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Animal Science E-News-October 2014

October 17, 2014

Animal Science E News logo

Featured Articles:

Preventing Metabolic Diseases in Sheep and Goats Starts With Good Winter Nutrition

David Fernandez, Extension Livestock Specialist

Application of Sire Selection Tools Applied to the 300 Days Grazing Demonstration Herd

Shane Gadberry, Associate Professor

Managing Hay for Quality in Rainy Climates

Paul Beck, Professor

Razorback Stallion Service Auction 

Mark Russell, Assistant Professor

Forage Brassica Variety Trial in Northwest Arkansas 

K. Simon, D. Philipp, S. Jones, J. Jennings and R. Rhein

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2014 Arkansas Forage and Grassland Council Fall Forage Conference

October 15, 2014

AFGC Forage Conference 

 October 30, 2014

 Changing Landscapes in Forages

Click Here for Flier

“Changing Landscapes in Forages” is the theme of the 2014 Arkansas Forage and Grassland Council Forage Conference set forThursday, October 30. The conference will be held at the Woodland Heights Baptist Church, Education Building, Conway, AR starting at 9:00 a.m. Topics will be covered by nationally known speakers and long-time experts.  Speakers will talk about the following topics:

  • Beef: The real health food
  • Pros and cons  of producing grassfed beef
  • Environmental & endangered species issues: What are the impacts for Arkansas
  • Crop insurance for livestock and forage producers
  • Benefits of alternative livestock watering systems
  • Native grasses: How long does it take to get a stand?
  • Ask the experts panel: What you always wanted to know about forages

Registration can be paid at the door by cash, credit or debit card, or check. The registration fee is $45 per person and $15 for students and includes includes lunch and conference materials. Commercial exhibits and booths will be set up for attendees to see the latest forage management products. Pre-registration is encouraged to help with conference planning. Anyone wanting to improve their forage system should attend this conference.

For more information about the conference or to pre-register, call Kim Fryer at 501-671-2171 or John Jennings, AFGC secretary at 501-671-2350, or contact any AFGC board member.

For more information on livestock production, contact your county extension office, or visit

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Four States Cattle Conference

October 8, 2014

Please join us for the Four States Cattle Conference on  December 10, 2014 located in Texarkana,AR . This event will feature Dr. Temple Grandin whom obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College and M.S. at Arizona State University. In 1989 she received her Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois. For registration details and more please Click Here

300 days of Grazing Field Day for Southern Arkansas

October 8, 2014

Please join us for the 300 days of Grazing Field Day for Southern Arkansas at The Southwest Research and Extension Center in Perrytown, AR from 3pm-7pm.

300-day grazing field day Flyer

Beef Cattle Tips-October 2014

October 8, 2014


General Cattle Tips:

  • Observe cattle closely for signs of Anaplasmosis. Extreme caution should be taken when approaching these cattle due to their tendency for aggression. Also, stress must be kept to a minimum when trying to administer treatment to prevent collapse and sudden death. Early detection is essential.
  • Monitor cattle closely for any signs of lameness. Fall is a very common time for foot rot and interdigital dermatitis. Foot rot can extend deep into the tissues and, therefore, early treatment is critical for recovery.

Tips for Spring Calving Herds:

  • Weaned feeder calves can be implanted and all retained calves given access to supplements fortified with Bovatec, Gainpro or Rumesin to improve weight gain. These products work independently from the implants and each result in a 10% or more increase in growth performance.
  • Now is a good time to sort cows into winter feeding groups. Cows should be grouped according to stage of production and/or body condition score (BCS). Cows in thin body condition will require additional supplementation to make sure they are in a BCS 5 to 6 by calving.
  • Average quality hay in Arkansas (12% protein and 54% TDN) is adequate in nutrient composition for non-lactating cows that are in moderate to good body condition.
  • Plan replacement heifer development program. Heifer should be fed to achieve 55 to 65% of mature weight by breeding. Estimate mature weight can be from cow size records or heifer frame size (frame size x 75 + 800 = estimated mature weight).
  • Purebred breeders should consider bull development programs to aid in yearling performance evaluation. On-farm bull test or bull station performance test can provide growth data and possibly feed efficiency data for a contemporary group of bulls that will aid in genetic selection.
  • Pregnancy test cows. It is very expensive to feed an open cow.
  • Vaccinate heifers for Brucellosis.
  • Forage test hay to determine nutrient value. This will provided much needed information when determining the proper supplementation program.
  • Provide free choice mineral and fresh water.
  • Cull open, old and non-performance cows and heifers.

