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Kansas State University


Beef Research News
Brought to you by Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Farm Animal Section
November 2007





KSU Career Opportunities Workshop

Pre-breeding weight and progestin effect on beef heifers

Partitioning of energy in pregnant beef cows

Factors affecting Arkansas feeder calf prices in 2000 and 2005



KSU Veterinary Career Opportunities Workshop
The Kansas State University Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Business Administration held the Veterinary Career Opportunities Workshop on November 2-3, 2007 in Manhattan, KS. The meeting provided veterinary practitioners the opportunity to meet and interact with current K-State veterinary students who are interested in mixed animal practice.

The workshop featured Drs. Brad White and Bob Larson from the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine and Drs. David Andrus, Kevin Gwinner and Bruce Prince from the K-State College of Business. Topics presented included skills related to finding new associates, graduating student expectations, fair benefits packages and reasonable job descriptions.

The conference was attended by fifteen practitioners from 6 states with a great interest in visiting with K-State College of Veterinary Medicine students and graduates who are interested in associate positions and externships at their practices. One practitioner commented that he “found the Friday program especially valuable. The insight that the speakers presented relative to the mindset of the present generation of veterinary students was of great interest and value to me.” While another stated “I was compelled to take positive steps toward finding an associate/future partner or potential purchasers of my practice. Meeting young and enthusiastic veterinary students is always positive.”

Thirty-five students participated in the speed interviews on Saturday where they had the opportunity to visit with each practitioner to explore what type of positions the practitioners were looking to fill. One K-State veterinary student had this to say, “I thought this (workshop) was great for giving me ideas on what is out there, what practitioners are looking for, etc. This made me so excited about the veterinary profession. It’s easy to lose sight in school and this put things back in perspective. It was great to get feedback from the practitioners on what they thought of us – how we approached them.” This enthusiasm was shared by all of the participating students.

The workshop was supported, in part, by contributions from Schering-Plough Animal Health, Bayer Animal Health and Intervet. The conference will be held again in November 2008.

Pre-breeding weight and progestin exposure effect on beef heifer performance

Two experiments evaluated pre-breeding target weight or progestin exposure for heifers developed lighter than traditional recommendations. Experiment 1 evaluated effects of system on heifer performance through subsequent calving and re-breeding over 3 yr. Heifers (229 kg) were assigned randomly to be developed to 55% mature BW (299kg) before a 45-d breeding season (Intensive, INT; n = 119) or 50% mature BW (272 kg) before a 60-d breeding season (Relaxed, RLX; n = 142). Pre-breeding and pregnancy diagnosis BW were greater (P 0.006) for INT than RLX.

Overall pregnancy rate did not differ (88.4%; P = 0.51), but RLX heifers had later calving dates (7 d; P < 0.001) and lighter calf weaning BW (194 4 vs. 199 4 kg; P < 0.07) compared to INT. Calf birth BW, calving difficulty, second-calf conception rates, and 2-yr-old retention rate did not differ (P > 0.15) between systems. Cost per pregnant 2-yr-old cow was less for the RLX than INT heifer development system.Of heifers that failed to become pregnant, a greater proportion of (P = 0.07) RLX than INT heifers were pre-pubertal when the breeding season began. Therefore, a second 2-yr experiment evaluated melengestrol acetate (MGA, 0.5 mg/d) as a means of hastening puberty in heifers developed to 50% mature BW.

Heifers were assigned randomly to receive control (n = 103) or MGA (n = 81) for 14 d and placed with bulls 13 d later for 45 d. Pre-breeding and pregnancy diagnosis BW were similar (280 kg and 380 kg, respectively; P > 0.10) for control and MGA. Proportion of heifers pubertal before breeding (74%), pregnancy rate (90%), calving date, calf weaning BW, and second breeding season pregnancy rate (92%) were similar (P > 0.10) between treatments. Developing heifers to 50 or 55% mature BW resulted in similar overall pregnancy rates and supplementing heifers developed to 50% mature BW with MGA before breeding did not improve reproductive performance.

Martin, J.L., K. W. Creighton, J. A. Musgrave, T. J. Klopfenstein, R. T. Clark, D. C. Adams, and R. N. Funston. Effect of pre-breeding body weight or progestin exposure before breeding on beef heifer performance through the second breeding season. 2007 J Anim Sci published online 26 October 2007, 10.2527/jas.2007-0233.

