Many producers have started into calving already while others still have some time to prepare. Have you got yourself ready for this busy season? Are your cows in proper shape for this stressful time for them? No one likes to pull calves, but even the best planning & bull selection can't prevent the odd hard birth. In the off chance that there is a hard birth that you are present for, what is the best way to resuscitate the calf? According to the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), a study showed that over half of beef producers surveyed hung calves upside down to resuscitate them. This is not advised! Hanging upside down causes a calf’s stomach & intestines to press down on the diaphragm & compress the lungs, making it harder for the calf to breathe. Although fluid will come out, it is fluid from the stomach, not the lungs.
In the “calf recovery position”, calves are placed with its legs tucked underneath which allows the lungs to expand with the least amount of pressure. Other techniques like poking straw in the nose & rubbing the calf vigorously are also effective. So if you are into a hard calving this year & think about hanging a calf upside down, do your back a favour & don't. Use the calf recovery position instead. Happy Calving! Chris
You may have heard about this, but for cow calf it is a new way to wean calves. The program is called the 2 step wean. It allows less stress on the calves and better gains for you. Now you remember the old nose piece you used when you had a calf sucking another cow that you didn’t want ? (Yeah the one that you had to tighten into the nose and had the prongs so it made the cow kick like a mule.) Well its something like that, but much better. You bring your calves through the chute and you vaccinate them and then slip this nose paddle on. It just twists onto the nose and your done. Kick calf…..oh wait this is 2015. Gently let calf out of chute and back to his mother - wait for days and done.
Limited balling will happen and less stress on both mom and her little fella.
With fall arriving, so begins the fall calf sales. It becomes critical for feedlots to receive cattle properly to maintain health over this stressful time. This applies equally for both the cow calf and feedlot producer, but if you can’t maintain good immunity, no drug that you use on these calves will work to the best of its ability. There are many ways to get these calves over the stress period. We have a line up from a complete feed to a supplement to a stretcher product depending on what fits your needs.
Take time to talk with us and get a plan in place before you move those calves.
I would like to take this time to thank everyone for coming out to our Beef Meeting the end of August up in Omemee. The turnout was great - 90 people. I would also like to thank our speakers Chadd Taylor from Maizex (silage topic) and Matt Thrower from Mapleseed (new products—Festulolium along with Scott Leeson and Wayne Martin from Purina. One last big thank you goes out to The McQuaid group at Shelter Valley. They put a lot of effort into opening their operation to us and it was greatly appreciated by all who attended.
Show ration has been a big success for us again this year. Both our mill and the new Purina Show Supreme have been having great success on feeding cattle, especially the calves. Both are very palatable for those younger calves and are a great product to use on show day. With success there are always problems, and trying to stock it has become an issue lately. More customers have taken to it and have caused our stores to not have product always available at all times. I apologize to those customers and we are working to make sure we can keep stock in the stores.
In the last couple of months while touring some feedlots, I have found some interesting information. In late February, it was cheaper for feedlots to buy cattle out of the west, mainly Manitoba, than right here at local sales. Prices locally were strong enough to make them have to go that route. Well like everything that seems good for the moment may not be so in the long run. So what were they finding with western calves? (Don’t shoot the messenger.) Arrival protocol costs were less from the west. You would think long truck ride, stress on cattle would be more, but in fact it was less. Some feedlots are now not giving any shots to new arrivals from the west, but only to the ones who start to show sickness. Now if your first thought was, “are they treating more?”, ”UM“ less. Ontario calves are all treated on arrival and more of them have to be retreated than western calves.
Quality- There is no doubt that you will have a better chance of getting 200 calves all from one producer. A uniform group that every feedlot wants and performance to go with it; however, I have seen a group of 200 bought from a sales ring that were almost as even as the one producers cattle are. Then there is the 3 strike rule, “ No Nuts, No Horns, No Stags”. This is still what gets more complaints than anything.
I am surely not writing this to put down Ontario cattle. There are a lot of good cattle and producers here. I just want the guys that own cattle to hear what is going on out there. Will there still be people to buy their calves - for sure. You just don’t want it to be less and less.
