Planning for the New Year

MAY 2016

 Hello to all our customers and friends,

     We’ve received some excellent moisture the past few days with significant rainfall; accumulations of 1” to as much as 7” (in Ellis County).  The rain came slowly and really soaked in.  In our immediate trade area there was not much runoff so ponds still need a toad strangler but will still likely spur some springs seeping eventually.  I didn’t notice on radar if the rainfall reached any of the Anderson Creek fire area of Kansas and Oklahoma.  The level of harm, I fear, is being lost in the general population that doesn’t realize the multifaceted damage fire can inflict on a cattle operation.  Dr. Dave Rethorst, a graduate of Smith Center High School and present Director of Outreach for the Beef Cattle Institute at Manhattan, outlined some of the affects a fire has on a beef operation.  The obvious is loss of grass or grazing space, loss of stock piles of hay, loss of fences to contain the livestock and biological problems.  Cows caught in the fire had burned udders that were then too sensitive to allow for nursing calves to suckle.  Cows running through hot embers and ashes have burned hooves and are crippled, restricting movement to supplemental feed and water sources.  Cows and calves have lung damage from smoke inhalation that may cause reduced performance throughout their lives and make them more susceptible to pneumonia and other respiratory infections.  This fire engulfed 620 square miles or 400,000 acres and is considered to be the largest wild fire in Kansas history.

     On the positive side the fire did a few good things according to some very optimistic ranchers.  It killed a lot of cedar trees and after the presentation I attended at Jewell given by our local extension agent Neil Cates, I’m sure it killed a lot of ticks.  Dr. Gregg Hanzlicek, DVM, from K-State diagnostic lab talked about anaplasmosis bacteria that have made its ugly presence known in our area.  Traditionally it was a disease partial to southeast Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and parts southeast and east of Kansas.  Last year it was found in our local counties.  It is spread by ticks, flies and vaccination needles.  Dr. Hanzlicek referred to it as a “purchased” disease. I was especially interested in his description of how an anaplasmosis positive cow totaled one of his first pickups.  They can go mad and become extremely aggressive when they run short of oxygen to the brain due to the red blood cell destruction caused by the bacteria.  Also at the same presentation was Dr. Justin Talley from OSU who provided a very informative presentation on fly control and losses caused by different species of flies and how ticks increase anaplasmosis bacteria. On a side note, ticks like to harbor in eastern red cedar trees.  For more information, check with Neil; his slide presentations are very educational.  Until next month, Myron