When in doubt, change that needle out

A major emphasis in state and national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) programs is to reduce or eliminate injection site lesions. One easy to accomplish this is to changed needles often.

“When vaccinating a group of cattle, it’s best to use a new one for each animal, but very few producers do this,” says George Barrington, a veterinarian with Agricultural Animal Clinic Services at Washington State University. “There are some blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted from animal to animal via needles, and our goal is to not do this, by utilizing proper technique and new needles for each animal. But with multiple-dose syringes, this is less feasible; they increase the potential for transmitting diseases—everything from bovine leucosis virus to anaplasmosis,” he says.

When using multi-dose syringes, take time to change needles every time you refill the syringe or after every 10 head. This helps ensure that you are using a sharp needle. A dull needle creates more pain and tissue damage.

“It’s a challenge to get producers to change needles often enough,” says Shannon Williams, Lemhi County Extension educator and BQA coordinator for Idaho. “People get busy and don’t want to stop.  Figure out a system to keep that 10 head count. If you have a 20 cc syringe and it’s a 2 cc dose, it’s easy to just change needles the next time you fill it. If it’s a different dosage, maybe someone who is keeping records [as the cattle go through the chute] can hand you a new needle when the next 10 animals are done,” she says. read more…


Cattle is King – again When it comes to ag commodities

cattle-grazing-125x125The Oregon Department of Agriculture has released its list of the top commodities in 2015, and once again cattle is king.  But Jim Johnson with the ODA says the $914 million in sales last year was down a bit from 2014, part of the roller coaster that is the cattle industry: “Cattle and calves are going into one of their down periods in terms of price and such. I would not be surprised if they come back and challenge for the number one position again- if, indeed, that is taken away from them.”

Agriculture accounted for $5.4 billion into the Oregon economy in 2015 according to Johnson who says one of the things that really helps ag stay on top is the diversity of products from Oregon producers: “Over 220 different commodities- that diversity is so important to maintaining the long-term viability of Oregon agriculture.  When one product is down, another takes its place and fills the gap.”

Oregon’s wine industry finally made into the top ten according to Johnson who says the industries rise over the past decade has been remarkable.

The top ten commodities in 2015:

(1)       Cattle and calves, $914 million

(2)       Greenhouse and nursery products, $894 million

(3)       Hay, $604 million

(4)       Milk, $474 million

(5)       Grass seed, $383 million

(6)       Wheat, $217 million

(7)       Potatoes, $176 million

(8)       Pears, $152 million

(9)       Wine grapes, $147 million

(10)     Onions, $125 million

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Rare and endangered breed of red poll cattle now call Jefferson County home


A herd of rare and endangered breed of red poll cattle now call Jefferson County home after a donation to the Washington State University Jefferson County Extension Office this spring.

The herd of 16 red poll cattle are being cared for at Twin Vistas Ranch on Marrowstone Island, which will be one of the stops on this year’s Jefferson County Farm Tour.

It was a gift, estimated at $25,000, that WSU was happy to accept, said extension office director Laura Lewis.

“We’re hoping this is the first of many heritage livestock breeds we’ll be able to bring back to the peninsula,” she said.

She hasn’t heard of anyone else on the Olympic Peninsula who has this particular breed and said she knows of only three others in the state who have red poll cattle.

She said there are approximately only 1,000 of the cows left and they are listed as “threatened” by the Livestock Conservancy.

“There’s very few breeding animals left,” she said.

read more…

Farm antibiotics – are investors right to be worried


Emma Rose of the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics argues that the intervention of institutional investors in the antibiotics debate shows that the topic has to be taken seriously.

The overuse of antibiotics in human medicine has been under the spotlight for a number of years. With the human antibiotic resistance crisis set to reach critical proportions, many are calling on GPs, pharmacists and dentists to rein in inappropriate prescription practices, with some leading figures even suggesting sanctions for those who over-prescribe.

The need to tackle human prescribing is still widely considered to be the highest priority in the drive to safeguard our antibiotics, but global attention is increasingly turning to the overuse of antibiotics in farming. Read more…


Family passion for cattle business


Summer had not arrived as Gary and Jeremy Walter checked cows in early June, but you could see its gravel dust in the distance.

“It’s about to get hot,” Gary says as a small group of cow/calf pairs walks toward him.

The father-son duo run just over 100 cows near here in Fremont County and farm a combined 1,150 acres.

The Walters each own 50 percent of the cow herd. Jeremy farms 350 acres on his own, while his father farms 800 acres. Gary farms with his wife, Mary Kay, and Jeremy farms with his wife, Kayla.

Gary grew up on the nearby family farm, where his father raised hogs.

“Dad had hogs and Grandpa had cattle, and I had the opportunity to go in with my grandpa on some cows, so that’s how I got going,” he says. “It was something I had hoped to do someday since I had always liked that business.”

The cattle business is something that always appealed to Jeremy as well. After two years at Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Neb., he returned home with an ag business and management technology degree.

“I bought into the cow herd when I was in high school, so it was definitely what I planned to do,” Jeremy says. “I was pretty committed to coming back.” Read more…

Winter weather & cost to care for cattle


Farmers don’t worry about cold temperatures, but wet wintry conditions can harm their cattle and their wallets. The winter blast is giving more than just drivers a headache on the roads. It’s burning a hole in ranchers’ wallets who are caring for cattle.

“This is an unusual year,” cattle farmer Doug Dawkins said. “It’s been a whole lot muddier. We’ve had a lot of rain and snow, and it’s created a problem from that standpoint.”

All of this mud, caused by the on-and-off falling of packing snow, is making it very hard on farmers trying to haul their cattle to market.

“It’s a domino effect,” Dawkins said. “Not only has it affected the producers, it’s affected the livestock market as well.” Read more…

Advice on how to prevent cattle lameness


Cattle lameness is an issue with both dairy and beef cattle. Dr. Heather Schlesser, the Marathon County Dairy Agent, stopped by NewsChannel 7 at Noon Friday with some advice on how to prevent it.


1. Keep the hooves trimmed and in good condition, especially if they are living on concrete.

2. Groove the concrete to provide more traction than a smooth surface.

3. Keep flooring clean.

4. Have adequate ventilation to keep things dry and alleviate heat stress in the summer.

5. Utilize a foot bath.

6. Develop a monitoring program for your cattle. The sooner you can identify the lameness problems, the sooner they can be tested.

7. Lastly, provide the cattle with a clean, comfortable place to rest. Stalls should be designed for the largest animal in the herd.

Watch the video