Twitter Has New Beef With Devin Nunes's Lawsuit Over Parody Cow Account – HuffPost

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New Crop, Cow-Calf Budgets Available for 202 – KTIC

Two decision-making tools created by Nebraska Extension for agricultural producers across the state have been updated for the new year.

The 2020 Nebraska crop budgets (https://cropwatch.unl.edu/budgets) and representative cow-calf budgets (https://go.unl.edu/cow-calfbudgets) are now available to provide producers with cost-of-production estimates.

Both sets of budgets are available as PDFs and Excel files, which feature tools that allow users to enter information into worksheets to calculate estimated production costs.

“Both the crop and livestock budget files are made available online so producers can download, then modify, production and expense figures to more closely match their various enterprises,” said Glennis McClure, a Nebraska Extension educator in the Department of Agricultural Economics. “Understanding enterprise cost of production in agriculture is important in product mix decision-making, pricing, marketing and financial analysis.”

The crop budgets include 82 production budgets for 15 crops produced in Nebraska, along with cost data for power, machinery and labor. They were compiled by a team led by Robert Klein, an extension crops specialist, and McClure, utilizing a template created by Roger Wilson, a retired extension farm and ranch management analyst.

There are five cow-calf budgets that offer representative herd data for different regions of the state. Background stories are included to assist producers with information relevant to each budget, which may guide producers in determining their own costs. McClure led the cow-calf budget effort, which was compiled from information gathered from producer panels that have met as part of the university’s multidisciplinary Beef Systems Initiative.

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Deputy uses stun gun to settle a beef between K9 and cow – TribLIVE

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Let those mama cows do their motherly thing – Beef Magazine

It’s possible that cow-calf producers can have a tunnel-vision focus on only the pregnant cow when calving time approaches. They hang their calf puller and chains near the calving pen and concentrate on getting that newborn calf on the ground. Questions dominate their minds. Will they be able to pull that smaller heifer’s calf? Which one will have a foot or two down in the birth canal? Will that black baldy have another backwards calf this year? 

The cows are in the nearby pen ready to be moved to the calving area no matter the hour, but they are largely ignored.

Although these worrisome questions and actions can at times be a large part of the process, progressive thinking is forcing producers to take a step back. Experts urge that to help deliver a healthy calf that will end up either at the packing plant or in the cow herd, it is important to first help the cow.

Allow the critical actions

There are critical actions that should take center stage when the pregnancy period is coming to an end. Isolation, potential assistance, birthing and establishing a bond are all precursors to that healthy weaned calf. If possible, they must be allowed and supported to offer the best opportunity for success.

Aaron Berger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln beef systems Extension educator, sees it as a complex process. “Weather conditions, the environment the cattle are in and the disposition of the cow can all contribute or take away from the success of the event.” 

He notes that many things are happening in a short period of time that can influence the situation. “Can that calf be born in a way that it gets up, nurses and receives colostrum in a timely way? And then will that cow protect the calf and get it safely to weaning?”

When the female becomes aware of the approaching delivery, isolation and nesting are a part of the natural process. Looking at the big picture, it’s important to let the mother do what mothers naturally want to do in order to kickstart things in the right direction. 

Experts see isolation as a preliminary step in forming the mother-offspring bond, as it establishes the protection of the pair from predators and facilitates early social interactions without unwanted interference. Cows become receptive to the idea of calving up to a week before the physical act. Hormones are triggered and the figurative meter is running.

“A cow that has open space on pasture can go off by herself and complete the birthing process without interruption. This should mean less stress for the cow and result in a better opportunity for bonding,” said Berger. “If she has limited space and ability to get up and move around, these are things that can contribute to the bonding process being more challenging for that cow.”

Endure the delivery process

For the micro-managing producer, it can be extremely hard to let nature take its course without reaching for that calf puller and chains. Like reading a book, it’s difficult for some to sit down and read all the pages without flipping to the ending to learn how it turns out. 

If females are given time and opportunity, the birthing process will eventually proceed. Changes in progesterone and estrogen levels initiate birthing, but rising oxytocin levels released during the physical event trigger maternal behavior.

Studies show that cervical stimulation is crucial for proper hormonal response. The fetus moving and stretching the birth canal while pushing against the cervix causes the release of oxytocin. This hormonal release combined with contractions is considered vital to the bonding process.

