Information about animal behavior and handling facilities can be used to increase profitability of a beef operation depending on the management practices that are used. Many of these practices require restraint of the animal, over-working, transportation, and facilities. Adequate handling facilities are necessary to properly apply the management practices and to prevent injury to both the producer and the animal. Facilities do not have to be expensive nor elaborate to restrain In addition to facilities, producers need to have a general knowledge of animal behavior. Knowing what to expect from an animal in various circumstances can improve safety for both the animal and the producer, plus make the handling of animals much easier.animals.
Information and Resources
Adding Value through Cattle Handling Facilities
Handling facilities offer the opportunity for added value by carrying out practices that are economically important, such as checking for pregnancy, applying health practices, controlling both internal and external parasites, implanting calf crop with growth stimulants, castrating, and dehorning. Without handling facilities these practices and others are not done. All of these contribute to the returns of a cow-calf operation by improving performance as well as reducing labor costs.
Evaluate Your Beef Cattle Handling Facilities
An efficient cattle-handling facility includes several critical factors that should be evaluated. One of the keys to maximizing returns from a commercial cow-calf enterprise is the timely application of basic management practices. Many of these practices require that the cattle be worked several times a year. Without adequate cattle-handling facilities, these practices are either delayed or completely neglected.
Handling Facilities for Beef Cattle
A good handling facility allows for the treatment of animals, reduces the possibility of injury to both animal and producer and makes cattle handling much easier. Cattle producers need good handling facilities if they are to perform recommended management practices including: vaccinating, identifying, castrating, dehorning, implanting, deworming, and checking for pregnancy.
Planning and Building Fences
Many innovations have occurred in the fencing industry in recent years, giving producers an array of options for fences to confine and protect livestock. Whether used as permanent, periphery boundaries, temporary pasture dividers or to encircle a house, fences need careful planning and construction for efficient usefulness, long life and low maintenance.
Temporary Fencing for Rotational Grazing
Rotational grazing allows forage crops to renew energy reserves, rebuild plant vigor and give long-term maximum production. With a rotational grazing system, larger pastures are subdivided into smaller paddocks with temporary fencing materials, and livestock are moved from one paddock to another on a prearranged schedule based on forage availability, stocking rate and livestock nutrition needs.
Selection of Alternative Livestock Watering Systems
Several options are available to producers when choosing a livestock watering system. These systems can be divided into three basic types: direct access, gravity flow and pressure systems. The best system type for a particular producer will depend on many factors, including site layout, water requirement, availability and cost of utility water and electricity, as well as water source type and location. This publication provides basic descriptions of some livestock watering system alternatives, and discusses some of the positive and negative aspects of each.
Considerations When Selecting a Commercial Squeeze Chute
Producers considering the purchase of a commercial squeeze chute have a number of factors to consider before making the final decision. A squeeze chute is a sizable investment for most producers.
Limb Fractures in Calves: Repairs and Outcomes
Considering the environment that calves live in, limb fractures are rare. Typically, fractures result from external trauma to the limb. Causes of the fracture vary depending on age. Even before delivery, calves are subject to fractures due to dystocia (backward presentation, or an oversized calf). Newborn calves may suffer from being stepped on by a cow, and as they grow larger, fractures can occur from either self or mate-inflicted trauma.
Beef Quality Assurance: Injection Sites and Techniques
To lessen injection-site defects in economically important cuts of beef, the use of a preferred site for all subcutaneous or intramuscular injections should be the best practice to follow. Several health products are now approved for injection sites such as the neck and ear with general guidelines on needles use and handling.
Freeze Branding Beef Cattle
Freeze branding can be a relatively painless and very effective form of permanent animal and herd identification.
Safety Considerations in Working With Cattle
There are many reasons cattle react the way they do when trying to get them up at cattle working time. Many of their reactions are a result of their innate characteristics. Understanding these characteristics and how animals respond to different situations can make cattle handling a safe and less stressful event.
Castration of Beef Calves
Castration is a management practice that should be performed on all male beef calves. Castration, the removal of the testicles of a bull by either surgical or non-surgical methods, is recommended because of consumer preference, for economic considerations and to improve the temperament of cattle.
Yearling Bull Management
The management of yearling bulls has a large impact on both production and profitability of commercial cow-calf operations. Bulls have two important functions in purebred and commercial beef operations: contribute to genetic improvement and maintain high reproductive success. In most cow-calf operations, bringing a new bull into the herd is the primary way of making genetic improvement.
Management of the Calf- The First Day
Management of the baby calf on the first day can help assure many healthy days to come. Here are several things to do to make the calf’s first day a successful one. Following are some management suggestions for the first day in the life of a calf.
Dehorning calves is a simple, cost-effective practice that adds value to feeder cattle.
Fence Line Weaning Reduces Stress during Weaning of Beef Calves
Producers should try to reduce the stress of weaning to improve calf health and subsequent performance and to add value to the calves. The stress of weaning beef calves can be reduced by following a few simple guidelines.
Management of the Beef Bull
Following management and nutrition guidelines for bulls will ensure that they will have the best opportunity to contribute to the fullest production potential for reproduction and genetics. Proper care and management of the yearling bull must be provided if their reproductive capabilities and genetic value are to be maximized.