Tips For The Heat

How To Keep Cattle Healthy and on Feed During the Heat

The recent, and upcoming, hot weather present challenges to keeping cattle healthy and on feed. Please review the following tips from Great Plains Livestock Consulting, Inc. to help get cattle back on feed and reduce further performance loss. With cooler weather coming, the potential for digestive deads is increased as hungry cattle begin coming back to the bunk.

1) Cattle should be backed off one diet to limit metabolic heat load and aid in the prevention of acidosis. In lots that have not experienced cattle losses, or extreme reductions (more than 25 percent) in intake, this may not be necessary. Move cattle back to the finisher diet when intake has leveled off.
2) Increase water space; there should be 2 in. of water space/head, keep waterers cleaned, and the recharge rate should be adequate.
3) Increase intakes of corn by no more than 1.5 lb/hd/day As-Fed.
4) Put shades up if possible.
5) Provide sprinkles; sprinkler drops should be big enough to wet them to the hide.
6) Increase bunk space.
7) Line a section of bunk with plastic and dam up ends with dirt or feed. Then fill with water.
8) Provide salt in the diet to encourage water intake.
9) These heat stress situations are why we promote feeding later in the afternoon. Increase feedings by at least once a day to help ease them back onto finishers.
10) If sprinklers are not an option in your yard, consider bedding cattle to keep the ground cool underneath the cattle. Pens should be bedded the evening before with low quality roughage and care should be taken to avoid excessive bed pack which could create a more humid microclimate.
11) Feed an additional 1.5 to 2 oz/day of potassium chloride to improve fluid retention

Swine Morsels

Part 1

Part 1

Part 2

Part 2



When looking at which wire to use for your electric fencing needs, you need to determine a few things to begin with:

• Is this a new or existing electrical box?
• What type of animal is using this fence?
• Is this for a fence that is to be stationary or moved?
• What visibility is needed?


If you are using an existing box, the manufacturer will often have requirements regarding what types of wires you should use and how to string them. There may be ways to make your existing box compatible with almost any wire fencing. However, you will need to check that the voltage and frequency are appropriate for you wiring and animal choices.


Looking at the types of animals you intend to contain is also important as horses require highly visible material that will break instead of rather than injuring the horse. They also require less voltage than a cow, pig, or other animals that need more convincing to stay within its boundaries.

High-tensile wire fencing is the standard for most permanent livestock fencing as it is incredibly durable, can carry a significant charge, and comes in either a steel or aluminum material. You can also use a poly wire fence material which is well suited to temporary pastures but much lighter than the high-tensile wiring.

Electric poly tape and rope ideal for horses. The tape is particularly useful as it comes in a variety of colors and widths.

While you can use high-tensile wire fencing, many prefer to stick with the poly wire, rope, or tape options as they are a lighter, more obvious option.


All of the options listed above can be used for permanent fencing. The same cannot be said for temporary or movable fencing. High-tensile wiring is unsuitable for fences that need to be moved or adjusted on a regular basis. For this, the electric poly fencing options are the fencing to go for.


For some animals, such as cows, pigs, and sheep, life is somewhat slow going. If they startle, they take 2-3 steps and then calm down, rarely going into a blind run. Horses, on the other hand, will often take off in a gallop and ask questions later. This is what makes any type of thin wire fencing unsuitable for horses. They simply cannot see it, and if they run into it, it can seriously injure your horse. This is why it is suggested to use either a poly tape or rope fencing for horses.

Regardless of your fencing needs, there is an option that is well suited for both you and your animals.