I thought I should take some time to maybe clear some confusion. I had some customers question my numbers in the beef part of the newsletter last mon. So for example if we have a 1600lb steer that dresses 62%, your carcass weight would be 992 lbs., making that carcass worth $2,886.72. Take the cost of the steer & feed cost out of that, as well as other cost to get him there & yes there is not a lot left over.
Well let’s start with the good. - Beef Prices never higher - Finished cattle on the rail breaking $3 mark means stocker prices staying strong as well.
Steer show at Roseneath saw a good group of steers that prompted some conversation for sure, and brought good prices.
Winning steer was biggest and per pound would have brought the most money. Smaller steers in the show would have brought less & were behind in final results. So biggest steers should have won? Well yes… Well maybe no. So is it yes or no, depends on who is feeding them. As everyone knows when I am sorting my cattle I don’t like too big of frame cattle, can’t be too small either. Converting feed to pounds is the most important factor. How much feed does an 1800 lb steer take vs. a 1400 steer. Is it worth the extra feed? Answer is in the conversion. An 1800 lb cow on average should eat 10 pounds a day more than a 1400 lb cow. Does that mean she will put up a heavier calf, not always?
Bottom Line - don’t change your program because of one person’s opinion: always go by what the pencil puts down on paper.
So prices high, things going good and then there is a tick? The tick that can turn its victims virtually vegetarian. COLUMBIA, Mo. - It was just a few pieces she sneaked off a pot roast that sent Chris Richey of Millersburg, Mo., to the hospital. She was covered in hives, her hands and arms "fire truck” red, itching so badly she was scratching the skin off. "This allergy is so weird,” she said. "It’s turned my life upside down.” Doctors had misdiagnosed her early reactions as a stomach virus or the flu, but recent research has validated what her own research had already uncovered: Richey is living with an allergy to red meat, likely brought on by a tick bite she suffered barely a year ago. She is one of what researchers estimate could be tens of thousands of people who have developed an allergy to alpha-gal, a sugar found naturally in mammals. Researchers believe the allergy is linked to bites from the lone star tick, a species named after its native range of Texas and the single white spot on its back. After being bitten, some victims carry a type of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody that, in turn, causes the allergic reaction to alpha-gal. A lone star tick bit Richey, 58, in August 2012 while she was sitting with her husband in the shade of their apple tree in rural Missouri. She now carries the IgE antibody to alpha-gal. Her life hasn’t been the same since. "I don’t want another reaction. That’s just too scary,” she said. "I can’t even begin to tell you how it makes you feel.”
Live cattle contracts settled higher. Moderate to strong support developed despite no news from the cash market weakening beef values in the morning report. June settled .45 higher at 137.45, and Aug. was up .55 at 138.40. Not much more to say than that other than if you can’t make money pushing your calf weights this year you may not ever be able too.
I was very pleased with the response from last month’s newsletter and it got beef guys talking. That’s what I wanted. It’s a great time to strengthen our product, buy better cows, cull the lower end and purchase better bulls because they are 50% of your calves. Performance can be seen in the feedlot as well, so tighten up your group to make quality calves.
Please stop teasing Pat, we know Pat gets excited easily. I had a chance to stop at the McLaren farm and visit with Pat after I used his name last month, I saw what I already knew. We started talking cattle & the passion for his cows is very noticeable. This request is especially pointed towards Dan Ferguson. I think he was the worst one harassing my friend.
Unless the livestock sector is content to let animal rights activists set the agenda, it needs to become a whole lot more forthcoming and welcoming. I read an article online that I believe is coming out in the Country Guide. It poses the question of why a public person can get on farms to take pictures but media can’t. The article goes on to say that farmers are not willing to open their farms up to show that on average most farmers are doing it right. Activists just want to show the bad ones because bad press helps make there point.
