Taking time for Animal Husbandry Practices Can Increase Return on Investment in the Cow Herd

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Dr. Randall Spare about remembering to practice animal husbandry on the ranch.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is back speaking with the operator of the Ashland Veterinary Center, Dr. Randall Spare. Today, Hays and Spare talk about mitigating stress in the beef cow herd.

In the wintertime, Spare said that sometimes a windbreak is not enough to keep cattle healthy. Taking the time to put down bedding or take other actions that will allow those animals to lay down and rest, he added, is critical to protecting that health status.

“I have a saying that what goes on in the rumen, we can see it in those feet as early as 90 days later,” Spare said. “When that animal goes through ruminal stresses, it shows up as what I call ‘hardship grooves.’ That is somewhat of a simplistic terminology, but I think it is a good idea to consider that.”

Spare said now is the time to redefine animal husbandry.

“We have the world looking at us, watching us how we are raising these beef cattle, and we need to go back and implement good animal husbandry in these ways and asking them to succeed and giving them every opportunity to succeed,” Spare said.

Cattle producers make many investments in their cow herd, Spare said, whether that is their nutrition program, health program, or through genetics. An important investment to be made, Spare said, is putting animal husbandry back into practice.

“For an animal to succeed today, we make those investments,” Spare said. “The longer we own that animal, the more likely we are going to get a return on that investment.”

To be sustainable, Spare said, producers should aim to make each day a good day for every cow on the ranch.

Spare also talked about the accuracy of bull fertility tests, which he says cannot quantify how many cows the bull will breed.

“He is either going to breed cows, or he is not going to breed cows, and that is all that test can measure today,” Spare said.

These bull fertility tests must be used in conjunction with good animal husbandry, Spare said, because a bull can have specific results one day, but they can become injured the next, and those results will no longer be accurate.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.