More than 64 women gathered in Byemoor, AB on February 12 to talk ‘all things calving’ as the busy calving season creeps up on us. A packed and extremely knowledgeable panel of presenters assembled to discuss topics related to genomic testing methods, nurse cow health, herd profitability, and calving health considerations.
Nicki Westersund, representing Neogen Canada, discussed genomic testing in commercial cattle herds. Genomic testing has long been used in the dairy industry to select for traits desirable to producers in that industry. With advances in technology, the cost of genomic testing has come down significantly over the years, allowing commercial cattle producers to access this technique. By utilizing the most modern methods of selecting replacement heifers and breeding bulls, producers are able to significantly improve their genetics over several years.
Nurse cow health differs in significant ways from typical beef cattle. Dr. Tamara Quaschnick was on hand to discuss why these animals have differing needs and the best ways to prevent and treat issues that may arise when raising nurse cows. Using her experience as a veterinarian, she provided several ways to improve nurse cow health, which can be invaluable when the costs of raising beef calves using milk replacer are taken into account.
Melissa Downing presented information pertaining to the verified beef production program, an initiative that has been developed by the cattle industry, for the cattle industry. This initiative has been developed in order to provide producers an opportunity to prove that the farms they operate are following best management practices as determined by industry experts. Supply chains have been developed that allow producers to receive more value for the products that they produce, based on their sustainable production practices.
Dr. Ben Schultz of Maverick Large Animal Services presented several typical calving techniques that are used when calving problems occur. Dr. Schultz has operated his clinic in Stettler County for many years, and has assisted many producers that required a skilled professional during calving season. By using the techniques presented, producers learned proper timelines for the calving process, when and how problems generally occur, and how to properly aid the cow who may need assistance calving.
The County of Stettler Agricultural Services Board address current and local issues affecting agriculture and production, and develop policies and programs for the benefit of farmers and the environment. Their next scheduled workshop is the Working Well Workshop – providing well owners with management skills to protect their water supply: Thursday March 12, 5:30 PM at the White Sands Community Hall. Registration is free – please register at www.stettlercounty.ca as a light dinner will be provided.
Article and photo by Ryan Hallett, Manager of Agricultural Operations for the County of Stettler