Wednesday, January 12, 2011
An informational forum on agricultural drainage will be held on Jan. 26 at the Swiftel Center in Brookings. The one-day event costs $30 per person for those who preregister or $40 for walk-ins at the door, which includes lunch. Seating will be limited, so pre-registration is highly encouraged to ensure that you have a seat. To register, contact the Brown County Extension office at 605-626-7120 or e-mail the office at this address: Brown.County@sdstate.edu. The forum will be an all-day event beginning at 8 a.m. and ending by 5 p.m. Topics will include drainage fundamentals; permitting, legal, and wetlands issues; drainage impacts on hydrology and water quality; climate impacts on drainage; and conservation drainage practices. For convenience, an online registration form that participants can fill out and submit electronically is available at this link:
http://www.sdstate.edu/sdces/districts/north/1/agronomy.cfm. The link takes you to an SDSU webpage, and there, click on the “Tri-State Drainage Forum Registration” choice to pull up the form. Participants can make payment at the door by cash or check. The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service, North Dakota State University Extension Service, and University of Minnesota Extension collaborated to make the forum possible. The forum is intended for farmers, contractors, government agency staff, consultants, industry, land and water resource managers, and others interested in learning more about agricultural drainage issues. Extension Water Management Engineer Chris Hay said that with the flooding and wet conditions over the past few years, many producers are considering subsurface drainage. “For producers considering drainage improvements and others interested in agricultural drainage, this will be an opportunity to learn more about drainage basics, permitting, and some of the issues associated with drainage,” said Hay. Call Hay for more information at 605-688-5610 or e-mail him at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snow and high winds are a bad combination for previously unstressed calves waiting to be shipped or put on winter feed rations. South Dakota State University Extension Range Livestock Production Specialist Eric Mousel said that to protect calves from the onset of respiratory problems, it’s advisable to keep livestock dry and out of the wind as best as possible. Although many herds remain out on winter range and pasture with little protection from the wind, moving livestock into protected areas as soon as possible may reduce potential problems. Colder temperatures also raise nutrient requirements of both cows and calves. Extra, high quality feed may be necessary to help livestock maintain their core body temperatures and keep the immune system functioning properly. Calves that are showing signs of respiratory problems should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. The sooner calves are treated after showing signs of sickness, the more effective the treatment will be. Continuous use of antibiotics as a preventative treatment for respiratory problems is discouraged as drug resistance can become a problem. Another problem likely to arise following winter storm stress is bloody scours as a result of coccidiosis. Bovatec® and Deccox® are examples of feed additives that are effective against the pathogenic bovine coccidia. Deccox® however, also can be used as treatment to reduce the effects of an acute outbreak. The clinically affected animals should be treated with sulfa drugs, and then the coexistent cattle should receive Deccox® to prevent further cycling of the oocysts. Contact your veterinarian for additional treatment recommendations. “Another concern producers may be experiencing is water availability for livestock as a result of freezing temperatures, no electric service, or both,” Mousel said. “After a short adjustment period, cows will consume adequate amounts of snow to meet water requirements. Eating snow is a learned behavior rather than instinct, therefore an adjustment period is needed for the cows to learn how to eat snow. Generally it takes three days for cows to adapt to eating snow.” Cattle do well when snow is their only water source, as long as there is adequate snow present, and it is not hard or crusted over. It is important to monitor cow and snow condition on a daily or second day basis. A lack of water reduces feed intake, and cows can lose condition fairly rapidly when water is deficient. Studies in Canada have shown some cows have gone for extended periods with snow as the sole water source without significant adverse effects. But Mousel cautioned that if snow hardens and crusts over due to drifting, rain, or thawing and freezing, animals will need to be provided with an alternative source of water. Substituting snow for water is not a cure-all, but it can buy some time until conditions improve.
The fall is the time of year when a great many head of calves are weaned. While many of these young cattle are marketed immediately and sold off the farm, others are kept in the herd as replacements. One of the most time-honored traditions in building and maintaining a cow herd has been retaining and developing heifers from within the herd itself. While many heifers are required to replace cull cows which no longer have a place in the herd, additional females may be retained to build numbers. Also, quality heifer calves from outside the herd may also be purchased and developed. It is estimated that about 30 percent of the heifer calves produced in the
According to Schoonover, cow-calf producers in the
Another important aspect of replacement heifers is to have a planned health program so they can be properly immunized prior to introduction into the breeding herd. A good vaccination program for replacement heifers will help to increase reproductive efficiency. According to Hogg, there are six diseases that cause abortions and infertility in which animals should be vaccinated for: Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Vibriosis, IBR (red nose), PI3 (parainfluenza) and BVD (bovine virus diarrhea). In addition to vaccinations, worming and parasite control should also be considered. If worms are a problem in your area, it is recommended that replacement heifers be wormed 30 to 60 days prior to breeding. A veterinarian can determine the level of worm infestation by examining manure samples and will be able to prescribe an effective treatment if worms are a problem. External parasites can be controlled with sprays and pour-ons specific for the type of parasite/s the animal may have.
