Body condition important at calving – Jamestown Sun

Energy and protein requirements of the cow increase by 15% to 20% from mid to late gestation to support fetal growth and prepare the cow for lactation. Requirements increase again by 20% to 30% during peak lactation (about eight weeks post-calving).

“Failing to meet nutrient requirements prior to and after calving can have major impacts on reproductive performance, particularly for young cows,” said Janna Block, the Extension livestock systems specialist based at North Dakota State University’s Hettinger Research Extension Center. “Reproductive failure is the most common reason for culling cows from the herd, and open cows are a financial drain on an operation due to lost revenue potential and high replacement costs.”

Body condition scores (BCS) at calving are a useful indicator of the cows’ energy reserves and the overall success of the nutrition program. It is a more reliable indicator than weight alone because weight is affected by factors such as gut fill, age, frame size, stage of gestation and milk production, according to Block.

The BCS scale, which goes from 1 to 9, is an indicator of the percentage of body fat. Body condition scores are assessed visually or by touching the ribs, spine, tail head, and hooks and pins.

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BCS can be used to determine performance and whether changes should be made to nutritional management several key times of the year, including 90 days prior to calving, and at calving, weaning and breeding. Research has established that a certain amount of body fat is required for the reproductive system to function appropriately.

A strong relationship exists between BCS at calving and the number of days for cows to return to estrus. Ideally, BCS at calving should be 5 for mature cows and 6 for first-calf heifers, with condition maintained through breeding.

Block recommends including BCS of the cow with calving records. This will allow producers to assess the herd’s nutritional status on a large scale and will be useful when evaluating overall pregnancy rates after the next breeding season.

Consequences of calving in low body condition include smaller or weak calves, lower quality and quantity of colostrum, decreased milk production and reduced weaning weights. Colostrum is a form of milk that mammals produce in late pregnancy. It contains energy, protein, fat and vitamins, plus antibodies to protect newborns against disease until their own immune system is totally functional.

In addition, calving in BCS 4 or lower results in more cows being bred later in the breeding season and a reduction in overall pregnancy rates by up to 30%.

“Resuming estrous cycles and initiation of pregnancy are low on the biological priority list for nutrient use; therefore, these functions are likely to be compromised when energy stores are inadequate at calving,” Block says.

In late gestation, cows need to gain at least 100 pounds to support fetal growth and uterine development. If a cow simply is maintaining her weight during late gestation, she actually is losing body condition. Late-gestation diets should be designed so cows gain at least 1 pound per day to maintain condition, and more if an increase in condition is desired.

One body condition score represents about 80 to 100 pounds of live weight. If a 1,200-pound cow has a BCS of 4 at the beginning of the third trimester, she would need to gain at least 80 pounds to gain a condition score and at least another 100 pounds to support fetal development. Therefore, she should weigh 1,380 pounds at calving.

In this example, the cow would have to gain about 2 pounds per day, which may not be possible, depending on weather and access to high-quality feedstuffs. The ideal situation is to increase weight when requirements are lowest at weaning, but attempting to increase condition late is better than not doing it at all.

In situations where cows have calved in less than ideal body condition, weight gain must be increased rapidly following calving to achieve acceptable pregnancy rates.

“This is extremely challenging because large amounts of dietary energy are already required during early lactation just to maintain body tissues and support milk production,” Block notes. “Cows usually utilize a portion of their own energy (fat) stores for the first several months after calving to help overcome deficiencies, which can lead to weight and condition losses.”

Some research indicates mature cows that calve in slightly lower condition (BCS 4) still may have acceptable reproductive performance if they are fed to reach BCS 5 by breeding. However, producers still run a risk of increasing the calving interval.

First-calf heifers are less likely to respond to supplementation due to increased requirements, and negative impacts on reproduction are likely. In one study, heifers that calved with BCS of less than 5 had subsequent pregnancy rates of 67%, despite the fact that they were fed to gain nearly 2 pounds per day from calving to breeding.

