Learning to take advantage of the natural movement tendencies of cattle is the first step toward more efficient and effective handling, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Patrick Wall. "Low-stress cattle handling techniques benefit both the cattle and the cowboy," he says. "Dr. Tom Noffsinger is known across the continent for his low-stress techniques and facility design, and we're proud to host him at a clinic at the Davis County Fairgrounds in Bloomfield on Tuesday, Aug. 12."
Wall says the Iowa Beef Center at ISU and Merck Animal Health are sponsoring the clinic that includes classroom and demonstration sessions led by Noffsinger, a consulting feedyard veterinarian from Nebraska. In the classroom session, participants will learn how to design, build, and work with a "Bud Box" system. Handouts will be available and note-taking is encouraged. Following lunch, the group will move to the covered pavilion on the fairgrounds for the low-stress animal handling demonstration.
Low-stress handling good for the cattle and the cowboy
Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. in the classroom in the 4-H Building on the fairgrounds with the classroom instruction beginning at 10 a.m. Lunch is at noon, and the demonstration starts at 1 p.m. Producers and young people interested in the cattle industry are welcome to attend. However, the handling demonstration area needs to be fairly quiet for attendees to hear and appreciate Noffsinger's presentation.
There's no cost to attend, but preregistration is requested by Aug. 8 to ensure adequate meal and material counts. Preregister by calling Sara Benson with Merck Animal Health at 641-777-9260 or email her at [email protected]. "Improving stockmanship using low-stress handling techniques can improve animal health and performance," Benson says. "Dr. Noffsinger is the expert in this area, and we think his knowledge will be a great asset to all who attend."
Cattle Feeders Summer Seminar set for August 11
In other Iowa beef news, cattle prices are at an all-time record high, but high prices don't necessarily equate to high profits. With tight margins, it's important for cattle feeders to focus on the management and marketing skills needed to maintain profitability. That's why Iowa Beef Center at ISU is helping sponsor a Cattle Feeders Summer Seminar next month.
Denise Schwab, ISU Extension beef program specialist, says the program emphasis is on marketing opportunities and management to optimize cattle performance and profitability. The seminar will be held Monday, August 11, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., starting at the Jones County Extension Expo hall in Monticello and concluding with an on-farm demonstration.
"It will include industry updates related to animal care and sustainability, marketing opportunities in eastern Iowa, and animal handling techniques," Schwab says. "Speakers include IBC director Dan Loy, Doug Bear of Iowa Beef Industry Council, and Dave Rueber of Innovative Ag Services."
Cattle marketing, BQA training, low-stress handling
Loy will talk about high quality cattle marketing, Bear will offer Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training and certification, and Rueber will share his observations on beef finishing facilities. Tom Noffsinger, consulting feedyard veterinarian from Benkelman, Nebraska, who is well known for his work with low-stress handling techniques, will present information and a demonstration.
"Animal disposition and stress has a direct impact on gain, feed efficiency, and health, and numerous research studies show that stressed cattle have higher health treatment rates and costs, increased mortality rates, and lower quality grades," Schwab says. "Dr. Noffsinger's demonstration will focus on ways to acclimate cattle to human handling that reduces stress and improves cattle behavior and performance. Calmer cattle also result in fewer injuries to farmers."
Partners joining IBC to offer this seminar are Merck Animal Health, Iowa Beef Industry Council, and Innovative Ag Services. Cost for the seminar is $10, which can be paid at the door. Preregistration is requested by calling the Benton County Extension office at 319-472-4739 or emailing Schwab at [email protected]. For more information call Schwab at 319-721-9624.
IBC was established in 1996 with the goal of supporting the growth and vitality of the state's beef cattle industry. It comprises faculty and staff from Iowa State Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and College of Veterinary Medicine, and works to develop and deliver the latest research-based information regarding the beef cattle industry. For more information about IBC, visit the IBC website.