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Cattle producers prepare for colder weather - KMAland.com: Ag

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Cattle producers prepare for colder weather

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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 2:42 pm

(Lewis)--Producers are not only doing a great job of getting their grain out of the field during the harvest of 2013, but many are still hard at it taking care of cattle as well as we head into the cold winter months.

Dallas Maxwell, Feedlot Manager for the ISU Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis, Iowa, says farmers are not only getting crops out but keeping cattle gaining and performing at the same time mother nature is chilling things down outside.

He says many cattle are being weaned right now, getting ready to head to the feedlot or to the cattle barn and producers are looking to keep them in good shape. 

As for cows, Maxwell says the harvest timing is good as cows are now being turned into fields where corn has been picked and food is readily available in the form of stalks and ears of corn the combines missed.

The Armstrong Research Farm if finishing up a pelleted stover trial started in June.  They compared two rations on 160 animals with both basic roughage plus distillers grain and pelleted corn stalks with distillers grain to see how cattle would perform with the two differing rations.  Maxwell says numbers are being tabulated and results should be in this winter.

He says his team is also developing bulls for the McNay Angus Herd as they recently got spring calves in.  They'll be keeping 2/3rds as bulls and will do research to find out what might affect fertility in some of these bulls as they grow into yearlings and two-year-olds in the feedlot setting.

Maxwell also says DNA testing not formerly available or practical for cattle producers is now more readily available and affordable.  He says DNA profiles give a better understanding of the animal's history along with rate-of-gain, carcass quality, back fat and marbling. 

Gene markers are present that can actually identify some of these characteristics, giving a forecast as to how cattle will perform in the feedlot.

For more information, contact Dallas Maxwell at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis at 712-769-2600.

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