Vaccination Protocols

Vaccination Protocols

With grass just around the corner, it’s time to discuss vaccinating those new babies. We all know that calf prices are significantly lower this year so we need to concentrate on doing everything we can to increase calf health which ultimately leads to extra pounds of calf weaned or sold. With our new haul-in facility we now offer the option of you bringing your animals to us or us going to your animals. We strive to promote high immune status in your calves while keeping costs down. Our vaccination recommendations going to grass involves using a intranasal 3 way along with an injectable modified live virus, (MVL) 5 way plus Mannheimia, (formally called Pasteurella) along with a 7 way + or – somnus and a pour-on. This is a good time to castrate or band the bull calves and/or implant. Other options that may be of value are fly tags, pinkeye vaccine, and extended duration injectable dewormer.

Pre-weaning vaccinations should be given 4-8 weeks prior to weaning to insure proper protection during the calf’s most stressful event of their lives, weaning. Our pre-weaning vaccine recommendations involve a MVL 5 way plus Mannheimia and a 7 way + or – somnus. Unless the cows are being poured at this time, we would recommend waiting until weaning time and then pouring both cows and calves. Additional options would involve implants, castration dehorning, and extended duration injectable dewormer.

Weaning time is very stressful for your calves and anything you can do to minimize stress will help their immune system work. At weaning the calves should be poured to get rid of any lice prior to comingling pastures of calves. Additional options would be an intranasal 3 way and extended duration injectable dewormer.

Remember to provide plenty of clean fresh water, plenty of bunk space and good quality highly digestible feed.

Cow Vaccinations

A lot of you producers are giving a pre-breeding vaccine at pregnancy checking and for those of you who are, need to at least pour the cows going to grass. For the producers that do not use a pre-breeding vaccine at preg checking need ore prior to breeding and pour-on. Other options include fly tags, injectable mineral, extended duration injectable dewormer, anthrax, and footrot vaccine. This will take care of the momma cows until pregnancy checking.

Grass Calves

Calves going out on grass should have a minimum of a 5 way MVL, 7way + or- somnus and pour-on. Additional options would include extendable duration dewormer, implant, fly tags, pinkeye vaccine, footrot vaccine and spay for the heifers. Coming off grass these cattle should have another 7 way + or – somnus and somnus and pour-on along with an implant depending on your operation.

4-H Participants

With our new facility and scale chute we are now able to weigh your livestock. This will be free of charge. Give us a call to make an appointment.

Veterinary Feed Directive

There has been a lot of questions regarding the new veterinary feed directive (VFD) law which will take January 1, 2017. This new VFD law involves all feed grade antibiotics. When this new law goes into effect, all producers will need a prescription in order to purchase feed grade antibiotics. If you have questions about the new VFD law give us a call and we can discuss how this may or may not affect your operation.


Don’t forget about the boys. Remember to get your bulls tested prior to turn-out, a bad bull doesn’t do anybody any good. Give us a call to learn about our bull package details.

Calf Tech Bulletin

Milk Solids

Feeding a dairy calf can at times be very difficult but keeping a few things in mind can really help calf health and growth while they are on milk. The inconsistency of milk solids is one major issue that calf raisers deal with. Milk solids is what is left in the milk after you take all the water out, so the fat, protein, lactose, vitamins and minerals. Whole milk typically runs 12.5-13% solids and milk solids can vary tremendously both with milk replacer and even when feeding pasteurized waste milk. Journal of Dairy Science found that after pasteurization, milk solids varied from 5% to 13.5% with the average being 11%(this is a huge variation from farm to farm.) To help keep milk solids consistent on farm, we should be monitoring milk solids whether calves are being fed milk replacer or pasteurized waste milk. There are several ways to do this:

1. Through the use of a Brix refractometer. The Brix refractometer can check solids levels on both pasteurized milk and milk replacer. Using a Brix refractometer is the best and easiest on-farm way to check milk solids. This service is available through Sioux Nation(contact Kevin Caspersen) if this is something you would like done.

2. Use math!! When using milk replacer, you can do some math and figure out your milk solids. A spreadsheet available through Sioux Nation is available to help. It’s easy and simple to use.