Now in this article I will be quoting some feedlot operators and using some of their terminology and yes that is a tough word to say. If you are a cow-calf guy then read on because this is important to you. If you sell calves through Hoards Station then it really becomes important. We are going through a stage where calves are bringing more money than they ever have and as a producer you owe it to them to send the best calves you can - well, we are not. You may be reading this and say, I do, and that is great, but if it does not involve everyone, then we all suffer. My job allows me to work with feedlots who buy steers and heifers out of Hoards Station. What these guys are telling me is concerning. Let’s start with belly nuts, feedlot meaning, "Guys who can’t count to 2". Everyone has to know how much loss a feedlot producer occurs with this issue. Having to cut them out is not fun for the animal nor the guy doing it. The steer goes backwards for weeks and some have even died from it. Think of this, you pay $1200 for a steer and end up losing it to this operation and it is an operation which is unnecessary. A cow calf guy has even said to me that my 80 year old father does the banding because I work out. It’s time that we all step up and take some responsibility - same goes with vaccinations. Do they get done or do they get done properly. Vaccinating while loading on a truck for the sale is not done right. It is better 3 weeks ahead with a booster before sale. Another feedlot customer of mine had 2 die of BSRV. The seller had told him that they were vaccinated, but autopsy showed they were not vaccinated because of signs at the heart in the vet’s opinion.
Oh, and if you are thinking that the Quinte Stocker sale stops this -you are wrong. Two groups of stocker steers. 16 head purchased. 40% belly nuts. A whopping number. So why is Shawn Ranting..... feedlots are talking about buying even more western calves, pay more, get more & no issues hardly ever. Not purchasing through Hoards (and remember, don’t blame sale barn for this issue) and paying more for calves in other parts of the country than ours. Feeders talk & they are upset about this issue. I have heard these reports from three separate feedlots I deal with.
So you can take this to heart (or not), but let’s get on the protocol of doing it the Pat Mclaren way. I usually don’t single any customer out & I hope Pat does not mind, but if we all had his passion & attention to detail then we would all be classified as cattleman not people that own cattle, because there is a difference.
In conclusion, feed your calves. 800 lb calves bring more than 600 lb calves. Don’t get them greasy & follow the proper protocol because in the future with all the animal right stuff, we are going to be made too anyway.
One last feedlot quote, "If you can’t do it right, than do nothing. It’s easier on us”. Think about that & the fact that I as well as you want Hoards to be thought of as a place to buy good quality cattle. Only we as a group can make that happen.
I am going to work sheep & beef into this topic. Sometimes some people tend to wonder if mineral is important. I hear the phrase, I never feed it & have no trouble, don’t need it. Then it happens & bang, everything goes off the rail, but why? Well lots of reasons, but quality of hay could be one. You know the "I didn`t get any rain on it”, but you cut it in July. Anyone that monitors sheep mineral will tell you that when a ewe gets close to lambing her intake goes up by close to 4x’s—pretty huge.
Why the benefits at this time? If you have had retained placentas, sluggish lambs and calves or are falling behind on your breeding, the first spot I would look is mineral.
Now as for blocks, I am not trying to discourage blocks, they are easy & can have some protein & be a cheap option, but from 6 weeks before calving or lambing till after breeding, blocks will let you down. Think about how many times they have to lick that block to get enough to meet their needs, tongue would get sore first.
I learned some phrases on my trip to Jamaica. We are tired of winter—Ya Mon! Spring comes early—Ya Mon & if you have any questions at anytime NO PROBLEM Mon!
I just wanted to say kudos to the Northumberland cattleman for providing a very good speaker at the annual meeting. His job in BFO is to negotiate with other countries deals on export beef (short version of job title). The message that I received and is showing on the markets is that it is good time to be in beef. Now, is it as good as chicken or dairy? No, but still prices are showing to be getting stronger. Two years ago I heard a fellow from Colorado talk at Farm Smart, he said cow numbers were down and Europe and Asiawere going to be a whole new customer to our beef. He also said that in 10 years the average American would not be able to afford a steak for their family. The cattleman’s speaker was talking about fighting for Korean marketagainst the US. He also said that if we could move forward to sell beef with no hormones, that Europe would take 500,000 tonnes of meat because our quality would be better than what they have now. Factor in lower grain prices and hopefully there is money to be made on a beef animal. He also was talking about how the US and Cdn. government works. No wonder they can’t get anything accomplished.
