March 02, 2015

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk. I’m sure glad you joined us today. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson from the Veterinary School at Kansas State University and today we have a special guest, Dr. Chris Reinhardt, one of our colleagues over at Animal Science and Industry here at Kansas State. We’re going to talk about managing mud and taking care of those cattle. Thanks for seeing us today and we’re going to talk with you after the break.

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(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with my friend and colleague, Dr. Chris Reinhardt. Chris is our State Extension Specialist for feedyard cattle around the state of Kansas and its always great to have you on the show. Thanks for taking your time to come and be with us. (Chris) I’ll always make time for this, Doc. (Dan) Dr. Reinhardt and I were looking at topics and things we need to discuss and some areas of the world wish that they could talk about mud right now, others are ready to get rid of it, but mud tends to be an issue. There are different geographical regions of the US where its more of an issue because of soil type and the amount of rain they get and snow. But let’s just kick start and talk about some of the issues with mud and get to some of the numbers. (Chris) Yeah, mud steals performance no matter really within reason unless you’re raising cattle in the desert, you’re going to have mud at some point. And it steals performance. (Dan) Yep. So when we start to think about average daily gain, feed efficiency, increasing days on feed, all these things can have a direct impact on increasing costs or have indirect increase because of interest rates and the amount of time money is loaned. So what are some of the impacts directly that mud has on cattle? (Chris) When we think about mud, I like to think of it in terms of layers. We can go up to the cattle’s pastern, up to their hock, to their belly and pastern deep mud for a brief period of time really isn’t hurting us. But the deeper that mud gets and the longer time the cattle have to fight that, that’s when we’re talking serious impact on performance. (Dan) Yeah, and I think we all understand that that can’t be a good thing, or that cattle are bucking’ it, but I think people forget cattle are kind of like people, it its easy to do we’ll do it. If its hard to do we’ll do it when we have to. And when you look at cattle in a feedyard or cattle in a dry lot situation and going to the bunk, they tend to go when its hard to get there so I’ll do it when I have to eat. (Chris) And then as a nutritionist we’re always looking for nutritional issues and if cattle go from eating 10 meals a day because its easy to get to the bunk down to 3 or 4 and trying to eat the same amount in those 3 or 4 meals, we’ve got acidosis. (Dan) Right and so we’re having that binge eating because they’re overly hungry and that’s causing us some situations. Well we’ve got about a minute here before we have to go to break, so what are some of the things as far as feed efficiency, carcass, is it just strictly based off of that intake, average daily gain and energy utilization or do we see a direct impact on feed efficiency? (Chris) I think its both, Doc. Number one, they are going to eat less feed if they go to the bunk fewer times during the day, partly because we’re causing that acidosis. But when the energy that they’re expending to get to the bunk, they’re just using up a good chunk of that energy that they’re supposed to use for gain. So gain does go down but because gain goes down feed to gain as it were goes up dramatically during those periods that they have to fight the mud. (Dan) Cool. Folks, we’re going to take a break. More from DocTalk and Dr. Chris Reinhardt after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Chris Reinhardt who is a Nutritionist and Production Specialist. Here in the state of Kansas he’s our Feedlot Extension Specialist from Animal Science and Industry and we’re always tickled to death to have him on the show. We’re talking about mud. Let’s just start to break it down. Start out the first thing I always battled was our receiving pens. And we’d have 150 to 200,000 dollars worth of cattle coming in on a truck and we’re going tout them into a place before we process them and that’s the receiving pen. (Chris) Comfort is king when it comes to getting these calves in, getting them some good quality fed, a nice drink of water and a comfortable place to lay down. (Dan) I think we get caught in that, at least the producers I work with and myself, I get caught in that, if I can’t clean the entire pen, I’m not going to do anything. I’s an all or nothing situation. And really just hooking up a box blade and making a lap or making a track around that pen to give those animals even a track to lay down in can be huge for money. (Chris) we like to say that cattle don’t lie. And when they are lying laying down that means they are more comfortable than standing up. And if we give them any place that’s better than standing, especially those cattle that are long-hauled, we’ve got o give them some comfort and a place to rest. (Dan) They say that cattle, it takes 15 hours on the truck before they start to lay down. So some of these animals that are long-haul cattle coming in the first thing they want to do is rest and man when they’re standing there shaking or shivering because they don’t have a place to lay down its something thats maybe more important than the vaccine we give them. (Chris) I think you’re tight. And we’ve got to pay attention to these things. Look at the cattle, see what they’re needing. (Dan) What are some other things we can do in these pens? (Chris) Bedding is sometimes critical. And the thing I always say, and I learned it from you, Doc, is there are certain parts of the country and its not if its going to get muddy but when. Its about our plan, what’s your plan for when the mud comes? Sometimes it might just come down to putting down some bedding, scraping out the mud or at least the top layer, but give those cattle a comfortable place to lay down. (Dan) Yep. Mounds? (Chris) Mounds are absolutely huge. And the more moisture you have and the more chance you have for getting mud, the higher and the steeper the mounds and the more mound area yo need. (Dan) OK, we’ll get to that in the last segment. We’re going to talk about prevention and some of those things. But really we want to hone in and wrap up the receiving calf. You know, when you use bedding you need to make sure you clean that stuff up. (Chris) Exactly, that a beautiful breeding ground for disease. It served its purpose for a very short amount of time and after that its just filth. Its wet, its as uncomfortable as the mud is. (Dan) And if the calves start to nibble on it and we have salmonella, you can just have some issues. So if you use bedding make sure you clean that bedding out. Anything else on the receiving calf end of things? (Chris) I had an epiphany the other day, we need to name rest as our new nutrient. (Dan) Well, I think rest, oxygen, water and feed are some things we need to do for cattle comfort and promoting health and getting those calves ready so the vaccines will work. We’re going to take a break and come back with more from Dr. Chris Reinhardt about mud management and prevention in the feedlot.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Chris Reinhardt who is our Feedlot Extension Specialist for the state of Kansas and beyond. Chris is known nationally and internationally for the work that he’s done in both nutrition and production and we’ve even incorporated him a little bit in production medicine, which is always dangerous. but being a nutritionist and a veterinarian, I’ve learned to cope with my differences with myself. Chris we’re talking about mud management. Yo now we got into some of the thins upfront and we talked about the receiving period but now these cattle are in their feeding pen. What are some of the numbers, talk to me about some of the decreases we’re going to see. (Chris) If cattle are fighting mud on any given day as deep as their hock, a foot deep, 16 inches, whatever have you, they’re going to lose about 20% of their daily gain potential for that day. So if cattle are supposed to gain 3, now they’re gaining 2 or 2 and a half. If they’re fighting belly deep mud you might as well scratch the gain off for that day. As you mentioned previously every day they’re fighting belly deep mud they’re not gaining hardly anything at all. They’re going sideways and any feed that they eat is going up in smoke. (Dan) When we start to think about that, we tend to focus on the confined animal. But is that’s a cow, instead of losing average daily gain, that’s body condition score. (Chris) In the wintertime, body condition score is king. And if that cow is having to use all of the good nutrients you’re providing former just to fight off mud, we’re going backwards. (Dan) I think we also forget about how cold it is. When we have these freeze, thaw, cycles depending on where you’re living, you don’t see them but that stuff gets caked on the hide and then they lay down, they can freeze to the ground. I’ve seen it where they actually stand up and the hair coat for the winter is actually pulled off because we have this wet, dry, wet dry freeze to the ground thing and then we’re actually losing that hair coat. (Chris) I think its something that’s so easy for us to overlook as producers and I think its stealing silently from us everyday, especially in the northern climates. (Dan) So when we start to think about prevention what are some of the things that we’re looking at in the feeding pens as far as preventing. What are some of your big bullet points as far as preventing mud and preventing losses from mud? Because we’re not going to prevent rainfall. We’re not going to prevent mud from happening. But there are things we can do strategically. (Chris) that’s exactly right. Mud is going to happen, again unless you are living in a desert, mud is going to happen at some point. Its up to us to prepare the pen and have a plan to deal with the mud. the first is mounds. Mound size and mound shape is going o be relative to how much mud we’re planning on. If you’re in some of the northern and eastern areas we need bigger mounds and more space. We talked about comfort for the receiving calves but for performance and production cattle that are growing and finishing need extra comfortable places to lay down and an easy access to the bunk. (Dan) Yep. So mound design and pen cleaning and some of those, we’ll come back after the break. Thanks for watching DocTalk. We’ll see you after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Its my pleasure to be here with you. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. I’m here with my friend and colleague Dr. Chris Reinhardt from Animal Sciences and Industry. He is our state Feedlot Extension Specialist and we’re talking about mud. Chris we discussed building these mounds and giving those cattle a dry place to lay down. And the concept of a mound folks is the water will run off the mound and settle in the slower areas of the pen, so we build these mounds. But there are other things that we need to consider as we get into wetter more wintry climates. Let’s talk about pen space and pen slope. (Chris) Pen space, I’ve been fascinated with this for years. As you get down into the drier more southern climates 100 square feet per animal is more than adequate when we don’t have to deal with a to of moisture. As we move north and east there are times of the year where 500 square feet is not enough. And its simply because cattle need a place to move, a place to lay down, etc. And the mud just simple steals comfort in a number of ways. (Dan) And I think that a lot of people look at the size of the feeding pen based on these cattle need so much sea for natural behavior, but rally its mud. What about pen slope? (Chris) Pen slope is one of those things that a little is good but a lot can be too much. More slope is always good for drainage, but if we’re making the pens slope so much the cattle have to work that much harder just to get back to the bunk again the bunk should be the highest place in the pen so that its the driest and most comfortable. But if we pt too much slope in a pen cattle won’t use that entire 3, 4, 500 square feet and it becomes irrelevant. (Dan) Right they’re not billy goats. So as we increase in moisture we increase in pen size, the amount of square foot per animal and we need to increase more slope in the pen. Now let’s move to concrete because when you’re talking about when you get to the place where it has to be so steep or so much space it might be cheaper for us just to put in an alternative source of footing and that’s concrete. (Chris) As we look at feedyard design over the past roughly 30 years, we’ve seen the depth of the bunk pad, that concrete part right behind the bunk, just keeps growing and growing and growing. And that’s because comfortable cattle eat more feed and cattle that eat more perform better. Sp we’ve just watched these pads grow but eventually it comes to the question of how deep should the pad be? Should we even be on mud at all if we’re in some of these really wet climates? (Dan) Sure. So I think that taking it into consideration there’s emergency cleaning with box blades to provide immediate relief. There’s long term planning this summer, its too late for this winter, but we can build mounds this summer. Work with your extension Specialist to get that done. (Chris) Yeah, prevention is way more valuable than trying to catch up after the fact. (Dan) Thanks for being here today. (Chris) Is awesome, thank you. (Dan) And thanks for watching DocTalk. Remember if you want to know more about what Chris and I do here at K-state you can find us on the web at Remember to always work with your local veterinarian and on some of these situations with mounds, pen design and even break even on whether or not you want to put concrete in, get a hold of somebody like Chris that’s a Feedlot Specialist and work through the numbers. Do what’s best for the cattle. Do what’s best for your profitability and sustainability of your operation. Thanks for watching DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’ll see you down the road.

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