( ' MAR 10 U
Vol. 1 No. 1 Date: Fall, 1984
They say new brooms always sweep
clean! Most of you will be aware of
the fact that I have taken over the
desk in the Fairview Regional Agricul-
ture office vacated by Keith Winchell.
1 come to this job with the distinct
advantage of knowing a good many of you
in the cattle business. Some are my
former students from the Fairview
College, others have shown cattle at
one or more of the shows and fairs I
have judged throughout the Peace since
1957. I look forward to meeting
I gather that this job of live-
stock specialist is to assist D.A.'s to
do a better job of helping you with
your cattle operations. There are
times when you say feel ycu want to
contact me directly or have your D.A.
My emphasis this winter will be
with cattlemen, and with this in mind
am planning a Cattle Seminar at the
Fairview College for February, 1985,
The speakers will be cattlemen, dealing
with cow-calf operations and feedlots.
More on this later.
Down the road, I think that we'll
see seminars held throughout the Peace,
with speakers that normally never get
north of Edmonton. I'd appreciate any
comments you may have about vour
favorite topic or speaker.
HAY COMING OUT OUR EARS —
Over 100,000 tons of hav are now
listed for sale in the Peace. I'm
afraid that it will never be sold, and
that very quickly now, decisions must
be made to sell it through cattle.
Some cattlemen are already arrang-
ing to bring in calves or cows for
feeding. It makes good sense. If you
are thinking along these lines, then
investigate using a commission firm to
finance, ship and even market the
cattle for you after the feeding
period. Some auction markets are also
acting as commission firms and are
placing cattle. Before making a deal:
** check to be sure the outfit is a
legallv licensed and bonded
livestock dealer (through your
D.A. ) .
** find out the name of a previous
customer, and get in touch with
him to see if he is satisfied.
** compare financing charges. Some
charge above prime, others
above bank rates which could be as
much as 3% above prime.
** find out all buving, financing and
branding charges. Convert these
to a price/lb on the kind of
cattle you are considering buying.
** decide ahead of time, exact 1 y the
kind of cattle you want. For
example, if you haven't fed
before, get yearlings rather than
calves, and heifers before steers.
budget your feed supplies, and
decide how many you can feed.
don't necessarily set a goal to
finish the cattle - just to resell
and make a profit.
give your commission agent a firm
top price/lb that you are willing
to pay, and the exact number. Try
to make a full load.
Some south central B.C. cattlemen
estimate they have about $2,500
investment per cow unit.
COMPUTERS FOR CATTLFMEN
Most production facts in the cattle
business can easily be calculated with
an "Oklahoma Computer". In barnyard
terms, that's a 25c writing tablet and
a lead pencil.
Contact your vet well in advance
of delivery and arrange for him to give
the cattle the once-over after deliv-
ery, and recommend a vaccination and
treatment program. From the fourth to
the fifteenth day will likely be your
most critical period for health
Decide on your feeding system,
feed mixtures and supplements well in
Don't hesitate to get in touch
with me either directly, or through
your D.A. Go for it!
Everyone, no matter how inexperi-
enced, can make cattle gain weight,
provided the cattle are young and
healthy. Lots of good feed and water,
dry protected corrals with room to move
around, and a good sharp eye for detail
will do wonders. However, elimination
of parasites, and the use of a growth
promotant will give that added boost
that could provide the difference
between profit or loss.
Warble and lice treatment should
be all done before the end of November.
You've probably noticed the ads
in Cattlemen magazine about the
Panorama sales in southern B.C. I
attended the Douglas Lake Panorama
sale, September 26, with Hugh Scott
from Fairview, and Jim Wischoff from
Whitelaw. Only steers sold, and about
3,500 went to buyers from B.C.,
Alberta, Ontario and Washington. The
cattle were all sorted according to
breed cross (Hereford, Red Angus,
Black Angus) and weight. Some of the
heavier pens of Hereford & Black Angus
averaged over 900 lbs., and the sale
average was about 800 lbs. The cattle
had been brought in off grass and were
offered with overnight shrink. We
toured the nearby Ouilchena Cattle
Co., and got some great ideas on
1 have often thought that we
could learn from the B.C. Livestock
Co-op, who organize the panorama
sales. The cattle are offered for
sale on_ the ranch , and buyers are
responsible for trucking. I'm sure we
could adopt the idea to most of our
large community pastures, and even
some districts, — all that is needed
is a scale, approved by weights &
measures people in Consumer &
Corporate affairs. (Federal)
A CALF FROM EVERY COW?
