Feed Lot

DEC 2017

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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20 FEED•LOT  December 2017 MANAGEMENT By HEATHER SMITH THOMAS Inclement weather creates more challenges when processing cattle. Russ Daly, South Dakota State Uni- versity, says cows are less likely to be adversely affected by cold than are calves, since cows have more body mass and stay warmer, but it's wise to use low-stress handling and not get animals excited or ex- erting—which puts them at more risk for respiratory disease. "Cattle handle cold better than heat when working them, but you still don't want to run them around too much," says Daly. Stresses are additive when processing cattle, vaccinating, weaning calves or cas- trating and dehorning. Facilities Check the chute and moving parts, make sure alleys and crowd- ing chutes are in good repair, and gates aren't frozen down or immo- bile in a snow drift. Shannon Williams, Lemhi County extension educator, Salmon, Idaho, suggests walking through everything the day before. Then you'd have time to shovel snow or chop away ice so gates will swing properly. "Be sure walkways and working areas are ice-free. In winter we are bundled up and not as agile," says Williams. John Hall, extension beef special- ist, University of Idaho, says it is im- portant to have a non-slip surface where cattle exit the chute. If there's packed snow or ice on the ground, or a concrete apron that's wet and slick, cattle may slip and fall. "We groove the concrete apron, using a diamond tread pattern Tem- ple Grandin recommends. If con- crete is snow-covered, shovel it off. We usually put ice-melt or sand on ours. Cinders or ashes will also work on icy spots--anything to make the surface gritty and not slippery," says Hall. "There are commercial woven re- cycled tire mats you can put in front of a chute. The rubber provides a rough surface for better traction, and the woven mats have pockets between the strands so cows can get a toe-hold as they come out of the chute. Those mats are expen- sive, but can be moved around where needed, to cover a slick spot," he says. "Some equipment may be cold or frozen. We turn our chute's hy- draulic pump on at least 30 minutes to an hour before we're go- i n g t o p u t c a t t l e through the chute, to warm up hydraulic fluid. If the fluid is cold and thick, chute speed slows down. Then your tim- ing is off, when catching heads," he explains. Keep Vaccines from Freezing "Don't let vaccines freeze — whether modified live or killed," says Daly. "Modified live viruses are inactivated by freezing. Be careful with killed vaccines that contain adjuvants. Freezing the ad- juvants may create toxic com- pounds that could make animals sick," he says. "You may need hot packs in the bottom of a cooler so nothing freezes. I use hot water bottles in the bottom of a Styrofoam cooler, with holes in the top to stick pistol- grip syringes into when we aren't using them. This keeps needles from freezing, and syringe contents thawed without getting them too warm," Daly says. Williams experimented with temperatures and vaccine in vari- ous kinds of coolers to see how long they would keep vaccines from freezing. "I recommend hard Styrofoam coolers that are used for shipping vaccine, or a regular hard- sided cooler. Soft-sided ones don't hold the temperature long enough," she says. Start with a warm cooler. "Bring it indoors the night before. Or, to quickly heat a cold cooler, fill with hot water then dump the water out. Or use rice-filled heat- ing pads warmed in a microwave. Put those in a cooler a while, to warm the inside. If its 36 degrees outside, vaccine and syringes will be fine in a cooler because that's the lower end of the desired window for vaccine tem- perature. "At 29 degrees, a pint of Tips on Working Cattle in COL ATH R Using the pickup defroster to keep vaccines from freezing is not advised because temperatures could exceed recommended levels.

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