Berger encourages producers to give the process a real chance at succeeding as nature intended. “We have to think of the whole thing as a system that is not necessarily linear. A lot of hormones are changing in the cow with the birthing process about to take place. Minimize things that might be distractions.”

When the delivery is close, especially if the cow is lying down, maternal instinct and sensory clues provided by the calf and the birth fluids will seize the cow’s attention. “A vocal calf that is vigorous and struggling to get up encourages the cow and symbiotically the cow encourages the calf,” said Berger. “An aggressive cow and calf seem to be the scenario with the best opportunity for that calf to get colostrum in a timely way and further bonding to occur.”

Of course, location, land base, infrastructure, the environment and multiple other factors play a large role in what producers can and can’t do. Large, open ranches and confined scenarios could employ different breeding strategies on different types of cows because of the variations in human interactions.

“There is a lot of diversity in how cow-calf production occurs in North America. I think you need to have cattle that fit the environment and the resources.”

To keep the producer’s calf puller hanging on the wall where it belongs, it’s important to understand how vital the natural process of isolation, hormonal release, contractions and sensory stimuli are in producing a live and healthy newborn. If possible, let the mothers go through the process as nature intended, by experiencing all those motherly things.

Derksen is a freelance writer and feedyard pen rider in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.

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'Climate Change Cow' to Protest 'Dairy Day at the Capitol' – PETA

As Dairy Lobbyists Target Lawmakers, PETA Will Point to Industry’s Role in the Climate Crisis

For Immediate Release:
January 20, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis. – Holding a sign proclaiming, “Go Vegan or We All Die,” PETA’s “climate change cow” will greet lawmakers as they arrive for the Dairy Business Association’s “Dairy Day at the Capitol” lobbying event on Tuesday.

The “cow” will point out that eliminating meat and dairy is the most efficient way to combat the climate crisis, whose effects are already being felt in environmental catastrophes such as historic droughts, floods, and wildfires, including the ones in California and Australia.

“The dairy industry is spewing out contaminants that are heating up the Earth and causing near-apocalyptic weather, not to mention treating gentle cows as milk machines until their bodies give out,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “In the face of the climate crisis, PETA is calling on everyone to choose vegan milks, yogurts, and cheeses—for the whole planet’s sake.”

According to the United Nations, animal agriculture alone is responsible for nearly one-fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.  A recent analysis concluded that cutting dairy milk consumption by 60% in Western countries is essential to reduce disastrous climate change.

Where:           Wisconsin Capitol Building, Rm. 412, 2 E. Main St., Madison

When:            Tuesday, January 21, 10 a.m.

Protesters will also attend the event’s reception and fundraiser:

Where:           The Rigby, 119 E. Main St., Madison

When:            Tuesday, January 21, 4:30 p.m.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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To reduce cows’ methane emissions, UVM researchers look to seaweed – vtdigger.org

A cow in a field in Lowell on Friday, June 7, 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

BURLINGTON — Researchers at the University of Vermont are looking to the ocean to try to reduce the impact that cows have on climate change.

With the help of a mechanism that mimics bovine digestion, Dr. Sabrina Greenwood, a professor with UVM’s department of animal and veterinary sciences, is teaming up with colleagues in coastal Maine to figure out if seaweed can reduce the methane emissions of cows.

The idea has been gaining traction in recent years. A 2018 study at the University of California, Davis, found that a dozen cows fed a particular type of seaweed recorded methane output reductions of 24% to 58%. 

Methane, a greenhouse gas, is 34 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, a United Nations climate report says. Agriculture systems account for about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenwood, a ruminant nutritionist, became involved with the research after the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine, received a $3 million grant in October to fund the work. The project’s leader at Bigelow, Nichole Price, emailed a colleague of Greenwood’s in hopes of connecting with a ruminant nutritionist in Vermont, Greenwood said.

“She recognized the importance of dairy in Vermont and [her email] got forwarded to me and I said ‘Yeah, let’s talk,’” Greenwood said.

Greenwood’s research involves the use of six 6-liter continuous culture fermenters, which Greenwood described as a “suped up beaker.” The fermenters, with some slight alterations made to them, mimic the rumen of a cow, or the chamber of a cow’s stomach that houses most of the digestive microbes and bacteria. 

