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NEWS ROUNDUP – for Dec. 7, 2009

MANAGEMENT

THINK TWICE BEFORE SHIPPING THIN CULLS

With poor pasture conditions and high feed costs this fall, Reynold Bergen, animal health and welfare manager of the Alberta Beef Producers was reminding cattlemen last month to think twice about shipping thin cows to market. He says they may cost you, and the industry, more than they’re worth.

D1/D2 cows were selling for 34 cents in Alberta in mid-November, but thin, weak, lame or sick cows were going for three to nine cents, or about $36 to $108 on a 1,200-pound animal. Deductions would take $30 or more, not leaving much to cover transport costs. Then there’s the chance the auction mart will refuse the cows, leaving you with no revenue and double the transport costs. Some sales yards and packing plants bill producers who deliver cattle that do not sell or are condemned.

Those who contravene Alberta or federal animal welfare legislation can face fines up to $20,000 and be prohibited from owning animals.

Bergen says the plain fact is some cows should not be shipped under any circumstances.

Don’t’ ship:

The lame, broken legs and downers — anything that can’t rise, stand and walk under its own power.

Excessively thin cows (body condition 1) from hardware disease, lump-jaw, malnutrition, old age, disease or any other cause. (Those that score 2/5 can be transported short distances, if segregated.)

Animals with obvious growths on the eyeball or eyelid. Advanced cases of cancer eye will be condemned at the packing plant.

Prolapsed animals with an obviously displaced vagina or rectum.

Lactating cows not dried off, unless it is a short trip, direct to slaughter. Heavily pregnant cows expected to calve within a few weeks.

Sick or injured animals, except on the advice of a veterinarian.

Animals suspected of a reportable disease such as rabies, BSE or tuberculosis must be reported to the CFIA immediately, and should not be transported.

There are three choices with these types of culls. Those not fit for transport need to be euthanized and disposed of at home or picked up by the deadstock operator, if pickup is available in your area. Cows free of drug, vaccine and chemical residues, without a fever above 39(104.5F), a body condition score of two out of five or better, and are able to walk under their own power may be salvageable through emergency slaughter. Animals that do not meet these criteria will be condemned.

There is another danger if you try to truck them to a market. They might be photographed. Lest we forget, there were five high-profile cases of animal abuse in 2008 when animal activists videoed downer cows being delivered to auction marts and packing plants in different states. Those videos are still available on the Internet for the world to see.

Similar incidents have not happened in Canada. However, Bergen says everyone in the industry is responsible to ensure that they don’t happen.

“As the industry adjusts to new challenges from exchange rates and feed costs, we need to continue to ensure that the public continues to have confidence in how we manage our animals and business,” he says.

PREDATORS DOG PACKS ARE DANGEROUS

Rob Penno has seen coyotes attack his cattle through the years, but dog attacks are the big worry on his ranch near Broadview, Sask., after he caught a pack tormenting one of his replacement heifers in October.

When he heard dogs barking, he set out to investigate, arriving in time to see one larger dog and two smaller ones attacking the heifer in a co-ordinated fashion. One barked at the heifer to attract her attention while a second would take a lunge at her from a different direction.

By the time Penno arrived on the scene, they had shredded the heifer’s ears, separated part of her nose from

her face, and ripped the top of her head, the inside of her thighs and her tail head with their teeth.

“They looked well fed, so I presume they were playing with her and it got out of hand,” Penno says. “It seems to go in cycles that these dogs get out of control when they start running in packs.”

He now suspects it was the same pack that took a 250-pound calf in July by running it through the fence and down the ditch. It was too late for the calf — what was left of it — when he arrived on the scene after a neighbour called.

Putting the two incidents together, he’s fairly certain he knows why another heifer with a ripped ear ended up in the bull pasture a couple of weeks earlier. At the time he thought it strange that she would lurch ahead instead of jump back when she touched the electric wires, but assumes that’s what had happened and she had caught her ear on something along the way. It’s more probable that the dogs had her under attack and ran her through the fence.

Bulls and cows with calves will usually stand their ground against dogs, he says, though he has known dogs to run the herd through the fence just for the fun of it once they get them going.

“All dogs, even house pets, are capable of mauling and killing if they start running in a pack,” Penno says. It is legal to put down dogs that stray onto private property — the thing is to be in the right place at the right time to catch them.

Three weeks later, the heifer was healing as well as could be expected. But she’ll never be a pretty sight. He can see into her mouth because the hide and flesh near the left side of her nose has died and fallen off.

