PDCA - One Blog

Welcome to the first Dexter cattle blog to disseminate information for members of the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America (PDCA) and for those with a curiosity about Irish Dexter cattle, cattle in general, as well as news from the PDCA. Expressions of opinion are to not be regarded as expressing the official opinion of the PDCA unless expressly stated. Hopefully you will find something here of interest and don't overlook browsing through the archives. Comments are welcomed.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Manx Calf & Rebel Cows

Photos of a calf that was born tailless at Karbonkountymoos...

...and some rule breaking cattle in this photo.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Ohio County Fair

PDCA members in the Ohio area that would like to join PDCA member Dawn Wertz in showing their Dexter cattle in the county fair, get in touch with Dawn for all the details. I believe that the deadline for entries will be the end of August with the fair being held in September. For more information contact:

Dawn Wertz
996 TWP Rd 553
Ashland, OH 44805

Friday, July 29, 2005

Ask the Meatman

Ask the Meatman is a unique home processing supplier with lots of useful information such as this page with information about beef grades.


There May Be Dexters In Queensland...

Virtual cattle grids outsmart NT cattle - Australia

A new form of interstate rivalry has developed - are Queensland cattle smarter than those in the Northern Territory?

It seems cattle in the Territory have been outsmarted by virtual cattle grids, white lines painted on the road in place of the traditional metal grids.

But Adrian Rosin, from the north Queensland town of Coen, has told Richard Hudson that cattle in his town are not fooled.

"We actually used to have about two or three bulls that would leap the old barriers, the old ones used to keep the rest out, now the younger ones are just following the bulls straight through, they can walk straight through, go straight through the town and out the other side," he said.

"Do you think we've got more intelligent cattle here in Queensland? Certainly do, actually they could be quite good Olympic jumpers too."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

PDCA Record Deadline

The deadline for submissions for the Autumn 2005 issue of the PDCA Record is August 10th. So be sure to get your contributions to Patrice by then. The Record is always looking for photographs. Those of you that attended the annual meeting and took some photographs I'm sure that Patrice would be appreciative of receiving those. Just be sure they get to the Editor in time either by snail mail or email. If you'd like to comment about the 2005 PDCA Show, Sale, or Educational programs you can also send these to:

The PDCA Record
Patrice Lewis, Editor
1305 Canyon Ridge Lane
Plummer, ID 83851
(208) 686-0627


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

2006 PDCA Annual Meeting

There were three excellent offers to host the 2006 PDCA Meeting, Show, Sale, and Educational event. The three areas were Florida, Ohio, and Utah. The proposals will be published in the upcoming Record and the PDCA membership will be selecting the location for 2006 with their votes based on the proposal submissions. There's a lot of work involved in hosting these events and so thank you to all three regions for their support of the PDCA.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

PDCA Members Are Smart

Notice the empty chairs were ones in the sunshine.

Monday, July 25, 2005

2005 PDCA Video & Photo Contests

The 2005 PDCA Video & Photo Contest results are now posted on the PDCA website. I'm glad that I wasn't the judge because there were some really good entries this year. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all those that participated!

I can really appreciate those that get good photographs of their Dexters because usually when I click the camera my cow will strike some goofy pose.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Late Show Addition

While last weekend members were attending the PDCA Friday workshops, one Dexter cow brought to the PDCA events also labored. The result was this newborn calf demonstrating typical Dexter hardiness by making their one day old debut in the PDCA Show.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


This flash program provides a view of the genetics:

Identification of the gene causing chondrodysplasia in Dexter cattle.

As a side note, Dr. Julie Cavanagh, who led the way on the research and development of the DNA test for chondrodysplasia in Dexter cattle will be becoming a mom this September. Congratulations Dr. Cavanagh!


The PDCA Genetics Committee Chair recommended that we adopt the common clinical terminology to describe the three types of Dexters. Specifically, Severely Affected (bulldog), Affected (carrier) and Normal (non-carrier). This will give appropriate terms to describe the phenotype (outward appearance) of the animal and eliminate the use of inaccurate terms like "Short-leg" and "Long-leg." It also reserves the terms homozygous and heterozygous for DNA typed animals. This will be published on the website and in the Record. This is also in-line with the labs' terminology for DNA typed animals: HN for Homozygous Normal and HC for Heterozygous Carrier and SA for Severely Affected.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Cumberland Show

The Cumberland News - UK

Records tumble and old glories are revived at the county's sunshine show

'In the rare breed section Veronica Schofield described her Dexter cattle as a success story.