Greenwood and the half dozen students who work with her introduce various components to the beaker to create the desired effect. This includes introducing carbon dioxide gas to remove any oxygen, wrapping the beakers in a heat blanket to keep it at the same temperature as the inside of a cow, reducing light pollution and creating fake saliva.

The last ingredient is rumen fluid. Greenwood said some cows at UVM’s farm have a fistual in their side. The surgically implanted device creates an opening on the side of the cow, so Greenwood and her students can reach inside the cow’s rumen and collect the fluid needed.

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“When you’re testing out new feed, it’s often very nice to test them on these kinds of systems before you move them to an animal,” Greenwood said. 

One particular microbe in the rumen, methanogens, produce the most methane in cows, Greenwood said. 

It’s a common misconception that cows flatulate all their methane, she said. In fact, about 85% of methane released by cows actually comes from their belching, because the methanogens are located in the rumen, the first chamber of the stomach.

Seaweeds have compounds that researchers believe can interfere with the way that cows produce methane, she said.

Price’s team at Bigelow is working to identify which types of seaweed could have the greatest effect on reducing cows’ methane output while also working to grow them sustainably as part of Maine’s large aquaculture industry.

Greenwood said Bigelow is working with thousands of different types of seaweed to understand better how they break down, what their potential methane output could be and the presence of any metals which may have been picked up in the ocean.

Once Bigelow researchers find a few promising seaweeds, they will partner with regional aquaculturalists to send samples to Greenwood and her team. Greenwood will then determine a potential diet ratio, usually 1% to 2% of body weight, and introduce the different types of seaweed and measure the methane output. She plans to repeat this process many times over until she gets a consistent result.

The research aims to figure out how much and what types of seaweed in cow feed would have the desired effect on methane output, without compromising the nutritional needs of cows.

When Greenwood finishes her research, which she hopes will be complete by the end of the summer, she will send the results back to Bigelow, where there is a microbiologist on staff. The microbiologist will then analyse how the microbes in the artificial rumen interacted with the seaweed.

Once the specific types of seaweed are selected for testing in real cows, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment in Freeport, Maine, and the Organic Dairy Research Farm at the University of New Hampshire will begin feeding it to their herds.

“They’re going to feed it to herds and they’re going to do that likely in comparison with kelp meals that are already out there to see if these are better candidates…from a methane perspective,” Greenwood said. 

Greenwood said these tests are crucial to understanding how a seaweed diet affects cows over time. The fermenters Greenwood has in her lab mimic only the rumen, and she said researchers need to determine if milk or reproductive systems could be impacted by the changing diet. Cows at Wolfe’s Neck and UNH are expected to start on a seaweed diet either later this year, or in 2021.

None of the cows at UVM will be fed seaweed as part of the study. Their primary contribution to the research is their rumen fluid for Greenwood’s culture fermenters.

Greenwood said she wants to strike a balance between feeding cows seaweed and the environmental impact involved with getting seaweed to farms. Seaweed would need to be shipped to landlocked states which, over a long enough distance, could counteract the net impact of methane reduction on the farm.

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Greenwood said the dairy industry “sometimes get the short end of the stick” in climate change discussions. She said over the past decade, dairy farmers have been working much harder to reduce waste and runoff on their farms.

“This isn’t a silver bullet,” she said. “If the dairy industry were to miraculously find some sort of product, like seaweed, that could completely knock out methane emissions, it doesn’t solve the world’s climate problem. There’s a lot more beyond that.”

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Because it brings insightful, well-researched, relevant reporting in my state of Vermont, and has implications for wider applications. Thanks for your great work!

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Cows talk to each other, including about food, shocking new study says – Fox News

Cows are able to “commooonicate” with each other, a startling new study says.

Published in Scientific Reports in December, the study notes that Holstein-Fresian heifer cattle are able to communicate with one another, using their own distinct moos. The researchers, including lead researcher Alexandra Green, took 333 samples of cow vocalizations and analyzed them using acoustic analysis programs. They discovered the cows are able to give cues in certain situations and express different emotions, including excitement, arousal, engagement and distress.

“We found that cattle vocal individuality is relatively stable across different emotionally loaded farming contexts,” Green said in a statement.

