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Beltie-Briefs Newsletter

July 15, 2020



Jon Fowler, Comlumbus,  IN

Beechwood Farms is in Columbus, Indiana, located thirty minutes south of Indianapolis. Beechwood Heritage Farms, LLC, known simply as Beechwood Farms is the farm name of the cattle operation owned by Jon Fowler. The cattle are situated on the family homestead consisting of approximately 100 acres. 
Having been raised on this small family farm, Jon developed a strong interest in animals. On the farm, Jon was involved in the daily care of the livestock, particularly the cattle. The family originally had a commercial grade Angus herd and later raised registered Red Angus. 
Jon studied animal science at Purdue University and in his early career worked in the meat industry as a livestock buyer for an Indiana-based meat processing company. After beginning a career, away from the farm, Jon was less involved in the family farm.
Jon first learned of the Belted Galloway breed through correspondence with The Livestock Conservancy. At that time, in the early ‘90s, breeding stock was virtually unavailable. It was some ten years later that he happened upon one of the largest National Belted Galloway Shows held at the North American Livestock Exhibition in Louisville, Kentucky. At this show, he met and talked with several Belted Galloway breeders. That winter, Jon traveled to Somerset, Pennsylvania to purchase his foundation Beltie heifers from former Belted Galloway Society president, Marlin Sherbine of Highland Farm.
Jon currently maintains a small herd of registered Belted Galloway cattle. The herd consists of black, red, and dun Belted Galloway and Beltie crosses from some of the top Belted Galloway genetics available. Although Jon has not been personally active in the regional and national shows, his Beechwood Farms stock has been very successful in the Belted Galloway show circuit.




June 11-14, 2020
2020 Spring Field Day
Regional Round Up Junior Show
Doug Abney Memorial Open Show
Postponed until 2021- COVID-19

Sept 24-27, 2020

World Beef Expo 2020
Click here for Information


Herd this at the fence...

Jon Fowler shares and excerpt from John Burroughs 

“Indeed, all the ways and doings of cattle are pleasant to look upon, whether grazing in the pasture or browsing in the woods, or ruminating under the trees, or feeding in the stall, or reposing upon the knolls. There is virtue in the cow; she is full of goodness; a wholesome odor exhales from her; the whole landscape looks out of her soft eyes; the quality and the aroma of miles of meadow and pasture lands are in her presence and products. I had rather have the care of cattle than be the keeper of the great seal of the nation. Where the cow is, there is Arcadia; so far as her influence prevails, there is contentment, humility, and sweet, homely life.”

By John Burroughs (Excerpt from: In the Catskills – Selections from the Writings of John Burroughs)
Reducing Toxic Plant Issues in Pastures
 Anders Gurda, Mark Renz, Rhonda Gildersleeve, University of Wisconsin
While most plants are safe for consumption by livestock, a few plant species can sicken or even kill animals. Understanding what poisonous plants are, which plants to watch for, and under what conditions they can be toxic to livestock is essential to making pasture management decisions. There are important principles about poisonous plants and common situations that result in animals ingesting poisonous plants. Consult the local county extension agent for a list of common poisonous plants in the area.If plant poisoning is suspected, call a veterinarian or other specialist immediately, as a rapid response is often required to prevent serious injury or death.

What Makes a Plant Poisonous?
The level of poisoning is determined by the amount of the toxic plant consumed, size and species of the animal, health of the animal,and concentration of the toxin in the plant part. Symptoms may vary from a decrease in performance to more serious manifestations, or
even sudden death. The level of toxicity in animals can vary over time due to irregularity in animal ingestion, but also can be due to the variability in the amount of the toxic compound present in the plant. Th e presence of a toxic compound can vary dramatically depending
on environmental conditions, management of the pasture, and can even be dependent on the plant part that is eaten (leaves, stems, roots, fruit, and even seeds). Thus, toxicity is the result of many factors that can make diagnosis and determination of the level of seriousness
difficult to determine. For simplicity, poisonous plants are separated into three categories:

1. Highly toxic - small amounts (<5% of feed) can result in serious injury/death.
2. Moderately toxic - moderate amounts (5% - 25%) can result in injury/death.
3. Mildly toxic - under certain environmental or management conditions, these plants can be toxic.

When Should Pasture Managers Be Cautious?
Fortunately, toxicity concerns are often a result of specific situations. Understanding what conditions may lead to plant poisoning can help reduce the risk of animal harm or death.
• First spring grazing. When animals are put onto pasture for the fi rst time in spring, poisonous plant tissue is young and more palatable. Livestock may feed on these plants, especially if other desirable forage (forage grasses) has not started to grow. To avoid this
scenario, control poisonous plants and/or do not allow animals into these areas until ample desirable forage is present to reduce the risk.
• When limited desirable forage is available. When animals are hungry, for any number of reasons, their selectivity decreases and they may eat plants they would otherwise avoid. Make sure adequate forage is available, especially when poisonous plants are present. Th is
scenario may be common especially under drought conditions, in the fall, or when pastures are overgrazed.
• After herbicide is applied to pastures. Many weeds are not palatable and are normally avoided, but after a herbicide application palatability can increase dramatically. After applying a herbicide to pastures, prevent grazing for at least 14 days to avoid this occurrence. Read the product label for more specific recommendations and always follow label directions.
• After nitrogen is applied to pastures. Fields with an abundance of nitrate-accumulating plants including pigweeds, common lamb’s quarters, and common ragweed can become toxic after fertilization or following drought conditions. These common weeds take up
excessive nitrogen and convert it to nitrate. If enough of these weeds are eaten, nitrate toxicity may result. If these weeds are present and consist of at least 20% of the feed in a fertilized field, they should be controlled before allowing animals to graze.
• When yard waste/clippings are present. Many ornamental shrubs and plants are both highly toxic and palatable to livestock. Avoid feeding or dumping yard waste/clippings into pastures or animal holding areas, as this is one of the most common scenarios for
livestock poisoning in the Upper Midwest.
• When animals are unfamiliar to a pasture or other area. Animals that are being boarded at a new location are often susceptible to poisoning. When grazing a new area or newly seeded pasture, introduce animals gradually and monitor for any physical changes or
changes in behavior.
• When there are toxic plants in harvested forages. Few options exist for preventing the presence of poisonous plants in purchased hay, but toxicity is common in this situation as animals often do not avoid poisonous plants when they are dried and mixed with
desirable forage. Knowledge of the source of the hay is the only realistic way to prevent this situation.

Regular scouting of pasture areas prior to each grazing event is desirable to identify emergence of various plants that may present toxicity potential.
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. 

What's on the Web...

Trends in the Livestock industry

Ranch House Design offers Free marketing trend reports based on surveys of Ranchers and how they purchase live stock. The report can be downloaded at the URL above. The 2020 Marketing trend report shows some interesting statistics from a recent survey conducted regarding the marketing of livestock. How much attention do you pay to your social media brand? Based on the trends, you may want to exploit this channel more than you have been. Other trend reports are also available.


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