July 18, 2016

(Dr. Dan) This is Dr. Chris Reinhardt, I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here at Kansas State University and I’m in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Chris is over in Animal Sciences and when we come back we’re going to talk about blue green algae; we’re going to talk about keeping ponds healthy, and we’re going to talk about how to stock and harvest fish out of ponds. You’re watching DocTalk, thanks for watching us today more with Dr. Chris and myself after these messages.

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(Dr. Dan Thomson) Dr. Reinhardt, welcome to the show. (Dr. Chris Reinhardt) Thank you. It’s always great to be here Dan. (Dr. Dan) Friend and colleague and when you’re out at the Cowboy Colleges you see Dr. Reinhardt talking about nutrition and production management along with Dr. Apley and Dr. Noffsinger. We sure have enjoyed getting to meet people who watch the show, and Dr. Reinhardt’s one of the people that’s constantly on the show. Today it’s going to be something that’s fun. We both work a lot in feed yards, we also do some cow work and some stocker work and today we’re going to talk about ponds. There’s so many things and dynamics about ponds but the pond is something that’s synonymous with grass, cattle and when we get our time off our relaxation, and being able to stand by the water, things to that nature. It is the source and supply of water. (Dr. Chris) Whether we’re talking brood cows or stocker cattle, water is critical. You are a nutritionist as well as a veterinarian, and we can’t give a nutrition talk without starting with water right it’s the number one nutrient. (Dr. Dan) Next to oxygen [laughs] but when we think about water – talk to me a little bit about our water requirements, these cows drink an awful lot of water, stockers, cow calves everything. (Dr. Chris) Everybody knows we’ve dramatically increased our cows size over the last 30-40 years and a lactating cow drinks a lot of water even at let’s call it 40 degrees Fahrenheit. As we move that temperature up to 89/100 degrees like we’ve had here recently it nearly doubles her water requirement. When we talk about stocker calves in the summertime their water requirement– they don’t drink a lot of water when it’s cool they don’t need a ton of water, but when we add that heat stress element they will nearly triple their water consumption and demand just to help dissipate that heat. (Dr. Dan) A lot times we’ll that cattle will drink three times their dry matter intake in cool times but five to six times their dry matter intake in the summer time. (Dr. Chris) Especially our English/English Continental cross cattle. What do we like to say about 70% of our national herd is black hided today and so if you don’t have any heat tolerant blood in those cattle, they’re going to undergo heat stress to some degree even though they’re out on pasture this summer and so water is a big critical element to helping them alleviate that. (Dr. Dan) When we start to think about that, we start to think about heat stress, the ponds warm up and as far as their water temperature that those cattle get down in the water, they will cool themselves off in the water. We’ll talk about things today, the issues that go on with the pond it can affect cattle, issues that go on with the cattle that will affect the pond, and then at the end we’ll talk a little bit about something maybe a little bit more fun for you and I on some of the stocking of ponds. (Dr. Chris) Excellent.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with my friend and colleague Dr. Chris Reinhardt and we’re talking about ponds and it’s something that we don’t take for granted. It’s something we manage, that we work with, that supplies water to our cattle on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes those ponds can have issues that cause problems for our cattle. (Dr. Chris) Exactly it’s something, again we don’t take the water for granted but because it’s there day in, day out and we may not pay as much attention to it as we need to and in the summertime I think it’s pretty critical that we would pay a lot of attention to the quality and quantity of the water available. (Dr. Dan) I saw a study done by Oklahoma State where they looked at nitrates and calcium, phosphorus, and different things to that nature of like 3,000 ponds and really didn’t find any issues of water quality from surface water. They had to watch the things that would wash in the ponds, but why is it more of an issue in the summer than in the winter. (Dr. Chris) One of my favorite truisms is it’s not a problem until it is and in the summer time we talked about the volume of water. Cows will nearly double their water