Vet’s voice by Dr. Dave Barz: ‘Tis the season: Taxes, meetings, bull sales and shows |

Vet’s voice by Dr. Dave Barz: ‘Tis the season: Taxes, meetings, bull sales and shows

We are enduring extreme weather changes this winter. Last week it was -30 degree wind chills and this week it actually got above freezing. These extreme conditions force us to limit the amount of time we are able to work outside. Feeding and watering the livestock is about all we get done. I’m sure many of our wives will hint that this is a great time to do some repairs or remodeling in the house. Another option would be to finish the yearly financials and the taxes. I think February would be a great time for you to attend a large group meeting of producers like you.

In my area the cattlemen’s groups have regional meetings. It is a great place to get a good steak and converse with friends who have common interests. You will be entertained for the evening, but you will also be updated on legislation which will affect your operations. If you aren’t a member of a local group, you should consider joining. We all need to promote our product and protect ourselves from government intervention and control. Your input and dollars help assure the future of the beef industry.

Trade shows and stock shows are great educational events. Cattle are continually changing phenotypically. We all have a particular type we believe is superior for your operation. When you visit a breed show you can see the way cattle are changing phenotypically to fit the market place. I realize show critters may not make your ranch a dime, but it will give you ideas of frame size, thickness and growth.

We have had many improvements in antiparaciticides, vaccines, antibiotics, implants, reproductive technologies and other products which improve efficiencies in our beef herds. These shows usually have testimonials from producers like you, enabling you to make a decision for the future use in your herd. The representative manning the booth can help you understand the technology and how it will affect your herd. It is our responsibility to raise beef as efficiently as possible so we will be able to feed the world.

Extension groups from South Dakota and neighboring states are scheduling educational meetings in many areas. These meetings will allow you to fine turn your operation financially, and nutritionally while improving you management skills. Extension’s role has changed over the last several years and is now trying to be more proactive with individual producers. They offer interpretation of research data and help you relate it to scenarios in your own operation. They can be important partners in the future of your herd.

Don’t forget the bull sale. Where else can you visualize local production, highlight trends of the future, and select the breeding animal increasing the potential of your herd. Genetic testing has emerged recently. It provides a means of predicting the outcomes of matings greatly shortening the times required for change in your herds. Many purebred producers are utilizing technology. There is great upside potential in crossbreed herds. Visit with your friends, neighbors, and purebred producers to determine the use of this technology in your herds development.

This is a great time to examine your herd and plan to maximize its potential. You will have a good time with friends conversing about last year’s production while preparing for the future. The great part is you will be able to attend a cattle show or rodeo. If repairs need to be made on your home, get them done quickly so you can schedule some time for an educational getaway.