MEAT

NEW CLA RESEARCH TARGETS CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

A natural fatty acid found in dairy and beef products is offering new hope in the research battle to target a metabolic syndrome linked to infertility and cardiovascular disease risk.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in its natural form is produced only by ruminant animals and is commonly found in products such as milk, yogurt, cheese and beef.

University of Alberta researchers are now investigating whether CLA may help fight against poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects one in 10 women of childbearing age and is a leading cause of infertility. PCOS is also highly associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes risk.

“Our preliminary research to date has provided a strong indication that CLA may have beneficial effects for reducing CVD and diabetes risk factors which are associated with PCOS, says Dr. Donna Vine of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory at the Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition, University of Alberta. “With further research to confirm these benefits, natural dietary CLA and its precursor trans vaccenic acid (VA) may ultimately have an important role in treatment strategies.”

Researchers believe a genetic predisposition, and how the body responds to insulin levels is a major factor in the onset of PCOS.

The promise of CLA as an option to treat metabolic aberwww.

her face, and ripped the top of her head, the inside of her thighs and her tail head with their teeth.

“They looked well fed, so I presume they were playing with her and it got out of hand,” Penno says. “It seems to go in cycles that these dogs get out of control when they start running in packs.”

He now suspects it was the same pack that took a 250-pound calf in July by running it through the fence and down the ditch. It was too late for the calf — what was left of it — when he arrived on the scene after a neighbour called.

Putting the two incidents together, he’s fairly certain he knows why another heifer with a ripped ear ended up in the bull pasture a couple of weeks earlier. At the time he thought it strange that she would lurch ahead instead of jump back when she touched the electric wires, but assumes that’s what had happened and she had caught her ear on something along the way. It’s more probable that the dogs had her under attack and ran her through the fence.

Bulls and cows with calves will usually stand their ground against dogs, he says, though he has known dogs to run the herd through the fence just for the fun of it once they get them going.

“All dogs, even house pets, are capable of mauling and killing if they start running in a pack,” Penno says. It is legal to put down dogs that stray onto private property — the thing is to be in the right place at the right time to catch them.

Three weeks later, the heifer was healing as well as could be expected. But she’ll never be a pretty sight. He can see into her mouth because the hide and flesh near the left side of her nose has died and fallen off.

MEAT

NEW CLA RESEARCH TARGETS CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

A natural fatty acid found in dairy and beef products is offering new hope in the research battle to target a metabolic syndrome linked to infertility and cardiovascular disease risk.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in its natural form is produced only by ruminant animals and is commonly found in products such as milk, yogurt, cheese and beef.

University of Alberta researchers are now investigating whether CLA may help fight against poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects one in 10 women of childbearing age and is a leading cause of infertility. PCOS is also highly associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes risk.

“Our preliminary research to date has provided a strong indication that CLA may have beneficial effects for reducing CVD and diabetes risk factors which are associated with PCOS, says Dr. Donna Vine of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory at the Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition, University of Alberta. “With further research to confirm these benefits, natural dietary CLA and its precursor trans vaccenic acid (VA) may ultimately have an important role in treatment strategies.”

Researchers believe a genetic predisposition, and how the body responds to insulin levels is a major factor in the onset of PCOS.

The promise of CLA as an option to treat metabolic aberwww.

rations in PCOS is based on studies led by the U of A researchers related to CLA effects on body weight, lipids and insulin sensitivity, as well their establishment of a new research model for PCOS that represents a breakthrough for scientifiprogress in this area.

One key study led by Dr. Spencer Proctor examined benefits of CLA used in combination with chromium.

“There’s a lot of work in the diabetes field around growing evidence that certain types of chromium, taken as a tablet or a nutraceutical, can help control the use of insulin and glucose,” says Proctor. “Our work indicated CLA combined with chromium as an intervention may have enhanced benefits, including specifirelevance for PCOS. The new study will take this research a step further by focusing on the potential PCOS-related benefits, using the new model.”

Research to develop the new model and carry out the new study received support from the Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund (ALIDF). More information on CLA Network progress is available at

NUTRITION

CORN STALKAGE STRIKES OUT IN MIXED COW RATIONS

University of Guelph beef researchers Katie Wood and Dr. Kendall Swanson recently reran the numbers on wheat straw versus corn stalkage in a search for ways to cheapen a TMR winter rations for pregnant cows. The results didn’t turn out well for the corn residue.