For further information stop by your local extension office and pick up a copy of these extension articles: Selecting and Developing Replacement Heifers, Health Program for Replacement Heifers.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
1. Analysis of your horses body condition in early fall. If your horse’s body condition is rated moderate to fleshy, he is in good condition going into winter. If ribs are showing, he will benefit from extra energy in his nutrition regime to help him put on flesh and fat to ward off the cold of winter.
2. Check your horse’s teeth. Many horses suffer from sharp teeth edges or uneven teeth that cause them difficulty in chewing feed effectively. Dental work when needed will improve horse body condition and save on wasted feed.
3. Provide internal parasite control to your horse in winter. Generally, it is recommended to do this after the first hard freeze. Be sure your deworming agent contains a boticide to control bots.
4. Provide fresh water at all times. In ice forming conditions, chop ice on water tanks at least twice a day.
5. A mature horse in a strong physical condition and in his winter coat can easily withstand cold temperature. Dangerous conditions from cold evolve when cold is combined with strong wind or cold with wet conditions. Ideally, provide your horse a wind break or a two sided roofed shelter on days where wind chill or wet conditions exist.
6. Winter is a good time, if riding time is restricted to pull shoes off your horse to allow hooves to recover from the traumas of shoeing. Continue, however, to have feet trimmed on a regular basis.
Grazing of weeds and brush by goats allows for increased grass production, which in turn, allows for more available forage for your cattle and the ability to adjust stocking rates due to more efficient pasture forage production. The differences in feeding behavior among cattle and goats uniquely fit each species to the utilization of different feeds available on a farm. Goats are browsers and typically prefer brush and forbs often referred to as weeds. Because of this preference to weeds over grass, goats can serve as a compliment to a cattle operation. According to Gipson et al, most studies indicate greater production and better pasture utilization are achieved when sheep and cattle or cattle and goats are grazed together as opposed to grazing only sheep or goats or cattle alone.
Internal parasites (stomach worms) are a major problem with goats. While cattle are more resistant to internal parasites than goats, parasites do lower gains in cattle. The parasites that infect cattle do not infect goats and those that infect goats do not infect cattle. Thus grazing both cattle and goats on the same land not only reduces the grazing pressure on the favorite forages for each species, but also reduces parasite contamination from each, making it easier to control parasites without worm medications. If worm medications are used too much, the parasites become resistant to them and the medications become less effective. Most worm medications also kill dung beetles which clean up the droppings left by cattle and goats.
The benefits from grazing both cattle and goats on the same pastures include: more meat produced per acre, less money spent for weed and internal parasite control, less adverse effects of herbicides and worm medications on the environment, and healthier livestock. For more information please contact Rebecca Schafer at Rebecca.Schafer@sdstate.edu.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The Daybreak Ranch belonging to Jim and Carol Faulstich and their daughter Jacque and her husband Adam Roth, was nominated for and won the Region VII Environmental Stewardship Award. Located in Hyde County, South Dakota, the Daybreak Ranch is a commercial cow-calf operation that manages approximately 350 cow-calf pairs on more than 5,000 acres of land. The video can also be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaT1RHilg_U or you can watch the video below. You can also read a full article from The Green Sheet Farm Forum at http://www.aberdeennews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090731/FARMFORUM/907310309/-1/farmforum
Monday, June 1, 2009
Grazing systems range from continuous all the way to a multi-pastured management intensive system. There are pros and cons for every system, but you have to decide what your goals are and do what works best for your operation. Choosing and managing forages is a key element for your operation. You not only need to have forages that meet the nutritional need of your livestock, but they need to be suited for your soils as well. It is always a good idea to have a soil test done on your pastures.
Knowing and understanding why your forages grow the way they do is also important. A sound grazing plan adjusts for the length of grazing and resting periods to balance the needs of the plants and the livestock. The length of rest depends on the types of plants in your pastures as well as what the growing conditions are. During periods of fast growth, rest should be shorter to keep plants from going to seed. Longer periods of rest are needed when pasture growth slows down. . Cool-season plants grow during spring and early summer while warm-season plants grow from early to late summer. Here is an example of some guidelines for grazing different forages:
Graze no closer than
Please join in on the discussion and post your comments and questions on forages and grazing.
