Friday, April 15, 2011

Freeze Branding Final Analyst

Well we have now completed working both groups of bred heifers. The first group we utilized the dry ice and 99% alcohol. There were three of us working I was the alcohol sprayer and time keeper, while Lance and Ronnie worked the irons. This work was done at the house using our old Priefert working chute; this chute doesn’t restrict the movement as well as the Fore-Most chute used during the demonstration at the farm, so we also utilize a halter on the heifers for additional control. The brands are turning out really well and we are extremely pleased with the results of this procedure.

The second group was done one week later; utilizing the nitrogen method. I had to go to the office so Ronnie and Lance had to handle the work without me. Ronnie did say I was missed! He had sixteen heifers to work, and one tank of nitrogen. I would say this is a mid size tank it holds about 200 straws of semen, they ran out of nitrogen after about ten head. He had to make a run and get some dry ice to finish the last six head. As I said he didn’t have his (and might I add exceptional time keeper) and he said with one working the head, one the irons the time keeping got to be an issue. It looks like some of the irons were left on a bit to long, or maybe the nitrogen is just more unforgiving. These brands just aren’t looking as good as the first group.

Based on the two groups that we have worked since the demonstration, we will be utilizing the dry ice with 99% alcohol method in the future. We feel that the dry ice method is more forgiving, as well as more cost effective.

I hope the series of blogs on freeze branding has been helpful. One thing about the cattle business is you are always learning.

Check the January 2011 Blogs for step by step drections

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fly Control

You know it is going to be a bad year for fly’s when you have the fly swatter out in February. Our cattle are covered in fly’s already and we are only in early spring. Our herd health work is scheduled in April, fly treatment is part of the program. Our normal program is to pour the cattle with a prozap insectrin 1% Pour-On Xtra then we administer a Vigilante Insecticide Bolus VIGILANTE ® insecticide controlled--release bolus for beef and dairy cattle controls the breeding of horn flies and face flies in the manure of treated beef and dairy cattle for up to five months. The bolus also aids in the control of houseflies and stable flies. We have used this method at the farm for the past three years with great success, at the house due to adjacent farms that don’t utilize any type of fly control we have always used the pour on along with Insecticide Cattle Ear Tags. Due to the very large number of fly’s so early in the season, we are going to change the program at the home place this year to include our normal program of pour on and insecticide ear tags but we are also going to add the Vigilante insecticide controlled – release bolus.

You might ask Why would you do so much to prevent flys in our program?

• Horn flies can cause 15 lbs. to 50 lbs. of weight

loss per head during the summer season.

• At $0.90 per pound, a 30 lb.weight loss results

in a $27.00 average loss per head.

• An Altosid IGR Feed-Thru investment of

$4.50 to $5.50 per cow/calf pair for a summer

feeding season will provide returns from

6:1 up to 10:1.

Research shows that if you can eliminate flys (well at least minimize) the flys on your cow herd it will equates to long term cost savings. Of course I also enjoy the added benefit of less flys in my house, so I don’t have to spend so much time with a fly swatter in my hand.

If you don’t have a fly prevention program in place in your cow herd, now would be a good time to reconsider. The less time a cow spends trying to keep flys off of themselves the more time they have to graze and gain. No matter if you are in the purebred or commercial sector of the industry pounds count, and less flys mean more pounds on your cows.

Face it we all want happy cows!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

Good Gravy, I am getting really old, because I just can’t seem to keep up anymore. Spring has arrived early here in Northwest Florida and with it a really long list of projects. Last week we finally finished freeze branding the final group of the 2009 heifers; wow at least one item to check off the list. The last of the freezer steers was delivered to the processor on Friday ha check number two! Called ahead to make sure the fertilizer supply had the weed spray we needed after being assured they did, Ronnie made the trip to pick it up and was informed “ we had some yesterday”…….I guess you could say wasted trip. One of our favorite embryo calves out of VDAR Lucy’s Boy and VDAR Elluna 97 somehow managed to break his shoulder, I hope this isn’t the beginning of a trend. Ronnie is trying his best to clear a fifty acre field that will make a great summer pasture. He has had this on his to do list for about five years and is bound and determined to get it done this year. We have pulled all but one of the bulls and hope to get the last one out this week. I have been busy ordering all the necessary medications for herd health treatment that we have scheduled to start on April 13th, if all of the medications get here that is. We have already had to mow grass several times, and it is only April 5th! By the time we get the fifty acres cleared and all the cows worked it will be time to start cutting hay. I have to say I am really excited about the calves we have on the ground this year. The embryo calves out of the old Elluna 97 cow are really looking good. I have to admit that the Coleman EXT 6149 calves are everything we had hoped they would be. We also utilize several of our young bulls on heifers each year, and the calves out of these heifers and young bulls are looking really good as well. So spring is a busy time but it is always a very rewarding time. Hopefully we will find a little time to slow down and just appreciate the beauty of spring that is all around us, or as an old friend once told us stop and smell the roses.