Preventing E.Coli In Livestock Tanks

Cattle pick up E.coli from many areas of their environment and spread the bacteria when they defecate. It doesn’t make them sick, but if the meat from those cows isn’t cooked properly, E. coli can be transmitted to humans. Researchers at Cornell University recently ran studies to see if they could pinpoint areas on the farm where E.coli infections might spread between cattle. They found that water in a trough, especially in the summer, could heat and promote pathogen replication. This means more cows acquire the bacteria when they drink. Wendy Beauvais is a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She says they were expecting to find that by lowering the water level, there would be less pathogen shedding by the cattle, and less contamination of E.coli. But what they discovered was exactly the opposite.   "The troughs left at a higher level, those pens had a lower level of shedding in the cattle," says Beauvais. "So, ..

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WEANING PIGLETS

Life in the farrowing crate is on a bell curve. Piglets on the top end are healthy and robust, but it’s the bottom 25-percent that are the most challenged animals. And that’s where your opportunities exist to improve piglet mortality and growth rate. Dr. Steve Pollmann is a pork industry expert with DSP Consulting in Utah. He says weaning is one of the biggest stresses in a pig’s life due to social, dietary, and environmental changes. By increasing the wean age, you’re shifting the bell curve. "I recall times when we were weaning pigs between 7-10 days of age and wondered why we had problems, and today’s weaning age is closer to 19-21 days of age. But more recent research shows that we ought to continue to move the age up to eliminate that stress," says Pollman. "And so, if I were to make one recommendation to people today, I would encourage you to give serious consideration to move your wean age to 23-25 days."   You’ll see a high..

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CATTLE COMFORT ADVISOR

Most cattle producers know how their animals behave in extreme summer and winter conditions and the signs of stress to watch for.  A website called the “National Cattle Comfort Advisor” provides a way to measure the severity and duration of extreme weather. Albert Sutherland is the Mesonet Agriculture Coordinator at Oklahoma State University. He says the tool provides cattle comfort index numbers that help producers gauge animal stress levels. "If you have employees you need to train, younger people coming into the operation, you can now guide them with some of those numbers. We do categorize the National Cattle Comfort Advisor into categories," he says. "We have heat danger, heat caution, a comfortable range, and then cold caution and cold danger."   He says the categories factor together air temperature, sunlight, wind speed, and relative humidity. "And in the summer, things like wind would be a positive, that’s going to actually cool the animals. The..

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Starting a Cattle Operation From Scratch

When Travis Hosteng, Ben Hein, and Eric Franje decided they wanted to build a herd, the three producers were faced with endless decisions. Everything from where to buy animals, to how many to purchase, to what to feed them had to be considered. As they start their herds, Successful Farming magazine had a chance to quiz them on what they’ve learned along the way. MEET THE CATTLEMEN Travis Hosteng works full time as a structural engineer and lives north of Huxley, Iowa, on 45 acres with his wife, Sherry, and their three children. Having grown up on a farm in Sac County, Hosteng wanted his children to experience the hard work and respect that comes with raising animals. The Hostengs started their beef herd in 2017, and it currently consists of a 4-H steer and two heifers. They hope to expand to 15 to 25 cow/calf pairs in the next several years.   Like Hosteng, Ben Hein grew up on a crop and livestock farm. He graduated Iowa State University in 2012 with ..

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