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Keeper &Culls

DECISION, DECISIONS

One of the directors of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers, watching a hockey game on TV kept switching channels to a adult movie featuring a lusty couple.

“I don’t know whether to watch them or the game,” he said to his wife.

“For heaven’s sake, watch them,” his wife said, “you already know how to play hockey!”

REDUCE FEEDING STRESS

One of the first steps in a successful winter cattle-feeding program is to minimize stress by separating the animals.

Different animals have different requirements, says Barry Yaremcio, Beef and Forage Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Food. Separating mature cows, first and second calvers, replacement heifers and feeder heifers will result in benefits.

“For example, a mature cow that is pregnant only has to maintain body weight and supply enough nutrients to have the fetus grow. A first-calf heifer is still growing and is only at 85 per cent mature body weight after its first calf is born. Her requirements are higher than a mature cow. She still should be fed more grain, protein supplement and higher quality forage. Replacement heifers are a special case. Requirements are a lot higher than those of the first calf heifers Again, these animals need to be separated and fed in a different pen.”

Method of feeding is important. Yaremcio says he’s finding producers are adjusting to the lower quality feed, adding “A lot of people are looking at unrolling bales because of dust and spores in the lower quality hay. Others are using a bale processor to knock off the dust and this can result in up to 20 per cent wastage. Those who use a bale feeder or some sort of confinement rack can expect six to 10 per cent of the feed will be wasted and unrolling bales will result in 12 to 13 per cent wastage. It’s not just calculating one bale for so many cows. Producers have to add in the 10 to 20 per cent loss due to waste.”

SNOW DOESN’T WORK FOR HORSES

There is an feature story on Page 17 about cows eating snow in winter, so I checked with a horse expert about how horses manage in winter, and the bottom line — snow is not a sufficient water source for horses .

Here’s why. All animals do better if they have access to a source of water that has had the chill removed (between 4 to 7 C). The biggest issue with horses eating snow for moisture is that owners do not check the condition of snow frequent enough to know whether horses can paw through it and actually consume sufficient snow for a reasonable level of water intake.

Also if horse owners are not careful when relying on snow as a water source, horses become more prone to impaction colic.

It is not possible for a horse to consume sufficient water from eating snow.

Horses basically need three pounds of water for every pound of dry feed intake, which means the average horse (1,000 lbs.) will be eating 20-plus pounds per day in the winter. This means that it will require 60 pounds of water or six-plus gallons. If on average it takes 10 gallons of snow to make one gallon of water it means the horse is required to eat 60 gallons of snow. This is not going to happen.

IF THE SHOE FITS

Overheard at a recent meeting of Manitoba beef producers:

“I’ve sure gotten old!”

I’ve had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I’m half blind, can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia, poor circulation and can hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can’t remember if I’m 85 or 92.

I’ve lost all my friends… But, thank God, I still have my driver’s license.”

BLOOD KIT FOR SWINE

Paradigm Agri-Solutions has struck a marketing agreement with ITL Animal Healthcare for the Canadian distribution of TEGO — a new blood collection kit for swine. The TEGO swine blood-collection kit was launched in Canada at the Manitoba Hog and Poultry days in early December.

TEGO is an easy to use and cost-effective breakthrough innovation for collecting, processing and storing livestock blood samples. It introduces an unprecedented level of safety into the process of drawing blood, while simplifying the collection process without compromising sample integrity. The collected samples can be used for animal identification, genetic/ trait selection testing, as well as designated disease tests. The TEGO kit is designed to better meet needs of veterinarians, producers and laboratories.

Paradigm Agri-Solutions, located in Manitoba, Canada distributes TEGO products. For additional information on TEGO, contact Rick Bergmann at 204-346-9952 or email [email protected] Some 170 Saskatchewan producers recently met at the Kennedy Community Hall for the Winter Feeding Options Tour hosted by the North Moose Mountain Creek Agri-Environmental Group Plan (NMMC) and partners. The day kicked off with a bus tour of remote winter-water systems, which allow producers to extensively feed cattle using methods such as bale and swath grazing.

FEEDING OPTIONS TOUR

Back at the hall, local producers made presentations on how they feed cattle in a way that keeps costs low while benefiting the environment at the same time. Participants learned about corn grazing, bale grazing, swath grazing, stockpiled grass, and chaff/ straw grazing. The “bear pit” session was a huge success with a chance for the crowd to ask questions of the presenters; questions ranged from nutrition and husbandry, costs of wintering, to specifics like whether to use twine or net wrap for bale grazing.

Agri-Environmental Group Plans (AEGPs) in the area worked together to put this event on including the North Moose Mountain Creek, Cornerstone, Lower Souris Watershed, and Eastern Lower Qu’appelle. The AEGPs consist of producer board members and a technician, who work to promote environmentally sustainable practices in agriculture. The Focus is on promoting practices that protect and enhance water quality and overall watershed health. AEGP technicians work one-on-one with producers to make plans and apply for financial incentives to implement practices including off-site water systems, planting forages, fencing, and portable windbreaks for livestock.

Les Johnston, chairperson of the NMMC-AEGP from Fillmore, said “the purpose of the day was not only to let producers know we can help them access project funding, but also to demonstrate new farming practices that benefit both their operation and our watershed.” Education and awareness of producers as well as general public, is a huge component of the group’s focus. “In the past 16 months we have hosted or co-hosted 8 events/ tours to demonstrate beneficial management practices to producers as well as involving youth in these activities.”

Events such as these are not possible without sponsorship and partners. Parkside Farm and Ranch, Ken Singleton provided supper for everyone, as well as had GX94 radio broadcasting live. Other partners included Provincial Council of ADD Boards, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Lower Souris Watershed, SaskPower, as well as local purebred producers Moose Creek Red Angus — Darren Ippolito, Beck Farms — Wade Beck, and Eastondale Angus — Dale Easton.

Dr. Gary Hoium and producer from Weyburn presented tips to maintain cattle in healthy condition during winter, and expressed the importance for producers to educate the public on where food comes from and how it got there.

Producers interested in presentation summaries or applying for funding call Kylie McRae at 421-0863.

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