Graduates from the 2019 Central Region of the Louisiana Master Cattleman Program were recognized Oct. 17 at the Dean Lee Research Station Seventh Annual Beef Cattle and Forage Field Day. Pictured from left to right are, top row, Vince Deshotel, LSU AgCenter Master Cattleman coordinator; Mike Salassi, incoming AgCenter associate vice president of for plants, soils and water resources; graduates Sherwood Poret, Justin Moreau, Bailey Wilkes, David Bordelon, Al Mahfouz, Joe Bordelon, Austin Pitcher, Terry Grady Sr., Douglas Saucier, Chris Dupuy, Brent Dauzat, Jeffery Lacombe, Kaleb Bordelon; bottom row, left-right, Rogers Leonard, AgCenter associate vice president for plants, soils and water resources; graduates Kirk Garber, John Laborde, Charles Webster, Kendrick Fontenot, Randal Brown, Jessica Brown, Kenneth Bordelon, Kurt Moreau, Steven Mayeux, Vickie Mayeux, Sherry Dauzat and Ronnie Bardwell. Graduates not pictured were Jessica Hunt, Taylon Hunt, Patrick Gillespie, and Brent Winegeart, Terry Grady Jr., Marcus Wilkes, Karen Garber, Chris Barkley, Travis Gremillion, Mark Gremillion and Scott Couvillion. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter
Cattle health featured at AgCenter field day
Newly obtained cattle should be quarantined until they have been tested for the possibility of disease, an LSU AgCenter veterinarian said at the Seventh Annual Beef Cattle and Forage Field Day at the LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research Station on Oct. 17.
Dr. Christine Navarre said new cattle should be kept separated from an existing herd. “Just a fence is not enough,” she said.
But keeping cattle in a barn is not required. “Sunlight is our best disinfectant,” she said.
Cattle can look healthy but still have disease such as anaplasmosis, Navarre said, advising cattle producers to ask their veterinarians about what tests should be used for potential diseases.
She also warned that bulls with trichomoniasis can devastate a herd, and only virgin bulls should be introduced to new herds.
Guillermo Scaglia, AgCenter ruminant nutritionist, said young bulls need moderate weight gain of about 1.5 to 2 pounds per day.
Inadequate nutrition can result in delayed puberty, but bulls that become too fat can have problems with semen production and quality, resulting in failure to pass a breeding soundness exam, he said.
A body conditioning score of 5 to 6 usually results in the best chances of passing a BSE.
New bulls brought to a farm should be given 30 to 60 days before breeding to allow them to adjust to their new surroundings, and bulls penned together will fight for dominance.
Yearling bulls should be kept with approximately 18 cows, while older bulls can be kept with 25 to 30 cows, Scaglia said.
Semen quality of bulls after 6 to 7 years of age usually declines, and they start to lose dominance. In addition, older bulls that have impaired vision become less effective at breeding because they cannot see when cows are receptive to breeding, he said.
AgCenter forage specialist Ed Twidwell advised farmers about establishing a bermudagrass pasture. A field should be sprayed with glyphosate before preparing a seedbed and incorporating fertilizer and lime.
He recommended 5 to 8 pounds of seed per acre, but it should be mixed with sand or fertilizer to obtain an even distribution across a field.
Common bermudagrass is not as productive as a hybrid. “These hybrids are designed to be cut every 30 days,” Twidwell said.
AgCenter weed scientist Ron Strahan said weed pressure is a problem for establishing a stand of bermudagrass, which doesn’t grow well in shaded conditions.
Clipping a field will keep the canopy open and provide better sunlight for young bermudagrass. A herbicide that contains quinclorac will control several seedling annual grasses and is tolerated well by bermudagrass, he said.
Broadleaf weeds can be controlled with low rates of 2,4-D, metsulfuron, Grazon Next or P+D. Permit or Outrider can be effective for controlling sedges.
“The goal here is to keep the weeds off your bermudagrass because growth will be suppressed by shade,” Strahan said.
AgCenter forage specialist Wink Alison covered the mechanics of obtaining a soil sample.
Several samples should be taken from a field and thoroughly mixed. Samples should not be taken in areas where hay has been spread for cattle because that won’t provide a true sampling of nutrients in the soil, he said.
A soil sample should be of consistent size from top to bottom to sample the entire soil profile equally, and the depth of sampling should be the same for each one.
A galvanized bucket is not recommended for the samples because it could leach zinc into the soil and interfere with testing. “Probably a plastic bucket is the best thing to accumulate soil in,” Alison said.
Soil amendment recommendations will be given based on the test results, and the recommendations will vary depending on whether a pasture will be used for grazing or hay production.
Rogers Leonard, AgCenter associate vice president for plant, soil and water resources, said most AgCenter agents are specializing, and they now have multi-parish assignments.
The result is that AgCenter clientele can rely on more expertise. “It’s a system that works very well,” Leonard said.
Scaglia has been named coordinator of AgCenter cattle programs, and a cattle extension coordinator, Ashleigh Edwards, has been hired to start in February, Leonard said.
Reggie Lucas, state vice president of the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association, said traceability is expected to be a major issue at the LCA convention to be held Jan. 10-12 in Lafayette.
During the field day, Master Cattleman graduates were recognized for completing the 10-week course.
Graduates from Avoyelles Parish included Ronnie Bardwell, Kenneth Bordelon, David Bordelon, Joe Bordelon, Kaleb Bordelon, Jessica Brown, Randal Brown, Scott Couvillion, Brent Dauzat, Sherry Dauzat, Chris Dupuy, Mark Gremillion, Travis Gremillion, John Laborde, Jeffery Lacombe, Al Mahfouz, Vickie Mayeux, Steve Mayeux, Kurt Moreau, Justin Moreau, Sherwood Poret, Charles Webster, Bailey Wilkes, Marcus Wilkes and Douglas Saucier.
Graduates from St. Landry Parish included Patrick Gillespie, Austin Pitcher, Jimmy Grayson Jr., Kendrick Fontenot and Sam Casse Jr.
Graduates from Rapides Parish were Kirk Garber, Karen Garber, Chris Barkley, Taylon Hunt, Jessica Hunt and Brent Winegeart.
Pointe Coupee Parish graduates were Terry Grady Jr. and Terry Grady Sr.
Leonard said 20 applications have been received for the new Advanced Master Cattleman course.