Beef Cattle Browsing – June-July 2014

Beef Cattle Browsing is an electronic newsletter published by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University. This newsletter is a free service and is available to anyone interested in beef cattle.  Media, feel free to use this information as needed and cite Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Browsing Newsletter, Dr. Steve Hammack.


The Consumer Image Index, funded by the beef check-off, is a national survey of consumers thoughts about beef. Part of the most recent survey examined what consumers think about how beef is produced, and also how chicken is produced. Some findings:

– chicken product was viewed slightly more favorably than beef but attitudes toward production practices were about the same for both;
– beef consumers are most concerned with antibiotics/hormones, diseased/sick cattle, inhumane treatment/crowding, slaughtering methods, and feed rations;
– chicken consumers are most concerned with overcrowding in production “factories”, salmonella/sickness, unsanitary processing, and antibiotic/hormones;
– more consumers now acquire and are sharing information on meat production and are more active in taking action based on information;
– favorability among the general public toward cattle ranchers is becoming closer to the high favorability of primary beef consumers;
– mention of “feedyards” reduces favorability;
– for information on production practices, ranchers have higher credibility than dietitians;
– the beef industry is seen as stronger and more stable than chicken for “ongoing programs to produce the most nutritious meat possible”;
– positive perceptions result from messages conveying that beef can decrease cholesterol, contains vital minerals, is protein rich, helps preserve wildlife space, and is now leaner;
– most consumers are comfortable with treating sick cattle with antibiotics when supervised by a veterinarian under prescribed guidelines.

( ; April, 2014)


Controlled internal drug release (CIDR) inserts (nylon coated with silicone) are used in many heat synchronization procedures to infuse progesterone. One-time use of inserts increases cost of these procedures. Prior research investigated subjecting used inserts to autoclaving, a process employing heat, steam, and pressure. Autoclaved inserts yielded similar results to new inserts. Autoclaves are not commonly available to most producers so some have used other methods in an attempt to sterilize and reuse inserts. A study was conducted to examine some of these methods.

New CIDR inserts were compared to previously-used, washed, disinfected, air-dried  CIDR inserts that were then either autoclaved, processed in a dishwasher, microwaved, heated in a toaster oven, run through a clothes dryer, boiled in water, stored outdoors for 60 days, or not processed. Six months later, all inserts were placed in prepubertal heifers. Blood samples were taken, to measure levels of progesterone, immediately before insertion, 3 hours after insertion, and daily for the 11 days before inserts were removed.

Throughout the 11 days, there were no significant progesterone differences among unprocessed and the heat-processed treatments (dishwasher, microwave, oven, clothes dryer, or boiling). Inserts stored outside for 60 days tended to be lowest throughout. From 3 hours to day 3, autoclaved had highest levels followed by new inserts; beyond day 3, new inserts had highest levels. The authors made no recommendations based on their data, except to say that “any potential issues that may arise with inserting contaminated used CIDR inserts are avoided when new inserts are used”. NOTE: New inserts are labeled for single use.

(J. Animal Sci. 92:2275; No. Dakota St. Univ., Univ. of Florida)


The Texas Animal Health Commission has proposed changes to the rules for trichomoniasis testing as follows:

– Add testing requirements for a herd of origin when a bull from the herd is sold and subsequently found to be infected with Trich.
– Require testing when a bull is separated from its unit of origin, such as when a bull is found on property not owned by the owner/caretaker of the bull (stray), and that bull is found to be infected with Trich. Under the proposal, the pasture (unit) of origin, and pasture where the stray Trich bull was located will both be placed under hold order, and any additional bulls located there must be tested for Trich.
– Allow TAHC to evaluate the effectiveness of a herd control plan for an infected herd leading to the possible continuation or disapproval of the herd plan based on the progress or lack of progress made in controlling the disease within the herd.
– Finally, the proposal would require herds enrolled in the Trich Herd Certification Program to have perimeter fences that are adequate to prevent the ingress or egress of cattle.

More information can be accessed at


Preconditioned steers initially averaging 524 lb were grazed on wheat pasture in two successive years. Stocking rate from mid November to mid February (fall) was 1.0 acres/steer and rate from mid February to late April or early May (spring) was 0.5 acres/steer. Steers received free-choice non-medicated mineral, mineral with monensin, or protein block with monensin; in addition, half of each group was implanted with trenbolone acetate/estradiol/tylosin (Component TE-G with Tylan®, Elanco Animal Health) and half of each group was not implanted.

