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Beltie-Briefs Newsletter

August 22, 2020


Whats in a Brand? 

Clete Kirschbaum

Earlier in the month, Terry Willis sent me a note regarding the marketing of Beltie Beef. We are looking for ways to differentiate the breed and note its attributes to consumers and producers. If you are in the meat business like I am there is one target market, my end consumer. If you are in the breeding business, your primary target consumer is me, the producer looking to build a herd that produces great beef under a chosen production method.  Appealing to the two markets require different approaches.
We have started to focus in on these two markets and are looking for ways to differentiate our breed in a few words to our consumers. Our friends in the Angus world have done a fantastic job in this arena at the meat counter. The "Certified Angus Brand" in retail markets has become something familiar to all of us. It is now common place in the grocery store and on menus in restaurants. This started with a set of producers in 1978. I have also seen advertising in producer events where this breed is advertised as "The Commercial Breed" implying that if you are a producer, the cattle of choice should be Angus. Again, I do not know that the Breed Association is involved in this, but the marketing in the barns and at the retail counter demonstrates a position on the stock and beef. My point is that this breed, by way of its producers, has established a brand for its cattle that make markets think or at least react  to their product, and take a position whether they knew it or not.  This is the sole of marketing.
What do consumers think when they see that belt on our cattle? We as producers know the positive attributes of this stock, but that is not easily conveyed to our target markets of producers and consumers. If we are going to be in the beef business we have to have a way to say something about our beef succinctly to our consumers that is quickly understood. If you are in the cattle breeding business we have to have a way to say what we are to new and existing beef producers.   

I have a couple of ideas, and want you to know that your Association is looking at this. We would like to hear from you. If you have any ideas or comments or suggestions, please send us a message. We would be remiss if we did not leverage our great membership to "crowd-source" branding ideas. 

- Clete

Meet the Board
Terry Etheridge, TEK Cattle, Eau Claire, WI
Nestled in a valley in northwest Wisconsin, TEK Cattle has been selecting Belted Galloway breeding stock for uniformity, conformation, and lower maintenance costs since 1990. Owned and operated by GLBGA Director and Treasurer Terry Etheridge and his wife Karlyn, TEK sells registered breeding stock, feeder steers, and pasture-raised beef.
Terry grew up in Princeton, Illinois, an active community two hours west of Chicago. The family owned a 360 acre farm, where Terry and his father maintained a large commercial grade Angus herd, ran a farrow-to-finish hog operation, and planted row crops. After graduating from college with a degree in mechanical engineering and marrying Karlyn, Terry left the family farm and moved to Eau Claire, WI to work as an engineer with National Presto Industries. While he enjoyed his “day job”, one thing was missing…cattle.
Following research on the attributes of various breeds, the couple selected Belted Galloways for their medium build, docile temperament, efficient foraging ability, double-hair coat that allows the cattle to thrive in harsh northern Wisconsin winters, and strong mothering instinct. In January 1990, TEK Cattle purchased two foundation heifers from Ed & Diana Throckmorton, Bittersweet Farms, Harbor Springs, MI.
Along the way, Terry and Karlyn met other Beltie breeders, forming life-long friendships. In 1992, Terry joined Bob Rolland, Dick Frey, Vic Eggleston, and Jerry Jurkowski to form the Wisconsin/Great Lakes Belted Galloway Association, Inc. which later dropped “Wisconsin” from its name. Terry has held many positions throughout his tenure with GLBGA, serving as President, Breed Superintendent for World Beef Expo, Director, and Treasurer. Karlyn has also been active in the group. The family showed Belties locally, regionally, and at World Beef Expo, and exhibited cattle at the Minnesota State Fair for many years. TEK Cattle continues to showcase the breed at Wisconsin’s Farm Technology Days. In addition, daughter, Talya, and son, Tyler, were among the region’s first BYG members.
Currently, TEK Cattle consists of 74 head of black Belted Galloway breeding stock, calves, and feeder steers. Terry says they have seen an increased demand for locally-raised beef as more people want to know where their food comes from, and many consumers are looking for leaner, healthier beef. The Belted Galloway breed is well-suited to meet this demand.


