Beef Up

We were talking about breeds of beef cattle in one of my classes and I thought I would spread the knowledge of the Charolais breed of cattle. They are well-known group of animals among farmers.  This breed is known for that pure size they will bring to a herd. I will briefly cover the origin, disadvantage, and advantage of this specific animal.

The Charolais were originally from the French area. These cattle were first known as “Charolais” in the 16th and 17th century. These animals were initially used for draft, milk, and Charolais Bullmeat. In the early years breeders were selective towards the size and muscling genetics. They also stressed the rapid growth so they would reach a large size; enabling them to be used for draft power.  They were kept in Europe until 1930 where they traveled to Mexico.  Then they were introduced into the American markets around 1960’s. These animals were selected to bring heavier muscling and a larger frame to a heard.  For a heard to qualify to as pure breed they have to be 31/32.

This breed has very few disadvantages recorded against them.  One of the few is that they are temperament. This means that they do not like as much human contact as other breeds might. Another down fall to this breed is that their large frame prevents judging at less than 1000 Charolais Cow-Calfpounds. The biggest problem that I have found on the breed is dystocia. This means Charolais have been known to have trouble calving.  Those were the only three problems I could find with the breed.

On the other side of the argument there are many advantages to the breed. One of the most renowned advantages is heavy muscling. They are also recognized for their large frame and learn body. This breed is acknowledged for rapid growth on their calves.  Charolais are also notorious for their aggressive grazing in high temperatures

As you can see these animals have a very rich history on farms. The Charolais breed has very many advantages to the few disadvantages. Overall these animals can bring a high reward for introducing them to your heard.

Let me know your knowledge of this breed or other interesting facts in the comments below!


No one wants Scours

Once again my veterinarian science class is filling me full of knowledge and solutions for my family farm. This week our major class discussion was over scours. We also talked about what you can do to treat and prevent them on your operation.

First off for anyone who doesn’t know what scours is; it is:

“Veterinary Pathology: diarrhea in horses and cattle caused by intestinal infection.”

This disease can be detrimental to your heard because calves can pass it to one another quite easy. This infection can be cause by numerous factors; but, the most common are the bacterias E. coli and Salmonella. The calves pass it to one another by their stool. So, scours can spread quickly if you have your cow-calf pairs in a confined area.  The calves do not die directly from this infection but instead from dehydration because their bodies eliminate all the fluids.

The best treatment is to obtain IV access on the calf, then to ensure they are getting enough fluids, give supplemental fluids through the IV. However, this takes a lot of time and will take the most effort. The next best suggestion is to give the correct amount of fluids needed in boluses.  You must be careful though because if you give them too many boluses it will kill the microorganisms in their stomach and in turn the calf will die because the microorganisms cannot break down food. Another thing my teacher pointed out is there is no need to figure out what the cause of scours is because you treat all outbreak cases the same.

The best prevention we talked about in class was the “Sandhills Calving System”. This system consists of separating your dry cows from your cow-calf pairs every week; by putting them in different lots. This ensures that the older calves are not getting the young calves sick. This is a system that takes more effort but you should have fewer problems in the long run.

Let me know if you have any pointers on scours and the treatment/prevention in the comments below.

Learning Competition

          Today, I helped my adviser with the Southwest Missouri district judging contest. These are some of the busiest and most rewarding times for agriculture teachers all over the state. There is so much time that is put in by both the advisers and students. Between countless hours in the classroom and practice contest these students gain a new and more enhanced look at their perspective contest.  There are twenty five contests that students can compete in, in Missouri.
25 Contests:
Parliamentary Procedure
Agriculture sales
Agriculture issues
Job interviewing
FFA knowledge contest
Sophomore speaking
Creed Speaking
Public speaking
Freshmen speaking
Dairy foods
Agriculture Mechanics
Dairy cattle
Dairy showmen
Nursery and landscaping
Judging Dairy Cattle          My time as a high school FFA student I only participated in two contests but I made it to state level in both. The first contest that I participated in was dairy cattle judging. This was an eye opening experience because I had only been around our beef cattle herd. There was a whole new way of looking at livestock that I had never thought about. My dad as the adviser gave me all the pointers and knowledge he could but my team did not qualify until my junior year.
          The next team he set me up on was dairy food judging. My team and I took to this contest like cows to cud. (pun intended) As we attended the practice contest we got the hang of it, and took second in the central district. This was not a huge deal because the year before my dad coached the team to first.DF16
          But since I had only been a part of those two I thought it would be a good idea to get familiar with a few more contests since one day I hope to advise my students to winning as well. So this year I volunteered for helping with the agriculture mechanics contests. This was another good experience; it reminded me of everything we covered in my constructions and agriculture science 2 classes in high school.
          Overall, I believe these contest help students learn about different subject areas and then apply that knowledge to compete against other students on a higher level. The contests help bring a competitive vibe to learning, which will help some students excel.
          Let me know what you think about contest, or if you competed in any in high school or college.

Branding, Yes or No?

Well, once again my classes are going hand and hand. Today, in class, we talked about animal welfare while talking about branding and the laws that apply to it in my veterinarian science. I am going to stick to the branding side while throwing bits of information about the welfare of the livestock.

First the branding has become much more of a controversy for the livestock industry. eid-tag Some say it hurts the animal and is just plain wrong to be doing in this day and age. These same people would make that argument that these are out dated was of identifying cattle. While also pointing out that there are more “humane” was of identification such as ear tags or paint branding. But both of these types of branding are only temporary.

The people who are for it would make the case they need a permanent mark to cattle_fire_3ensure they know which cattle belong to them. Or they would make the case that their farm has used that same brand for decades and they do not want to change it. Either way they are for branding and it has not been outlawed yet. So, therefore they are still allowed to brand as long as they want.

There are regulations on branding in Missouri such as:

Must be on the shoulder, rib or hip of either the right or left side

Cannot use the same brand unless it has been out of circulation for 5 years

Must be 3 “ in diameter 

 Must be registered

There are also more laws dealing with branding you can find them for Missouri at

There are always two sides two every battle and I am not one to tell another man what he can and can’t   do with his property. We do not do this on my family farm so I would love to hear what farmers who do brand have to say about it.

Let me know, and comment below!

Calving Season

I feel like my teachers all know calving season is here. Through readings and discussion along with background knowledge I have furthered my knowledge of calving. In both my Animal Science and Veterinarian Science classes we have gone over what you are supposed to look for in a new born calf over the past week. With the double dipping of class objectives I have learned it and reinforced it.

I knew there was the rule of thumb that calves have to suck for the first time in the first 24 hours, but I never really knew why. I never really thought about it much because that’s what grandpa said so it had to be right. But being in college and pushing my mind to learn why has taught me that the stomach in more porous in the first 24 hours allowing the immunoglobulin from the mother to enter that baby’s body.  This allows that calf to receive antibodies that the mother has already built up; boosting the immune system of the calf immensely. These passages in the stomach close up after 24 hours to ensure that the calf will not past something it shouldn’t.

But as most farmers know you are not always going to get this luck to where the calf will suck. Then there is another option if the cow that just had the calf will not claim it. You can use a different cow to take it on as its own baby. My vet teacher always uses the example of using his dairy cow as the “fake mother”. He says this as worked for years on his own personal farm, and he recommends that every farmer has one dairy cow for the supplement mother.

But most of farmers to not have this option on their operation. So there is still yet another option for you farmers that have a mother problem. This is a risky one but it is better than the final solution according to both of my teachers. You should contact a dairy farmer because they usually freeze the colostrum from their cows. This is a risky one because you have the chance of bringing in other disease that were not there before. The one we talked about most was Johnes. This is a whole other topic for a different day, but it is a very interesting disease that you should look into if you don’t know much about it.

But then if none of these solutions have worked and you are in a real bind then your best bet is to use the store bought powder. Both of my teachers said this should be that last on the list, but when you need a fix it is always there.

Let me know what your thoughts on colostrum and newborns are!

Control is Everything

John Deere is setting the pace on new and updated agriculture management solutions.  There are many great new and/or improved technologies they have produced. John Deere Section Control is one of the technologies chosen by the company to improve for this year. Active Implement Guidance; and Satellite Module are another two advancements that go hand and hand to improve the John Deere brand and their farming equipment; as well as, the machine sync technology. These new technologies will change farming for the better.

The section control is a huge improvement for farmers; this will allow them to get the most out of their acreages. It saves the farmers from wasting seed and fertilizer by giving precise measurements of what supplies it will take to cover their land.  This is good because both seed and fertilizer products are increasing in price. The technology is available for sprayers, planters, and other specific equipment and runs off of active implement guidance, which maximizes the effectiveness of section control.  The active implement guidance is run off of GPS signals, which will allow the machinery to work at the most effective level. The sync technology will be great for the farmer that does multiple fields of harvesting because it will cut down on the spillage and stress of the drivers. The sync will also help reduce the usage of fuel and wait time.

These new technologies are increasing the effectiveness for farmers and the equipment that they use to produce the product of our toil. These technologies in the long run will have an abundant return for the farmers who buy in to the products. The new equipment will save them on the raw materials they have to purchase; while maximizing the use of their land and the return on the crops.   In the end this is a leap forward in the eyes of row crop farmers.

Weaning the Herd

They say you learn something new every day; and, if you listen to what people say I believe this to be true.  For example in my veterinarian science class, this is a discussion based class. We came across a topic that is relative to my home operation of beef cattle.  It was on the basis of a newer type of weaning calves. A nose guard that restricts calves from sucking on the udder of their mother, but does not inhibit them from eating grass, hay, or drinking water.

This is a great invention because the weaning process in the past has been very stressful for the farmer. The farmer has to worry about getting the herd up and then separating the cows from the calves. This may sound easy; however, the mothers do not like to leave their baby calves. Then once the farmer has separated the mothers and baby calves they like to test the fences of the corral that you have dividing them.  This new process of weaning would eliminate the separation process.


The old way of weaning is not only hard on the farmer; but, it is also hard on the herd as well. The cows would be poor eaters for the first part of weaning, because they would want to stand by the fence instead of being out and grazing in the pasture like they should. Then the calves would be on the other side and be doing relatively the same thing. They would bawl for their mothers to come help them even though the separation is inevitable.


I have only found two cons for this new process of weaning. The first one being that you have to get the cows up twice. You have to get them up the first time to insert the nose guard into the calves’ nose and the second time to remove the guards. The other con which is probably the biggest factor for most farmers is this new method requires you buy the nose guards. This is the biggest because most farmers won’t want to spend more money; they typically like to have a more conservative approach.

As you can see this new way of weaning calves has many pros and not many cons. There are always hybrids of this process too, because you can do it the old way by separation. Then if you have a calf that is still sucking, you can put one of these guards on to keep them from being able to suck. This was just a new and interesting idea that I heard about this past week.

Let me know if you have any tips or feedback on this process of weaning!