Source: Cow-Calf Corner | April 8, 2019
Feedlot performance impacted by weather
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
USDA-AMS estimates U.S. beef production for the year to date to be down 1.0 percent year over year. Total cattle slaughter is up 0.7 percent so far this year over last year. Daily slaughter totals for the year to date show steer slaughter down 3.9 percent; heifer slaughter up 7.6 percent; dairy cow slaughter up 5.0 percent; beef cow slaughter up 1.1 percent and bull slaughter down 8.8 percent all compared to the same period last year. Adverse weather has likely slowed cattle finishing somewhat but the slaughter totals across classes mostly reflect underlying herd dynamics.
Weather impacts are more evident in cattle carcass weights. Carcass weights are declining seasonally thus far but are well below year ago levels. In the latest weekly data, steer carcass weights are 12 pounds below one year ago; heifer carcasses are down 11 pounds; and cow carcasses are 18 pounds lighter year over year. Lighter cow carcass weights are particularly surprising given that dairy cows are making up a bigger proportion of cow slaughter and are typically heavier than beef cows. For the year to date, steer carcass weights have averaged 866 pounds, down 7.3 pounds year over year; heifer carcasses are at 804 pounds,11.7 pounds lighter compared to last year and cow carcasses are averaging 645 pounds, 14.3 pounds lighter year over year.
Feedlot survey data from Kansas show the weather impacts in more detail. For the month of February, closed-out steer pens averaged 3.43 pounds per day of gain (ADG), down slightly from 3.48 ADG one year ago. Feed conversion was sharply higher at 7.08 pounds of feed per pound of gain (F/G) compared to 6.22 F/G last year. This indicates the additional feed required to support animal maintenance and growth; meaning that cattle are much less efficient in adverse weather. Steer death loss was higher as well at 1.68 percent compared to 1.59 percent last year. Cost of gain (COG) is higher now compared to last year, partly as a result of these impacts but may also reflect changes in feed costs. February 2019 steer COG is reported at $85.26/cwt. compared to $79.73/cwt. one year ago.
The impact on feedlot heifers may be even more apparent. February heifer ADG was 3.18 pounds per day, compared to 3.34 ADG in February last year. Feed conversion was 7.31 F/G compared to 6.40 F/G one year ago. Heifer death loss was 1.53 percent in February compared to 1.29 last year. Heifer COG for February was $89.17/cwt. versus $80.56/cwt. last year.
As in often the case, adverse weather is largely a management headache with significant economic impacts mostly borne by individual operations. However, there are no doubt some market level impacts given the lengthy and widespread period of poor cattle production conditions experienced this winter. Impacts reported above are likely my-pharm-blog.com in more northern regions compared to Kansas. Reduced beef production appears to have supported boxed beef prices, reducing supplies somewhat so far this year compared to earlier expectations. Fed cattle prices have likely been supported as well, though the weather impacts have not been as obvious as some had expected. Fed cattle prices may have peaked seasonally but continued weather impacts and the onset of summer beef demand should provide continued support for a few more weeks and possibly another chance for a spring price peak.
Proper injection sites to remember at calf-working time
By Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist
Spring calving seasons are well underway, if not nearly completed in Oklahoma. The months of April and May are traditionally the time when spring round-ups take place. This is the time that large and small cow-calf operations schedule the working of the calves.
As the majority of the calves reach their second month of life, it is time to castrate the male calves (if this has not already been done) and immunize all of the calves to protect them against blackleg. In some situations, calves may be vaccinated for the respiratory diseases, i.e. IBR and BVD. Check with your large animal veterinarian about these immunizations.
Correct administration of any injection is a critical control point in beef production and animal health. There is a negative relationship between meat tenderness and injection sites, including injection sites that have no visible lesion. In fact, intramuscular (IM) injections, regardless of the product injected, may create permanent damage regardless of the age of the animal at the time of injection. Tenderness is reduced in a three-inch area surrounding the injection site. Moving the injection-site area to the neck stops damage to expensive steak cuts. Therefore, cow/calf producers should make certain that their family members, and other hired labor are sufficiently trained as to the proper location of the injections before the spring calf-working begins.
Give injections according to label instructions. Subcutaneous (SQ) means under the skin, intramuscular (IM) means in the muscle. Some vaccines (according to the label instructions) allow the choice between intramuscular (IM) and subcutaneous (SQ). Always use subcutaneous (SQ) as the method of administration when permitted by the product’s label. Remember to “tent” the skin for SQ injections unless instructed otherwise by the manufacturer. Proper injection technique is just one of many components of the Beef Quality Assurance effort that has had a positive impact on the entire United States beef industry.
Another important aspect of the Beef Quality Assurance effort is keeping of accurate treatment records. Treatment records should include:
- Individual animal/group identification
- Date treated
- Product administered and manufacturer’s lot/serial number
- Dosage used
- Route and location of administration
- Earliest date animal(s) will have cleared withdrawal period
- Name of person administering the product
Treatment records for cattle should be stored and kept for a minimum of three years after the animal(s) have been sold from your operation.
Beef producers are encouraged to learn and practice Beef Quality Assurance Guidelines. Check with your state’s BQA program for more information. The course is free and available online.
Oklahoma and other states: https://www.bqa.org.