The articles below cover an amazing number of topics about cattle health and cattle farming. There are more articles in the Cattle Behaviour, Calves and Calving, Cattle Handling and The Basics sections too. If you're looking for something in particular then use the search box above. If not, then browse the article titles and see what there is to help you. If you can't find an answer here then why not ask in our discussion forums? One of the very friendly and helpful members is sure to be able to help you.
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A bull for your block?
There are many reasons to try to do without a bull on your block. They are generally expensive to buy - if you buy a decent one.
Artificial Breeding (AB) and Artificial Insemination (AI) are the same things. The term AB is only used in New Zealand and Australia. The rest of the world uses AI.
Keep cow magnesium levels up
Cows with low magnesium run the risk of loss of production, going down at calving with “grass staggers” and death, at a time when you can least afford these losses.
Inject cattle in the neck
Always give intramuscular injections in the neck of cattle. Your veterinarian should know about this meat industry requirement.
Belgian Blue Cattle
The Belgian Blue is known as the "Double muscled beef" breed.
The Belgian Blue produces a large light boned double muscle animal with outstanding killing out percentages and top quality meat. A combination which turns beef into profit for both the farmer and the butcher
The picture shows a Belgian Blue - Friesian cross weighing 926kg at 25 months
Colours of the Belgian Blue:
White, Blue, Brown, Black, Blue Roan, Red Roan, Brown & White, Black & White, Brown & Black, Blue & White, Tan/Sandy, Red, Red & White, White/Black, White/Blue
Category - they are a Meat breed. The requirement for lean, tender, healthy beef is not a passing phase in the meat industry. The Belgian Blue Terminal Sire is shaping New Zealand's future by providing the industry with fine, tender, cuttable, lean meat. Succulent and low in Cholesterol
The Belgian Blue can produce more than double the amount of prime cuts, a fraction of the fat content and bone than that of any other breed.
American Research has shown a Cholesterol level of Pure Belgian Blue meat that is lower than chicken and second only to seafood in measures of fat, cholesterol and calories.
The Belgian Blue is the ideal cross on the dairy cow utilising the size and length of the dairy animal to lay down muscle.
The shorter gestation length of the BBX calf (281 - 285 days) ensures the profitability of the dairy cow, with no more calving difficulties than the Friesian itself.
Surplus dairy calves are an essential part of our beef industry = (manufacturing beef)
The history of the breed:
The latter half of the 19th Century saw the beginning of the breed in Belgium as we know it today. As the result of selective breeding the modern large sized animal with shorthorn colourings, prominent muscles (Double muscling), a sloping rump, hidden hips, as straight back and strong fine legs has evolved.
The cost in the market is again dependant on the supply and demand. Check with your stock agent for the current market price.
sSemen is available to purchase from both Samen NZ Ltd and LIC.
Cow calf relationship
When to remove a calf from her mother is often debated as an animal welfare issue.
A cow may spend a couple of hours seeking out a birth site, and going through the first stages when the calf moves into the birth canal and the water bag appears.
Cows will breed all year round and are not as affected by the day/night pattern (photoperiodicity) as sheep, goats and deer.
Milking and daily grazing routine
Dry cattle and bulls have 3 main grazing periods from daybreak to mid-morning, mid-afternoon to half an hour after sunset, and then a shorter period about midnight.
Cattle are ruminants
Cattle digest fibrous feed in their 3 fore stomachs – rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum which is the true gastric stomach.
Sleep & communication
Adult cattle sleep very little. The sleeping pose is all four legs tucked under and head turned to face the rear.
Man & cattle
Cattle evolved into about 260 different breeds, types, and varieties in different parts of the world
Every spring, a new group of people get the urge to rear 'a few calves' to make some extra income.
If you buy calves directly from the farm where they were born you can see the conditions they have come from.
Digestion in the calf
The very young calf is described as "monogastric", ie. it has a single stomach like pigs, poultry, and mankind.
The importance of good calf rearing
Growth follows an S-shaped curve, and each stage on it affects the next one along. Birth weight strongly affects weaning weight, which then affects weight at puberty, which then affects weight at maturity.
Twins in cattle are not common- about 1 set in every 4000 births. Some dairy farmers find they have a run of twins in some seasons and these are difficult to explain.
Protecting your valuable future money earners is a vital part of your animal health program.
Check your source
It’s not until you end up trying to save scouring calves from death row that you realise what a risk buying calves can be.
A calf's trip home
A light-hearted view of life from the calf’s viewpoint – but with a serious animal welfare message.
Coccidia in calves
Farmers who have scouring calves that are passing blood should not assume it is Coccidiosis.
Cattle Handling Basics
What you should know about how cattle take in information and how to stay safe around them.
Moving stock in the paddock
This is usually very easy as you use their “mobbing” instinct where they move together for security.
Move a Mob Through A Gateway
Stock used to regular handling like dairy cows will move quietly through a gate in their established social order without problems.
Move Stock Along Lanes
Driving stock that has been regularly handled is easy. Just let them move along at their own pace.