Dexter cattle are the smallest British breed of cattle with distinctive short legs, broad foreheads and square faces.

“When I bought my first Dexter in 1977 there were only 600 breeding females,” said Veronica. “They have grown so much in popularity that there are now more than 4,000.

“The Dexter Cattle Society has more than 1,000 members and there is so much demand for the meat that we have formed a beef producers group.”'

Juniors & Seniors Clubs

The PDCA Seniors Club will be setting up a PDCA foundation. This foundation will allow for tax deductible donations that will help provide in the future for items such as scholarships to assist our junior Dexter members and help provide funding for Dexter cattle research.

Pat Sorensen has graciously volunteered to head up the PDCA Juniors Club. Please get in touch with Pat if you would like to lend a hand in assisting our young PDCA Dexter breeders.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Registries & Pedigrees

Members at the PDCA annual meeting discussed the need to protect the PDCA registry from some of the outside problems that have become numerous and the Board agreed that the registry will have to be closed sometime in the near future to avoid inaccurate information from other registries. First, membership will be informed of the problems and the necessity for doing so.

The budget was approved for an online pedigree system and a committee was formed which will receive bids and finalize selection of a program within 90 days. One bid has already been received and the committee will also be looking at programs that can be expanded to include different types of data and have future growth potential. So look for the PDCA online pedigree system to begin operating this Autumn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Happy Cows

BBC News, Liechtenstein
Calm cows have higher milk yields, say hemp farmers.

Grass Fed Beef

We had an excellent speaker Saturday night after the PDCA prime rib dinner. Some of the topics such as the health benefits of grass fed beef that Dr. Cindy Daley explained so expertly can be found at the Chico website Grass Fed Beef. There's also a nifty little grass fed recipe chart there as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Great PDCA Weekend!

I didn't count heads and so I'm not sure how many of the PDCA's 416 members attended but it seemed like over 100 of them were ahead of me in the lunch lines. It was hot but Jane and Wes were great hosts and made everyone comfortable. The entire weekend was informative and everyone came away as more knowledgeable breeders.

The coin raffle I believe brought in an extra $750 and the donated items auction Friday may have brought in more than double that. Roxie's saga continues and I'll have more about her later. There was an excellent group of Dexters in the show and all those except one bull calf sold and brought good prices in the sale. Full details of the PDCA's first annual meeting, show, sale, and educational programs will be in the Record. Most of the weekend was filmed and so members unable to attend may still be able to enjoy the events.

Some important Dexter issues were covered and I may go into some of these during the week. It was good to see once again people that I'd seen at Dexter meetings years ago and meeting others in person for the first time. PDCA people are an impressive bunch.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Congratulations Coin Raffle Winners

Thought I would share the big victors of the PDCA Raffle before I head back home tonight...

Gold Coin Winner: Jeff Chambers

Silver Coin Winner: Virginia Humphreys

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Today Meetings and...

The inaugural PDCA AGM and Show & Sale have been a huge success. More later...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Cattle a big part of Campbell's life

By Halea Franklin
Linton Daily Citizen

SWITZ CITY -- 'For one Bloomfield, girl showing cattle is a big part of her life.

Angie Campbell, who has shown cattle for eight years, said she loves showing the animals.

"I've grown up on a farm and it's (showing cattle) just part of it," she said. "Of course the best part is winning -- when all your hard work finally pays off.

"I've just done it forever, so it's part of life now. I can't really think what it'd be like without it."

When Campbell, who will be a senior this fall at Bloomfield High School, began in 4-H, she said she also showed pigs and participated in projects such as photography. However, she decided to quit her other projects to focus on cattle.

"We're so dedicated to our cattle that it's just too much to do anything else," she said.

Campbell, whose sisters Afton and Kara were also in 4-H, said she and her family focus completely on their cattle.

"We work them hard," she said.

Every morning, Campbell said, they rise at 6 a.m. and catch the cattle with halters. They then rinse the cattle off and feed them. They also rinse the animals again around 4 p.m. and tie their heads up for about an hour and a half. They get fed again around 6 p.m. and let out at 10 p.m.

Campbell noted that rinsing the cattle twice a day not only helps keep the animals cool, but it also helps keep hair on them -- something that is important when showing cattle.

