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Showing posts from January, 2019

CIC 2019: Unraveling the Secrets of the Rumen

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Tim McAllister
AAFC Lethridge Research & Development Centre

Microbes are part of the natural world, they occupy all parts of the world from deep sea vents, skin, digestive tract, and our food.

The rumen is one of the most microbe rich environments in the world. We use fistulated animals to have a window into the rumen microbiome. Rather than looking at the bacteria that come out of the digestive tract, we can directly sample the rumen. The microbes in cattle rumens can even digest cotton shirts!

In cattle, the majority of digestion happens in the rumen by the microbes. So, most of the time when we are feeding our cows, we are really feeding the microbes.

Cows eat 2 to 20 kg of dry matter, 20 to 80 liters of water, and 50 to 150 liters of saliva. The microbes produce 2 to 6 kilograms of volatile fatty acids (VFA). The rumen also produces 0.75 to 2 kilograms of bacteria that go into the digestive system and can be digested.

In a roughage diet, 65% of VFA is acetate. Cattle on high co…

CIC 2019: Practical Management to Reduce Disease Challenges

Robin Falkner, DVM, Zoetis

Can't manage what we don't measure...
Peter Drucker said, "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it."
But if we focus on measuring stuff that doesn't matter, much , then we are managing poorly.


Can we consume our way to success? Consumerism is the attitude of "what should I buy?"  Don't go into the trade show as a consumer, go into the trade show as a producer.

We too frequently think of a health program as a calendarized list of health practices. Just because everyone believes something doesn't mean it is right. Falkner again used his recipe analogy. We have been looking at recipes for a long time. We need to be developing better cooks.

A sound animal health program is built on a foundation of:

Managing exposures to pathogensAccess to premium markets

Let's look at the history of agriculture. Dr. Roger's researched innovation in agriculture in the late 1950s and 1960s. He looked at practices in the …

New Show-Me-Select Sire EPD Requirements Announced

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At the January 4th Show-Me-Select Board of Directors meeting, new service sire EPD requirements were approved. All sires, artificial insemination and natural service, must meet minimum Calving Ease Direct (CED) EPD requirements. In addition to yearly updates, two changes were made.

First, no Birth Weight EPD requirement will be published. All commonly used breeds now have CED EPDs available.

Second, all breeds in the International Genetic Solutions (IGS) genetic evaluation are now set to a common requirement. In the summer of 2018, breeds within the International Genetic Solutions switched to a single-step BOLT multi-breed genetic evaluation. The EPDs for animals in the IGS genetic evaluation are directly comparable across breeds.

In 2017, the Red Angus requirement for CED was a CED of 8, which represents the 30th percentile. Less than 5% percent of heifers breed to a bull with a CED EPD of 8 or larger had calving difficulty.We feel that this require is meeting the need to reduce cal…