Stockmen to learn benefits of low stress handling at Willliamsburg seminar

090116-cattle-handling2“Cattle caregivers have exciting obligations, responsibilities, and opportunities to contribute to cattle well being. Shifting priorities from disease detection to performance enhancement results in new levels of cattle welfare,” said Tom Noffisinger, DVM.

Noffsinger will be one of the guest speakers at the “Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop” hosted by Frontier Extension District and Coffey County Extension on Sept. 26, 2016. Presentations will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Williamsburg community building, Williamsburg, Kan. (Pre-registration is required and will be limited to the first 225 participants. Call 785-828-4438 or 620-364-5313 to register by Sept. 19.)

Noffsinger, a nationally recognized low stress livestock handling advocate and presenter, will serve as keynote presenter for the day. After an introductory presentation on “Animal Welfare Concerns and Consumer Perceptions of Livestock Production,” by Dr. Dan Thomson, of Kansas State University, Noffsinger will continue the morning session with seminar-style indoor presentations, including videos that cover the basic concepts, and introduce the techniques of low stress livestock handling with cattle.

In the afternoon, attendees will move to a nearby ranch with facilities and cattle that will enable Noffsinger to conduct actual live demonstrations and further elaborate on the techniques of low stress livestock handling while sorting in pens and working through facilities. Interspersed throughout the day will be presentations on “Livestock Working Facility Design with Safety in Mind,” and “Weaning Practices to Reduce Stress on Calves.”

Presenters for the day include: Dr. Dave Rethorst, Dr. Dan Thomson, Dr. Tom Noffsinger, Kelley Lenz, WIBW, and Joe Bichlemeyer, owner of Silkville Ranch.

Today’s consumer of meat products is becoming more concerned with the welfare of the animals along all phases of the food production chain. Stress on an animal at any point along the journey from pasture to plate decreases productivity of the animal, profitability to the producer as well as quality of product to the consumer. Cattle handling has evolved a great deal from the “whoopin and hollerin” picture depicted in movies. Conscientious producers today are becoming increasingly aware of the public’s concerns and are striving to incorporate a greater number of practical quality assurance practices into their livestock production enterprises. Low stress livestock handling throughout the production chain is one aspect of this quality assurance effort.

Stockmanship is an under-appreciated and under-utilized component of operating sustainable livestock operations and just one essential component is low stress livestock handling. Evidence shows that it is worth adopting low stress livestock handling. It accrues benefits over conventional livestock handling in several categories, including performance, efficiency, safety, animal welfare and quality of life.

Numerous scientific studies have illustrated that indices of animal performance (e.g., weight gain, conception rates, milk yield, immune function and carcass quality) are positively correlated with good livestock handling practices and negatively correlated with coercive handling practices.

The first step in adopting low stress cattle handling practices is to develop a calm attitude when moving cattle. The second step to learning low stress cattle handling methods is to fully understand the principle of flight zones and point of balance.

Caretakers can have a positive impact on cattle health, performance, and well being through effective low stress handling at key interventions like calving, tagging, grazing, weaning, processing and shipping. Producers that concentrate on low stress handling skills will recognize abnormal behavior and attitude and develop the confidence and skill to manipulate behavior to improve levels of animal welfare.

The Williamsburg community building is located on old 50 Hwy in downtown Williamsburg. Pre-registration for this seminar is required and will be limited to the first 225 participants. Call 785-828-4438 or 620-364-5313 to register by Sept. 19. Sponsors with commercial booths will be on site for participants to visit.

Information thanks to Rod Schaub, Frontier Extension District agent.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas