The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Ag

February 22, 2014

Cattle trial studies use of supplements

ENID, Okla. — A small herd of Woods County beef cattle are on trial, not for any criminal misconduct, but as an aid to better understand when wheat pasture cattle consume expensive mineral supplements supplied by their owners.

We know beef cattle on wheat pasture require additional calcium and other minerals and that some percentage of stockers consume free-choice mineral when it’s provided, but we don’t know if it’s in a timely fashion or what impact it has on average daily gain.

Mineral supplements play important economic and performance roles in stocker operations and often are used as a carrier for feed additives that help prevent health problems or improve weight gain in stocker cattle on pasture.

Those additives, though, should be consumed by all cattle in a timely fashion for them to be totally effective throughout the herd. However, if producers assume there is somewhat less than 100 percent of the calves that consume free-choice mineral, we can only guess as to how many calves consume the mineral, and how often.  

Poloxalene, used for bloat control, and monensin, used for bloat and coccidiosis control and to enhance weight gain, must have the recommended dose consumed by the cattle on a daily basis in order for the products to work properly, poloxalene, especially.

If we don’t have good, timely consumption, then all cattle aren’t protected from such things as bloat so some very expensive cattle are still at risk when bloat conditions are prevalent, and additives to enhance weight gain may be wasted.

We may learn from this field trial that it is more economical or efficient to provide a small feed supplement with additives in it on a daily basis for herd health during times of greater risk than expecting a free-choice mineral to do the job for us.

Tim Ohm, a Woods County cattleman, has the same questions and concerns, so he offered stocker cattle on wheat pasture as test animal for OSU Extension workers to investigate just what portion of cattle are routinely visiting a mineral feeder and whether there is a correlation with weight gain.

Last November, 45 steers were weighed, tagged with radio frequency identification tags that can be recognized by a computer-assisted reader when individual animals visit a mineral feeder, and released to wheat pasture.

A mineral feeder was equipped with an antenna that reads the eartag of the animal much as an identification chip is read in a pet dog or cat, or a Pikepass is read at a toll booth on one of Oklahoma’s toll roads.

Ohm continues to manage his cattle as he would normally, including keeping the mineral feeder supplied with a palatable supplement he routinely uses with his pasture cattle; meanwhile, a portable generator powers the reader and computer built into the feeder.

To date, we’ve got a mountain of data, over 10,000 individual tag readings from animals that have come for a bite of mineral.

Many of those data entries are duplicates of the same animal just standing with his head in the feeder, but once the data are tabulated to take that into account, many questions may be answered, while the data may also prompt more questions.

The cattle will be weighed again when they come off pasture later this month and the data analyzed and released by April or May.

Producers who want more information on animal health, nutrition and general management programs should their county Extension office.

Highfill is Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service ag educator for Woods County.

1
Text Only
Ag
  • Trent Milacek web.jpg Despite poor harvest, wheat price falls

    I grew up and currently reside on our family farm southwest of Waukomis.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Master Gardener logocmyk.jpg Gardeners share their favorites

    Annuals only last one season, but they are important because of the great variety of flowers that keep the garden colorful throughout the summer.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conservation workshop set

    The workshop will be 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Center, 316 E. Oxford.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jeff Bedwell Consider safety of forage beforehand

    Drought conditions of the past three to four years and in particular the past eight months had hay/forage inventories at critically low levels. The most recent period ranked as the third-driest period in recorded history. Not unlike the farmers and ranchers of other times of drought, ag producers now have been very resourceful to not only replace hay supplies that have dwindled but also add much-needed revenue to farm income.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Right to Farm web 1.jpg Ag industry seeks right to farm

    The emerging battle could have lasting repercussions for the nation’s food supply and for the millions of people worldwide who depend on U.S. agricultural exports. It’s also possible the right-to-farm idea could sputter as a merely symbolic gesture that carries little practical effect beyond driving up voter turnout in local elections.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • farm - Burlington FFA web.jpg Burlington students attend camp

    More than 1,600 FFA members from 289 Oklahoma FFA chapters attended one of four three and one-half day sessions from June 29-July 12.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Oklahoma's Dirty Dozen poster 150dpi_W.jpg Poster targets invasive plants

    They all have more than four letters, but they are certainly bad words in the state of Oklahoma.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Rick Nelson web.jpg Simple steps can prevent fungus infection

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Help plants survive the summer heat

    The July hot weather has arrived, and Oklahoma State University has some suggestions for helping with our gardening needs this month.

    July 12, 2014

  • farm - 4-H_W_W.jpg State 4-H honors volunteers

    A group of dedicated parents and volunteers with Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program gathered recently in Stillwater for learning, sharing of ideas and recognition of dedication to Oklahoma’s youth.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Facebook