“Producers should evaluate body condition at calving and act immediately if they want to salvage the breeding season for thin cows,” Block advises. “It will require enhanced management, access to extremely nutrient-dense feedstuffs and potentially the use of strategies such as early weaning calves to reduce requirements and induce estrus.”

Producers should contact their county’s NDSU Extension agent or an Extension specialist for more information about body condition scoring and ration evaluation. Go to https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/directory/counties to locate an agent in your area.

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FDA provides temporary flexibility regarding packaged-food nutrition labeling in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – dairyfoods.com

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Seeing double: Calving twins – Fence Post

Calving difficulties can make twins rather frustrating, especially when the birth of the first twin is complicated, putting the second twin at risk. Dr. Kathy Whitman, DVM, said solving twin calving problems is a matter of untangling more than being too large.
Photo by Deanna Licking

The frequency of twins during calving, according to USDA surveys, is estimated in about 2 percent of pregnancies, more common in dairy breeds. The result of either a double ovulation or, less commonly, an early embryo will split into two, resulting in identical twins.

Some cows and cow families are more apt to produce twin pregnancies though some years seem to result in a higher percentage of twins. This could be a result of a cow in really good body condition score at the time of breeding or a number of environmental factors that could play a role.

According to Dr. Bob Larson at Kansas State University, one twin is often not as vigorous. There are differences between placentas in terms of nutrient transfer and the birth itself can affect the calves depending upon which twin is where in the birth canal, especially in the case of dystocia.

Calving difficulties can make twins rather frustrating, especially when the birth of the first twin is complicated, putting the second twin at risk. Dr. Kathy Whitman, DVM, said solving twin calving problems is a matter of untangling more than being too large.

“The calves are not too big, they’re just in a jumbled mess,” she said. “If one is not coming right after another, they may be trying to come at the same time and that’s when they get a little tangled.”

Dystocia is common in twins and is one more reason not to encourage it as a production method. Whitman, who owns Bov-Eye Veterinary Services, said she has seen research operations that select for twins to gather data on the method and it is certainly not ideal.

Twins can pose a managerial challenge for producers if a twin is either abandoned or simply not thriving and must be removed from the cow. Whitman said while some more mature and experienced cows may be able to raise twins, she typically recommends one twin be grafted onto another cow if possible.

“If we’re doing well and not losing any calves, which hopefully we’re not, we may have bottle babies and that becomes a logistical challenge more than anything,” she said.

The grafting process depends on the nature of the cow, sometimes requiring a bit of sedation for the cow to calm her for the process of allowing the calf to safely nurse while she may be in a headcatch or even hobbled. Having her milk in the calf’s system helps the calf smell like the cow he or she is being grafted to. Products like Orphan-No-More claiming powder can also help the calf smell like the cow, but Whitman said she recommends it in tandem with other methods for a successful graft. Some producers will skin the cow’s dead calf and tie the hide to the new calf. She said she doesn’t discourage this method if it works for the producer but said it can be challenging.

“The biggest thing is to protect that calf from being hurt by the new cow and some cows are just not nice and you can’t use them, but for the most part, I think we’re pretty successful putting them in a head catch and letting the calf nurse,” she said. “If we do that for a day or two, with some other chemical restraints it’s successful in my experience.”

Another managerial consideration is culling a twin heifer when the time comes. Larson said exposure to testosterone in the uterine environment results in freemartinism in about 90 percent of heifers born twin to a bull calf. Whitman said if a client is making a decision to cull a calf to avoid twins and is without a feeding option, culling heifers born to a bull is her recommendation.

As rebreeding time approaches, the nutritional needs of a cow who raised a single twin don’t differ from the rest of the females though keeping all the cows in good body condition is a best practice. Whitman said cows should be in good body condition at calving time as well to avoid problems. Cows allowed to raise twins would require some additional protein and energy but would be managed separately to avoid the other cows overeating.

“Regardless of whether they have twins or singles, if they’re increasing in body condition towards the breeding season, those cows breed back better,” she said. “We definitely don’t want fat cows at calving but we do want to have cows that are stable and as they increase body condition, that increases reproductive efficiency.”​ ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 768-0024.

