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OSU Extension BEEF Team
BEEF Cattle questions may be directed to the OSU Extension BEEF Team through Stephen Boyles or Stan Smith, Editor
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Previous issues of the BEEF Cattle letter
Issue # 831
April 10, 2013
Disease and Animal Health Diagnosis - Dr. William Shulaw, Extension Veterinarian, Cattle and Sheep, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine,The Ohio State University
Lambing, kidding, and calving seasons are well underway and the typical questions about abortions, calf scours, and other problems have been asked. This week I was asked if I would provide some general guidelines about obtaining help with disease diagnosis.
First of all, getting at least a tentative diagnosis is crucial to formulating appropriate and cost-effective treatment, control, or prevention plans. Sometimes this isn't easy or simple, but it should start with your local veterinarian. Most veterinarians can provide at least some diagnostic services that might include bacterial culturing, blood work, and post mortem examination of dead animals. If additional testing is needed, the veterinarian might send samples they have collected to a laboratory for additional testing. A full diagnostic effort on a live animal, especially a valuable one, might involve sending the animal to a referral center such as the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine's large animal hospital. This may be needed for situations involving several animals.
Occasionally, a veterinarian will recommend that an animal owner deliver a dead animal or other samples to a diagnostic laboratory such as the ODA's Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. This is a full service laboratory accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. They can perform post mortem examinations and collect appropriate samples for further testing, and they can provide diagnostic tests for other kinds of samples such as placentas from abortion cases or tissue samples for trace mineral analysis (copper, selenium, lead, etc.).
When an owner delivers animals or other samples to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, they will be asked to provide information about the problem and any other pertinent observations. Often the veterinarian will call ahead to provide the laboratory some of this information and to let the laboratory people know that the animal/samples are coming. If the veterinarian hasn't called in advance, the animal owner will be asked the name of his or her veterinarian. Results of post mortem examinations and diagnostic tests as well as charges for the service are sent to this veterinarian. Usually the Laboratory sends out a preliminary report of the postmortem findings the next work day followed by test results within just a few days. Sometimes owners and veterinarians can get information about the initial findings almost immediately depending on the case. Also, with the laboratory's current computer system veterinarians can access the cases they are managing for lab results and updates day or night, 24/7, year round. A final report is sent to the veterinarian as soon as all results are available. Laboratory results are considered medical records and the veterinarian shares them with the animal owner.
Sometimes there is an urgent need to submit a large animal to the Laboratory on a weekend in order to be able to preserve the animal under refrigeration conditions until the post mortem examination can be done. Regular necropsy and diagnostic services are not available on weekends, but arrangements for this can be made by calling ahead at 1-614-728-6220. If the call is made after normal work hours (8 AM - 5 PM Monday through Friday), an after-hours emergency phone number is provided. Please note there is an after-hours service fee of $75 in addition to the costs of diagnostic tests. In some cases, the veterinarian can perform the postmortem examination in the field, keep fresh samples refrigerated over the weekend (and formalin-fixed tissue samples at room temperature) and ship them overnight to the lab on the next work day.
Treatment and control efforts carried out without an accurate diagnosis may be costly and ineffective and may compromise animal welfare. Today's economic climate requires using the best information you can get.
Forage Focus: Tall Fescue: Renovation or Eradication? - Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator Wayne County and Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist
Many cow/calf beef enterprises across the state utilize tall fescue as their primary pasture forage. In most instances, it is Kentucky 31 endophyte infected forage, and while this is a great option for a late fall and winter stockpiled forage, there are some significant downsides to using this forage during the growing season, particularly summer. The endophyte is a fungus, specifically Neotyphodium coenophialum and it is responsible for multiple livestock disorders including fescue foot, bovine fat necrosis and fescue toxicity. Fescue toxicity is the most common disorder and is associated with poor animal performance characterized by reduced feed intake, decreased weight gains, lowered milk production, lowered reproductive performance and rough hair coat.
Last summer's drought may have inadvertently created an opportunity for some beef cattle graziers to reevaluate the tall fescue mix in their pastures. Pastures that were overgrazed during the drought and into the fall period are likely to have "holes" where desirable grass species have dropped out and where weeds may have or will be filling in. Even those endophyte infected tall fescue pastures could be thinned out; although it is likely the tall fescue will recover and survive. However, these pastures can benefit from renovation.
We are now past the point where frost seeding and broadcasting seed is a viable option. April is a good month to do some no-till drill pasture renovation work. One of the commonly employed strategies to reduce the effects of fescue toxicity is dilution with other species in the pasture. Endophyte infected tall fescue pastures can benefit from renovation when other species, particularly legumes, are added to the pasture mix. Generally red and white clover can work well as legume species in a tall fescue stand. The goal should be to establish a 30 to 35% clover mix evenly distributed throughout the fescue pasture. The no-till drill should be adjusted to insure that seed is not placed more than one-quarter to one-half inch deep.
If weeds are present or the tall fescue sod is vigorous then something must be done to reduce this competition and give the new seedlings a chance to establish. The most effective option may be the use of a chemical herbicide. Always read and follow the label directions regarding rates and possible intervals between application and planting a new crop/seed. Gramoxone can be used as a burndown to provide time for the new seeding to become established. Non-chemical methods include mowing at very short heights or grazing the cover down tight to suppress the grass sod.
There may be situations where eradication of an endophyte infected tall fescue pasture is a better option than renovation and the dilution strategy. Right up front I will say that this is not an easy task and in order for this to be successful it takes a commitment of time and management. According to some tall fescue management fact sheets from the University of West Virginia and the University of Arkansas, this is a process that will take 1 to 2 years and requires steps to kill the endophyte infected stand, prevent the reintroduction of endophyte infected seed and then continued to management of the new seeding. This process is more likely to have success if there is a pasture field where some tillage machinery can be used.