Campbell, who frequently travels to various cattle shows, said she loves meeting new people at shows.

"I love meeting people," she said. "I'll go anywhere to meet people."

Throughout 4-H, Campbell said she has learned hard work and responsibility.

Aside from 4-H, Campbell plays volleyball and softball at Bloomfield High School. She played basketball, but quit to focus more on her cattle. She said she attends many winter shows and balancing the two was difficult.

After high school, Campbell plans to attend Vincennes University before transferring to the University of Southern Indiana to study dental hygiene.

She is the daughter of Mike and Melinda Campbell of Bloomfield.'

Meat ain't what it used to be

'The beef my father sold came from animals that had spent most of their lives grazing the lowlands of Scotland, moving from pasture to pasture through the season. Only during the harshest winter months would the cattle be moved to shelter and feed on hay or other winter feeds. He was passionate about the breeds he bought - Aberdeen Angus for rib, and the less common Dexter, which provided meat with a nutty flavour for small tenderloins.' (excerpt)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Gone West

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Happy Anniversary PDCA!

This weekend will mark the one year anniversary of the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America. A year ago there was one Dexter cattle association in the U.S. consisting of 886 members. Today there are two Dexter cattle associations in the U.S. with one having about 600 members and our PDCA which has remarkably grown in just one year to about 400 members. As I've said about cattle shows it's not about quantity but about quality and the PDCA membership includes quality breeders and the longest active Dexter breeders is the U.S. These are breeders that have not only spent years developing their own Dexter herds but have also generously given their time and efforts in improving and honestly promoting the Dexter cattle breed. Back in the 1960's it was proposed that the term "miniature" not be used to describe Dexters, perhaps because breeders back then recognized that this was more of a short term marketing gimmick and not an honest overview of the breed. Dexter cattle are an ancient, small, hardy, functional breed of cattle and functional would have placed high on the priorities of the traditional Irish farmer and as well it should with the modern Dexter breeder. What's refreshing about this year compared to last, is the focus is now back on the breed where it should have been all along. The quality of honest breeders we have today will ensure the quality of Dexters that will be around in the future for our great great grandchildren.

I'm trying to get organized here before taking off tomorrow at 4 a.m. We've watched Roxie along with her buddy Ralph online since being born in February. Now in a couple of days we'll find out where this cute little heifer's new home will be. If you have any questions about this Saturday's Dexter auction give Wes Patton a call at (530) 865-7250. You can make a bid on Roxie or any of the quality Dexters in the sale from anywhere in the U.S. Perhaps in time we can add a live video cam to PDCA sanctioned sales to give buyers from the comfort of their computers a view of the Dexter cattle for sale.

I believe tomorrow is appropriately enough cow appreciation day. So I'll wish everyone a happy and safe cow appreciation day! Dexter friends in Orland, I'll see you soon. Those of you not lucky enough to be able to attend our PDCA Dexter events this year, hopefully you'll also have a great weekend anyway. Try to find some way to survive the heat and keep cool this weekend like Roxie's dun grandmother here has managed to do.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Highly Contagious Bovine TB Found in Minnesota

The Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Bovine tuberculosis has been discovered in a cattle herd on the border with Canada _ the first finding in Minnesota since 1971 _ and will lead to the destruction of about 900 animals, state officials said Wednesday.

A federal inspector monitoring the slaughter of a 5-year-old cow in February spotted suspicious internal lesions. Laboratory tests later confirmed the cow had TB, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.


California dreaming...

Some PDCA members are already there as they planned their vacation around the annual meeting and are taking in some of the local attractions such as touring the wine country. Visiting all the unique areas of the country are one of the benefits of having the annual PDCA meeting hosted in different regions each year. Also, there's the added benefit for the regions receiving the national advertising and promotion in the different locales each year. Early reports I've heard are that attendence this year should be very good which is great news for everyone promoting Dexter cattle and the PDCA.

I'll be flying out of Missouri very early Friday morning and won't be returning until late Monday evening. There's a pretty full schedule of programs but if I have a chance I'll phone some reports for here during the weekend although it may be sporadic, if at all. Thanks to the tremendous support the PDCA has received we've done very well during our first year but next year should be even better for Dexter cattle breeders. After PDCA members gather together this weekend perhaps there will be some news here next week that will rock the Dexter world. This is an exciting weekend to be a member of the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America!


