Source: The Cow/Calf Corner newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
March 2, 2015
2015 beef production smaller than expected so far
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
USDA estimates beef production through the end of February to be down 5.2 percent from the same period last year. Total cattle slaughter is down 7.0 percent year over year including a 6.4 percent decrease in steer slaughter and a 8.7 percent decrease in heifer slaughter. Total cow slaughter is down 6.6 percent including a 4.0 percent increase in dairy cow slaughter and a 17.9 percent decrease in beef cow slaughter.
Overall cattle carcass weights are currently 20 pounds above year ago levels. Average cattle carcass weights are a function of both the carcass weights of various classes of cattle and also the composition of slaughter by class of cattle. Currently, steer carcass weights are up 19 pounds over last year and heifer carcass weights are up 15 pounds. Cow carcass weights are up 29 pounds year over year mostly the result of more dairy cows in the cow slaughter total. So far this year, dairy cows represent 58 percent of total cow slaughter compared to 52 percent one year ago.
Increased steer and heifer carcass weights reflect feedlot response to market conditions the past several months. Feedlot inventories have been slightly above year earlier levels since November, mostly as a result of delayed feedlot marketings of cattle. Total feedlot placements of cattle the past six months are down 3.8 percent year over year. In the same six months, feedlot marketings are down 7.2 percent. Data from Kansas feedlots shows that feedlots fed cattle an extra 16 days the past six months compared to the same period a year earlier. This led to increased final weights despite the fact that placement weights were smaller. Interestingly, feedlot performance was poorer during the past six months with decreased average daily gains, increased feed/gain ratios and increased death loss.
What to expect in the coming months? Fed cattle marketings typically increase seasonally from February to June. Current estimates suggest that total marketings will increase seasonally through May but could be slightly smaller than the same period last year with February and March marketings up slightly year over year and down from year ago levels in April and May. Carcass weights also typically decline to seasonal lows in April or May. While feedlots to have some incentive to feed cattle longer, winter weather may pull cattle and carcass weights down faster than expected in March. The current cold and snow across much of the country will have impacts in the majority of cattle feeding areas.
Winter weather may have also affected February feedlot placements. In Oklahoma, combined auction receipts in February were down 17 percent from last year with auction volumes down 47 percent in the last two weeks of February, in part due to adverse weather and road conditions. Though some wheat pasture cattle moved to market in late January and early February, some wheat pasture cattle may have been pushed into early March. Most wheat in Oklahoma is at or near first hollow stem and cattle need to be removed immediately for grain harvest in dual-purpose wheat.
Prolapses in beef cows
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus extension animal scientist
Prolapses occur occasionally in beef cows. Most prolapses occur very near the time of calving. Two distinct kinds of prolapse exist.
Uterine prolapse usually occurs at calving or soon after calving. If the uterus becomes badly traumatized before treating, the animal may die from shock or hemorrhage. Uterine prolapse requires immediate attention and if treated soon, most animals have an uneventful recovery. Some may suffer uterine damage or infection that prevents or delays conception and should therefore be culled. If they subsequently rebreed and become pregnant on schedule, there is no reason to cull animals suffering uterine prolapse after calving. Uterine prolapse is not likely to reoccur. Female offspring are not genetically predisposed to prolapses.
Vaginal prolapse, however, that which occurs before calving is a heritable trait and is likely to reoccur each year during late pregnancy. Such animals should not be kept in the herd. The condition will eventually result in the loss of cow, calf, or both, plus her female offspring would be predisposed to vaginal prolapse. Call your local large animal veterinarian for proper treatment, or advice about culling of any beef female that has been found to have a prolapse.
Research (Patterson, et al, 1981) from the USDA station at Miles City, Montana, reported that 153 calvings of 13,296 calvings from a 14-year span were associated with prolapse of the reproductive tract. Of those 153 prolapses, 124 (81 percent) were vaginal prolapses and 29 (19 percent) were uterine prolapses. The subsequent pregnancy rate following prolapse among first calf heifers was 28 percent and the pregnancy rate among adult cows following a prolapsed was only 57.9 percent.
Read more about Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers by downloading Oklahoma State University Extension Circular E-1006.
“Cow/calf Corner” is a weekly newsletter edited by Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension cattle specialist emeritus at Oklahoma State University with contributions from additional OSU Extension specialists.