September 24-27, 2020
World Beef Expo
Be Sure to stay up to date at the WBE web Site!

Herd this over the Fence
Preventing and Treating Pinkeye in Cattle by Terry Etheridge
Growing up on a livestock farm in Illinois, I saw firsthand how high rainfall, heat, and the resulting humidity benefited the fly population on our farm. While the humidity may be a little less stifling on our farm in northern Wisconsin, the fly population is still abundant. Not only can the simple irritation caused by flies create devastating production losses in cattle, one of the more serious problems in my opinion is preventing face flies from spreading pinkeye, a painful disease that can affect the cornea and eyelids of the animal. According to the article “Managing and Preventing Pinkeye” by Sandy Stuttgen, DVM, Agriculture Educator, “…pinkeye is the most common cause of eye disease in all breeding females and calves more than three weeks old. It is second only to calf scours, the most prevalent condition affecting pre-weaned calves.” Some studies I’ve read estimate that pinkeye can cause reductions in weaning weights of calves by as much as 17-65 lbs./animal. If left untreated it can also result in severe damage to the cornea and blindness.
It appears that face flies play an important role in the spread of pinkeye. An irritated eye (caused by such things as aggression between animals, blowing dust, scratches from dry forage, etc.) produces excessive tearing that attracts these pests, who then pick up the causative agent of pinkeye and transfer it to other animals. Since face flies don’t stay on an animal for very long, one fly can spread the disease to several animals in one day, which is why it's very important to get aggressive about pinkeye prevention and control.
I believe the most important first step is prevention.  Some steps that I feel have helped us prevent and control pinkeye include:
  • Boost Herd Immune Status. Consult your veterinarian. Good nutrition, adequate vitamin and mineral intake, and a comprehensive vaccination program can improve the cow’s or calf’s ability to fight off disease (not just pinkeye). 
  • Take biosecurity measures. Quarantine new animals arriving on the farm and animals returning from shows for 2-3 weeks before commingling them with the herd in case an animal is carrying the disease.
  • Control face flies.  There are several options for fly control, including fly tags, back rubbers, dust bags, pour-ons, and/or sprays. Removing manure from crowding areas such as corrals and minimizing stagnant water areas can help minimize fly breeding grounds. Fly traps and tapes may offer some benefit in barns. The use of certain feed additives and fly control lick blocks may also help decrease the number of flies as well.
  • Reduce as many other irritants as possible. Mow tall grass with seed heads, provide shade and clean water, and reduce sources of stress (such as overcrowding) if possible. 
  • Minimize exposure to the bacteria. Catching the disease early and then promptly treating an infected animal is key to reducing the spread to other animals and limiting damage to the eye. Taking the time to look for clinical signs such as tearing, squinting, and blinking can help detect the first signs of trouble. Long-acting antibiotics labeled for treatment of pinkeye can be effective.  Eye patches may also be helpful in protecting the eyes from sunlight, but the challenge is keeping the eye patch on the animal. Your veterinarian can help you determine the most effective course of treatment.
Getting ahead of pinkeye and staying ahead of it is the best way to deal with this complicated disease. It can be an ongoing process requiring a broad-based approach that includes fly control, vaccination, pasture management, early detection and prompt treatment, and starts with consulting your herd-health veterinarian to develop a program tailored to your operation.
B. Lynn Gordon | July 30, 2020 Beef magazine
Minerals Matter - Introduction to mineral nutrition
Although their percentage of the diet is small, minerals pack a big punch in the beef cattle herd. 
Producers seeking solutions to poor pregnancy rates, weak newborn calves or other reproductive or 
performance issues should not overlook a thorough review of their beef herd mineral program. Often, 
deficiency in minerals surfaces as a factor influencing the health and nutrition of the beef 

“We are always learning more about what minerals can do and learning more about the basic needs of 
beef cattle nutrition,” Stephanie Hansen, Iowa State University beef feedlot nutrition specialist, 
told cattlemen during a webinar series on mineral nutrition hosted by NCBA. She noted minerals matter 
because they are important to the overall animal health, along with bone and muscle growth, feed 
efficiency , carcass quality, and reproductive performance. To develop the proper mineral nutrition 
program it is important to know the two main types of minerals associated with beef cattle diets: 
macro minerals and micro-minerals.

Macro minerals

“Macro-minerals are usually less than 1% of the diet, but are very important,” Hansen explained. Common macro minerals are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P), and sodium (Na). Since beef animals cannot store macro minerals in their body, these minerals must be provided in a constant supply through the animal’s diet, either from feed stuffs or supplements.

Fortunately, forages supply macro minerals, meaning cattle grazing grasses have access to these critical minerals. Research indicates the ratio of calcium to phosphorous in the diet should be 1:1. While many nutrient needs are met through forage consumption, a common misnomer is that grass tetany occurs in the spring because the grass is low in magnesium levels. This is not true, Hansen said.

The magnesium deficiency which causes grass tetany is the result of interference of other minerals in the grass, creating a decrease in absorption of magnesium at levels needed. The main culprit of this interference is potassium (K), which tends to be represented at high levels in forages in the spring, thus preventing the animal from obtaining the required magnesium levels and forcing producers to supplement the beef animal’s diet with a mineral high in magnesium, correcting the 

“The rule of thumb is a potassium to magnesium (K to Mg) ratio of 10:1. Nitrogen regularly used to fertilize grass and forages is also capable of creating interference with absorption levels of 

Micro nutrients (trace minerals)

The other primary family of minerals important to beef cattle diets is micro minerals, more commonly referred to as trace minerals. “Fed at levels as parts per million (ppm), trace minerals 
are a very, very small part of the diet, yet cattle can still be deficient in these minerals, impacting productivity,” said Hansen.

Top of mind for cattlemen are copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn), as these two trace minerals are often deficient in forages. Unlike macro minerals, the ruminant can store trace minerals in their body to be utilized later, Source URL: thus alleviating the need for access to the constant intake of trace minerals.

“Where monitoring of trace minerals becomes important is due to their great variability in forages.” However, one trace mineral abundant in forages and harvested feedstuffs is iron (Fe). 
Iron is commonly found at levels two to three times higher in forages than needed to balance nutritional requirements.

The concern with iron is its role as an antagonist. Iron acts as a buffer against some of the other critical trace minerals, such as copper and manganese, preventing them from being absorbed and utilized at levels to maintain proper cattle health and nutrition.

Finding the balance

The nutrition specialist is often asked, “Can cows balance their diets when their body indicates a deficiency in a mineral?” Unfortunately, the answer is no.

“Research has found that cattle will select a palatable but poor-quality diet in preference to an unpalatable, nutritious diet,” she said, “requiring constant management practices to focus on herd
nutrition.” Salt has become the primary intake driver in most free choice minerals to add palatability to products and keep consumption levels up.

Following nutritional requirements is a good baseline, but “don’t assume the book averages apply in all cases.” Mineral content varies by plant species, soil characteristics, soil fertility, stage of 
plant maturity, and climatic conditions. To find minerals that matter to your cowherd, first test forages and second conduct water tests. Water can play the role of an antagonist in mineral 
bioavailability ̶ how much of the mineral the animal can absorb and use.“No mineral is an island. You can’t just fix one problem; you need a holistic approach because a 
change in one mineral can mean a change in the other.”
If you are interested in learning more about grazing and grazing management, an excellent periodical is the Stockman Grass Farmer. Subscriptions for this are paid, but you can try an issue for free. 
Copyright © 2020 Great Lakes Belted Galloway Association, All rights reserved.

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