the feedlot and ultimately on end-product merit,” says Mr Williams, citing a University of Nebraska study which found that supplemented cows reared steers that would go on to produce better, both for quantity and quality.

The next step is ensuring calf health. A 62,000 calf survey in Iowa linked lung adhesions to reduced feedlot performance and carcass traits.

“Quality and quantity of colostrum intake during the first few hours after birth have a tremendous influence on long term calf health,” adds Mr Williams.

Two other major factors on the list were genetics and vaccination.

Mr Williams maintains that, while all management steps can save money, quality of progeny is a huge enabler or limitation on stock performance.

As for vaccinating, pasteurella control results in hugely improved mortality figures.

“We’ve found calves that have received two rounds of modified live vaccine within six weeks prior to arrival at the feedlot have nearly zero death loss,” adds Mr Williams.

And in addition to many dos, feeders have been reminded of something to avoid – muddy feedlots.

More of a seasonal problem, mud makes it harder for cattle to walk, maintain constant body temperature and also rest, dramatically decreasing efficiency.

This is according to Kansas State University feedlot expert Dr Chris Reinhardt who warns that mounds and slopes should be prepared and pen space per animal almost trebled to reduce mud build-up.

“Slogging through a muddy pen increases the amount of energy cattle expend, thus reducing the amount of energy left for gain,” explains Dr Reinhardt.

“Mud on the hide reduces the insulation effects of the hair coat, increasing cold stress.

“Muddy lots in a feed yard make lying down to rest uncomfortable, resulting in more time spent standing, increasing energy expenditure.”

The exact impact depends on mud depth and temperature. A National Research Council study observed up to a 15 per cent feed intake reduction when mud was four to eight inches deep.

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This Week's Articles and Analysis

Pinkeye in Cattle: Treatment, Prevention and Control
Medical solutions are available for Pinkeye, but management can stop the condition becoming a problem on your farm, says the Mississippi State Extension Service.

Beef Marbling: Maternal Cows Work
It may be easier to explain away why you don’t have marbling in the herd than it is to get it, writes Miranda Reiman for Certified Angus Beef Brand.

Check Bull Fertility Before the Breeding Season
It won’t be long until breeding season for herds that calve in the spring, and it is never too late to start planning, advises University of Arkansas Professor and veterinarian, Jeremy Powell.

Lameness in Cattle Part Two: Causes Associated with Injury
In this second installment, South Dakota veterinarian Russ Daly turns his attention away from infection driven lameness and towards injuries.

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New Grassland Plants Make Recommended List
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Wyckoff's Weekly Cattle Outlook: Markets to Go Sideways to Higher
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US Pork, Beef Exports Increase Pace in March
Cattle Futures: Live and Feeder Market With Bulls, Thursday
Retail Meat Prices to Be Higher for Barbecue Season
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Cattle Futures: Bulls Looking to Secure Prices of $140, Tuesday


New Zealand, US File Disputes against Indonesia on Agricultural Imports
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Cargill Completes Expansion of Animal Feed Plant in Central Viet Nam


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Italian Beef Price Drop Hits in April
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Danish Crown Beef Announces Change at the Top


Joint Action Needed to Tackle Massive Global Food Losses

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Tapping into the Benefits of Net Feed Efficiency


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