The theme of the winter meetings
that T have arranged with D.A.'s
Digitized by the Internet Archive
throughout the Peace are concerned
with money from cows. A set of 3
meetings will be arranged over the
winter in most D.A. districts. They
- "A calf from everv cow" -
- "How many lbs of cattle for sale?"-
- "What kind of cow makes money?"-
These will be informal knockdown
discussions. Come and join us. I
look forward to seeing you.
For a long time now we have been
talking about beef production factors
in both the purebred and commercial
industry, which really haven't got
much to do with making money with
cattle. If you were asked to name the
five most important economic factors
in your cattle operation, which would
you choose? I don't mean the things
connected with soil, forage or
financing, but strictly with the
cattle herd. I would choose these —
1. Open cows in the fall.
2. Calving interval , (the number of
days between calvings) and the number
of days between the first and last
calves born in any calving group.
5 . Marketing
I think that the average herd
could, in a short time, overcome
disease losses or concerns bv working
closely with a veterinarian, and
improving overall feeding practices.
Most vets would be pleasantlv
surprised by a request to get involved
in development of herd health. Try it.
That leaves four areas for
concern, and I intend to devote a lot
of mv efforts toward getting the
message across that open cows, calving
patterns, growth, and marketing
methods are the areas of herd
management that will give the greatest
return for efforts spent in
improvement s .
For example, once a cattle
producer gets concerned about the
number of open cows, he has to examine
an awful lot of his production to
solve the problem. Herd bull
fertility, breeds, cow frame size,
forage quality & quantity, calving
time, breed of sire & calving
management and diseases all have an
Farm cattle herds usually have
fewer problems with open cows than do
ranch herds, and 1 would include all
community pasture cattle as ranch
herds. The following table gives an
idea of the tremendous interaction
between cow frame size, nutrition and
Breed 1x2 Breed 2
Ave calf wean wt (16)
Rebred conception (%)
Days; calving to re-bred
Total cost/cow ($)
$ return adjusted for conception
product i on
This information was gathered from a range herd in Oklahoma
HIGH ENERGY FOR YEARLING BULLS? - NO!
Glen Coulter has been trying to
convince cattlemen for years now, that
his research findings at Lethbridge
have proven beyond doubt that fat
bulls have low fertility. Back in
1979, he showed that feeding 80%
grain, 20% hay to bulls from 6 months
to 21 months of age severely reduced
their sperm output and quality. Since
that time, his research has been
directed toward finding more exactly
the age at which most damage occurs.
So far he hasn't pinned it down
exactly, but it seems that even at 12
months, heavy grain feeding had
reduced semen volume and sperm
viability by up to 40%.
LUNGWORM IN CATTLE
We used to call it "hoose", because it
sounded like the noise calves made
when they coughed because of
lungworm. However, up to this year,
lungworm has almost never occurred in
the Peace. This year we have some
problems, because conditions were just
right. The problem is most commonly
seen during August and September.
Usually the coughing occurs a week or
so after changing pastures.
Dr. Jane Pritchard, pathologist
at the Regional Veterinary Diagnostic
lab in Fairview explained that "death
of animals may not be a usual result
in this region, but chronic and
irreversible lung damage can easily
occur. When you consider that one
infected animal can be responsible for
passing 33 million larvae, exposure
under the right conditions can be
overwhelming . "
Extremely effective drugs are
available to control lung worms. Your
local vet can best help you decide
whether or not there is a problem in
;lr. Trevor Jones
legional Livestock Specialist
WINTER IN THE PEACE
I've spent a fair amount of time
during the past four years sampling
winter in Western and Central Canada.