Both methods of delivering monensin significantly increased gain, by 0.15 lb/day in mineral or 0.20 lb/day in blocks; differences between delivery methods were not statistically significant. Implanting significantly increased gain, by 0.31 lb/day. Net return/steer was evaluated by analyzing differences assuming three different values for weight gain. Both monensin supplementation and implanting significantly increased net return at all values for gain. Supplement cost was higher for blocks so, compared to block, the mineral method of providing monensin significantly increased net return at low and intermediate values for gain and tended to do so at higher values for gain. At lower values for gain, mineral monensin + implant increased net return by $30/head and block monensin + implant increased by $18/head; at higher values for gain, the respective increases were $54/head and $43/head.

(J. Animal Sci. 92:1219; Univ. of Arkansas)


Angus – Hereford crossbred, weaned, preconditioned steers and heifers averaging 503 lb were either hauled non-stop for 800 miles, or hauled 800 miles with two rest stops approximately every 270 miles. Hauling of the rest group started 4 hours before the non-stop group (6 am vs. 10 am) to arrive at the same time (10 am) the next day. At both rest stops, cattle were unloaded for 2 hours and allowed access to water and mixed grass-alfalfa hay. Individual blood samples were taken before hauling commenced (day 0), upon arrival (day 1) and on days 4, 7, 14, 21, and 28.

From the time hauling commenced to when cattle were unloaded, weight shrink was lowest for rest, and highest for non-stop. Plasma indicators of stress were higher for non-stop upon arrival but not later. Feed consumption, feed efficiency, and ADG did not significantly differ over the 28 days after arrival. The authors concluded that rest stops during hauling reduced some indicators of short-term stress but did not affect early feeding performance.

(J. Animal Sci. 91:5448; Oregon St. Univ.)


Heifers of 1/2 Angus, 1/4 Hereford, 1/4 Brahman breeding were weaned at average age of 109 days and assigned to one of four groups:
– Group 1 had restricted consumption of forage-based diet to gain 1.1 lb/day to 14 months of age;
– Group 2 had controlled consumption of high concentrate-based diet to gain 2.2 lb/day to 14 months of age;
– Group 3 had free-choice consumption of high-concentrate diet to 6 1/2 months of age, followed by restricted consumption of forage-based diet to 9 months of age (to achieve ADG of 0.75 lb/day), followed by free-choice consumption of high-concentrate diet until 11 1/2 months of age, followed by restricted consumption of forage-based diet (to achieve ADG of 0.75 lb/day) to 14 months of age;
– Group 4 had reverse sequence of Group 3, beginning with restricted consumption of forage-based diet instead of high-concentrate diet.

Heifers were weighed every two weeks and blood was sampled twice weekly beginning at 8 months of age to assess progesterone as a measure of puberty.

Overall ADG was significantly different among all groups with Group 1< Group 2 < Group 3 < Group 4. Percent puberty in Group 1 was lower throughout the study. Puberty in Group 4 was lower at 12 months of age than Groups 2 and 3 which did not differ. However, by 14 months of age there was no difference in puberty among Groups 2, 3, and 4. The authors noted that the regimen used in Group 4 could be optimum, resulting in high rates of puberty by 14 months of age while “avoiding high incidence of precocious puberty” at younger ages.

(J. Animal Sci. 92:2942; Texas A&M Univ., Univ. of Missouri, No. Dakota St. Univ.)


The 60th Annual Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course will be held on the campus of Texas A&M University on August 4-6, 2014. The TAM BCSC is the largest beef educational event in the country. It is a three day seminar that represents the culmination of knowledge from industry leaders and experts. Each year more than 1,300 beef producers and enthusiasts attend the TAM BCSC to expand their knowledge of the beef cattle industry and join in the discussion of the most current issues facing the producer. This industry gathering features the popular Cattleman’s College, a general session with the nation’s leading beef cattle experts, seminars, workshops, and hands-on demonstrations.

Early reduced rate registration ends July 30. To obtain more information and register go to

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