BeefWatch Articles from May 2023
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) guidance to the industry takes effect in June of 2023, but what does that mean for livestock producers?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), zoonotic diseases are pathogens that can be spread from animals to humans, leading to illness. The CDC reported 59 zoonotic outbreaks in 2017, causing over 1500 illnesses and three reported deaths. There are several different germs that have the potential to be zoonotic, with some more prevalent than others. The disease lists can be categorized in different ways, such as route of transmission, type of pathogen, or production season. While it is important to familiarize yourself with all potential areas
Recently, several fires raged across native range in the Sandhills. That rangeland will need a time of deferred grazing to recover. Unfortunately, prolonged drought throughout Nebraska coupled with an extremely cold and snowy winter has reduced harvested feed supplies, making extended hay feeding an unlikely option for many producers.
Note: Mention of trade names and growth-promoting implant manufacturers in this publication is necessary as FDA approvals are specific to trade names and manufacturers.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is updating information to beef cattle producers concerning a group of growth-promoting implant products (implants) that do not specify on the labeling whether reimplantation is approved. Three important developments must be considered by all cattle producers:
Current cattle market conditions along with the price and short availability of hay has created a scenario where the growing winter wheat crop may have more value for producers for grazing or as a hay crop this spring than to harvest it for grain. The current market value of good quality prairie hay and alfalfa ranges from $180 to $270 per ton. Hay stocks are short. Harvested feed costs at current hay prices range from $3.00-$4.00 per cow-calf pair per day.
Spring is an appropriate time for tick education. Ticks may be active all year long if temperatures outside are above freezing, but May and June are the months when people pick up the most ticks. There are three tick species established in Nebraska that carry and spread diseases to humans and animals, including the lone star tick. Lone star ticks are widely distributed across the East, South and Central United States, extending across the southeastern portion of Nebraska (see figures at the end of the article).
Each May we celebrate National Beef Month. One of the great things to enjoy in the Beef State is the moment in which producers and consumers come together over a juicy steak. As delicious and nutritious beef recipes are shared in local newspapers and across social media, it is a great reminder that the beef industry has a large impact on Nebraskans far and wide.
Small grains are an excellent choice as a double-cropped forage for a spring silage crop. However, making good quality small grain silage takes careful moisture management.
Nebraska’s spring weather conditions have made it more difficult to predict the emergence of horn flies. If the current weather pattern continues, we should start to see horn fly emergence in the southeast part of the state in early May, reaching northern Nebraska by late May. If we experience an abrupt and sustained warm-up, horn fly numbers could reach or exceed the Economic Injury Level (EIL) statewide by the end of May. The EIL represents a fly population of 200 flies per animal that negatively impacts cattle production enough to warrant paying for a fly control measure.
Many livestock producers have shown a strong interest in using garlic to reduce horn flies on pastured cattle. Garlic is commercially available in a pre-mix mineral or can be purchased and mixed by the producer in mineral or salt, normally at a concentration of 2% garlic.
Insecticide-impregnated ear tags were first introduced in the late 1970s and have been used to reduce face fly and horn fly populations. Active ingredients in insecticide ear tags kill flies by direct contact. Small amounts of insecticide are released from the ear tag into the oils present on animal’s hair. The face, neck, topline and flanks receive the most product through natural grooming behavior. Interaction between cattle enhances the transfer of product between animals.
Regardless of your choice of livestock fly control product and application method, plan for resistance. For example, many horn fly populations in Nebraska exhibit a level of resistance to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides.
The weather impacts producers right and left. A storm can come up suddenly and be short-term, whereas a drought can build and persist long-term. Stress can be similar in nature. We can have acute, stressful moments when we get into town too late to pick up that important part to fix equipment before chores the next day. Stress can become chronic when one bad thing happens after the other. Many have experienced the effects of drought, first with not enough rain for pasture and forage production leaving us short and having to spend extra money to find additional hay or forage.
With winter reluctantly fading in the rear-view mirror, those hot days of late spring and summer are not very far off for cattle operations here in the Central Plains. It’s certainly not too soon to take another look at the role that shade can play in limiting heat stress in cattle. Consider the recently published findings of two studies overseen by Dr. Terry Mader (now retired UNL feedlot environment extension specialist).