I saw this "cute couple" and wedding story in the Washington Post and today on Sarpy Sam's blog - Thoughts from the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Odds & Ends

I noticed in the latest ALBC NEWS that the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has approved the formation of an Advisory Council. Much like the PDCA, they recognized that sometimes Boards may not have the technical expertise in all areas and so it's an asset to have assistance from those that do. If you have a particular skill or talent that might useful to the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association that you would like to offer, be should to contact the PDCA Advisory Board and let them know. We've been fortunate to have a lot of professional assistance from both within and outside the organization.

From what I've been reading I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Canada and U.S. border reopen for cattle sales this week or next which would be good news for our Canadian Dexter breeders.

Here's an editorial from the Houston Chronicle regarding beefing up red meat safety: Steaking a reputation

I read where New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently purchased 100 raffle tickets for friends and family. Tom was buying Red Sox raffle tickets but it's a reminder that you still have time to purchase PDCA Raffle Tickets online for friends and family before the drawing this Saturday. You don't have to be a PDCA member to purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to win the gold bullion coin and so get your tickets now while there's still time.

Monday, July 11, 2005

In-Breeding, Line-Breeding, and Out-Crossing


'In-breeding means the mating of closely related parents, the commonest being full brother and sister, sire to daughter, dam to son. In-breeding does not produce any new characters. It does intensify such characters as exist, good or bad, whether these be apparent through dominance or hidden in recessives. This intensifying of characters is accomplished by decreasing the lines of inheritance. Such characters as emerge come from the reshuffling of the genes already present, but there are fewer to shuffle and a greater degree of uniformity is certain to result.

In-breeding has been regarded as dangerous. By some it has been regarded as immoral. There is a quite commonly held opinion that it leads certainly to decrease in vigor and in size and a general deterioration of the inbred strain. People who hold these opinions usually admit the benefits of in-breeding but regard the risk involved as too great to justify the practice. It is true that many of the disadvantages feared have resulted, but it now seems probable that these faults arise more from lack of their timely recognition by the breeder than from anything inherent in the practice itself.

Unwanted results arise from the recessives that are not visible in the original parents, but can be located by back-crossing, and animals showing these faults should be discarded immediately upon their recognition, else they may become dominant. With their elimination the desirable characteristics are likely to reappear in intensified measure. Small animals have been inbred in laboratories for more generations than cattle have been known to exist. In many cases they show no lack of size, physical vigor, or reproductive power. On the other hand it cannot be denied that loss of size and vigor, and abnormalities have some times occurred in long continued in-breeding. When two inbred strains showing these ill effects have been themselves crossed, size and vigor have been restored immediately and even intensified.

It seems certain to this writer that most rapid progress in cattle improvement may be expected to come from the practice of intelligent in-breeding accompanied by rigid selection on the part of individual breeders who then may, when they feel that they have the characteristics they are seeking well established, resort to cross-breeding with other inbred lines of other breeders who are seeking similar objectives. It is neither necessary nor desirable to resort to the so-called “cold out-cross.” Neither is it necessary that the animal eliminated from the inbred line be sent to the butcher. Such an animal in other herds might well work greater improvement than would an individually superior animal of mixed inheritance.


Line-breeding is the mating of related animals of less close relationship than that of in-breeding, from which it differs only in degree. Such matings are half-brother to half-sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. Line-breeding may hope to achieve, in time, approximately the same results as in-breeding. It is obvious that this system introduces into the strain greater numbers of probable variations. It is certain, therefore, that the breeder using this practice will need more years in which to achieve his goal. Of course, he may, get from some collateral ancestor unexpectedly favorable results, but he is no more certain to do this than he is to get unfavorable results. Which system is best to use will depend upon the skill-and luck-of the breeder.


It has been determined by such a mass of experimentation and evidence that it can scarcely be doubted that such characteristics as appear in an individual are usually, in practice, inherited from the first half dozen or fewer generations of ancestors. Atavism, which is the going back to a more remote ancestor, does occur. Recessives in the germ plasm do emerge, but they are comparatively uncommon.

Out-crossed animals are those which show in their pedigree no common ancestor within the first four generations. Lines of inheritance drawn from so many different ancestors cannot be expected to produce a uniform herd. It is quite common for breeders who perceive some unwanted characteristics within their herds, to seek to correct this immediately by the use of a bull with entirely different bloodlines and an extreme development of the individual characteristics which it is desired to correct.