Once the grain was harvested the stalks and leaves of the corn were cut, chopped and ensiling it in a bunker silo. Both the wheat straw and the corn stalklage were added to the ration at 40 per cent (on a dry matter basis), with the remaining portion being a high-quality grass/alfalfa haylage.

Corn stalklage is similar in nutritional content and fibre digestibility to wheat straw, but the cows on the corn and haylage ration lost about 110 pounds of body weight and body condition over the feeding period. This was likely due to some palatability issues with the stalklage.

While there were no differences in calf birth weights between cows fed wheat straw and corn stalklage, calf weaning weights were lower for cows on the stalklage. Calves from cows fed only haylage as a control had weaning weights similar to the calves from cows on wheat straw.

Cows on stalklage lost weight. Cows on straight haylage gained

rations in PCOS is based on studies led by the U of A researchers related to CLA effects on body weight, lipids and insulin sensitivity, as well their establishment of a new research model for PCOS that represents a breakthrough for scientifiprogress in this area.

One key study led by Dr. Spencer Proctor examined benefits of CLA used in combination with chromium.

“There’s a lot of work in the diabetes field around growing evidence that certain types of chromium, taken as a tablet or a nutraceutical, can help control the use of insulin and glucose,” says Proctor. “Our work indicated CLA combined with chromium as an intervention may have enhanced benefits, including specifirelevance for PCOS. The new study will take this research a step further by focusing on the potential PCOS-related benefits, using the new model.”

Research to develop the new model and carry out the new study received support from the Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund (ALIDF). More information on CLA Network progress is available at

NUTRITION

CORN STALKAGE STRIKES OUT IN MIXED COW RATIONS

University of Guelph beef researchers Katie Wood and Dr. Kendall Swanson recently reran the numbers on wheat straw versus corn stalkage in a search for ways to cheapen a TMR winter rations for pregnant cows. The results didn’t turn out well for the corn residue.

Once the grain was harvested the stalks and leaves of the corn were cut, chopped and ensiling it in a bunker silo. Both the wheat straw and the corn stalklage were added to the ration at 40 per cent (on a dry matter basis), with the remaining portion being a high-quality grass/alfalfa haylage.

Corn stalklage is similar in nutritional content and fibre digestibility to wheat straw, but the cows on the corn and haylage ration lost about 110 pounds of body weight and body condition over the feeding period. This was likely due to some palatability issues with the stalklage.

While there were no differences in calf birth weights between cows fed wheat straw and corn stalklage, calf weaning weights were lower for cows on the stalklage. Calves from cows fed only haylage as a control had weaning weights similar to the calves from cows on wheat straw.

Cows on stalklage lost weight. Cows on straight haylage gained

rations in PCOS is based on studies led by the U of A researchers related to CLA effects on body weight, lipids and insulin sensitivity, as well their establishment of a new research model for PCOS that represents a breakthrough for scientifiprogress in this area.

One key study led by Dr. Spencer Proctor examined benefits of CLA used in combination with chromium.

“There’s a lot of work in the diabetes field around growing evidence that certain types of chromium, taken as a tablet or a nutraceutical, can help control the use of insulin and glucose,” says Proctor. “Our work indicated CLA combined with chromium as an intervention may have enhanced benefits, including specifirelevance for PCOS. The new study will take this research a step further by focusing on the potential PCOS-related benefits, using the new model.”

Research to develop the new model and carry out the new study received support from the Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund (ALIDF). More information on CLA Network progress is available at

NUTRITION

CORN STALKAGE STRIKES OUT IN MIXED COW RATIONS

University of Guelph beef researchers Katie Wood and Dr. Kendall Swanson recently reran the numbers on wheat straw versus corn stalkage in a search for ways to cheapen a TMR winter rations for pregnant cows. The results didn’t turn out well for the corn residue.

Once the grain was harvested the stalks and leaves of the corn were cut, chopped and ensiling it in a bunker silo. Both the wheat straw and the corn stalklage were added to the ration at 40 per cent (on a dry matter basis), with the remaining portion being a high-quality grass/alfalfa haylage.

Corn stalklage is similar in nutritional content and fibre digestibility to wheat straw, but the cows on the corn and haylage ration lost about 110 pounds of body weight and body condition over the feeding period. This was likely due to some palatability issues with the stalklage.

While there were no differences in calf birth weights between cows fed wheat straw and corn stalklage, calf weaning weights were lower for cows on the stalklage. Calves from cows fed only haylage as a control had weaning weights similar to the calves from cows on wheat straw.

Cows on stalklage lost weight. Cows on straight haylage gained

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