3. Send milk samples to a lab for spectrophotometry analysis. Available but not practical.

Our goal for consistent milk solids should be 12.5- 13%. This is close to whole milk. If our milk solids are lower than the goal, we will harm calf growth and health. Higher than 13% solids can be achievable but it takes very good management, good calf people and having water available at all times to make feeding higher solids work well. An opportunistic bug like clostridium can flourish in a calf when solid levels tend to vary significantly or are too high. Things we do to help with consistency:

1. Check solids levels regularly with refractometer. Sioux Nation has one available to use or the farm can buy one themselves to use. They are not expensive($60-100) and are available through several outlets.

2. If using milk replacer, dump the cup! I know it’s easy to use but if you want consistency, you must weigh out the powder. One ounce of milk replacer in 2 quarts of water can significantly change the solids levels. If you want to get really accurate, weigh the water as well! Several studies have shown that consistent calf feeding can result in significantly better calf growth, up to or over .10lb/day.

Positive Avian Influenza Virus

Positive Avian Influenza Virus in South Dakota

By Dr. Jon Ertl

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board recently found waterfowl surveillance samples testing positive by PCR for H7 Avian Influenza Virus in South Dakota, although they have not isolated the virus from the samples.

While it was not reported where the birds were located, poultry producers are strongly encouraged to ramp up on biosecurity measures at this time.

Swine Morsels

Swine Morsels XXVII

Our next installment of Swine Morsels comes from a new veterinarian to the team, Dr. Jon Ertl, and is focused on a new virus that showed up recently: Seneca Valley Virus (SVV).

SVV causes vesicular lesions (blisters and skin erosions) in pigs and has been reported recently in South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois in both livestock exhibitions and in commercial operations. This virus is concerning because it is indistinguishable from other vesicular diseases affecting pigs, most notably foot and mouth disease, but also swine vesicular disease, vesicular stomatitis and vesicular exanthema of swine. Prior to the current outbreak, there have been less than 20 cases in the country in the last 3 decades.

In adult and growing pigs the typical lesions of Seneca Valley Virus include intact or ruptured vesicles around the snout or oral mucosa, and ulcerative lesions around the hoof, or deep nail hemorrhages on the feet around the coronary bands. Affected animals may be off feed, tired, and fevers up to 105 degrees have been reported.

For piglets on infected sow farms there is between 4-10 days of increased morbidity and mortality in piglets less than 7 days old; diarrhea has been associated with some cases. The clinical signs usually resolve within a week.

If you are concerned about vesicles or unusual looking skin around the snout or hoof, the best thing to do is to stay on site, stop animal movements out of your farm, and call your veterinarian right away!

Turkey Morsels

Turkey Morsels I

Hey, turkey morsel fans! Oh wait - - there are none yet since this is the first ‘Turkey Morsels’. ‘Turkey Morsels’ is the expressed opinions of one of our veterinarians at Sioux Nation Ag Center on current items important to our turkey producer customers. The first installment couldn’t come at a more important time. We are going to outline common sense, immediately implementable steps we can use in order to help avoid an introduction of the new avian influenza virus in our flocks.

First of all, we need to know the H5N2 and other subtypes of avian influenza virus are living in the waterfowl flying over. The virus survives well in fresh wet or damp cloacal content (manure) from these birds. The wild birds drop a lot of that cloacal content on our grounds as they fly over. There is no effective vaccine and there likely will not be one for many years. We also know there have been infected flocks in SD, MN, MO, ID, WA, CA but NOT IOWA. Iowa has a huge layer population and hasn’t had a case yet. There are two reasons I see for this. First, the layer population is under tight biosecurity, even more so than the swine population. Second, the waterfowl don’t have much of a flyway over Iowa. That being known, our one line of attack needs to be practicing those biosecurity methods that can aid in reducing risk of an AIV introduction. Here are some biosecurity steps we can follow:

1. We need an “inside world/outside world” mentality when entering and exiting our barns. This is the single most important step we can take!

