If you haven’t made the decision on which replacement heifers to keep or buy, you
are probably getting close to reaching a decision. I have had several questions the past few weeks on replacement heifer development and the costs associated with raising or buying them.
I found a good article that helps explain turning those heifers into productive cows. I would like to share it with you.
If you have any questions about heifer development rations and which minerals work best on growing heifers, contact your Aurora Cooperative Animal Nutrition specialist today.
APRIL WEATHER AND CALF SCOURS
by Meghan Anderson April 17, 2012
Most spring calving herds in south central Nebraska are either calving or finishing up with calving right now. The month of April historically brings large swings in temperature, and even some cool, wet days, both which we have had this year. This type of weather creates conditions ideal for calf scours.
What causes calf scours? As new calves arrive, so does the threat of the common condition known as "calf scours" or neonatal calf diarrhea. Infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria cause this condition. These agents have the common property of causing loss of water and electrolytes from the calf's body. This causes potentially life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that can result in death.
The diarrhea is the result of a combination of factors including: dose (number) of organisms the calf is exposed to, calf immunity (colostrum) and stress on the calf. The number of organisms in the calf's environment is a result of sanitation or the lack of sanitation - mud, manure and other cattle. The immunity of the calf is dependent on the quality and quantity of colostrum that the calf received from the cow. Calves that do not receive adequate colostrum are much more susceptible to disease and are at much greater risk of dying from the resulting diarrhea that occurs. Stressful conditions (low milk production by underfed cows, bad weather, crowding) further increase the risk of diarrhea in young calves. The balance of all these factors determine if disease occurs and the severity of disease.
The biggest management practice to prevent calf scours is to turn pairs out on a clean pasture, and avoid overcrowding. If you have cool season grasses in your summer pastures, turn the pairs out a little early to utilize this forage. This is excellent grazing management also. Cows won’t eat cool season grasses once they mature.
If turning out isn’t an option, bed animals with clean straw to provide a clean, dry area for the calves to lie in. Also, if possible, avoid overcrowding of pens.
I get several phone calls this time of year regarding calf scours. Producers sometimes don’t know when to treat calf scours. Calves running around the pasture with their tails in the air, bucking and kicking with yellow or white diarrhea may not need treatment. The main indications for treatment are general disposition, appetite, dehydration and body temperature. If the calf is weak, depressed, or reluctant to move these are all indications that something is wrong. If the calf is not eating, the cow’s udder will be distended and this is sign of trouble also. To develop the right treatment protocol for your herd, visit with your veterinarian.
Aurora Cooperative has feed additives to help with a scouring situation. To find out more about these products, visit with your Aurora Cooperative Animal Nutrition Specialist.
Mar. 30, 2012
Please click on the above link for this article from m.beefmagazine.com
April 2, 2012
Time to watch for grass tetany
With the fast growing grass in the Aurora Cooperative trade area, cattlemen need to watch for grass tetany in cowherds. If you haven’t started supplementing lactating cows with magnesium, now would be a good time to start.
Early spring grass is low in magnesium which can lead to deficiency because cows cannot store magnesium and rely on steady intake. Also called “grass staggers,” affected cows will have a staggering gait.
When supplementing magnesium, cows need to consume the mineral on a daily basis. Contact your Aurora Cooperative Animal Nutrition specialist to find the best way to supplement your cowherd with magnesium to prevent grass tetany.
I am including a link to an informative article on grass tetany, courtesy of the Purdue University Animal Science department.