Although there are variations to this process, if eradication is going to start in the spring, these steps should be followed:
* Soil test to determine if lime, phosphate or potash needs to be added to bring the field to critical soil levels. Those levels are a soil pH of 6.5, a phosphate level of 25 ppm and a potash level of 120 ppm or according to the formula of: 75 +(2.5 x C.E.C.).
* Kill the existing tall fescue sod. Generally glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide for this purpose. If the sod can't be sprayed until late April or early May, then the pasture must be clipped to prevent any seed head formation.
* If lime or fertilizer is needed to correct soil deficiencies, till the field and incorporate the lime and fertilizer 6-8 inches deep.
* Plant a warm season annual crop such as pearl millet, sorghum x sudangrass or sudangrass when the soil temperature reaches 60 to 65 degrees F. These are vigorous, tall growing forages that will act to smother out any fescue that might germinate. These crops can be used for summer grazing. Another option would be foxtail millet, which would make a single hay crop by late summer (and would not require killing after the single hay crop)
* In late August or early September kill off the summer annual using glyphosate (not necessary if foxtail millet is used). This glyphosate application is another opportunity to kill any surviving tall fescue plants.
* Till the field and prepare a seedbed to plant a winter annual crop such as winter wheat or winter rye. No-till planting is also appropriate. This crop can provide some late fall grazing.
* The next year, depending upon the spring, take a final grazing pass or remove the winter annual as wet wrapped baleage. Take time to walk over the field. If any fescue is observed, apply another application of glyphosate. In mid to late April plant the field with a perennial pasture mix that includes grass and legume species.
After this time period removed from tall fescue seed head production, any tall fescue that emerges from old seed in the soil should no longer contain a viable infective fungus. A fact sheet on endophyte toxins from Oregon State University says that the fungus will lose its viability if stored for 18 or more months. Other sources say 12 months is enough for the fungus to lose its viability in stored seed.
Finally, even if eradication is successful, the grazier must continue to manage to prevent endophyte infected seed from being re-introduced into the field from machinery and/or animals carrying viable seed in their digestive tracts from endophyte infected fields. Infected tall fescue can also be reintroduced by feeding hay of endophyte-infected tall fescue containing seed heads with viable seed.
Managing Pastures for Greater Drought Tolerance
During the 2013 Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Conference, Dr. Chris Teutsch from the Southern Piedmont AREC in Blackstone Virginia discussed adapting to climate change with forage management techniques that will aid in greater drought tolerance of our pastures. Regardless if you are managing pasture or hay lands, this 50 minute presentation is loaded with valuable and timely information.
Beef Trade Issues and Challenges - Tim Petry, Livestock Economist, North Dakota State University Extension Service
USDA recently released U.S. livestock and meat international trade data, which highlights both challenges and opportunities. Beef and veal exports for January and February at 368,675,000 carcass weight pounds were up about 1.3% from last year. Canada was the top customer for U.S. beef in 2011 and 2012, and that trend continued in Jan/Feb 2013 with exports to Canada up over 40% from the same period last year. Japan was the second leading destination for U.S. beef followed closely by Mexico and South Korea.
The announcement in January 2013 that Japan would again allow U.S. beef from animals 30 months of age or younger starting in February, caused speculation that Japan may return to the leading export market for U.S. beef. Japan was the leading customer prior to discovery of the first case of BSE in the U.S. in December 2003, when Japan banned U.S. beef imports. Trade for only beef from cattle slaughtered at 20 months of age or less resumed in 2005. A more in depth discussion of beef trade with Japan is available in the March issue of the USDA-ERS Livestock Dairy and Poultry Outlook in a special article titled "Japan Announces New Rule for Imports of U.S. Beef." It is available at http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/LDP-M/LDP-M-03-14-2013.pdf
Beef exports to Japan were up just less than 2% in Jan/Feb. A couple of factors that are affecting beef exports to Japan include an economic recession there, and the increasing value of the $US compared to the Japanese Yen. In the last several months the $US has increased about 20% relative to the Yen, which causes U.S. beef that is at historically high price levels to even be higher priced. Furthermore, on April 4th the Bank of Japan announced a major monetary stimulus plan to inject about $1.4 trillion into the economy in the next 2 years. That goal to achieve 2 percent inflation sent the Yen plummeting.
Beef exports to Russia have been gradually increasing the last several years. In 2012, Russia was the 6th leading destination for U.S. beef which amounted to over 6% of beef exports. However, earlier this year Russia announced that it was banning all beef, pork, and turkey from the U.S. unless it could be certified free of ractopamine. Since the U.S. does not have a ractopamine free certification process, beef exports to Russia have stopped.
U.S. beef imports in Jan/Feb were up about 4% from the same period last year. In 2012, Australia was the largest supplier of beef to the U.S. followed by Canada, New Zealand, and Mexico. So far this year, beef imports from Australia were down 3% with imports from Canada down about 30%. However, imports from New Zealand increased 43% which made it the leading supplier so far this year. New Zealand is suffering with severe drought conditions, which is forcing many more cattle to slaughter, and has caused a sharp increase in beef exports to the U.S. and other countries.
International trade is very important to the U.S. beef industry. In 2012, the value of all U.S. cattle, beef, and byproduct exports was $7.9B. The U.S. imported about $5.6B worth of cattle, beef, and byproducts resulting in a $2.3B trade surplus.
Visit the OSU Beef Team calendar of meetings and upcoming events
BEEF Cattle is a weekly publication of Ohio State University Extension in Fairfield County and the OSU Beef Team. Contributors include members of the Beef Team and other beef cattle specialists and economists from across the U.S.
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Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration; Associate Dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Director, Ohio State University Extension and Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership. TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-6181.
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