Feed Lot

NOV 2018

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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FEED•LOT November 2018 7 requirement of low stress livestock handling at all." He says one thing to remember is if cattlemen continue to handle cattle like they always have, they can't expect things to improve. "Low stress livestock handling has been talked about for 30 years or more with little true adoption of these principles," Gill says. "We have seen more attention being paid to the concept, but I hope we can see a commitment to true change in the next few years." FL handling and reduce stress is during this arrival time, not during the experimental treatment protocols. Gill has seen the benefits of low stress handling firsthand. He shared an example of when his cattle company assumed the re- sponsibilities of preconditioning calves on an operation he leased. When they took over management, average death loss was around 3 percent and chronics were about 1 percent. Gain during the 60-day program was about 2.15 pounds per day. After they took over, the death loss dropped from 2.7 percent to 0.7 and chronics dropped to 0.01 per- cent and gains went to 2.65 pounds per day. He said the best approach would be one that is system-wide, start- ing with effective stockmanship principles at the cow-calf level and continuing through the weaning phase. Focus must shift away from speed of processing and instead to the effectiveness of processing. He added that effective stockmanship is not slower than "ram and jam" handling, but vastly different in how it is done. But regardless of previous han- dling, Gill said it is vitally important that cattle are handled using best stockmanship practices at the pre- condition facility or feedyard. "The way high-risk calves are handled from the time they arrive and unload can impact their health and performance throughout the rest of their life," Gill said. "I know time is always short, but if adequate time could be allocated for some- one properly trained in low stress livestock handling to receive and acclimate high-risk calves, they could see a drop in sickness rates, deaths and retreats." He says processing time is an- other area that needs some atten- tion at some yards, primarily the stress associated with the process of pulling pens. "The way pens are pulled for re-vac or re-implant sets up the re- sponse you get on day of shipment. You can reduce shrink on closeout day," Gill said. "And that's money in the yard's pocket." Lastly, he says some changes could be made when it comes to loading fats. "Some feedyards and drivers are really good at this, but I've seen plenty that need training." He says it's important to remem- ber that, while incredibly benefi- cial, low stress livestock handling is not a quick fix. It takes training and is a skill that must be continu- ally developed. "There's much more to it than just being slow and easy," Gill says. "In fact, 'slow and easy' isn't a Dr. Ron Gill conducts stockmanship clinics around the world for cattle producers. He says some changes in the way feedyard cattle are handled can reduce losses from bovine respiratory disease. Specializing In: • Turn-Key Feedyard Construction • Hog Site Construction • Complete Dairy Construction • Sprinkler System • CAD Design • GPS Survey • Slipform Concrete Feedbunks • Dirtwork of All Types • Laser-Equipped Machinery • All types of Fencing Phone: 800-536-2634 maxjantzexcavating.com

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