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Virginia police went on a highway pursuit — for a cow – SB Nation

Although millions of Americans are now under government orders to shelter in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, one Virginia cow must have missed the memo. WKTR reported that the animal caused temporary holdups on highway I-64 in Chesapeake, Virginia, while local police and fire rescue were called try to guide her off the road. The cow managed to run about one mile before law enforcement managed to corral her.

The local fire department later announced the bovine runaway didn’t originate from a local farm, but had actually fallen (or intentionally jumped?) out of a livestock trailer. When law enforcement finally caught up to the cow, they led her to safety with a tow strap. She has since been reunited with its owner.

The most wild part? The captured fugitive is completely uninjured, and you can see her in all her glory below. Zoom in on her face and you’ll see she has no regret for her actions.

Chesapeake Cow now joins an impressive history of cattle who dared to go where few farm animals have gone before: sprinting down America’s highways, probably very confused, but ultimately having a good time. This history includes the 89 cows who were set loose when a tractor trailer tipped over near Atlanta in 2018 and the bull that had a standoff with Queens police in 2017.

Although this courageous Virginian legend was captured after only an hour of freedom, I hope she remembers what it felt like. Like all cows (and farmers!), she provides a vital service keeping people fed, which we can appreciate even more now that we’re seeing empty shelves in grocery stores around the world. I salute her efforts and wish her the best of luck in escaping again in the future.

An American folk hero for the modern era.
Original photo from @ChesapeakeFire on Twitter.

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On ‘Beef House,’ Family Sitcoms Get the Tim and Eric Treatment – The New York Times

The press tour had been canceled. Everything is canceled. But as anyone familiar with the comedy of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim would appreciate, there was something almost too appropriate about having to view their faces as degraded images on a stuttering, grainy video stream amid a general feeling of discomfort.

That description could just as easily fit “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” the innovative and vaguely disturbing sketch comedy-cum-video art series that ran on Adult Swim from 2007 to 2010. It made cult heroes out of its two creators, better known as simply Tim and Eric, whose new series, “Beef House,” officially premieres on Adult Swim just after midnight Sunday (and after a surprise online debut of the pilot a week early).

On a mutually sequestered afternoon last week — with the new show in the offing and press interviews relegated to Skype — the description also characterized a three-way conversation, in which everyone was a little stir crazy but seemingly grateful for something fun to talk about.

“Should we do some comedy for you?” Heidecker asked. He was calling from his mother’s place in Southern California. Wareheim was calling from his own home in Los Angeles, where he’d been hanging with his cats.

“We could put on a show or something,” Heidecker added.

Even comedians get bored sometimes.

“Beef House” may or may not be the best antidote to these times, but that depends on your sense of humor. Like “Awesome Show,” which had an uncanny knack for lingering on awkward moments, for uncomfortable displays of masculinity, for poop jokes, the new series is funny, but also dark. And like most comedy that’s both smart and deeply absurd, it will probably find an audience that is as niche as it is devoted.

“I don’t think we’ve ever tried to intentionally alienate people, but this feels like the least alienating thing we could do,” Heidecker said. But as he was also quick to note: “It’s still dark and crazy and filled with things like Eric killing a busload of people.”

What is a Beef House exactly? Unclear. In the show’s world, it’s a term whose meaning is taken for granted, used to describe the house full of dudes at its center. (Infer your own connotations.) The series itself, which Heidecker and Wareheim wrote, directed and star in, is a bit easier to define, at least superficially: a bizarre spoof of family sitcoms, complete with laugh tracks, “awwws” and a multicamera format. The sets have three walls. The living-room couch is its center of gravity.

But that’s about where the similarities with classic family sitcoms end. Episodes of “Beef House” are about 11 minutes long. Jokes can be corny, but self-consciously so; almost always, they bear a vague but unmistakable stamp of something more grotesque. And in place of the traditional family are two middle-aged men named Tim and Eric; three elderly men of indeterminate relation to one another; a young boy, who shows up later in the series; and Eric’s wife, Megan, a sexually and intellectually frustrated police detective.