I recall the mucky chinook on a
February day at Ft. MacLeod; a
snowstorm beyond anything T've seen
before at Swift Current, an ice-snow
storm in south western Ontario and a
sub-zero windstorm in March near
Karaloops. Following each trip, it was
a relief to return home to the stable,
predictable winter we enjoy in the
This is good cattle country. We
seldom get blizzards. Rarely do we
have chinooks, but we often get mild
spells that are very pleasant. We
have a fair amount of brush left that
breaks the wind and provides good
shelter. But then, we don't have too
much wind at any time during the
winter. In short, it isn't often that
we get conditions that will destroy
the insulating value of good cattle
Dry, thick hair is good
insulation, especially if the air is
still. Wind breaks down that
insulation value, just as does rain,
wet snow, or mud. Straw bedding or
dry manure mounds will keep hair dry
and preserve the insulating value.
Sometimes our still cold nights
can be hard on cattle, because the
radiation heat loss straight up from
cattle standing or bedding outside
can require a fair amount of increased
feed to maintain the cows energy
level. Any thick brush or shed roof
will stop that nighttime loss.
Dark colored cattle attract heat
from the sun, but white hair tends to
reflect it. Take a look some cold
morning just after sunrise and notice
how the herd will line up broadside to
absorb the suns rays.
d if f erences
Back in 1970, Dr. John Webster
did an environmental comparison
Grande Prairie and
He found that no
existed in the cost of
of cattle between the two
areas. We've got the right climate in
the Peace, all we have to do is pay
attention to details so that cattle
are neither underfed nor deficient in
any specific nutrients.
"VITAMIN A BOB": VISITS THE PEACE
On November 20, Dr. Bob Hironaka,
senior nutrition researcher at the
Lethbridge Research Station, was able
to spend k hours in Fairview
discussing cattle nutrition. The
visit was without much notice, and
many who may have wanted to come
couldn't. To make up for this, this
other newsletters will be carrying
exerpts from the tape recording of the
One thing Hironaka stressed was
the need to pay attention to vitamin A
levels for calves and steers entering
the feedlot. At Lethbridge, the
routine practice is to take a bottle
of vitamin A, mix it with twice as
much water, and spray it over the hay
that calves or steers will eat.
Hironaka' s emphasis on vitamin A has
earned him the nickname "Vitamin A
We'll have Dr. Hironaka back next
fall, well in advance of weaning, to
outline his experience with the
nutrition of feedlot cattle.
WATCH THAT CHLORAMPHENICOL!
With the difficult weather
conditions this fall, calves have been
stressed quite a bit more than usual.
Many producers have resorted to
chloramphenicol as the drug of choice
to treat pneumonia-like conditions,
t respond to anything else
There is a human health hazard
involved with chloramphenicol that
shouldn't be overlooked. Apparently a
deadly form of anemia can be induced
in humans exposed to the drug. Some
people may react while others may
not. The statistical chances of you
being susceptible is apparently about
the same as being struck by lightning
- one chance in 28,000.
The forage Institute is putting on a
series of seminars:
THEME FOR GRANDE PRAIRIE IS, "DOES
INTENSIVE PASTURE MANAGEMENT PAY??"
CANADIAN CATTLE MARKETING HANDBOOK
TENDER LOVING CARE
Nutrition and management can go a
long way to overcome calf losses.
Good feed, properly supplemented, good
shelter and lots of straw bedding, with
good water within easy reach. All
these factors will reduce stress and
keep disease outbreaks at a minimum.
If however, calves need
medication, and you're set up with
automatic waterers, then maybe you
should look into obtaining automatic
medicators. The unit is installed on
the water line, and meters vitamin A,
sulfa' s etc. into the water. They
cost between $220 and $300 - about the
value of one small dead calf.
The feed lab recommends 100 PPB
of selenium in daily rations for
cattle. Figure it this way. PPB
(parts per billion) is measured by
milligrams (mg) in 1000 kg, or one
tonne of feed PPM (parts per million)
is measured by milligrams (mg) in one
kg of feed.