Monday, May 4, 2009
A South Dakota State University veterinarian advises cattle producers to include anthrax vaccines in their programs before turning cattle out to summer pasture. South Dakota Cooperative Extension Veterinarian Russ Daly said anthrax, which is caused by bacteria that can exist as spores in the soil for long periods of time, could arise this summer due to conditions that follow a wet spring. “One of the environmental factors that may aid in making the anthrax spores available to cattle is the disruptive action of flooding on pastures,” Daly said. “Flooding can wash anthrax spores up from lower levels of the soil, and the spores can be deposited on grass and other forage cows eat.” Daly cited an SDSU survey from 2005 that found standing water on pastures as a potential risk factor for losses due to anthrax. “That year, parts of northeast South Dakota experienced anthrax for the first time in many years, following a wet spring in which many pastures experienced temporary flooding,” said Daly. “While the anthrax risk is well documented in many parts of South Dakota, and vaccination is routine in those areas, we encourage all producers to use anthrax vaccine, especially in areas that were previously flooded.” The vaccine is widely available, inexpensive, and effective, Daly said. One dose of vaccine at pasture turnout is generally effective for the whole grazing season. “During the summer, producers should check all cattle daily, and move quickly to investigate unexpected deaths in cows, bulls, and calves,” he said. “Like many diseases, prompt action against anthrax can prevent excessive losses.” Local veterinarians are the best source for information regarding anthrax, according to Daly. The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service, including Extension Veterinary Science, and the South Dakota Animal Industry Board are other strong sources of information.
Visit the SDSU Veterinary Extension Web site at this link: http://vetsci.sdstate.edu/vetext.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Calves are getting a parasitic infection that they can pass on to humans. A number of calves are suffering from cryptosporidiosis, a, this spring, which can put their handlers at risk. “This extremely wet and sloppy spring calving season increases the risk of cryptosporidia infections, not only in our calves, but in the people caring for them,” says Charlie Stoltenow, North Dakota State University Extension Service veterinarian.
Cryptosporidiosis is caused by the protozoan parasite cryptosporidium parvum. The organism can affect the epithelial cells in human gastrointestinal, bile duct and respiratory tracts. More than 45 species of animals, including cattle, sheep, poultry, fish, reptiles, dogs, cats and rodents, also can become infected. The disease is passed from animals to people or person to person through feces. The parasite most commonly is found in food and water contaminated by feces from an infected animal or human. It can survive under very adverse conditions and is very resistant to disinfectants. People can re-infect themselves one or more times. The disease can affect people of all ages. People may have the disease with no symptoms, so they become a source of infection to others. People who do have symptoms may experience diarrhea, anorexia and vomiting, but those should disappear in one to two weeks in healthy people. However, it can be a serious, prolonged disease in people with immature or compromised immune systems, such as children and older adults. No vaccine is available to prevent this disease, Stoltenow says. Stoltenow also recommends people report suspected human cases of the disease to local health officials.
Here is some advice on how people can avoid the disease:
If you work with animals, wear protective clothing and wash your hands after handling the animals.
- Avoid exposure to animal feces, especially from calves with diarrhea.
- Keep children away from sick animals, especially calves with diarrhea.
- Wash your hands with soap after using the bathroom.
- Prepare food properly and wash your hands before eating.
- Dispose of human and animal feces properly.
- Disinfect areas where the disease could be spread.
Symptoms in calves, lambs and young goats include diarrhea, anorexia and weight loss. The disease often occurs with other diarrhea-causing bacteria and/or viruses and in animals that have compromised immune systems. Re-infection can cause relapses, chronic infection and death. For more information, visit NDSU publication V-1212. It’s available online at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/livestoc/v1212w.htm.
Charlie Stoltenow, (701) 231-7522, email@example.com
Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
A new publication from the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service can help beef producers get more calves. Extension Extra 2068, “Increasing your calf crop by management, pregnancy testing, and breeding soundness examination of bulls,” is available online at a South Dakota State University Web site, http://agbiopubs.sdstate.edu/articles/ExEx2068.pdf. Or ask for it at your county Extension office. SDSU Extension Beef Reproduction Management Specialist George Perry, Extension Veterinarian Russ Daly, and Marshall County Extension Livestock Educator Tyler Melroe wrote the publication. It discusses the importance of a high-percent calf crop, possible causes of a reduced calf crop, and ways to increase calf crop by nutrition and by managing herd health. The publication discusses both diseases that affect reproductive performance of the cows, and diseases that cause calf loss from birth to weaning. The authors also deal briefly with breeding and calving seasons; calving distribution; dystocia, or difficulty with calving; and record keeping. They discuss what is involved in a breeding soundness exam and in pregnancy testing. Consult the publication for more details.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Daly also provided this link for more information specific to animals and flooding:
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So, are you interested in cover crops or do you already grow them? The beauty of cover crops is that you don't require any more land to grow them. You can utilize the resources you already have. With these things in mind, I open up the forum for comments and questions.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Think it through: Ask yourself these types of common-sense questions:
·What kind of grasses do I have?
