Introduction to Sustainable Livestock ProductionDr. Susan KerrWSU-Klickitat County Extension Director
DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION “Socially just, humane, economically viable and environmentally sound” “Meets the needs of the current generation while conserving resources for future generations” “Economically viable, ecologically sound and culturally responsible” “Goals: environmental stewardship, farm profitability and prosperous faming communities” Production of healthy animals and/or wholesome food animal products while wisely using environmental, social and financial resources with concern for and attentiveness to animal welfare
WHY DO YOU WANT TO RAISE LIVESTOCK? • Want to produce healthy, wholesome protein source for your family/public • Want to produce fiber for self or sale • Want to use livestock to manage plants on property • Want to help preserve an endangered breed or species • Want to make money/earn a living • Want to keep low ag zoning tax rate • “Love animals”
WHAT ARE YOUR RESOURCES? • Acreage (own or lease; water availability, soil type, slope, plant population...) • Fences • Buildings • Labor (volunteer vs. paid) • Savings, loans or other $$ sources • Cost-sharing opportunities • Advisors (Extension, NRCS, FSA, CPA, veterinarian, neighbors, mentors, etc.) • Time • Skills and knowledge • Other
Dairy cattle Beef cattle Horses Sheep Goats Swine Poultry Ostriches/emus Rabbits Llamas Alpacas Other WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS? Any or all production phases
MORE QUESTIONS • Which breed(s)? • Purebred vs. crossbred? • Registered? • Sell breeding stock? • Retain ownership of young stock? • Raise replacements for others? How will your product be unique?
A KEY TO SUCCESS: Research, plan and plan some more before starting. p.s. Sometimes the answer is no.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GROW! HOW AND WHERE WILL YOU MARKET YOUR ANIMALS? • Expected clientele • Potential niche markets • Advertising methods
GOOD ADVICE FOR ALL LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS: “Pasture poultry operators must be prepared to be very active in the marketing of their products. Before developing an enterprise, producers must research their potential markets in order to determine customer needs, what market to target, what type of product to produce and how to best market their product to the target market.” --Alberta, Canada Pasture Poultry Industry Highlights, 2000
FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS ARE ESSENTIAL • “Sustainable livestock production” must also take financial sustainability into consideration (for most people) • Must know cost of production to determine break-even pricing, profit margins and payments to self for labor and management • Example: Many small-scale goat producers are actually losing money and don’t even know it • Marketing plan, business plan, enterprise budgets and financial analyses are crucial
PRODUCT CLASSIFICATION See definitions in WSDA’s “Green Book” • Natural • Grass fed • Organic • Pastured poultry • Free range • Etc.
WHAT ARE MEAT CONSUMERS’ CONCERNS? • Confidence factors • Quality--Taste and tenderness • Safety--lack of residues or hazards • Ethical factors • Products produced, harvested and handled ethically • Environmental concerns--E. coli, nitrates • Nutritional factors • Lean, low-fat, healthy source of protein and B-vitamins • Economic factors • Reasonable purchase price, value for price
TYPES OF CONSUMERS • Vegans • Vegetarians • Omnivores • Grillivores • “Enlightened meat consumers”
INTENSIVE VS. EXTENSIVE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS • Intensive = smaller acreage, fewer animals, more input costs per individual animal, more labor more often, sell for higher prices (often purebred/seedstock operations) • Extensive = larger acreage, more animals, fewer input costs, less labor less often, sell for lower prices (often crossbred commercial herds)
PASTURE MANAGEMENT BASICS • Your work: harvesting sunlight via plants, managing through livestock grazing • Continuous grazing is most common, most destructive and least productive method • Cross-fencing creates multiple grazing cells and allows resting periods for re-growth • Poor management results in water and soil runoff, soil compaction, weeds, water quality degradation, poor performance • Poor management = very public black eye for grazing and livestock production
HORSES • Your goals and horse’s purpose? • Options: breeding, boarding, training, recreation, sheltering/rescue, therapy • Difficult to turn a profit • Very damaging to land if not managed properly • Input costs: land, fences, shelter, hay and feed, veterinary (deworming, vaccinations, teeth, misc.), hoof care, breeding fees
HORSES CONTINUED • Pasture rotation essential • Sacrifice area • Special considerations: mud and manure management www.kingcd.org/pub_mud_cre.pdf www.horsesforcleanwater.com
MEAT GOATS • Large growth in market since mid 1990s due to Boer breed • Other breeds: Spanish, Kiko, Fainting goat, etc. • Main consumers tend to be ethnic minorities, specific people groups and immigrants (Muslims, Hispanics, Jamaicans...) vs. Anglos • Location of production must be near consumers for greatest profit potential • Parasitism, predators and fencing are big issues • Challenge: Marketing and USDA processing
DAIRY GOATS • Several breeds to choose from • Products: milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, soap (state and county laws) • Milk production compatible with family’s needs • Small size • Generally good disposition • Social animals • Require shelter • Breed dairy doe to meat buck => meatier kids to sell
