Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kansas: Early Calf Weaning Might Prove Beneficial

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


Dry conditions through large swaths of the Plains states are forcing management decisions on cattle and other agricultural operations. Among them may be the decision to wean calves earlier than usual.

“Most areas have gotten a reprieve from the 2011 drought, but others are still feeling the lingering effects of low rainfall and high feed costs,” said Kansas State University animal scientist, Chris Reinhardt. “Early weaning is an effective way to save on summer pasture and preserve cow body condition going into the winter. In fact, weaning earlier may be worth considering every year regardless of summer pasture conditions.”

Reinhardt, who is a beef specialist with K-State Research and Extension, said a calf’s rumen begins to develop at the first opportunity to consume solid food. Although calves rely on milk as their primary nutrient source as long as the supply is abundant, they also will begin to graze alongside their dam at a few weeks of age. This is when their mother teaches them what to eat and what to avoid.

 

The grass that is consumed early in life enters the rumen and begins to be fermented by bacteria which the calf picks up from its mother and the world around it, he said. As this fermentation progresses, and the calf consumes greater quantities of grass, the rumen grows in size and develops papillae, or finger-like projections, which aid in nutrient uptake from the rumen. So the suckling calf is actually a fully functioning ruminant by 90 days of age.

In addition, the six- to seven-month weaning age window may have disadvantages compared to weaning at a younger age, Reinhardt said. The passive immunity provided by colostrum remains active for three to four months but then wanes, after which time the calf must rely completely on its own immune system.

But in many cases its system is not fully competent to battle all antigens that attack the newly-weaned calf, such as viruses, bacteria, dust and internal parasites. So it is possible that the 90-day-old calf may have an immunological advantage to the 205-day-old calf in battling pathogens.

“Weather also plays a large factor in weaned calf health,” he said. “If we could guarantee sunshine and moderate temperatures throughout the fall weaning season, calf health would not be an issue. But, cold temperatures, precipitation, wind and mud in the fall further suppresses an already incompetent immune system—a perfect recipe for respiratory disease.”

Finally, the elimination of milk production after weaning allows the nutrients consumed by the cow to go back into rebuilding body condition. This could result in substantial reductions in winter feed requirements because nutrients harvested by the cow are nearly always lower cost than feeds harvested and transported to the cow, and forage quality in late summer and fall is nearly always greater than during the winter.

Tags: ,


Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.

Sunbelt Ag News

    GEORGIA: Quick Fix, Patching up “Bot Cankers” on Pecan Trees3-4

    DTN Livestock Midday: Cash Premium and Short Covering Support3-4

    Markets: How Will Closing the Trading Pits Affect Performance?3-4

    Keith Good: Will Cuba Buy More U.S. Commodities? Farmers, Other Ag Businesses Hope So.3-4

    Planting: Soybean, Corn Planter Choices. What’s Right for You? – DTN3-4

    DTN Grain Midday: Pressure from South America, China May be Out of U.S.3-4

    The “Battle” of Acres, Predicting Corn and Soybean Ratios – DTN3-4

    Nebraska: Value of Farmland Drops3-4

    DTN Cotton Open: Sales Dip, All Eyes on China3-4

    DTN Livestock Open: Bids Murky, High Trade Could be Delayed3-4

    DTN Grain Open: Warm Weather Expected in Winter Wheat Areas3-4

    Grain TV: Wheat Basis Climbs but Fundamentals Still Bearish3-3

    DTN Livestock Close: Profit Taking Pressure3-3

    Soybeans: How Low Can Planting Rates Safely Go? – DTN3-3

    Doane Cotton Close: Lower Global Demand Expectations3-3

    Japan Reduces Hurdles to Pacific Trade Deal Progress – DTN3-3

    New Videos Shows Weeds Time-Lapsed Reaction to Herbicides3-3

    DTN Fertilizer Trends: Northern Farmers Glad for Lack of Delays3-3

    DTN Cotton Close: India Sales Insignificant3-3

    Pennsylvania: 4 Weed Resistance Workshops, March 17-203-3

    North Carolina: Farming on Leased Land Workshop, Mills River, April 93-3

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices3-3

    Cotton: Topguard Gets Full Registration, Pay Attention to Use Rates3-3

    Crop Insurance: Soybean Projected Prices Down 10¢ from 20143-3

    Immigration Reform: House E-verify Not Enough, Says Ag Coalition3-3

    Fertilizer Management: Watch Out for Burns from In-Furrow Starters – DTN3-2

    Keith Good: Ethanol Profits; California Rains – Just Drop in the Drought Bucket3-2