The Feds have upgraded this
useful little booklet, and copies are
available at this office. In addition
to the directory of Federal Livestock
Division offices, there is a list of
market info, phone tapes, Canada's
Beef Grade Standards, dressed carcass
tables of costs, shrinkage conversion
tables, break-even net selling prices,
and market reporting terminology.
This is a handy pocket sized
reference that would be useful to have
at the auction market.
LESS GRAIN CAN PRODUCE ACCEPTABLE BEEF
That was a statement made in 1980
by Dr. Harold Hedrick, a food science
and nutrition expert at the University
"We found that with silage
particularly, you can produce very
acceptable beef. It was possible to
start weaned calves on silage and take
them right through to slaughter, and
receive top grades" explained Hendrick.
Keep in mind that this fellow is
from Missouri, and he's talking about
the U.S.D.A. grading system where the
"top grade" of U.S. choice is equal to
our Canadian and A grades, which
are severely price discounted here.
Think of our potential for cattle
finishing with silage.
WHAT MEDIUM FRAME COWS?
Following the last newsletter, I
happened to drop by a purebred
breeders place for coffee. The
discussion quickly centered on the
last Peace Country Cattle Newsletter,
and the story about the small, medium
and large frame cows.
"As a breeder, I have to believe
that commercial cattlemen want growth
from the calves sired by the bulls we
sell. This means that our cows have
to be bigger in order to raise those
kind of calves. When you talk about
medium or large, that can mean
different weights in different herds".
He's right of course. The point
is that a herd usually evolves to suit
the feed and management system of the
cattleman. Among each herd of cows,
there are small and very large cows.
Probably these should be culled. The
medium frame cows left won't be the
same size as medium frame cows in
another herd. It's something like
making the mistake of comparing
weaning indexes between herds. A calf
with a weaning index on one farm may
weigh 620 lbs, but a calf with the
same index on another farm may weigh
only 450 lbs.
SULFUR AND SELENIUM
High sulfur levels in water
particularly could make selenium
unavailable for digestion. If you
have suspicions that your water is
high in sulfur, get a sample tested.
If the sulfur test shows levels higher
than 600 ppm (ml/1) then consider
raising selenium supplementation above
what you now use.
MEAT IS MONTANA'S BIGGEST MULTIPLIER
Montana has 24,000 farms and
ranches, and they contribute more to
that states income than any other
sector of the economy. Recently the
"multiplier" effect of different
aspects of the farm production was
studied. The results follow.
For Every Total added
Additional $1.00 value to
Invested In Montana economy
Molasses lick tanks provide an
easy way to get some extra energy into
your cows. However, when anything
comes easy, it usually carries an
extra price tag. Consider these
* The protein in molasses licks is
supplied by urea, which is only 50-75%
as efficient as plant protein such as
Dairy & Poultry $3.74
Meat Animals $5.34
Food Grain $2.7 2
Feed Grain $2.76
Similar studies have not been
done for Alberta or the Peace, but it
would likely show the same results.
* Licks are an unbalanced source of
calcium and phosphorous. Calcium is
usually left out of the licks, because
it tends to settle out.
* Molasses contains 40-50% water.
* the lick is treated to avoid
freezing, and ends up being super
cooled liquid during very cold
weather. Consumption drops off
because cows avoid extremely cold
liquid, so energy consumption is
reduced at exactly the time when
higher levels are needed.
* In one U.S. study, molasses lick
increased hay consumption by 18%.
SOME REASONS FOR CULLING
In the October 1984 "World of
Beef" some comments were offered in a
lighter vein by Dr. Baxter Black in
his column "On the Edge of Common
Sense," about culling cows. Here are
" I always keep the roan cows
they're good luck.
"She'll be as good as new, once the
hair grows back".
" My sister had a caesarian, and we
didn't ship her!"
" Since when did you have to have all
your teeth to be a good mother?"
" She's not weak! Just gentle!"
" I know she's barren, but look how
fat she is!"
"That's not lump jaws, just
PEACE COUNTRY CATTLE NEWSLETTER
Mr. Trevor Jones
Regional Livestock Specialist
FAIRVIEW, AB TOH 1L0