Well 2014 is around the corner. It is hard to believe that another year is behind us. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to work with all of my customers this past year-Thank You! I hope your Holiday Season is a happy one with your family and friends and may 2014 be prosperous to you and yours. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
In my job I have come to realize that not all of my customers can be happy at once. Yeah, some of you might be thinking that’s because they are my customers—ha ha. At the time of writing this, I have feedlot customers trying to figure out how they can afford to buy stocker calves. Calf prices are higher than I have seen in awhile, if ever, and they need to be. There is no question, but hopefully feedlots can make these prices work. I keep hearing cattle numbers are going down, but who really knows for sure. What I know is that if you are a cow/calf producer & you are not pushing your calves, you could be leaving money in the sale ring. With calf prices high and feed prices falling, creep feeding should pay this year for sure.
Cow calf producers - how does 600lbs at $1.50 sound and that may be the bottom. Strong prices give you an opportunity to put a little more weight on those calves this year. Make your groups uniform and take advantage of those dollars.
In the show ring, our customers are having an amazing year winning red ribbons and taking home champion ones as well. Congrats on the success you have had. The same can be said about the Campbellford and Warkworth Beef Show organizers who did an excellent job of putting on the shows this year.
I would like to thank all who came out on the Thursday night of the ice storm for our beef meeting. I was quite pleased with the information & the questions that were received. A couple of producers wanted to know about the Right Now Mineral program, so I figured now is a good time to go through it.
ONYX - feed 1 month before calving until cows are bred. More chelated mineral in it & overall better mineral package. You can feed year round if you wish.
EMERALD - feed this mineral at grass time. (Whenever it shows up this year.) It is balanced for our May, June & July pastures.
BRONZE – feed bronze when you are feeding hay. I also like feeding it if your pasture quality is going down. August might be the time to go to Bronze unless you are pasturing something like sorghum.
If you want anymore information on mineral or creep feed, please feel free to call myself or any of our stores. Prices on your calves should stay strong into fall; make sure you have lots of healthy, growthy calves to sell this fall. Shawn
There seems to be a lot of calving issues going on this year and it seems to be all over the place on the type of problems encountered. Here are some things to check on farm - are vaccinations up to date, are you feeding enough good quality mineral, is your cow condition correct? I have heard people say that I don't need to vaccinate and you can get away with it but wait long enough and it will bite you whether it is beef or dairy.
Mineral vs Blocks - Both will work, but if I had a choice of mineral vs blocks, I would choose mineral. Nothing beats a good mineral program especially in the winter time. A good mineral program is more consistent and more beneficial to the cow to get the proper nutrients that she needs. Blocks are easy to handle and there are some advantages, but taking everything into consideration mineral is my choice.
Well 2013 is around the corner. Hard to believe another year is behind us. Another good year for our cow calf producers. Prices have slipped a little lately, but were very strong throughout the year with some really good prices through the summertime. Feedlots worked a little harder with trying to figure out how to make stocker prices work on their operation. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to work with all my beef customers this past year—thank you.
In this area there is always talk about Dairy Shows and how good some of the breeders do and how we have great breeders in our area. This is true. But I am going to give some perks out to my beef breeders this month coming off a Royal that was pretty amazing. We have the pleasure and opportunity to feed some good cattlemen in purebred and commercial and we have had some commercial guys top fall sales year after year, and we are proud of that as well. This year our purebred customers pulled off 21 Class Winners, 6 Seconds and 20 Banners in total, over 5 breeds. I once had an old mentor of mine say "it cost the same to feed a good one as it does a bad one”. Obviously we had the chance this year to feed some great ones. Congratulations go out to Academy Hill Livestock, Darling Farms, Elzevir Herefords, Elm Lodge Herefords, Hiddenview Polled Herefords, Indian River Cattle Co, Trent Hills Herefords, Windy Gables Limousin, Windy View Farm, Worthmor Cattle. Elm Lodge Exceptional owned by Theo and Shirley McCracken was Grand Champion Female in the Hereford division, second time for the McCrackens. Way to go Theo.
