Congratulations! You made it through one of the worst droughts on record. Now that the rains have come and the grass is green again, your worries are over, right? Wrong! Now your livestock are picking up all of the parasites that lay dormant all of those months of drought. Are you ready?
The beef cow herd number in the U.S. has been on a steady downward trend since the peak of the last defined cattle cycle (mid 1990s). In Canada, the number has been an even steeper decline. Some would suggest that the cattle cycle is broken, looks different or is simply not well defined today. Record values of essentially every class of animal in the beef industry, coupled with low inventory and supplies, is leading to an outcry by many analysts and experts for herd expansion. Well, these calls are likely being heard to some extent as there is evidence of more replacement females being retained.
We have come through a very mild winter and are off to an early spring with record setting high temperatures. A negative affect is an early emergence of flies. This will be a year where an integrated fly control program will be needed for effective fly control. The tools for fly control include sanitation, feed through products, sprays, dust, rubs, fly tags and various fly traps. Determine which fly is the problem because control measures will vary by species. The early warm temperatures may allow the fly population to get an earlier than normal start. Below is a description of the common flies that impact cattle performance.
Feed grains and commodity prices are high and the latest words of wisdom echoing throughout the industry indicate that cow-calf and stocker operators should look at all possible options to maximize performance from their forage programs. There are numerous ways to manage your forages as well as supplemental inputs. These can vary considerably by geographic regions, cattle type, grazing and climate conditions or land resources that you have available. I have put together a list of five ways to help you get the most from your forages. Our team of bloggers will be looking at expanding on these areas over the next five weeks to help you more fully evaluate ways to maximize returns to your beef cattle operation.