Cattle love routine. When finished cattle are loaded it breaks up the animals’ routine, which can be confusing and a source of stress. However, if handled properly – with attention, focus and respect – loading finished cattle can be a low-stress process at the feedyard, alleviating unnecessary stress to the animals and allowing producers to move cattle more efficiently.
Acclimation is a low-stress handling practice that focuses on relocating cattle or reducing stress during a change of location. Cattlemen can use handler position, working distance, angles, and “stimulus-release” movement to create voluntary cattle motion as a herd.
Sometimes the best way to learn is by watching others. In the Stockmanship at Work series from CreatingConnectionsTM, the employees of Kuner Feedlot (part of JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding) and Schramm Feedlot tell us what they’ve learned about what is better for their animals and what makes their work environment safer, more effective, efficient and enjoyable.
Heat stress in feedyard cattle is inevitable, but there are certain steps producers can take to minimize the severity of the stress on the animal. This includes knowing what to look for in the weather forecast, initiating preventive measures and recognizing the early signs of heat stress.
U.S. cattle feeders have drastically improved feeding practices during the past decade. However, there are a few steps that may help cattle feeders produce more beef economically, while also maintaining quality. Improving margin in the feedyard is always paramount, and part of this equation is achieving optimum carcass weights while improving quality grade.