    Herbicide-Resistance: 12 Steps to Keep Weeds Away3-2

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Negative News Day3-2

    AFB Cotton Close: Slightly Mixed3-2

    AFB Rice Close: Market Mostly Higher3-2

    Hogs: Price Collapse – ‘Buy the Rumor, and Sell the Fact.’ – Podcast3-2

    DTN Fertilizer Outlook: Harsh Winter to Keep Prices Flat3-2

    Corn Planting: New Technology Worth the Money – DTN3-2

    DTN Grain Close: Brazil Strike Wears Down3-2

    Grain Sorghum: Great Rotation Crop – Acres Growing in Mid-Atlantic Region3-2

    Arkansas: Tyson Gives $5M to Help Fund Center for Ag Sciences3-2

    Keith Good: Crop Insurance Guarantees to Fall; California Drought “Catastrophic”;3-2

    Rose on Cotton: Gin Show Visit – High Quality Cotton Still in Demand2-28

    Trade Promotion Authority: Vilsack Whips Up Support2-27

    Ethanol: Corn Growers Defend RFS – DTN2-27

    Planting: New Rigs at the Top of Their Game – DTN2-27

    Rice Market: Only Feeble Signs of Price Improvement2-27

    Wheat: Study Sheds Light on Stem Rust Disease in Africa and Asia2-27

    Nebraska: Can You Shoot an Uninvited Drone?2-27

    Turkey Hunting: Tips for the Spring Gobbler Season2-27

    Cotton Base Acres Count as Generic Base Under Farm Bill2-27

    Soybeans: Monsanto Plans In-Field Training for Roundup Ready2 Xtend2-27

    DTN Cotton Close: Texas Could See More Freezing Rain, Snow2-27

    Shurley on Cotton: Improvement Slows Down, but What Else Did We Expect?2-27

    Peanut Stocks and Processing: Utilization Up 7%2-27

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights2-27

    Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA2-27

    Keith Good: Chinese Corn Imports Not Likely to Recover; Food Stamp Debate Rages On2-27

    Georgia Celebrates National Peanut Month with PB&J Day, Donations2-27

    USDA Changes Deadline: Yield History Update, Reallocation Base Now Due March 312-27

    U.S. Grain Transportation: West Coast Ports Return to Normal2-27

    Pinnacle’s Sanders in 9 Southern States with Newest Acquisition2-27

    South Carolina: Got Wild Hogs? Time To Speak Up.2-27

    Texas: Master Marketer Program Hits 25th Year, Going Strong2-27

    Louisiana Rice: Losing Methyl Bromide Creates Challenge For Bin Insect Control2-27

    Iowa Senate Approved Tougher Restrictions on Manure Applications – DTN2-26

    NFL Star Turned Farmer Engages Youth, Community Through Ag – DTN2-26

    Chumrau on Wheat: USDA Forecasts Higher Production in 2015-162-26

    Corn Yields: Expectations for the 2015 Average – What Does History Teach Us?2-26

    ELS Cotton Competitive Payment Rate Is Zero2-26

    NRCS Invests $84M Natural Disaster Funds in 13 States2-26

    Georgia: Crabgrass Control Depends on Soil Temperatures2-26

    DTN Cotton Close: Bounces Off New High2-26

    Sunbelt Ag Events

     

    About Us

    AgFax.Com covers agricultural trends and production topics, with an emphasis on news about cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and tree crops, including almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios.

      

    This site also serves as the on-line presence of electronic crop and pest reports published by AgFax Media LLC (formerly Looking South Communications).

        

    Click here to subscribe to our free reports.

      

    We provide early warnings and confirmations about pests, diseases and other factors that influence yield. Our goal is to quickly provide farmers and crop advisors with information needed to make better and more profitable decisions.

         

    Our free weekly crop and pest advisories include:

    • AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

    • AgFax Southeast Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southwest Cotton (new for 2013!), covering cotton production and news in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

    • AgFax West (formerly MiteFax: SJV Cotton), covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes and other non-permanent crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgFax Rice covering rice production and news in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

    • AgFax Peanuts, covering peanut production in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southern Grain: covering soybeans, corn, milo and small grains in Southern states.

    • AgFax Almonds, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgCom 101, providing guidance to ag professionals involved in social media.

    Our newsletters are sponsored by the following companies: FMC Corporation Chemtura Dow AgroSciences.

          

    Mission statement:

    Make it as easy as possible for our community of readers to find and/or receive needed information.

              

    Contact Information:

    AgFax Media. LLC

    142 Westlake Drive Brandon, MS 39047

    601-992-9488 Office 601-992-3503 Fax

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney +