NDSU Extension - Williams County


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February 10, 2016- Weak Calves

John Dhuyvetter, North Dakota State University Extension Livestock Area Specialist out of North Central Research Extension Center in Minot recently wrong an article about prevent weak calves. For some ranchers, calving could start in as little as a few weeks. Dhuyvetter talks about how there are a number of factors which can add to the chances of having weak calves at birth. Calves that can easily become cold at birth, slow to stand and fail to nurse soon after birth can contribute to greater calf losses and considerable work. Weak calves maybe associated with infectious diseases, such as BVD. BVD stands for Bovine Viral Diarrhea. The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) states some symptoms in new born calves are; ataxia, tremors, wide stance, stumbling and failure to nurse. Infectious diseases, such as BVD, are for the most part related to cow nutrition during gestation. Thin cows that do not receive adequate energy in late gestation and are thing at calving may produce calves with less fat reserves which are important for helping to keep them warm after birth. Even adequate body conditioned cows may produce weak calves if their diet was lacking protein, vitamin A and E or minerals such as Selenium. Having a vitamin-mineral program in your ranch operation may be exactly what the herd needs to receive proper nutrients, using a daily rations or free choice products such as loose, blocks or tubs. Forage that is being fed should always be tested for protein levels to determine if it will supply the needed protein levels during late gestation. Young cows will need about 2.5 pounds or a 9% crude protein ration. If you do notice weak calves this spring, be prepared to warm them in a warm box to prevent hypothermia or death. Helping them nurse from mom is crucial, if needed tube feeding a warm colostrum or colostrum replacers is needed within several hours of birth.

63rd Annual

Last week, at the Grand Williston Hotel, the National Hard Spring Wheat Show held its 63rd annual show. I personally want to say Thank You for those that attended and helped planned this show, it went great! V.J. Smith, the keynote speaker, talked about how important it is to appreciate and say Thank You to others. This message really stuck with me, it is a word that is seldom used in today society. This show went quite well, we had some great speakers and wonderful farmers in attendance. Next year’s, 2017, show will be February 7,8, and 9. Hope to see you all then.


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