Thursday, September 29, 2011

flooded corn and your cows

A good amount of standing corn was flooded last month and in early september, and some of that is now being chopped for silage. A concern with these feeds that have soilborne contamination is the likelihood of clostridial spores being present in higher amounts in this harvested feed.

Most corn that is properly ensiled will not have minimal concerns of disease with this because of the moisture range and a pH below 4.5; those cases with higher moisture and less than ideal fermentation conditions, which can occur on all farms, could have higher levels of Clostridial activity. Generally C.perfringens is lower in inoptimal silage than other Clostridial species. If however there is a higher spore count in the silage, there would be greater risk of GI disturbances and subsequent higher risk of enterotoxemia and other clostridial caused disease. 

It is often a good recommendation in general, in our part of the country, to include a 7/8 way clostridial vaccine in dairy cattle vaccination programs all the time. Some may add Type A, but it is optional.

Consider at the next herd check or farm visit discussing this vaccine, which provides good protection at low cost, and particularly if you have any corn that has been exposed to flood waters. It's an effective vaccine simply for cases where any forage has less than ideal fermentation and storage or with injection site infections that may favor growth of an anaerobe like Clostridium.   

Monday, August 1, 2011

Klein Farms on TV! Tonight at 9:00pm

Tune away from the Yankee game tonight to see local dairyman Layne Klein and his family's Klein-Farms featured on the TLC network show 'Cake Boss' - here's the article,  courtesy of the Palmer-Forks Patch, on this episode:

"Cake Boss" Comes to Klein Farms

TLC show will focus on 75th anniversary

The first says "Klein Farms featured on Cake Boss, TLC Channel, Monday, Aug. 1, at 9 p.m." The next says "Cake Boss" Cow Prize episode filmed here.
Yes, this farm is going big time.
"We're semi-famous; this will make us a little more," said owner Layne Klein, whose farm celebrated its 75th anniversary in the fall.
It started with a phone call "out of the blue," Klein said.
He picked up the phone seven weeks ago and "Cake Boss" was on the horn seeking a farm to film an episode.
Klein said the TV show checked out several farms and zeroed in on Klein's farm because it thought "they had the right place."
"Cake Boss came up with a theme to have a birthday party for a special cow," said Klein, who wouldn't elaborate. Details are kept under wraps until the episode airs on TLC.
For the episode, the Kleins go to Hoboken, where the bakery is to order a cake. Meanwhile, the film crew visited the farm for more than six hours.
"It's amazing how many people watch the show," Klein said. "Now I'm even watching the full episodes."
Klein said he had fun on the set, too. There was a lot of joking around and talk about cow tipping, which he said "you can't really do."
"This show will get us on the map," Klein said.
"We had a lot of fun. They were very nice and respectful," said Renee Wilkins, who handles retail sales and serves as wholesale coordinator for Klein Farms Dairy & Creamery. "They all came into the store and bought stuff. They were really nice people.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Ram Effect

The Ram Effect
Although it's going slowly, the days are starting to get shorter and those spring lambing ewes will soon begin to start cycling. If you're aiming for mid-late winter lambs, it's time to start planning for breeding season.      

To help those non-cycling ewes come into heat, sudden introduction of the ram(or a teaser)is often used and this will cause those females to ovulate in 3-4 days. Often this is a 'silent' heat and they aren't bred - but it will start them and the next estrus will be fertile.

It's important to separate the ram completely from the ewes for at least 3-4 weeks prior to this and sometimes up to 6 weeks. He must be kept out of sight, sound, and smell of the ewes. Some recommend turning the rams straight in after this separation, but there are some that suggest the rams and ewes be along a shared fenceline in sight and proximity and then turned into the same paddock.

Another practice just prior to inducing the rams is called 'flushing' the ewes, and that implies giving them a bit of grain supplement to increase their energy balance and subsequent fertility, the effect desired being to increase the numbers of ovulations and multiple births. It won't result in all triplets as in the picture above, but it will help overall numbers.

One final practice if handling the flock is to consider deworming if there has been close grazing of the pastures, or having the animals checked for their 'FAMACHA' score(more on that in a coming post)to evaluate if anemia is present. Having egg counts done prior and after deworming can help you not only assess need of deworming, but effectiveness of that if they have been treated.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

pinkeye pressure

early signs of pinkeye

The early wet spring and now heat of june is bringing on a fairly heavy amount of flies and some early pinkeye in cattle in our area. it's not too late to help reduce the amount of infection in your cattle or if unaffected, help prevent your herd from having an outbreak. vaccination is part of the solution, but fly control is the real saver. Consider fly tags which will help all summer and if on calves, their ears swatting around the udders of their dams will reduce fly irritation and bites on the teats. Pour-ons work well - have had good success with UltraBoss and UltraSaber as well as Synergized De-Lice. Once a case is established in a herd, higher fly levels equal easier spread and contagion to remaining members of the herd. Treat tearing clinical cases showing some 'white' with injectable tetracycline or florfenicol(remember withholds)as simple topical treatment, while relieving symptoms, doesn't eliminate the carrier state in those individuals. Some producers have had success with patches. I also do include a topical treatment with antibiotic and a steroid to give some immediate relief. 