I would also like to thank all the Juniors for their hard work making it to the Royal and showing Northumberland proud. There were a lot of Juniors that placed well, but just getting there is all the success you need, way to go team.
On the beef side, Lean Plus 13 is still the cheapest and most effective way to feed calves and background cattle. If you use corn and a supplement, it costs more than this pellet. I was talking to a customer and was told that he could get a 13% pellet $15 cheaper per tonne. This product we are comparing to I have seen myself. I had a customer put ours in a 4 tonne bin and then went to try the other pellet and 4 tonne would not fit. Now I have heard "a tonne is a tone” comment meaning they are equal. There is a lot of ways that you can get to 13%, but density means heavier. In my mind (small as it is) if corn weighs 45 lbs/bushel compared to 58 lbs/bushel, which corn do you want? They are both still a tonne, but everyone will take the 58. So why would that not make the same sense in feed. If you feed 5 lbs per day at $15/MT difference, it costs $0.03 per day more. At a $1.40 per pound for a calf you sell, I need you to gain 0.03 lb/day more for my pellet to be better value. This may be our highest selling Purina pellet because we know it works, and I found out this week that we get the best price in the province on this product, so we can pass it on to you.
The cost of beef rations in general has climbed to new highs. With the shortage of hay, producers may have to limit hay to make it through. Keep an eye on the condition of your cows. Hay and a good mineral can get your cows through fall and winter if hay quality is decent and you can feed enough of it. So why bring it up now? Cows for the most part have not had the greatest of pasture. Check cow condition now. Most cows still have calves on them, and if they already have a low body score and the calves are pulling them down, now is the time to act. Creep feeding calves helps take the pressure off. The other alternative is to wean the calves now and background to your desired weight. If you wean cows thin, it will be tough to put condition back on if we get a tougher winter than last year. Prices are still good for these calves, make the most of it.
Stockers still selling well through the start of the year, but if you are a cow-calf farmer let's think about this.
The feedlot guys (the guys that buy the calves) are looking at prices being lower for their products than they have been in quite a while. Commodities are on the rise which will begin to affect feed costs in an upward direction. I have had feedlot guys ask me how calf prices are staying up. Some think it is the Risk Management Program. Their taking a chance that program will kick in. I don't know that program well enough to say yes or no, but maybe at some time something has to give. Shawn
Shawn must be on vacation!!! - no writeup for beef this month
We go into 2012 with fairly strong calf prices making cow calf guys smile, but let?s be cautious. Feedlots are on the edge right now. Local feeders in the area are talking about cutting back with some already shutdown. This is not a great thing to hear. When the price of corn and wet distiller?s is taken into consideration, it makes it tough to pencil a profit. Most of these feeders do not have off farm jobs so this is their livelihood. Rumor still persists about a dryer going into Havelock, if this happens on the feedlot side all bets are off where this part of the industry goes. Here is hoping all sectors can not only survive but thrive. All the Best in 2012.
As we move into December, the feedlot producers are fighting finishing prices that have stalled out on them - hanging around at $1.85 when packers were telling them that it would be $1.92 to $1.95 by now. Now everyone likes to blame the packer in the game but they all are the same. The other problem is that they have cattle bought for the whole month of November. It is the first time I can remember feedlots looking to send their cattle south to be processed. It has become time to look outside the box whenever you can. At this time, Ontario is the lowest price compared to everywhere else. The consensus is stocker prices are going to stay strong, but this can only carry on if the feedlot price moves up the hill.
Lean Plus sales are still strong. It is a great feeding program to pre-condition your calves, to keep your calves green and to continue to put weight on them as well. It is a great year to take those calves to a heavier weight than ever before.
october updateOn the beef side, Lean Plus is still working for many producers on their stocker calves. Prices look like they will stay strong this fall. On the replacement side we have many options to grow them out to provide early breeding and easy calving for next spring. Talk to us on a mill ration or Purina product to get the job done.