  • Construct a bench to sit on, solid based from floor to seat, placed at the most convenient spot in our entry areas to allow barn entry as described below. The SOLID bench design is important so that ‘outside world’ debris does not move into the barn’s ‘inside world’.
  • Mandate that all personnel and visitors sit on the bench, remove ‘outside world’ shoes without touching socks to the ground, slide around on rear end, and place feet into the ‘inside world’ shoes without touching socks to the ground. This requires a pair of ‘inside world shoes’ for everyone entering the barn.
  • A variation on this would be something like a Danish Entry System approach. The use of this approach would allow for all shoes, clothing and personal items to be removed in the ‘outside world’ prior to entering the ‘inside world’ of the barn.
  • A Danish Entry consists of an initial area behind the locked door where entrants remove their outside clothing (coats, coveralls, hats) and shoes. Hands are washed and sanitized at a sink in a second area, and clean barn footwear and clean overalls are donned in a third area before entering into the remainder of the barn. The system is designed to limit visitor traffic and ensures that the producer is aware of everyone entering or leaving a barn. It also increases awareness amongst barn workers and visitors of the possibility of disease transmission.1,2

2. Lock the barns. Keys should be provided only for necessary personnel.

3. Limit all unnecessary traffic into the barns.
  • This includes dogs or cats or other animals not allowed in barns.

4. Resist using foot baths incorrectly. They don’t work unless all organic debris is removed from shoes/boots first and disinfectant contact time is adequate to allow the virus to be deactivated. Correctly used boot baths can be effective if boots are left to sit in the bath. This time frame normally is in the ‘multi-minutes’ rather than a quick dunk in the bath. Adapt the “inside world/outside world” concept instead.

5. 100% bird proof the barns. This does not mean 99% bird proof the barns. It means 100% bird proof the barns.

6. Insure feed inputs are not exposed to flyway bird cloacal droppings. Examples include:
  • Exposed feed supply trucks with ready to use feed or feed ingredients sitting outside
  • Feed bins that are open
  • Uncovered piles of corn used in the mill. Milling does not kill AIV.

7. Stay ahead of rodents by following well-designed rodent control programs for the sites.

I know of two scary stories at one farm I get to see regularly. First, while visiting with one of the farm workers outside the barns, he spoke of a big waterfowl stool that hit the top of a pickup while he was onsite. Second, I observed a single down, and either sick or injured wild goose stumbling around the north wall of the north turkey barn on the farm. Considering these two types of on-farm exposure risk, we need to avoid tracking AIV into our barns.

We hope the first issue of ‘Turkey Morsels’ is helpful.


Swine Blog

Sioux Nation Ag Response to PED Virus in Feed

Sioux Nation Ag Response to PED Virus in Feed

March 06, 2014 by Dr. Robert Fischer

Due to the ongoing transmission of PED virus in the Midwest and the finding of PED virus in porcine blood products via PCR testing, Sioux Nation Ag has made the decision to remove all porcine plasma, red blood cells, and meat and bone meal from all swine products that are manufactured at our premix plant in Boyden, IA.  While our current suppliers have assured us that these products are safe and will not cause the spread of the PED virus, we have made the decision to remove these products until we can be 100% positive there is no risk in spreading PED virus via these feed ingredients.  We are using some bovine plasma that is coming from a plant that only handles bovine product, so if you see blood plasma on a tag, please know that this is of a bovine source.

In order to maintain the high quality nursery products that have made our nursery program successful and ensure its success in the future, we are replacing the porcine products with high quality fish meal, avian by-product meal (contains avian plasma and red blood cells), and a plasma replacement product called Globimax Jump Start.  The Globimax JS product is an egg antibody product that has shown in several research trials to be an effective replacement product for plasma.  If you have any questions or would like to visit further about the steps we are taking as a company to limit the risk of spreading PED virus please feel free to give me a call – my cell phone number is 712-348-2850.