Partitioning of energy in pregnant beef cows

The purpose of this study was to determine if the efficiency of energy retention in pregnant cows was dependent on the time during the pregnancy that feed was offered. Our hypothesis was that restricting feed intake during the second trimester of gestation and providing the saved feed during the third trimester was less energetically efficient than providing the feed during the second trimester. Twenty cows (4 breed composite: 1/4 Hereford, 1/4 Angus, 1/4 Red Poll, and 1/4 Pinzgauer) that had produced 1 calf before the study were fed a diet that consisted of (DM basis) 67.3% chopped corn silage, 27.0% alfalfa hay, 5.5% corn, and 0.2% NaCl. When cows were 87 0.6 d pregnant, the first nutrient balance measurement was conducted.

Six subsequent nutrient balance measurements were taken on d 122 0.6, 143 0.6, 171 0.6, 206 0.6, 241 0.6, and 262 0.6. Each nutrient balance measurement consisted of a 96-h total collection of feces and urine and a 24-h indirect calorimetry measurement.Ten cows were fed for moderate weight gain during the entire pregnancy, and 10 cows (Low-High) were feed restricted in the second trimester and realimented during the third trimester (L-H). Cows' BW at parturition (559 14 kg) did not differ between treatments (P = 0.20). There was a general trend for the proportion of ME intake retained to decrease in moderate cows as pregnancy progressed. The proportion of ME intake retained in L-H cows decreased during the first 49 d of feed restriction, but the proportion of ME retained after 77 d of restriction was greater than that retained at 49 d of restriction. During realimentation, there were no time effects for efficiency of ME conversion to retained energy, but efficiency was greater for L-H cows than moderate cows (P < 0.001).

The cow's ability to adapt her energy metabolism during periods of moderate feed restriction and realimentation allows development of management strategies that alter the time interval of the production cycle during which supplemental feed is offered. Total savings in feed offered during the production year are minimal, but management strategies can be developed that shift what feed resources are being used.

Freetly, H.C., J.A. Nienaber, and T. Brown-Brandl. Partitioning of energy in pregnant beef cows during nutritionally-induced weight fluctuation. 2007 J. Anim Sci. published online Nov 12, 2007, 10.2527/jas.2007-0250

Factors affecting Arkansas feeder calf prices in 2000 and 2005
The objectives of the study were to determine how factors affecting the selling price of feeder calves changed from 2000 to 2005 and to examine the perception that discounts narrow or even disappear as calf supplies decrease and selling prices increase. Data from weekly Arkansas livestock auctions were collected from January 1 to December 31 in 2000 and 2005. Data included calf sex, breed type, color, muscle score, horn status, frame score, fill, condition, health, and BW. Mean selling prices for 2000 and 2005 were $92.91 15.05 and $118.32 15.13 (mean SD; $/45.45 kg), respectively. Individual price observations were subtracted from the respective annual means and became the dependent variable. The selling prices for feeder calves sold in groups of 2 to 5 calves and in groups of 6 calves were greater in 2005 than 2000 (P < 0.001).

Steers received a greater premium ($6.48 0.09 vs. $6.02 0.08; mean SE) and bull calves received greater discounts ($0.30 0.14 vs. $1.68 0.09) in 2005 than in 2000. Breeds types that increased in value from 2000 to 2005 were Angus x Hereford, Angus, Angus x Charolais, and Brahman (P < 0.001). Breed types that received a reduced selling price in 2005 compared with 2000 (P < 0.001) were one-fourth Brahman Cross, Charolais, Charolais x Limousin, Hereford x Limousin, Limousin, Limousin x one-fourth Brahman, Longhorn, Saler and Simmental. Yellow-white face, black-white face, black, and gray feeder calves received an increase in selling price from 2000 to 2005 (P < 0.001). Although fewer horned feeder calves were sold in 2005 (P < 0.01), they received greater discounts in 2005 than 2000 (–$2.86 0.16 and –$0.51 0.09; P < 0.001).

In 2005, large-framed feeder calves did not receive the premium detected in 2000, but medium-framed feeder calves in 2005 received a greater selling price compared with 2000. Feeder calves with a muscle score of 1 received a greater premium in 2005 compared with 2000 ($2.58 0.06 and $0.02 0.09, respectively; P < 0.001). Feeder calves with a muscle score of 2 were discounted in both years, but the discount in 2005 was not as great as in 2000 (P < 0.001). Full and tanked feeder calves received greater discounts in 2005 than in 2000 (P < 0.001). Discounts for fleshy and fat feeder calves were greater in 2005 than in 2000. Most factors affecting the selling price of Arkansas feeder calves in 2000 affected the selling price in 2005. Although feeder calf supplies were smaller in 2005 than 2000, many discounts increased.

Troxel, TR and B.L. Barham. Comparing the 2000 and 2005 factors affecting the selling price of feeder cattle sold at Arkansas livestock auctions. 2007 J. Anim Sci. 85:3425-3433.


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For more information please contact:
Brad White
Beef Production Medicine
Q211 Mosier Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506