Cows "gossip" to each other about food and the weather, according to an astonishing new study. (Credit: SWNS)

Cows “gossip” to each other about food and the weather, according to an astonishing new study. (Credit: SWNS)

INCREDIBLE PICTURE SHOWS LION CUB LETTING OUT ITS FIRST ROAR

Positive signs were seen when the females were in heat and when there was anticipation of being fed. Negative contexts were spotted when they were denied access to food and during “physical and visual isolation from the rest of the herd.”

Cameron Clark, one of the study’s co-authors and Green’s academic supervisor, praised her research. “Ali’s research is truly inspired,” Clark said in the statement. “It is like she is building a Google translate for cows.”

Alexandra Green at Mayfarm, Camden. (Credit: Lynne Gardner)

Alexandra Green at Mayfarm, Camden. (Credit: Lynne Gardner)

Previous research had revealed cows and their calves are able to communicate by keeping individuality in their lowing (the vocal sounds made by cattle), but Green’s research indicates that the individuality is kept throughout their entire lives and spread across the herd.

“Cows are gregarious, social animals,” Green added. “In one sense it isn’t surprising they assert their individual identity throughout their life and not just during mother-calf imprinting. But this is the first time we have been able to analyze voice to have conclusive evidence of this trait.”

Green hopes that her research will be used by farmers and integrated into their routines to better understand their animals and improve their well being.

The study revealed how dairy cows respond to positive and negative emotional situations each with their own individual voice and linked their moods to their 'moos.' (Credit: SWNS) 

The study revealed how dairy cows respond to positive and negative emotional situations each with their own individual voice and linked their moods to their ‘moos.’ (Credit: SWNS) 

“Individual distinctiveness is likely to attract social support from conspecifics, and knowledge of these individuality cues could assist farmers in detecting individual cattle for welfare or production purposes,” the researchers wrote in the study’s abstract.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Putting up with pushy cows – Craig Daily Press

From Pipi’s Pasture
PipisPasture

Everyone who knows cows is aware that they live a hierarchial “lifestyle”—even though they don’t realize it. In a small herd there’s usually one cow that “rules the roost” (sometimes more than one). She manages to get the best feed and the best place to sleep at night. She pushes the others away when she wants to use her favorite scratching post or when she wants to lick the mineral block. I’ve seen a boss cow even push the bull away. Even though the boss cow is in charge, the others have their places in the herd, too, pushing and shoving others around to get feed. It’s nature’s way.

Recently, people have taken notice to how I’ve been feeding this winter. They want to know why I’m feeding cows in small bunches. After all, it requires a lot work to move bales of hay around. So that brings me to the pushy cows in our little herd.

The first little bunch of cows doesn’t have anything to do with pushy cows. They’re in the smaller part of the corral. Sarah, my 25-year-old cow, needs shelter so she’s there where she can get into a loafing shed. Her roommate is BoCo, our granddaughter Megan’s prize-winning cow, knows how to jump wire fences so that’s why she is there. Two calves are there, too. That’s bunch # 1.

The other cows chow down in the larger part of the corral, bunch # 2.  This year I’ve chosen to throw hay over the pole fence. We are used to spreading hay out on the feedlot where there’s distance among the cows, but here’s plenty of room for all of the cows to eat in the corral—if they don’t fight. That’s where the pushy cows come in.

There are about three boss cows in the little herd now. They’re all great big, red Simmental cows that weigh as much as 1700 pounds, and their names are Kitty, Moose, and Blaze. We’ve had these cows quite awhile. Because of their sizes, the cows push all of the others around when I put out the hay. As I throw more and more hay over the fence, they follow along, undoubtedly thinking they will get tastier hay or, even more probable, not wanting the others to get any. They push so-thunk!- the target cows hit the fence. In their efforts to get the hay the three boss cows stand sideways on it.

Cow Kitty is vociferous as well as pushy. Just this morning I came face-to-face with her through the corral poles. I told her I was tired of listening to whatever she was complaining about.

Long story short—the less aggressive cows have to work to get hay. So I decided to move some hay up closer to the house, to allow some cows to eat there, spreading them out. This is cow bunch # 3. And you know what? The less aggressive cows, the ones that get pushed away from the hay, come up to this hay every morning. As a result, all the cows get plenty of hay and get to eat in peace.

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