·What is the layout of my pastures?
·Do I have the right forages for my livestock?
·Where are the voids in my grazing system?
·How many days do I use stored feed?
·Where do I make an investment to get my largest return?
Get a soil test: With today's fertilizer costs, you cannot afford to guess how much fertilizer to apply. Contact your local extension office for assistance on how to take a proper soil sample.
Rejuvenate worn-out pastures: You may have to bite the bullet and start over if your current pasture area is too far gone. If this is the case, your thinking needs to be long-term, not short-term. Plant high-quality seed of proven varieties on a well-prepared seedbed. Spend time researching what forages grow best in your area, based on your individual needs.
Interseed legumes: Legumes improve overall forage yields and quality. In addition, legumes fix nitrogen in the soil, reducing commercial nitrogen requirements. Some good legume choices are birdsfoot trefoil, clovers, and alfalfa.
Start rotational grazing: Aim to graze your livestock on young, leafy plant tissue. The best way to achieve this is to cross-fence pastures into smaller paddocks, using single-strand hot wire. You can have animals graze each for 1-7 days (depending on the biomass, stocking rate, and size of paddock) then move to the next area. The idea is to give the plants several days of rest between grazing cycles. The number of paddocks and the length of grazing and rest periods vary with grass species and growing conditions. Of course, available water is essential as well. Your rotational grazing system can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Remember, it’s whatever works best for your operation needs and goals.
Control the weeds: Dense stands of forage grasses, enhanced by a good fertility program, proper pH and grazing management, often will crowd out weeds. If that doesn't work, the use of selective herbicides may be necessary. Multi-species grazing may also be a consideration.
Be alert to bloat and other conditions: Bloat, grass tetany, prussic acid poisoning and nitrate poisoning can be deadly to cattle. But all of these disorders can be anticipated and managed. The potential for bloat with legume pastures, and the risk of prussic acid poisoning with sorghum-sudan-type forages, increases for a week following a frost. Wait five to seven days after a frost before grazing to reduce these risks. It's also important to make sure animals have plenty of fill and wait until the dew has dried from plants before turning them onto legumes.
Bale surplus: If you have fertilized your pastures adequately and were lucky enough to receive timely rains, there will be occasions during the season when your animals can't keep up with fast-growing pastures. Instead of letting grasses go to waste, skip a paddock in your grazing rotation and cut it for hay or haylage. Although hay is more expensive than pasture, it can be a lifesaver during winter days when no grazing is available.
Extend the season: Stockpiling is a great way to extend the grazing season. Instead of baling excess forage, skip one or more paddocks in your grazing rotation and apply nitrogen to these areas in early August. Let the forage accumulate in these smaller pasture areas, and turn animals out on them after a frost.
Feed and fuel costs will have many ranchers eager to put cows out on grass as soon as possible this spring. But SDSU Extension Range Livestock Production Specialist Eric Mousel cautioned that early spring grazing typically has negative effects on season-long forage yields unless managed carefully.
Mousel said research from North Dakota suggests that grazing native range before the third leaf stage can reduce carrying capacity by up to 50 percent in some situations. “The effects of early grazing on improved pastures are likely not as pronounced due to differences in management, climate, and level of agronomic inputs, but a reduction of 10 percent to 30 percent in carrying capacity is not out of the question,” Mousel said. How early is too early for turnout if you’re worried about forage yield? Mousel said it depends on the type of vegetation you have available on your native range and in your pastures. Forage species such as crested wheatgrass typically green up a week to two weeks earlier than most other cool-season forage species. "As I’ve already noted, grasses really need to develop to the third leaf stage before they are mature enough to stand up to grazing pressure. To avoid season-long reductions in forage yield, grazing managers should wait until crested wheatgrass reaches a height of 4 to 6 inches before turning cattle out,” Mousel said. Similarly, managers should delay turnout on the taller statured species such as smooth bromegrass and intermediate wheatgrass until plants reach a height of about 8 inches. Mousel noted that key forage species on native range (western wheatgrass, green needlegrass, etc.) typically take longer to develop to the third leaf stage than improved forage species. In most years, turnout on native range should be delayed until the heights of key forage species are at least 4 to 6 inches, which is typically near the end of May or first part of June. Conversely, native, warm-season tallgrasses can benefit from some light early-season grazing. Research in east-central Nebraska has shown that grazing big bluestem at a light stocking rate in mid-May can improve utilization of forage later in the grazing season without reducing season-long forage yields. However, managers should still wait for warm-season tallgrass species to reach the third leaf stage, or about 10 inches in plant height, before turning cattle out. In most years in South Dakota this would be about late May to early June, Mousel said.