The Latest

Events

  1. Illinois: Crop Management Conferences, Jan. 20 – Feb. 10

    January 20 @ 8:00 am - February 10 @ 8:00 am
  2. Texas: Wild Pig Management Workshop, Luling, Feb. 9

    February 9 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  3. Ohio: Corn College Workshop, Greenville, Feb. 10

    February 10 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  4. Arkansas State Agribusiness Conference, Jonesboro, Feb. 10

    February 10 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  5. Texas: Feed-Grain Marketing Workshop, Amarillo, Feb. 10-11

    February 10 @ 8:00 am - March 11 @ 5:00 pm
  6. West Florida Crops Meeting, Jay, February 11

    February 11 @ 7:45 am - 12:00 pm
  7. Georgia: Ag Business Planning Workshop, Glennville, Feb. 11, 18

    February 11 @ 8:00 am - February 18 @ 5:00 pm
  8. Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show, Dothan, February 11

    February 11 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  9. Four States Agricultural Exposition, Texarkana, Feb. 11

    February 11 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  10. Ohio: Agronomy Workshops, Wooster, Feb. 15, 16

    February 15 @ 8:00 am - February 16 @ 8:00 am
  11. Louisiana: Irrigation Management Workshop, Marksville, Feb. 16-17

    February 16 @ 8:00 am - February 17 @ 8:00 am
  12. Tennessee: Irrigation Meeting, Somerville, Feb. 16

    February 16 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  13. Tennessee: Cotton Focus Meeting, Jackson, Feb. 18

    February 18 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  14. Illinois: Ag Tech Innovation Summit, Champaign, Feb. 18

    February 18 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  15. Texas: Oil, Gas Leasing Workshop, College Station, Feb. 22

    February 22 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  16. Texas: Wild Pig Management Workshop, Burnet, Feb. 24

    February 24 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  17. Virginia: USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, Arlington, Feb. 25-26

    February 25 @ 8:00 am - February 26 @ 5:00 pm
  18. Georgia: Pest Manager Training, Forsyth, Feb. 25

    February 25 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  19. Tennessee: Winter Row Crop Marketing Meeting, Mason, Feb. 25

    February 25 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  20. Texas: Rice Technical Working Group, Galveston, March 1-4

    March 1 @ 8:00 am - March 4 @ 8:00 am
  21. Indiana Small Farm Conference, Danville, March 4-5

    March 4 @ 8:00 am - March 5 @ 5:00 pm
  22. Kansas: 103rd Annual Cattlemen’s Day, Manhattan, March 4

    March 4 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  23. Kentucky: Integrated Pest Management Training, Princeton, March 2

    March 6 @ 8:00 am
  24. Oklahoma: Irrigation Conference, Woodward, March 8

    March 8 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  25. Oklahoma: Pecan Management Course, Stillwater, March 8

    March 8 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  26. Missouri: Free Pesticide Collection Event, Portageville, March 12

    March 12 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  27. Florida: Carinata Summit, Quincy, March 15-16

    March 15 @ 8:00 am - March 16 @ 5:00 pm

 

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Kansas: Early Calf Weaning Might Prove Beneficial

Mike Christensen
By Mary Lou Peter, Kansas State University June 21, 2012

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.

Mike Christensen
By Mary Lou Peter, Kansas State University June 21, 2012