Tips for Fall Calving Herds:

October 030

  • Evaluate sire(s) for fall breeding season. If you use AI, now is the time to order semen.
  • Perform breeding soundness exam (BSE) and Trichomoniasis testing on breeding bulls.
  • Fall calving cows need to be monitored closely for calving difficulties. Facilities and equipment need to be readily available for dystocia.
  • Be sure newborn calves receive adequate amounts of colostrum for proper disease protection. Care of newborn calves include dip navels, ear tag, castrate, etc.
  • Body condition score cow. Cows should be in BCS 5 to 6 at the time of calving.
  • Forage test hay to determine nutrient value. This will provided much needed information when determining the proper supplementation program.
  • Provide free choice mineral and fresh water.
  • Fall calving cows need to be monitored closely for calving difficulties. Facilities and equipment need to be readily available to deal with dystocias. Make sure that newborn calves receive adequate colostrum to provide proper disease protection.

Forage /Grazing Management Tips:

  • Take soil samples
  • Strip graze warm-season stockpiled forages
  • Plant winter annual and clovers in warm-season grass sod
  • Defer grazing of stockpiled cool-season grasses until late November or early December.
  • Plant clover in short-grazed fescue early October

Pasture management

  • Start implementing long-term management during cooler months
    • Fence building and repair
    • Selecting of pastures that are slated for renovation within the next 12 months
    • Setup of grazing cells and watering devices
    • Soil fertility management
      • Long-term correction of pH and mineral imbalances
      • Take soil samples from areas that are to be renovated
      •  Apply lime if needed
      • Plant winter annuals between mid-October to early November for grazing in February or early March.

Grazing management

October 057

  • Graze out crabgrass before a killing frost
    • Crabgrass becomes very unpalatable after a killing frost and is usually avoided by grazing animals.
  • Rotational graze cool season perennial grasses by mid to end of October or when canopy height reaches at least 6 inches
  • Turnips can be grazed approximately 45-60 days after planting
    • Livestock must acquire taste
    • Strip graze to increase forage utilization
    • If Managing for re-growth
      • Better suited for Turnip or Turnip hybrid than Rape
      • Increases yield potential
      • Begin grazing at 14-16 inches
      • Terminate grazing at 6-8 inches
  •    If Managing for stockpile
    • Better suited for Rape than Turnip
  •   Graze out by January 1
  • Begin strip grazing stockpiled bermudagrass
    • Strip grazing improves forage utilization and may double the number of grazing days compared to continuous grazing.

Animal Science: Today and Tomorrow

October 2, 2014

Dr. Tom Troxel                                                                                 Dr. Michael L. Looper

Razorback Stallion Service Auction

Coming this winter, the Razorback Stallion Service Auction will take place online and will assist the Arkansas 4-H Horse Program as well as the University of Arkansas Horse Judging Team. There is a variety of cutter, working cow, halter, and pleasure stallions available for auction. The breedings will be available for 2015.

The money raised will go to the 4-H Horse Program to support scholarships, internships, horse camps and workshops, travel to national competitions, equipment for activities and educational resources. Plus the money will support the U of A Horse Judging Team for travel costs associated with judging competition, registration fees and scholarships.

Listed below are the stallions available for auction as of 9/10/2014:


4-H Horse Program activities are designed to teach youth leadership, responsibility, pride, respect, initiative, and self-reliance. It provides dedicated, hard-working youth with an opportunity to learn how to enhance horse ownership. Participants in youth programs develop skills in communication, decision-making, problem solving, self-discipline, self-motivation, teamwork and organization. All of these have proven to be important factors to the participants in career preparation.

A University Judging Team offers students a rare opportunity to receive a head start into the horse industry. Students gain knowledge in areas such as evaluating, decision making, communicating, and teamwork among other benefits. These students receive a “leg up” on the competition when seeking employment in the equine industry. Team members also develop contacts while on judging trips to the AQHA World Show, AQHA Congress, NCHA Triple Crown Events, and the NRHA Futurity, along with other regional judging contests. These contacts will be a valuable resource as they continue their endeavors after college.

It’s hoped this auction will continue for many years and become a tradition in Arkansas. A big thanks needs to go to Lewis Wray and Chad Vanlandingham for their help in getting quality stallions for the auction.

To keep up with the latest information, go like our Facebook page: “Razorback Stallion Service Auction.” To find more information about the Razorback Stallion Service Auction go to:

For specific questions, contact Mark Russell at 501-590-5748 or

Beef Cattle Odds and Ends

• Heifer slaughter for the four complete weeks in August was down 85,151 head or 11.6% from last year. Steer slaughter during the same period was only 29,343 head or 2.3% lower. The lower heifer slaughter implies higher heifer retention last winter and spring and yet USDA’s July 1 heifer number was almost surely lower than one year ago.

• Pasture conditions have been better than in 2013 virtually all year in all regions except the West. Nationally, the share of acres in poor or very poor condition has gotten no higher than 20% all summer. That figure compares to 37% in September 2013 and a 5‐year average of roughly 30%. And even with Calilfornia’s severe drought, Western Region (which covers from the Rockies westward) conditions are far better than last year.

• Feedlots are breeding heifers and selling them as replacements. The practice is not new but it does appear to be more widespread this year. It would also explain why both heifer retention and heifer slaughter are low. And it makes a lot of sense. Feedlots can manage heifers to meet a number of goals and making replacements is a very possible one, especially given their current value. Further, feedlots have handling equipment that can be easily adapted to breeding the heifers using artificial insemination. Finally, feedlots’ relationships with custom feeders, ranchers and feeder cattle suppliers should make marketing the heifers easy.

• Japan continues to be our largest market in July, taking 22,668 metric tons, nearly 80% more product than number two market Canada but 10.4% less than in July 2013.

• Japan also leads the beef exports list for 2014 year-to-date. Shipments to Japan have totaled 116,963 metric tons valued at $717 million. Those numbers were 7.6% and 1.8%, respectively, lower than one year ago.

• Canada ranked second to Japan in terms of both the volume and value of beef exports in July but the July figures were sharply lower than one year ago. One reason for that decline is the steady decline of the Canadian dollar which has made U.S. product comparatively more expensive. The higher price in Canadian dollars is one factor in the year-to-date decline of 22% in shipments northward.

• Export volume to Mexico was down nearly 13% in July but the value of those shipments was up 5.7% and the year-to-date results for exports to Mexico remain very strong with volume up nearly 25% and value over 40% higher than last year.

• The most positive results across the board in the table are for Korea and Taiwan. Comparisons to 2013 for both July and year-to-date are positive for both volume and value for those two markets. Shipments to Taiwan were especially strong in July, gaining 82% versus one year ago for volume and nearly doubling in terms of value. Beef exports to Korea were up 19% in volume and 55% in value in July. Those percentages were quite close to the year-to-date comparisons as well.

• Russia, Vietnam and Egypt remain the biggest negatives for U.S. beef export this year. Most notable among them, though, is Russia in that shipments there are down even from the near-zero levels of 2013 (Source CME Group).


For more information about cattle production, visit or or contact your county extension office.

Purchasing Considerations as Fall Breeding Season Approaches

October 1, 2014

By Bryan R. Kutz, Instructor/Youth Specialist, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

Breeding season for fall calving cows is fast approaching, and it is never too late to organize your breeding plan or make your next herd bull purchase.  Underestimating the power of your bull can be a huge production error.  Choosing your mating scheme and purchasing your next herd sire could be considered the most important decisions you make in your operation. Keep in mind that your bull will account for approximately 90% of the gene pool, contributing more to the genetic makeup of a herd in one breeding season than a cow contributes in her lifetime.

This investment should add efficiency and profitability to your herd for years to come.  The cost of purchasing a bull may seem high at a glance; however, that expense becomes relatively small when it is spread over 3 to 5 years of calf crops.  Remember that the expense of the new bull can be calculated as the difference between the purchase price of the new bull and the salvage value of the old bull.  And, if you add pounds to your future calf crops through your new purchase, then you will have profitable returns on your investment.

Evaluate your current cow base and calf crop and make a decision based on your results.  Your bull should complement your cows in hopes of increasing hybrid vigor and improving traits that will maximize your production goals, match target markets and improve bottom line profitability.  Ask questions that pertain to your particular production situation and utilize breed associations NCE programs.  Breeders should have performance EPD’s available for you. Birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight and milk values are commonly available; however, most breed association now have a plethora of EPD’s that include carcass traits as well.  Advances in National Cattle Evaluation have made estimating a bull’s genetic worth more accurate than ever before.  EPD’s allow valid comparisons of all bulls of the same breed and now have made available across-breed charts so comparisons can be made between two different breeds

The bull you purchase should be functionally sound resulting in herd sire longevity and ability to fulfill his breeding requirements.  At most sales a Breeding Soundness Exam has been performed, but if you are buying from an individual, always request a BSE.  Remember that a bull is only as good as his semen.  A cow is responsible for half the genetic material in only one calf each year, while the bull is responsible for half the genetic material in 20-50 calves.  The bull’s ability to locate cows in estrus and breed them is clearly vital to a successful breeding program.  Other factors to consider are disposition, libido, body shape, frame size, condition and muscling.

Age, condition and length of breeding season are factors that may affect the number of cows one bull can cover.  You cannot expect excessively fat or thin bulls to perform up to standard.  Poor nutrition can influence semen quality and fat bulls may lack staying power or stamina.  Nonetheless, a yearling bull in good breeding condition should be expected to breed 20 to 25 cows, while a mature bull could potentially breed up to 40 or more cows.

While one approach may be to apply more pressure on one or two traits, it is always best to strike a balance among various traits and avoid extremes.  Purchase a bull based on the purpose of your breeding plan.  This process must include those traits that are economically important and highly heritable.  Your records are necessary if you are to choose a bull that will improve your cow base.  Keep in mind that not every bull will fit your production scenario, but the decision you make with you purchase will influence your beef production for the next several years.


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