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

    Happy Thanksgiving from AgFax Media!11-27

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Corn, Wheat Higher, Soybeans See Modest Losses11-26

    AFB Cotton Close: Prices Surge Higher11-26

    AFB Rice Close: Jan, March Chart Bullish Key Reversals11-26

    Energy: N. American Oil Companies See Improved Financial Results in 3rd Quarter11-26

    Residential Heating Oil Prices Lower11-26

    Propane Stocks Fall 2M Barrels11-26

    Gasoline Prices Drop 7 Cents11-26

    Diesel Prices Fall 3 Cents11-26

    Texas: Hopkins County Designated Natural Disaster Area11-26

    Kansas: 4 Counties Declared Natural Disaster Areas11-26

    Alabama: 4 Counties Designated as Primary Disaster Areas11-26

    Texas Pecans: Demand Good but Quality Variable11-26

    Louisiana Pecans: Light Deliveries, Good Buying Interest11-26

    Georgia Pecans: Prices Slightly Higher with Strong Trade11-26

    DTN Livestock Midday: Pressure Develops in Cattle Trade11-26

    DTN Grain Midday: Soybeans Slip 5 to 10 Lower11-26

    Farmers Share What They’re Thankful For — DTN11-26

    GMO Crops Have Facts on Their Side, but Debate Goes on — DTN11-26

    DTN Cotton Open: Posts Slight Gains in Quiet Trade11-26

    Wheat: Make One Last Scouting Trip This Fall — DTN11-26

    Farm Income Down 21%; Expenses Up 5.7% – USDA Forecast11-26

    DTN Livestock Open: Futures to Start on Mixed Basis11-26

    DTN Grain Open: Wheat Leads Markets Higher11-26

    Keith Good: Net Farm Income to Drop 21.1% from 2013, ERS Forecasts11-26

    DTN Livestock Close: Feeder Futures Knocked Hard for 2nd Session11-25

    Livestock: 6 Tips to Fight PEDv This Fall11-25

    Doane Cotton Close: Outside Strength Helps Prices Rebound11-25

    AgFax Cotton Review: New Stink Bug App; India Exports Drop11-25

    DTN Cotton Close: Higher on Light Volume11-25

    Tax Breaks: Waiting for 2014 Equipment Deduction, Biofuel – DTN11-25

    DTN Grain Close: Bean Complex Rallies, Grains Follow11-25

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices11-25

    Georgia: 10 Farm Bill Meetings Scheduled for Mid Dec.11-25

    AgFax Rice Review: Iraq Resumes U.S. Purchases; Cambodia Wins Best Rice Award11-25

    Winter Weather Creates More Problems for Railroads — DTN11-25

    Future of Cellulosic Biofuels in U.S. Questioned — DTN11-25

    AgFax Peanut Review: Growers Urged to Plant Earlier; Texoma Sells Drying Facility11-25

    Shurley on Cotton: New Round of Weakness Sets In11-25

    Welch on Wheat: Crop Condition Down Slightly11-24

    Welch on Grain: Snow Keeps 770M Bushels of Corn in Field11-24

    Farmland Partners Buys 7 South Carolina Farms for $28M11-24

    Livestock: Hog and Pork Prices Return to Reality11-24

    Corn: Breaking Down Stalks Takes Thought, Planning — DTN11-24

    DTN Fertilizer Outlook: Winter’s Arrival May Delay Some Buying11-24

    Brazil Soybeans: Dry Conditions Still Cause for Concern11-24

    Flint on Crops: Low Input Farming May be Necessary in 201511-24

    Midwest Corn And Soybean Yields – Our Readers’ Reports – AgFax11-22

    Rice Comment: The Case for Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment11-22

    U.S. Rice: Rain Stalls Texas 2nd Crop Harvest; Crop Sales Continue11-22

    Rice Market: Sale to Iraq Moves the Market11-22

    Rose on Cotton: Looking for the Positives This Week11-21

    Grain Drying: 6 Questions About Effects Of Sudden Drop In Temps11-21

    Is Your Lifestyle Costing You the Farm?11-21

    Farmers Storing Grain Need to Weigh Risk Management Factors – DTN11-21

    Peanut Harvest Updates From Southeast, Delta And Southwest – AgFax11-21

    Cleveland on Cotton: 57 Cents – ‘The Bottom is In’11-21

    Ag Labor: Immigration Order Provides Little Long-Term Benefit – DTN11-21

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights11-21

    Ag Policy: Farm Bills Need Long-Term View11-21

    Cotton Market Weekly Review by Region11-21

    Arkansas Cattle: Ranchers Should be Alert to Acorn Poisoning11-21

    Economist: Livestock Industry Will Have Strong Rebound11-21

    DTN Dried Distillers Grain: Cheaper Feed Source for Beef Producers?11-21

    Mississippi Outdoors: Common Deer Parasites Do Not Affect Venison11-21

    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