I do believe the people in the “deep south” are some of most content, kindest people I have come across in my travels. They are all about hospitality and well being.
We just finished up the third regional Stockmanship and Stewardship event. It was in conjunction with the “Deep South Stocker Backgrounder Conference. Again lots of valuable info on best management practices for all types and levels of producers of beef.
They had a session on castration and dehorning that I think is a very important subject, especially for the south. We need to understand the impact these practices have on our industry. Pain is never a good thing, but I think wild animals deal with pain differently than humans do. An animal can take more extremes than a human can ( like surviving birth at -20 degrees) but that doesn’t mean it’s ok. It’s easy to get very used to these practices, and therefore comfortable with them. Any one that has ever castrated , dehorned, or branded a calf knows it creates fear from the pain. The thing we can’t see is the long lasting effects of the pain that lasts through healing process. When these animals are stiff and sore, I feel this causes them to become lethargic and decrease the desire to eat and explore their environment. We could say they get depressed to understand it in human terms.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it, but I am saying we ought to think about and figger out if there would be anything we can do to make it easier on the animal, and increase the odds of success for us. The age of the animal is important. The younger an animal is the less fear from pain they will show, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact them and the development of the immune system.
I hear lots of talk in Canada about pain management with drugs. Many are giving a pain reliever at branding time to help recovery. I’d be willing to bet we will see more of this in the future. I feel we can watch animals and see what they need in the area of exercise, rest, clean ground and comfortable surroundings. Older animals that are castrated or dehorned really get timid in a herd situation and the other animals take advantage of that. We need to manage the situation similar to what we would do for human recovery.
I also know that a big problem that many don’t see in the beef industry is pregnant heifers in the feedlot. This is a terrible thing animal welfare wise and economically.
I was visiting with someone from Mississippi and they were telling me how many cattleman in the south use the cowherd as a savings account. There is lots of grass and folks will have twenty cows or so and when the need money they sell some calves.
If you have a herd of cows you always have something to sell and get a little money.
This is great, but many, not all, are not very professional in the management of the herd. This is why there are so many cuttin bulls purchased in the area. It’s also why so many heifers get bred unknowingly. We need to really work on getting this problem fixed. This is another advantage to enjoying good stockmanship. You will spend more time with your cattle and have more pride in what you do.
So much to learn, so little time to learn it. That’s why I feel it’s important that we keep educating and being educated. Sharing knowledge is so important to the improvement of the industry. I tip the short brimmed Greeley to Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama extension for partnering with Mississippi Cattlemans and NCBA to bring this information forward in the Stockmanship and Stewardship event.
Now a little more on the airline adventures. My flight from Houston to Denver was oversold. They we horse trading on the price to take a later flight. When they said they would give an $800 dollar voucher to take a later flight I decided it was time to make the deal. So I went and had a nice meal on them and when I got back to the gate an hour later the plane I would have been on was still parked at the gate. Lightning shut the ramps down. The gate agent told me they may not get out tonight. So I made $800, got a free meal and a better flight. I’m starting to believe my new Greeley is alright, even if some folks don’t seem to care for it.
Keep riding forward!
Las Crusas, New Mexico with Dean Fish and bringing cattle up feed alley on Marcy Wards nice mare.
Starkville, Mississippi demo with Ron Gill laying them down and loading them up!