This is what is called a “cold out-cross.” It rarely works. The first generation may show (it also may not) an average midway between the characters of the two parents and consequent improvement of the characters desired. It is probable that subsequent generations will show a great degree of variation, and the resultant herd, in the long run, will be a group of dissimilar individuals. The man who practices this system is likely, at the end of more years than he may have left, to find that he has been a cattle multiplier rather than a breeder.

Correction of unwanted tendencies can be brought about with more speed and certainty through the use of satisfactory individuals within the breeder's own strain; or by the use of close-bred individuals from some other breeder whose animals happen to be satisfactory and whose general objectives are similar to those of the breeder wishing to make the correction. Then, when it is corrected, it will stay corrected.'

From "Dual-Purpose Cattle" by Claude H. Hinman, 1953.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Grazers and Browsers

How Digestive Morphology Affects Diet Selection (pdf)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Lazy Dexters

From the looks of the herd this morning, they must have had quite a party in the pasture last night.

Friday, July 08, 2005

2005 PDCA Annual Meeting, Show, Sale & Educational Program

Thursday schedule for early arrivals:

Meet at Glenn Land Farm at 1 PM to travel to Chico State University Farm for tour and carcass evaluation in Meats Lab

Dinner on your own

Friday morning schedule for Dexter Basics workshop:

8 AM – Registration at Glenn Land Farm, I-5 Exit 614 (Rd. 27) Orland

8:30 AM – Program begins with the following topics to be covered:

How to become a member, register and transfer cattle and name your ranch/farm.
Benefits of becoming a member of PDCA.
Your purpose for raising Dexters and type available.
Responsibilities of buyer, seller and association.
How to select your Dexters (conformation, temperament, color, price, availability, polled, horned, age, pedigree, etc.).
Information on health and nutrition programs, facilities and handling.
Dexter classification and tests available.
Bulls vs. A.I.
Management practices including tattooing, ear tagging, castration, weaning, breeding and halter training.
Marketing Dexters

Noon: Lunch for Dexter Basics workshop participants; Luncheon meeting of Senior Dexter Club members (Country Kitchen Restaurant in Orland)

Friday afternoon schedule for Educational Workshops:

1:00 PM: The use of ultrasound to determine carcass merit including ribeye area, fat thickness, marbling, etc. – Dr. Patrick Doyle

1:45 PM: The use of ultrasound to manage the reproduction program in your herd. Tabletop A.I. and embryo transfer workshop – Dr. Cindy Daley

2:45 – 3:00 PM: Refreshment break

3:00 PM: Dexter Genetics – Gabriella Nanci

3:45: PM: Fitting and Showing Dexter cattle – Andrea Earley

4:30 PM: Pasture Management; pasture walk – Wes Patton

6:00 PM: Authentic Mexican Dinner with Carne Asada and Salsa Bar

7:00 PM: Results of Video Show, Photo Contest and Dexter Promotion Contest followed by the auction of donated items

Saturday morning:

8:30 AM: Classifying Dexters – Bob Reuter, Brown Swiss Classifier

Practice Dexter selection classes for everyone

9:40 AM: National Livestock Identification Program Update – John Colhoun

10:00 AM: Dexter Show: bulls youngest to oldest, followed by females youngest to oldest

12:00 Noon: Lunch and buyer’s registration

1:00 PM: Dexter Sale (Cowboy Auction)

2:00 PM: Annual Meeting

6:00 PM: Prime Rib Dinner

7:00 PM: Dr. Cindy Daley, “Grassfed beef, the time is now”

Sunday morning: Meetings TBA, Brunch served from 10-11 AM

Thursday, July 07, 2005

They're going to put me in the movies...

Jean Heidker's daughter came out yesterday to film Roxie. Jean is one of the people that will be doing the hauling to and from the PDCA Show & Sale. Since all proceeds from the sale of Roxie are being donated to the PDCA it was decided that it would be better to put the money toward hauling Roxie for the buyer, rather than to the show, where she will have to be hauled again to the buyers place, anyway. This way Jean can offer discounted hauling as part of the donation and Roxie will only have to make one trip. So she'll be auctioned via video.

Roxie's training the past couple of weeks has been slowed a little by the afternoon heat but she's now been halter broken and tamed. Roxie's dam is Heather PDCA #201003 who was part accident and part experiment in eliminating the carrier gene. Roxie's sire was Spruce Grove Matt PDCA #201002. I also still have Roxie's grand dam and great grand dam. When grown, you can expect Roxie to be 40 inches at the withers and a non-carrier.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Impacts of Beef Cattle Shortcourses

Here's an interesting review by Tim Olson of the annual beef cattle courses that were held from 1951 through 1976. The old photographs in the slide shows may be of particuliar interest to Dexter breeders. In Slide Show Part 1 there's a photograph of a very short legged Angus bull in slide 7. In Slide Show Part 2, slide 4 shows a demonstration of dwarf Hereford calves.

One of the more difficult agenda items at our upcoming PDCA Annual Meeting will be the carrier issue within the Dexter cattle population.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Heat Stress and Beef Cattle

Stephen Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

'High temperatures raise the concern of heat stress on cattle. Heat stress is hard on livestock, especially in combination with high humidity. Hot weather and high humidity can reduce breeding efficiency, milk production, feed intake, weight gains, and sometimes cause death. Livestock should be observed frequently and producers should take precautions when hot and humid weather is forecast. Work cattle early in the morning to decrease the risk of heat stress. A danger sign in cattle is panting. The panting mechanism in cattle does not appear to work as well as the one dogs have.

Major management options are providing shade, improved ventilation and a sufficient quantity of water. Shade for livestock can be provided by trees, buildings or sunshades. The temperature can be further reduced by spraying cool water across the roofs of buildings where animals are housed. Ventilation can be provided for air movement by fans and windows. Sunshades should be high enough to allow air movement.

Providing an adequate source of cool, clean drinking water is essential to help keep animal's internal body temperature within normal limits. It is thought that water temperature affects rumen temperature and thus blood temperature which affects brain centers that control feed consumption. Above-ground water lines should be provided shade by having taller grass cover them. Run lines in fields that are not be currently grazed to water troughs that are in fields being grazed. The manager should at least check the water temperature in the water trough. Temperature increases from 70oF to 95oF can increase total water requirements by about 2.5 times.

Producers using management intensive grazing might consider several options. One option is to rotate through fields at a more rapid rate. Taller grass tends to be a cooler surface to maintain cattle on than pastures with shorter grass stands. Another option is rotate cattle in the evening rather than the morning. The assumption is that the grass will be consumed in the evening and hopefully the "heat of fermentation" or digestion is mostly dissipated by mid-morning, thereby reducing the heat load produced by the animal. Another possible option is to graze paddocks that allow access to barns (shade) or trees during the heat of the day. This will reduce equal distribution of manure throughout the paddock but might be a suitable compromise during excessively hot weather.

A similar recommendation of feeding feedlot cattle in the evening rather than the morning may apply. Conversely, cattle may eat more during the night than during the day in hot weather. Cattle that look hot in the morning will not eat much that day. Any shift in feeding feedlot cattle needs to be done gradually. Keep in mind that concrete is hotter than dirt so you may need to check cattle more frequently that are predominantly on concrete than on dirt. However this situation is less of concern in Ohio where most feedlot cattle have access to some shade.

Producers sometimes talk about "hot" feeds and "cool" feeds. We must discern whether the discussion is about energy content or actual heat production. Corn and other concentrates are sometimes called "hot" feeds. This is in reference to their higher energy content compared to hay or straw (cool feeds). However, corn and other concentrates contribute less to the heat of fermentation or digestion than hay. Therefore cattle actually produce less actual heat when consuming corn than when consuming hay. Further increasing the concentrate portion of a feedlot finishing diet may lead to acidosis problems. One option is to feed more frequently so as to keep the feed fresher (especially silage) and to feed a greater part the diet in the evening rather than in the morning. Similarly high quality forage produces less heat of fermentation than low quality forage. This might be another argument for moving cattle to higher quality pasture or moving more frequently through paddocks.

An excessive level of protein during heat stress may be detrimental. The excess nitrogen supplied by the protein must be detoxified and prepared for excretion (via urine). This is a biochemical pathway that is very high in energy demands.

Increased water consumption will increase excretion of urine. This will also increase the loss of certain minerals, such as sodium (a part of salt), potassium, and magnesium. Free choice trace mineral salt should be provide in a location that the animals will consume it. Loose salt will be more readily consumed than block salt.

