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( ' 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 

others . 

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. 
do it. 

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. 


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. 


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 
problems . 

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 
handling setups. 

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) 



The theme of the winter meetings 
that T have arranged with D.A.'s 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2014 


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 
are : 

- "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. 

3. Disease 

4. Growth 

5 . Marketing 

Breed 1 

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 
effect . 

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 
reproductive performance. 

Breed 1x2 Breed 2 

Ave calf wean wt (16) 

Rebred conception (%) 

Days; calving to re-bred 

Total cost/cow ($) 

$ return adjusted for conception 

Small -Medium 
frame size 







medi urn 







Large frame 
high milk 
product i on 






This information was gathered from a range herd in Oklahoma 



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%. 


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 
your herd. 

;lr. Trevor Jones 

legional Livestock Specialist 

3ox 7777 

OH 1L0 


Vol. 1 

No. 2 



Winter, 198- 


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 
Peace . 

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. 

b etween 
Lethbridge . 
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. 


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. 




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: 

Grande Prairie 

February 11 
February 12 
February 13 
February 14 






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. 


That was a statement made in 1980 
by Dr. Harold Hedrick, a food science 
and nutrition expert at the University 
of Missouri. 

"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. 


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. 



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. 


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 

factors . 

* The protein in molasses licks is 
supplied by urea, which is only 50-75% 
as efficient as plant protein such as 
canola meal. 

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%. 


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 
a few. 

" 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 
misaligned nostrils" 


Mr. Trevor Jones 

Regional Livestock Specialist 

Alberta Agriculture 

Box 7777