Fall is upon us and stocker sales are approaching. Cow-calf producers try for top dollar and feedlots try to stay in the game. Cow calf producers need to condition their calves the proper way to enable feedlot producers to make money. There are many different options. Choosing the right one for you is the key.
As for feedlots, if you are not utilizing the wet corn distillers to its potential, it will be hard to get past this time of high commodities. I have heard producers say they are struggling with issues on a higher percentage of WDDGS. I believe it can be done with a properly balanced ration. Our ROC product is the real deal, and we have producers that are thriving on it. After the Purina meeting this month we may have even more solutions than what we provide now.
On the purebred side, we have about 3 different show rations and our customers tell me they are very pleased with the results. They have been winning a lot of red ribbons. Without Genetics you can?t get very far, but we appreciate those breeders who allow us to be their partners from the feed side to achieve success.
As we creep closer to fall and stocker sales, it is important to pre-condition your calves if you want top dollar. Last year proved that a 900 lb calf brought more than a 600 lb calf. Your cheapest gain is the first six months of a calves life when it is on the cow. Don't miss out?it only happens once in a calf's life.
july updateWith pastures drying off and the outlook of having to feed hay, a creep feed program will pay this year. It will help cows with condition as well as keep gains up on your calves. From Lean Plus to a top end creep we can help you find the answer.
Speaking of hay, with so many people spraying hay ground off in the last year, hay shortage may become a problem. I have already talked to lots of producers that have expressed they are going to be short on hay. With the way the summer is shaping up, keeping your hay ground might work to your advantage. may update
As everybody is aware, commodity prices are high resulting in the cost of feeding cattle rising a lot since last year. Show people are looking at prices compared to last year and finding them higher by as much as $100 per MT. We can provide options for our customers. Please feel free to call me. The one thing you have to remember is that all 14% show rations are not created equal. If there is $100 between the rations you are pricing there is a reason for that spread.
Dairyman?s Choice is a product that we have used and are using on the dairy side. It is a yeast product that does a whole lot more. For those that are selling their meat or trying to stay natural this product can help health and intake in your animals, especially if you are not using implants. It can be used in your custom calf or cow mixes. Added cost is around $0.20 per day.
I was once told by an elderly farmer that it is impossible for all farmers to make good money at the same time?some are up that forces others down. Wouldn?t it be nice if 2011 could prove him wrong. We will see.
With the Royal coming closer all the time, I have been very impressed with our Purina 14% show complete feed. I believe it gets them in the condition needed to compete against the top quality cattle. Here is hoping that breeders or 4-H ers can bring home some red ribbons and prove my theory. Good luck to all.
Stocker prices are still strong. There is a good advantage to get your calves ready early to take advantage of the early market. Our beef meeting in Madoc will launch some new Purina products that will help you be successful on your operation. Pasture is at the point that grass is still there but the quality will be diminishing. Just be aware of your mineral intakes not only on cows but your heavier calves as well.
Grass is still going strong, surprising considering what we were thinking in May. Emerald mineral is still the product of choice right now (no pun intended). With the price of stocker calves, the option of creep feeding is well worth considering to get your calves out the door earlier and heavier. Lean Plus pricing is looking good to make those calves leaner and greener and to get the big bucks that are out there. If you feed cattle, next time you are in one of the stores, buy a bag of Purina Show Ration, great quality and a even better price. It would be great for creep feeding, heifers and even thin cows.
Perfect time to welcome all the Madoc customers into our customer/partner base not just beef but dairy and crop as well. We are sure they will discover we have the feed either Purina or from our mill, as well as our sales staff to help you with every need. Prolean Pasture Supp is still a good fit for your on farm grain that needs to be balanced. Our lean Plus 13 is still the go to in the complete feed program and as always our Custom mix from the mill is a good option.
Our feedlot supplement the "Roc is gaining more popularity all the time. This product can also work in the back grounding area.