DAIRY CATTLE • Many breeds; most will make more milk than one family can use (use Jersey?) • Laws regulate sale of fluid milk • Can make butter, ice cream, cheese... • One cow shouldn’t provide 365 days of milk • Need proper handling and milking facilities • Need to calve to give milk; what to do with calf? • Source of first animal very important (many diseases and conditions)
BEEF CATTLE • Many breed choices (Angus, Waygu, Dexter, Galloway, Scottish Highland...) • Consider breed temperament • Handling facilities are essential • Fences (“good fences make good neighbors”) • Preferred calving date = ? • Target customer = ? (niche markets) • Purchase seedstock from reputable source
SWINE • Many breed choices • Niche market: more moist, flavorful meat vs. grocery store pork • Customers: 4-H youth, pig roast events, locker meat customers, breeding stock • Difficult to be profitable • Can be pastured, but can be destructive • Many diseases • Not for everyone (noise, smell) • Pigs are omnivores but must cook any garbage fed to them • Piglets need supplemental heat
SHEEP • Many breeds. Wool vs. hair breeds (“easy care”), wool vs. meat breeds • Products to market: wool, meat, breeding stock, milk (?!), composted manure, grass control, pelts, skulls • Predator control and parasite issues • Customers = 4-H youth, locker lamb clients (whole, half or quarters), ethnic markets • Ethnic market has specific dates; breed to meet these markets
POULTRY • Many breeds and species • Many possible products to market (eggs, breeding stock, 4-H birds, fryers/broilers, manure, feathers) • “Chicken tractor” concept very popular • Predator control essential (owls, hawks, coyotes, raccoons, dogs...) • Portable chicken processing units • Laws regarding product sales • Poultry production cycle • Disease considerations (Marek’s, lice, coccidia...)
FIBER ANIMALS • Llamas, alpacas, angora rabbits, sheep, goats (cashmere and angora) • Investigate markets and realistic prices first • Special management tasks can increase value (blankets) • Breeding often for fiber color or quality • Produce product consumer wants • Location, location, location (near urban area = $$$) • Go to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival! www.flockandfiberfestival.com.
ROUTINE TASKS FOR VARIOUS SPECIES • Disbudding/dehorning • Castrating • Docking • Vaccinating • Hoof trimming • Shearing • Deworming • ID (tags, brands, tattoos, chips) • Breeding • Transporting
ESSENTIALS OF NEONATAL CARE • Warm and dry ASAP (human vs. dam) • Ensure adequate colostrum intake • Ensure proper maternal care • Care of umbilicus • “Clip, dip, strip and sip” • Do not interfere excessively • Minimize stress • Assess daily • Normal: sleep, stretch nurse, play • Major killers = hypothermia and starvation
RECORD KEEPING IS ESSENTIAL • Taxes, proof of compliance, litigation... • Individual animal ID • Treatments • Meat and milk withholding periods • Feed labels • Animal origins • Animal performance • Breedings • Costs • Test results
NUTRITION • Five major nutrients • Ruminants vs. simple-stomached animals • Roughage (fresh vs. preserved) • Concentrates • Supplements
BASIC NUTRION CONCEPTS • Roughage is usually least expensive source of nutrients • Compare feeds on price per pound of nutrient (protein, energy) • Begin with animals’ dry matter requirement as a % of body weight • As requirements increase, increase concentrates and decrease roughage • Maximum roughage and minimum concentrate diets are safest but least productive (rice cakes vs. candy bars)
RATION FORMULATION • Look up requirements • See what you have on hand and how it meets requirements • Purchase deficient nutrients on least-cost basis • Much will depend on animal’s status (maintenance, growth, gestation, lactation, etc.) • www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publications/PDF/FSA-3080.pdf • www.nap.edu/topics.php?topic=296
COMPARING CONCENTRATES VIA COST PER UNIT BASIS • Soybean meal costs $290/ton and is 44% Crude Protein (CP) • Canola meal costs $160/ton and is 35% CP • Alfalfa hay costs $180/ton and is 18% CP Which is the best value as a protein source?
TYPICAL DIETS • Cattle: 2-3% BW DM; hay (grass or alfalfa), pasture, trace mineral block, water, +/- cracked corn or commercial COB/grain, water • Horse: 1-2% BW DM; hay (grass or alfalfa mix), pasture, trace mineral block, water, +/- COB/grain • Swine: 10% roughage allowable; peas, corn, trace mineral mix, water; commercial products easiest but most expensive; many diets possible depending on what is available • Sheep: 2-5% BW DM; hay (grass or alfalfa), pasture, trace mineral crumbles, water • Goat: 2-6% BW DM; browse, graze; hay and grain as needed to support production; trace mineral crumbles, water
ASSESSING/MONITORING NUTRITIONAL STATUS • “Book values” • Health • Performance • Laboratory tests • “The husband’s eye” • Body condition score
BODY CONDITION SCORING • Objective assessment of individual animal’s fat cover • 1-5 or 1-9 scale • Uses skeletal landmarks • Assess BC before breeding, giving birth, while growing, several weeks into lactation, winter and other critical times • Can separate animals into feeding groups based on BCS
BODY CONDITION SCORING Figures from “Body condition scoring of sheep”, EC 1433, Oregon State University. Body Score #1 Body Score #5
REPRODUCTION • Cattle: Polyestrus. 21-day cycle. Herdmates as heat detectors. Easy to manipulate cycle. AI vs. bull. Heat detection can be challenging. 9 month pregnancy, re-breed ~ 2 mo. after calving; need 60 day dry period. Must have one calf every 12 mo. for profit. May need assistance with calving. Twins undesirable. • Sheep: Some breeds seasonally polyestrous, others polyestrous. 16-day cycle. Ram vs. AI. Can use marking harness. Can synchronize breeding to concentrate labor. Flushing increases twins/ triplets. Aim for >150% lamb crop. Rarely need assistance. LAMBING SCHOOL!