Why Megan abides in the Beef House — she makes the money, she makes the rules — is also unclear. Even the actress who plays her, Jamie-Lynn Sigler (best known as Meadow Soprano in “The Sopranos”), couldn’t quite say.

“She is an accomplished, sane, seemingly-of-strong-intellect-and-reason woman, so yeah, ‘Why is she living in a Beef House?’ is a good question,” she said, laughing. “I think there’s just a little bit of love there between her and Eric that she’s not willing to give up on.”

Two episodes in (the number previewed for journalists in advance), the reason behind such an odd cohabitation of characters hasn’t yet been revealed. Most likely, it never will be. As in most of Tim and Eric’s sketch humor, there are few whys and wherefores. You just have to roll with it.

The Beef House concept, whatever it means, started with a similarly inexplicable thought. “I think I suggested that this kid that we have in the show go to Beef Camp,” Heidecker said. “I remember saying to Eric — I know him so well — I was like, ‘I’m going to tell you something, and I guarantee you’re going to laugh and love it. I have a home run: Beef Camp.’”

“And then it just became Beef House,” he continued, “and then it was all we could talk about — one of those things in our careers when we’re like, ‘That’s what it is, and that’s all.’”

Wareheim did, indeed, love it. “One of the greatest things about this sitcom is that we don’t really explain why it’s called the Beef House, why we all live there, why my wife would put up with that kind of stuff,” he said.

“We just do things like that,” he said. “Our whole career, we’ve set up these situations that are very uncomfortable that people are forced to live in and experience.”

That approach has served them well in the more than two decades they’ve been collaborating. They got a break in the early aughts, when Bob Odenkirk agreed to executive produce their first series for Adult Swim, “Tom Goes to the Mayor.” Regular guests on “Awesome Show,” which played as half conceptual-art project, half public-access spoof, included Zach Galifianakis, John C. Reilly, Jeff Goldblum and Will Forte.

Ask people if they know about Tim and Eric, and you’re likely to be met with either a blank stare or a conspiratorial flash of recognition: This person gets it. On a recent comedy tour, audience comments during the Q. and A. were a reminder of their status as a litmus test among the comedy cognoscenti.

“People would be like, ‘I met my girlfriend or I met my boyfriend because of you guys,’” Heidecker said. “‘I had to make sure that they were OK with this kind of humor before I was going to continue the relationship.’”

Heidecker and Wareheim have been working with Adult Swim for over 15 years, and their “Beef House” pitch was fairly simple, said Walter J. Newman, head of program development: They wanted to do a sitcom, but make it twisted. Newman thought the idea could be pushed a little.

“The challenge that we presented to them was, ‘Hey, can you write this where it plays funny as a straightforward sitcom but still has the Tim and Eric sensibility in it?’” Newman said. The scripts would read as they might “on a sitcom on NBC,” he added, but would accrue that warped “extra layer” once Heidecker and Wareheim brought it to life.

The pair welcomed the push to go beyond a simple “goof on sitcoms,” Heidecker said. To make “Beef House” feel more like a real sitcom, they shot on cameras used for “Fuller House.” They hired the same person “Fuller House” used to mix their laugh tracks, too.

“There are things about sitcoms that we like in that you can tell a story, and you can have characters and build those characters and make them have relationships,” Heidecker said. “The things we don’t like are the jokes and the humor.”

Whatever their attempts to add authenticity, there seems little risk that “Beef House” will slide into the unfunny conventions of actual multicamera sitcoms. The episode premises alone should keep things weird. In Episode 1, the Beef Boys hold an Easter fashion show. In Episode 2, they collaborate to solve Tim’s constipation.

Then there’s that busload of dead people in a later episode. Funny? They probably found a way, same as they had managed to mine humor from an awkward video chat under pandemic lockdown. But “Fuller House” material it wasn’t.

“It looks and feels so much like what’s going on out there,” Wareheim said about the array of other sitcoms. “I feel like that was a challenge for us to see if we could get that close to the insanity that is a sitcom.”

“Yeah,” Heidecker added, “getting that close without getting totally burnt and burning up and destroying itself.”

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Consumers Can Now Connect with American Cattle Producers to Buy USA Beef – Yahoo Finance

Billings, Mont., March 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Billings, Mont. – In the wake of empty beef cases in grocery stores in some areas of the country, R-CALF USA has launched a new Website that connects consumers with their neighboring cattle farmers and ranchers who raise and sell cattle or beef that is exclusively born, raised, and harvested in the U.S. directly to consumers. The Website is www.USABeef.org. The Website is a platform for cattle farmers and ranchers to list their farms, ranches, or businesses, along with the type of cattle, beef and beef products they offer direct to consumers. American consumers can peruse this list online and contact the farmer, rancher or business of their choice to purchase beef that is exclusively born, raised and harvested in the United States. In some instances, the farmer, rancher, or business will sell consumers a portion or the entire live animal and will arrange for the consumer to have the animal harvested at a state-inspected packing plant. In other instances, the farmer, rancher, or business will sell beef and beef products directly to consumers that were harvested in a federally inspected packing plant. R-CALF USA issued a member alert to its 5,300 members in 43 states on Friday announcing the availability of the platform that its cattle farmer- and rancher-members can begin listing their farms, ranches and businesses so they can be contacted by American consumers. The site is growing daily, currently 76 farms, ranches and businesses from 24 states are already listed on the platform and American consumers can begin contacting them immediately. All U.S. cattle farmers, ranchers, and business that sell beef direct to the consumer, including local butcher shops and local processors, are invited to list their contact information at no cost on www.USAbeef.org, provided they meet the site’s only requirement: all beef must be USA -born, -raised, and -harvested. “This is a small but important step that our organization can take to help connect America’s consumers to America’s cattle farmers and ranchers so they can enjoy the safest, most wholesome beef in the world – USA beef,” said R-CALF USA marketing director Candace Bullard. Bullard added that her organization hopes that by bridging the gap between consumers and their cattle-producing neighbors, some of the farmers and ranchers struggling with seriously depressed cattle prices will be able to stay in business. “However, many of our industry’s cattle producers are not able to sell their cattle or beef directly to the consumer, which is why our first step in addressing this ongoing crisis was to urge President Trump to take immediate steps to fix our dysfunctional cattle market and to pass a new Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (M-COOL) law for beef so American producers can compete against imports in America’s marketplace,” she said. “Back to our new Website, if people share the Website on their social media, and message it to their friends perhaps we can help ensure that no American family will have to go without USA beef on their table at a time when it’s needed most,” Bullard concluded. # # # R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only lobbying and trade association representing U.S. cattle producers. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. Visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516 for more information.

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  • USA-Beef

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Bill Bullard
R-CALF USA
406-252-2516
r-calfusa@r-calfusa.com
” data-reactid=”23″>Bill Bullard
R-CALF USA
406-252-2516
r-calfusa@r-calfusa.com

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Escaped cow causes chaos on Virginia highway – UPI News

March 25 (UPI) — A busy stretch of highway in Virginia was brought to a stand-still when a cow jumped out of a livestock trailer and went running down the roadway.

Virginia Department of Transportation traffic cameras were recording Tuesday afternoon as Virginia State Police troopers and other personnel chased after the loose bovine on Interstate 64 in Chesapeake.

The Chesapeake Fire Department said it took the combined efforts of firefighters, state troopers, the Chesapeake Police Department, the Chesapeake Fire Marshall’s Office and the Virginia Department of Transportation to wrangle the loose animal after it ran down the interstate for more than a mile.

The cow’s run caused traffic delays on both the eastbound and westbound sides of the highway, officials said.

Investigators determined the cow had jumped out of a livestock trailer being pulled by a pickup truck. The animal, which was not injured, was returned to its owner.

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