intake when they’re under borderline heat stress, stocker cattle will nearly triple their water consumption. If something is a borderline potential issue in cool temperatures and all of a sudden they double their water intake now we may have a problem. (Dr. Dan) We’ll even see that with well water because of increased intake, sulfates things to that, always test your water make sure you get a good clean source especially water from wells. Coupled with all of a sudden we have a bloom of blue green algae. If you go on your pond and you see a green sheen or scum across the top, that’s pretty indicative not the old grass algae but you can tell the difference. This almost looks like the stuff inside the lava lamp, there’s description in the water and you have formed all these blebs and these bubbles, and we have a real bad issue around the Flint Hills and in some of our reservoirs but this stuff is toxic. It’s toxic to cows, to dogs, to people and really it can be quite dangerous. (Dr. Chris) It’s a tremendous challenge and again it’s something ranchers not just here in Kansas but throughout the Midwest really need to pay attention to. (Dr. Dan) The Cyanobacteria will be a part of this algae, blue green algae. They produce two types of toxins and one of the toxins, the antitoxin is kind of like a neurological toxin and if a dog gets a mouthful of this, it’s almost like somebody said its equivalent of smoking over a hundred cigarettes at once but it can cause muscle tremors, neurotoxicity and many issues. The micro systems or that can cause the liver damage that’s a long-term problem and is not as much of an issue. If you get the antitoxin from the blue green algae, this is when we get sludge, salivation lacrimation, urination, diarrhea in dogs, in cattle and you’ll find the cattle dead next to the to the water tank. If you have some abnormal deaths in a pasture or if your dog drinks blue green algae there’s no reversal or antidote for this so be very careful. We’re going to take a break when we come back we’ll talk about how to manage the pond from the cows after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. Chris Reinhardt we appreciate you coming to our Cowboy College and meeting us in person. Since we went there we’re going to have some coffee cups – and I got a back at our friend Hugh down in Georgia who has the Hired Hand Fly Sprayer which is a great tool in the great technology, and something that we’ve seen used very effectively to continually provide fly spray for cows, and that when we did our show on flies a few weeks ago we did not mention his technology in the show and we should have, and it’s something that we’ve been looking at and utilizing in some of the pastures and it’s something I think you all can take a look at when you’re looking for fly control in your cows. Let’s talk about ponds. What are some things we want and don’t want to around the pond? (Dr. Chris) One thing when I think the ranchers the amount of time and capital outlay to put in and maintain a really good water source, a pond, this costs a lot of money and to take care of that and extend that investment. Number one we want to make sure trees over time don’t crop up. One thing we love about trees is they keep the soil loose. In a dam we want a tight compact soil that’s going to be dense and survive over the long haul. Number two, we want to make sure the soil doesn’t erode and silt down into the pond and so making sure we’ve got a good stand of grass covering the entire dam is going to hold that soil for a long, long time. (Dr. Dan) And around the outside of the pond and sometimes we don’t know what we’re going to do that ground. If you’re a farmer feeder or farmer rancher making sure that if you’re going to turn cows out on stocks different things like that. (Dr. Chris) We should maintain a buffer strip of grass around that, keep it mowed but keep it thriving to just to hold the soil and keep it from silting in. And then finally, we’ve got especially in the Midwest but throughout the US, we got burrowing pests that are going to dig in muskrats, whether it’s beaver, whether it’s badger, etc., they’re going to dig holes and they’re going to weaken that dam. They’ll weaken the soil structure. And so, we got to control some of these outside influences. (Dr. Dan) Yes. And the other thing is, one of the things we talked about breaking down a pond dam or breaking down a pond, these cows can be really damaging. (Dr. Chris) They’re their own worst enemies sometimes. (Dr. Dan) Yes, to ponds. And one of the things when we were out at the Downey Ranch in working with Joe Carpenter and Barb Downey is fencing off your pond. And then there’s a couple of options after you fence off your pond on how you can provide access of cattle to that water. One of them is a point source drinker where you just come and you fence down into the pond and across so the cows can’t go out into it. We’ll fence the entire pond except for this one area. Provide some rock. Provide some matting, some things so that the cows can go down and get a drink there without damaging the rest of the pond. They can’t get out in it. The other one that I’m seeing is when we will take a pipe from the dam, underneath the dam to a point source drinker, to a freeze proof tank — (Dr. Chris) Where the cattle aren’t even having to enter the dam or the pond. (Dr. Dan) Right. And so, it will be below the dam and they’re freeze proof. And you’ll have a hundred gallon or 200 gallon tank down there and the cattle will learn. It’s a little bit easier to move. Sometimes we’ll put them right in the dam. But it’s actually a little bit easier to manage if you move them out away from the dam a little ways. But two things to protect your pond, point source drinker, and you can see it from the picture here of what we’re talking about, or the water proof or the freeze proof tank that’s behind the dam that’s just moved off just a little bit. A couple of different options to protect your pond. We’re going to take a break. We’re going to come back. We’re going to talk about how to stock that pond and how to harvest from that pond when we’re talking about fish. Come back after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Hey, folks. Welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Chris Reinhardt and we’re going to talk about stocking that pond. We like fish. I love fish. If you need a cow meeting in the summer time [laughs]. (Dr. Chris) Right around the farm, pal. (Dr. Dan) Well, just do it around the pond. But I don’t like that many people around the pond, but we’ll have a small mating. But anyway, ponds are part of our culture. It’s part of ranching. It’s fun. (Dr. Chris) Doc, how do we get the pond to where it is fun and it’s going to be fun for a long time? (Dr. Dan) You build a new pond, you got to stock it. And when we stock it with fingerlings you want to put on a per acre basis. That’s how we do that but 120 bass 400 bluegill and 50 catfish. 120 bass, 400 bluegill, 50 catfish per acre. If you use sub-adults which you can have people buy those, and work with somebody that stocks pond but then you’re going to put in a fewer. And usually 30 bass, 100 blue gill but still 50 catfish. Because catfish don’t reproduce, you’re going to want to put in whatever you take out you put back in on the catfish. (Dr. Chris) Got you. (Dr. Dan) Okay. Bass don’t spawn until the second year they’ve been in the pond. So, you won’t have any new bass or new bluegill generated till that second year. And so, what you have to do is leave the pond alone. You have to leave that pond alone for two, three, four years until you start to see the bass to be about 12 inches long. Then you can start to harvest it. A 12-inch bass weighs a pound. A seven-inch bluegill weighs a third of a pound. (Dr. Chris) And so, I’ve left it alone. I’ve left them get to this really nice catching size. Now, what? (Dr. Dan) Well, you have to harvest fish. You’ll have people that are going to say we’re only going to do catch and release because I want this pond to stay full of fish. No. You need to harvest fish to keep it because you have fish that are spawning. You have new fish growth. And once you get to capacity per acre, you’re going to want to take out 25 to 35 pounds of bass per acre per year and harvest it. And you want to take out 100 to 150 pounds of bluegill per year per acre. (Dr. Chris) And they’re a third of a pound each. (Dr. Dan) So, you want to take 300 to 450 bluegill out per acre per year. So, if you have a two-acre pond, you need to be taking 600 to 900 bluegill out per year. (Dr. Chris) And if I don’t? (Dr. Dan) You’ll wind up with overrun of bluegill, smaller bass, and you’ll change that ecosystem of the pond. And don’t just keep one species. If you just keep one species you wind up with the other one overrunning the pond as well. (Dr. Chris) And, if I catch a catfish? (Dr. Dan) Replace them. Whatever you catch that year and fry up, go ahead and replace those. Keep replenishing your catfish in the pond. They can overrun the pond as well. But, great show, a lot of fun. Managing your farm ponds, making sure that the cows don’t tear it up, make sure that you don’t have toxins, make sure to keep the fish stocked. Thanks for watching DocTalk. You can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. Thanks for watching DocTalk today. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’ll see you down the road.

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