Best results as with any condition are getting them in the chute quickly upon first signs - severe ulceration of the eye can occur rapidly! With estimated cost per case at or greater than $150 per head in treatment and lost performance, as well as bringing them relief from this painful condition, it is well worth the preventative measures as well as effective treatment. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

easy does it, part 2

a follow up - once that calf has been delivered there is occasionally the calf that needs colostrum to be given via drencher, or orogastric tube. Or it could be a scouring calf that needs extra fluids and is a bit weak to drink. Many dairy farms(and cow-calf operations in springtime)use these regularly with good success. 

It does require attention and care and I do run into some producers who won't use them out of fear of 'drowning' the calf with a mis-placed tube. That is not unwarranted and much prefer this type of caution to overzealous use(as with the calf pullers)that leads to injury or even death of a calf. 

calves need fluids, and a properly directed calf drencher can help many
The point I try to emphasize is that with careful use, many more calves will be saved than hurt and if you are conscientious about placing the tube, it should be very rare for complications. 

Ask for a demonstration if you would like to be able to use the tubes, or use them with more certainty. With current tubes/drenchers having a 'bulb' at the end most all calves do swallow the bulb into the esophagus, where it should go, of course. I also while introducing the tube rub the roof of the calf's mouth to induce swallowing and aid passage of the tube. Once it begins going down the esophagus, palpate the calf's trachea or windpipe - it will be a very firm 'corrugated pipe' feeling structure in the center of the ventral/underside of neck. As you pass the tube, you will be able to feel the trachea and then the bulb going by, outside of the trachea. If you feel that distinctly, then you know you are NOT within the trachea and are properly in the esophagus. Pass it a bit further and begin feeding the calf. I try to keep them upright, if not standing for the process. Withdraw the tube with flow clamped off after empty and gently remove. 

One note - to make things easier, use a dab of OB lube on the bulb of drencher to aid passage and check it to be sure no 'burrs' develop - they can traumatize the lining of the oral cavity and/or esophagus. Also - these drenchers should be properly cleaned and disinfected - they should last for a number of feedings with proper care, but they are in the end relatively inexpensive and best not to make them vintage 'forever' equipment on the farm. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

easy does it

good fun at a picnic - not good to do with your next difficult calving
a couple of calving calls this week have brought to mind the topic of calf pullers/calf jacks - the overzealous use of them and the lack of use of them - and how each of those approaches can be detrimental to the outcome of your calving cow.

used too early, before correct dilation, or excessively in the case of an oversized calf(needing a c-section or fetotomy if dead)can cause tremendous damage to a cow. it is also very important to see that the calf is correctly positioned(or repositioned)so that the dam is not injured. To quote from a colleague from AABP-L paraphrasing the NRA slogan, 'jacks don't ruin cows, people ruin cows". Don't rush. Simply because she has started calving doesn't mean she's ready to deliver that minute. And jacks aren't a means of getting back to other jobs more quickly. How well calving goes sets the entire tone for her lactation. A damaged birth canal leading to metritis, leading to an LDA isn't a good scenario. And don't forget to use proper lube, liberally and often. A word of caution with J-Lube - it is a very good lubricant, but if there is any chance you will be doing a c-section, do not use it. It can often cause a chemical peritonitis when it enters the abdomen resulting in death of the cow.

Those cautions in mind, pullers/jacks save many calves. Sometimes you're by yourself and have the calf just right and that provides the extra 'oomph' to get the shoulders out. The one I use, a Hercules fetal extractor, is nice in how it works side to side to ease the calf out. It isn't meant to literally 'jack' the calf out - I use it to apply extra traction and 'help' the cow when she is pushing. The downward motion of delivery occurs rather than a straight out pull.

It is of particular importance in a breech delivery(and this was the case last week that brought all this to mind)because once the hips of the calf get to into the pelvis, their is very often an occlusion/closing off of the umbilical artery. Not a problem with a calf with head out, but in posterior breech position the ability of breath isn't there. So a steady, progressing and complete pull once begun is needed and these are the cases where calf jacks can help your cows and calves. Likewise a calf stuck in that position with inability to be delivered not only can die, but the pressure on the cows pelvic nerves may cause calving paralysis.

Use these tools judiciously, and with instruction and it will be of benefit to your herd. Used otherwise, see the quote in second paragraph!