REPRODUCTION CONTINUED • Goats: Some seasonally polyestrus, others polyestrus. Flushing to increase numbers of kids. Bucks vs. AI. Bucks STINK and can taint milk with odor. Rarely need help kidding. Early puberty (>4 months!) • Swine: Polyestrus. AI very common. Aim for 11 to 14 piglets or more. 21-day cycle. Rarely need birthing assistance. Progress through record keeping • Horses: Seasonally polyestrous (spring). Usually take mare to stud farm. Ultrasound helpful. Twins are a disaster. Rarely need help but problems severe when they occur
REPRODUCTION CONTINUED • Males often lose much body condition during breeding season • Scrotal circumference correlated with fertility • Annual breeding soundness exam is excellent management tool • Need record keeping to avoid inbreeding • Hot days: breed at night, keep males cool during day to increase sperm survival
ARTIFICIAL VS. NATURAL INSEMINATION • Danger of male on farm • Noise and smell of male on farm • Known genetic and performance information available via AI • Can select male with desirable trait to strengthen specific aspects of herd • AI has reduced conception rate vs. natural • Heat detection easier with natural • Timing more correct with natural • More disease transmission with natural • Higher costs with AI? Debatable • Known fertility vs. guessed
HEALTH CONCERNS • Nutritional • Infectious (fungal, viral, bacterial, parasitic) • Traumatic • Neoplastic (cancer) • Iatrogenic (caused by humans) • Congenital (birth defects) • Toxic (plants, chemicals, etc.) • Genetic
HEALTH CONTINUED • Minimize by proper pre-purchase screening tests and exams • Have proper facilities ready for animals • Emphasize sanitation, air quality, feed quality and stress reduction • Scrutinize environment for hazards • Group animals according to age or production stage; don’t hold back poor doers • Observe individuals daily • Keep records (vaccinations, deworming...)
HEALTH CONTINUED • Cattle: Johne’s disease, mastitis, scours, pneumonia, pinkeye... • Goats: Parasites, orf, foot rot, C.A.E., mastitis, tetanus, toxoplasmosis... • Sheep: Scrapie, C.L., foot rot, O.P.P., tetanus, parasites, overeating disease, toxo... • Swine: Erysipelas, T.G.E., pneumonia, PRRS... • Horses: Tetanus, Encephalitis (inc. West Nile Virus), Equine Protozoal Myelitis, thrush, colic, rain rot, moonblindness... • Poultry: Botulism, coccidiosis, Marek’s... • All: Selenium deficiency, poisonous plants...
GENERAL PRINICIPLES OF PARASITE CONTROL • Do not graze below 3” • Fence off wet areas • Do not graze wet grass • Rotate and rest pastures 21+ days • Harrow fields • Compost manure • Do not spread manure on pasture • Use multi-species grazing • Use dewormers judiciously • Use fecal exams strategically • Select for resistant animals
MILKING MANAGEMEMT • Hand vs. machine milking • Best practices: udder prep (pre-wash, pre-dip, single-use towel to dry); use sanitized milker; post-dip • Dry off (timing, methods) • Mastitis prevention: sanitation! • Bacterial culture and sensitivity • Intramammary infusions vs. milk out
DISEASE PREVENTION • Work with your veterinarian to develop a vaccination program for your farm • Provide nutritional quality and quantity • Practice biosecurity measures • Minimize or eliminate visitors • Have a closed flock • Quarantine herd additions • Purchase from reputable sources • Isolate sick animals • Necropsy deaths
PRINCIPLES OF IMMUNOLOGY • Most animals born immunocompetent • Passive vs. active immunity • Colostrum • Vaccinations • Maternal antibody interference • Vaccines vs. antitoxins • Factors influencing vaccine response
BIOSECURITY • Domestic and international disease concerns • Accidental vs. intentional introduction • Closed vs. open herds • Going to shows increases disease risks • Quarantine and isolation protocols • Hand washing • Boot washing (clean then disinfect) • Pre-purchase testing • DO NOT BRING HOME ANIMALS FROM SALE YARDS!
ANIMAL MEDICATIONS: STAYING WITHIN THE LAW • Producers must use animal health products EXACTLY AS INSTRUCTED ON THE LABEL or violate the federal Food Safety Act (fines, jail time) • Only exception: using a medication other than instructed on the label ON THE ADVICE OF A LICENSED VETERINARIAN WITH WHOM YOU HAVE A VALID VETERINARIAN-CLIENT-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP.