Cowchip - February 20, 2018




3 Acadiana Cattle Producers Field Day, 8:30 a.m., Iberia Research Station, Jeanerette (see

24 Louisiana Brahman Association F-1 Heifer Sale, 1:00 p.m., Dominique’s Livestock Market, Opelousas


The Acadiana Cattle Producers Spring Field Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 3rd at 8:30 a.m. at the Iberia Research Station in Jeanerette. The program includes several topics that should be of interest to all cattle ranchers. A flyer is enclosed for more details. We look forward to seeing you there.


It’s been the first tough winter for cattle in several years. Some early born calves were lost to cold, wet weather. And it’s been difficult to maintain the proper condition on our brood cows. The nutritional requirements of cows increase as the temperature drops below a cow’s critical temperature. Wet conditions raise that critical temperature significantly. A cow with a dry full coat has a critical temperature of 45 degrees. A cow with a wet coat has a critical temperature of 59 degrees. Maintenance requirements increase by one pound of total digestible nutrients for every two degrees below the critical temperature. With this in mind it’s easy to see why our cows lose condition in a winter like we have had.

The problem with thin cows at this time of year is its calving season. Body condition at calving has a huge influence on timely rebreeding. When a cow calves and begins to lactate it is very difficult to add body condition. Once a cow reaches her genetic maximum for milk production and meets her needs for maintenance only then will she begin to gain body condition. Blood energy levels must be high enough and remain high long enough for a cow to cycle again. If you have some thin cows and want to maintain early conception rates consider supplementing them longer than normal into the spring.

Separating thinner and younger cows into a group and feeding a couple of pounds of rice bran or cubes per head per day until summer pastures green up may pay dividends in a larger, earlier calf crop next year. If you were able to get a stand of ryegrass it would be especially valuable this year for this purpose.

It’s been a very difficult winter for our cows. Investing in some extra feed and hay or fertilizer for ryegrass could help maintain acceptable conception rates and timing this spring.


Most cattle herds suffer abortion rates of 1-2 percent. If you notice that a cow aborted it shouldn’t be a great cause of concern. It is best to separate her from the herd and clean up and dispose of aborted tissue. If abortion rates rise to three to five percent, steps should be taken to determine a diagnosis. The diagnostic process involves multiple steps including herd health history, vaccination programs, necropsy of the fetus and lab analysis of fetal tissues.

If possible collect the aborted fetus and the placenta. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Your veterinarian will have instructions on handling and delivery to a diagnostic laboratory. Accurate diagnosis of abortions is difficult and often unrewarding. There can be many causes including toxic substances such as mold, consumption of salt water and nitrate poisoning. Infectious disease is most often the cause of an outbreak of abortions.

Some of the more common diseases which cause abortion include Bovine Viral Diarrhea, Brucellosis, Campylobacter (Vibriosis), Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis, Leptospirosis and Trichomoniais.

There are multiple strains of the BVD virus. It is spread by contact or in the air if cattle are close enough. Infection of the fetus can result in embryonic death, abortion, congenital defects or a persistently infected calf.

Brucellosis is a reportable bacterial disease which was once very common. A vast majority of cattle in the US are free from this disease.

Vibriosis is a bacterial disease that is spread venereally and is associated with early embryonic death and repeat breeders.

IBR is caused by a herpes virus. It has caused abortion storms in herds resulting in as much as a 60% loss. It is readily spread via aerosol or contact and is a common cause of respiratory infections in cattle.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection associated with abortions in cattle. Lepto is spread by infected urine and contaminated water. Several species of mammals can be infected and carry the organism. Abortions can occur at any time but most often during the last trimester.

Trichomoniais is caused by a protozoan. It is spread venereally. Cows will clear themselves of the disease after a few estrus cycles. Bulls once infected trend to remain so and serve as reservoir of the disease from one breeding season to the next. Early embryonic death and repeat breeders characterize this disease.

Vaccinations are available for most infectious causes of abortion. Ranchers should work with their veterinarians to develop proper vaccination protocols to protect from severe losses.


The beef industry is watching the growing popularity of alternative proteins of plant-based and meatless burgers. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) unveiled its 2018 policy priorities. For the first time, the association even added fake meat to its policy agenda.

Beyond Burger is one example. The plant-based protein is selling in over 5,000 grocery stores nationwide and some select food chains such as BurgerFi and TGI Fridays.

Memphis Meats is another “cultured” meat coming online produced directly from animal cells. Major meat companies like Tyson Foods and Cargill are making investments in the alternative protein sector.

Tyson Foods is investing in both Memphis Meats and the Beyond Burger.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative, new ways of producing meat, especially since global protein demand has been increasing at a steady rate,” said Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “We continue to invest significantly in our traditional meat business but also believe in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices.”

Cargill also has made investments in Memphis Meats.

“Global demand for protein is being fueled by improving economies and an expected population increase to more than 9 billion people by 2050,” said Sonya Roberts, Cargill protein president of growth ventures. “Based on 2015 consumption and population growth rates, food production would need to increase by 70 percent over that time frame to feed the projected global population. Our commitment to animal protein is unwavering.”


South Korea has been one of the top-performing markets for U.S. beef and pork over the past year. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Korea Director Jihae Yang explains that the U.S. industry has been very successful in rebuilding consumer confidence in U.S. beef, and that many Korean retailers and restaurants that were once reluctant to carry U.S. beef now feature it without hesitation. A good example is Costco-Korea, which last year converted the chilled beef selection in all of its warehouses from Australian to U.S. product.

U.S. beef exports to Korea were up 3% year-over-year in volume (to 184,152 metric tons) and jumped 15% in value to a record $1.22 billion. Chilled beef exports achieved even more rapid growth, increasing 73% in volume (45,153 metric tons) and 78% in value ($405.8 million) compared to 2016.

With the next NAFTA round only ten days away, the Beltway is buzzing with reports of progress with Mexico and hang-ups with Canada. Meanwhile, Canadian government officials – including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – have been blanketing the United States pushing their own NAFTA messaging to state and local governments. Amidst the public jockeying, NCBA is staying focused on our desired outcome: A swift conclusion of the talks that keeps duty-free access to two of our largest export markets.

In other trade news, a study out from Informa Economics found that top U.S. agriculture competitors, including the European Union, outspent the U.S. 4 to 1 on public investment in export market development. Beltway Beef watchers will remember that protecting trade promotion programs is one aspect of NCBA's 2018 Farm Bill priorities.


Harvest of Hope for all Migrant Children & their Families

The Migrant Education Program is designed to provide educational assistance to children, from 0-21 years old, whose families make frequent moves in search of agricultural or fishing work.

Goal: To ensure that all migrant students reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma that prepares them for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment.

Migrant: a worker who moves from place to place to do seasonal work. Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics, Vietnamese, everyone. They follow the growing seasons across the country and are largely responsible for the cultivation and harvest of crops, forestry, animals and aquaculture.


  • School supplies and uniforms
  • Tutoring
  • Free school lunches
  • Summer programs
  • Counseling
  • Referred services: vision, dental, nutrition


  • Continuous successful education for all children, despite frequent moves
  • Well-educated community in Vermilion Parish and USA

If you have workers that can be interested in the Migrant Education Program, please contact the following people:

Mary Cedar, 337-740-5907,

Kate Vincent, 337-740-5907,


Andrew Granger

County Agent

Vermilion Parish

It is the policy of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability

2/22/2018 6:55:48 PM
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