And to add to the fun, this hot spell could cause some areas to become "droughty." Livestock not only eat less during hot days, but high temperatures and dry weather reduce the amount of pasture grasses available for grazing, which can lead to inadequate feed intake or illness from consuming toxic plants and weeds that may be the only "greens" available for animals to consume.

The weather service issues special forecasts during extremely hot weather to alert livestock producers of dangerous weather. The warnings are based on a temperature-humidity index, which increases as the temperature and humidity increase. The danger level is indicated by an index value of 79, which is reached in various combinations of temperatures above 85 degrees in combination with high humidity. As temperatures increase, slightly lower humidity can still create dangerous and emergency conditions.

The emergency levels begins at an index level of 84 and occurs at temperatures in the 90 and 100 degree range, increasing in danger as the humidity level increases.

Livestock producers should listen to local radio and television weather reports early in the day for warnings that heat stress may become a problem.'

Monday, July 04, 2005

Hope you...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Dog Days Begin

'The phrase "Dog Days" conjures up the hottest, most sultry days of summer. The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days: the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. The rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather (some of our hottest and most humid days occur after August 11), but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the season of the Nile's flooding, so they used the star as a "watchdog" for that event. Since its rising also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all time: "Dog Days bright and clear / indicate a happy year. / But when accompanied by rain, / for better times our hopes are vain."'

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Bull-headed cow gets noggin stuck in tree

By Alan Yarbrough
Daily News Journal

Imagine driving down a relaxing country road, only to see a 700-pound heifer's backside sticking out of a oak tree with its head stuck inside a narrow, hollow opening.

For Milton resident and cow owner Jerry Hughes that's exactly what his neighbor Shane Davenport saw three weeks ago while driving down Milton Road.

"When I first saw it, I caught a glimpse of it, but I didn't think much of it," Davenport said. "Then I drove back again, slowed down and, sure enough, the cow was still there. It was one of the strangest things I have ever seen."

As any good neighbor would do, he contacted Hughes and told him the cow either wanted to have its head in the tree or it was stuck. Hughes knew it was stuck and five minutes later started to try and rescue the cow with a rope.

After about an hour and a half of attempting to get the female cow to lower its head into a larger opening without success, Hughes finally called Lascassas veterinarian John Brunner.

"I was astounded, that's the reason why I grabbed the camera," said Brunner, who runs Noah's Friends Inc., a veterinary service for large and small animals.

Once Brunner made it to the site, the cow had already been in the tree for approximately two hours, but was surprisingly still calm.

"She had been there so long, I guess she had resigned herself to being there," he said.

After taking pictures of the unusual occurrence, which he only developed this week, Brunner started to earn his $80 rescue fee.

"What I did was put a tie on her, which paralyzes the cow," he said. "I was able to push her head down a little bit. They don't move a whole lot when the hitch is around them."

He used a burley-half hitch, which has one loop of rope around the neck, another loop just behind the front legs and one more loop in front of the rear legs. Moreover, mineral oil was applied to the tree and to the cow's head to lessen the tension it would feel when a tractor pulled it out.

"Even pulling with the tractor, it wasn't going to come without toggling," Brunner said.

Finally at 10:30 p.m. — after 20 minutes of pulling — the cow's three-hour ordeal was over with only a scrape on the back of its ear and no other apparent injuries.

"It's a nosey animal," said Hughes, about why the cow got stuck. "Maybe she saw a squirrel."

Even though the incident was surprising to Hughes, it wasn't the first time he has seen a cow get stuck in a tree. Around 15 years ago he rescued a cow from a forked tree. But he was able to cut down the tree to save it, an option he didn't have this time around because he didn't want to risk injury to the animal.

To make sure there won't be a repeat incident, Hughes and Brunner put logs in the hole so the cow won't have any more temptation to put its head in the tree.

"It probably won't happen again in a million years," Brunner said.

Friday, July 01, 2005

PDCA Photo & Video Contest

If you haven't already make sure that you get your photographs and videos in the mail today for the PDCA Photo and Video Contests. Today's the deadline as there's only two weeks to go before the PDCA's inaugural annual meeting, show, sale, and educational workshops in Orland, California.

Photograph by Glenn Land Farm on Walker Creek.

Also for our friends up north... Happy Canada Day!

PDCA - One Google