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Craig Gifford, New Mexico State University Extension beef specialist, uses a bovine anatomy model to explain the stages of a cow’s pregnancy. Gifford will be among the NMSU Extension specialists presenting at the Healthy Cow Workshop, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Rio Arriba County Rural Event Center Livestock Barn. (Photo by Jane Moorman, NMSU.)

Healthier cows mean better prices at the sale barn.

“We need to get producers, regardless of the size of their operation, to get in tune with what the beef industry is requiring,” said Donald Martinez, New Mexico State University Extension agricultural agent for Rio Arriba County. “If they aren’t up to speed with those requirements, they lose out at the sale barn.”

The Healthy Cows Workshop will be 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 6, at the Rio Arriba County Rural Event Center Livestock Barn, will address the many aspects of producing higher quality cattle.

“This free workshop will have a lot of opportunities for hands-on learning for the ranchers,” Martinez said.

NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences specialists will present an array of topics from quality of forage and the need for mineral and protein supplements, to pregnancy testing with ultra sound and manual palpating.

“One of the key things is to increase the number of producers with Beef Quality Assurance certifications,” Martinez said. “That certification lets buyers know that the cattleman has performed the vaccination program correctly.”

John Wenzel, NMSU Extension veterinarian, will conduct beef quality assurance training during the workshop. Continuing education units will be given, plus recertification for any producer whose certification has expired.

“We have had an influx of weeds this year in our hay fields,” Martinez said. “Weeds impact the quality of the hay.”

Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension forage specialist, will give the nutritional facts of hay, while Marcy Ward, NMSU Extension livestock specialist, will talk about implementing a mineral program to supplement the hay that is deficient. She will also talk about having a weaning program.

“Having productive cows is vital to the cow-calf operation,” Martinez said. “There are ways, either by palpating or ultra-sounding, that ranchers can ensure the cow is pregnant.”

Craig Gifford, NMSU Extension beef specialist, will demonstrate how to do some pregnancy testing with a life-size cow mannequin. Andrea Hartwell, local veterinarian, will demonstrate ultra sound testing.

“Dr. Hartwell will demonstrate a new ultra sound machine that she owns on a live cow during the workshop,” Martinez said.

Another instrument that will be demonstrated is a new stethoscope.

“Bruce Voyles of Merck Animal Health will demonstrate the new instrument that veterinarians have not even seen yet,” Martinez said. “Its introduction is being launched at our workshop.”

Many things are key to marketing the calves. NMSU’s ACES High calf certification program is one way. Gifford will talk about the benefits of this program and how ranchers can get involved.

“We hope the evening event allows the ranchers to attend,” Martinez said. “A light supper from a local restaurant is being sponsored by Merck Animal Health.”

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