By Rachael Stucke, Seasonal Research Assistant, and Laura Snell, Livestock and Natural Resource Advisor and County Director
University of California Cooperative Extension - Modoc
The Modoc County Cattlemen hosted their summer field day June 29th in Likely with UC Cooperative Extension. McArthur Farm Supply sponsored the dinner and American Ag Credit sponsored the drinks for the event. Here is a summary of the presentations given during the meeting and links to more information
Cow-calf pair enjoying the Devil's Garden.
FSA Disaster Assistance Programs
2021 has shown to be a difficult year for drought, fires, and pests such as grasshoppers. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) had an informative slideshow, presented by District Director Brenda Richter, highlighting the different payment assistance and/or loans offered to help offset the burden of these disasters affecting farms and ranches.
The main takeaway from the presentation was the importance of record keeping for any operation. It is extremely important for beef producers to keep updated and detailed records on their operation for personal use and in case of disaster. Some of these important documents include:
Proof of identity
Proof of farm/ranch ownership (if needed)
Lease agreement (if needed)
Entity identification status (if needed)
Adjusted Gross Income Certification (Form CCC 941)
Highly Erodible and Wetland Certification (Form AD 1026)
Farm Operating Plan (Form CCC 902)
In addition to the documents listed, many of the FSA programs presented require more specific documentation detailing the damage done from the disaster such as the number of head lost, amount of water needed, or grazing period.
Below is a summarized version of each disaster assistance programs presented at the Cattleman’s Field Day
Noninsured Crops Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
NAP provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops impacted by natural disaster resulting in lower yields, crop losses, or prevents crop planting. It is only available for crops not covered by Risk Management Agency and coverage costs depend on crop type. Coverage must be purchased before application closing date. For example, 2022 NAP Grazing coverage needs to be purchased by September 1st, 2021. If producers have eligible Notice of Loss, payments can be expected once the County Committee establishes the grazing loss percentage at the end of the grazing period.
Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)
LFP provides benefits to livestock producers for grazing losses due to qualifying drought conditions during the normal grazing period for the county, for livestock on land that is native, or improved pastureland for grazing. Eligible livestock include beef cattle, dairy cattle, beefalo, bison, horses, poultry, sheep and goats as long as they are for commercial use only and have been owned by the producer for 60 days prior to the start of the drought. Eligibility for the program is based on the Drought Monitor by County. Modoc County is currently accepting applications the deadline for which is January 30th, 2022 for 2021 losses.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP)
ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture. This program covers what is not covered in the other livestock disaster programs offered. To apply, contact Modoc County FSA Office and have the application completed no later than November 1st, 2021.
Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)
LIP provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather, eligible disease, and eligible attack. It also provides assistance to eligible livestock owners that must sell livestock at a reduced price because of an injury from an eligible loss condition. Excess of normal mortality is determined using the National Normal Mortality Rate Table. To apply, contact the Modoc County FSA office within 30 days of loss of livestock using acceptable documentation of livestock death such as rendering truck receipts, veterinary records, or a time stamped photo.
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)
ECP provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland and conservation structures damaged by natural disasters and implement emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought. The cost-share program helps to pay for approved restoration practices and has a limited payment per person per disaster. For 2021 ECP is no longer available on Federal Lands. When applying to ECP make sure to have producer or USDA documents with photos and to contact the Modoc FSA Service Center as soon as possible to request assistance during a disaster.
For more information visit FSA California Webpage (www.fsa.usda.gov/ca), USDA Service Centers (offices.usda.gov), or contact Farm Service Agency Modoc County at 530-233-4137 x2
Additionally, make sure to stay up to date on important state and local program information by subscribing to your local Service Center online and signing up for time sensitive SMS alerts by texting CAModoc to 372669
With California entering a drought and the ever-increasing cost of hay, as a producer you make be looking into options of alternative feedstuffs that are more readily available and cost effective for your operation.
Additionally, cattle have different energy requirements in order to meet body maintenance or growth depending on the phase of production as seen in the graph to the right. UC Livestock and Range Advisor for Shasta/Trinity counties, Larry Forero, gave an interesting presentation on different feed options and how to go about creating an affordable complete feed for cattle.
One common choice of an alternative feed is Almond Hulls. Almond hulls are a byproduct of the almond industry which is one of the largest agricultural sectors in California. Almond hulls are generally a cheaper source of feed supplement compared to other options but can have a much lower nutrient value. Almond feeds can be named differently depending on the amount of crude fiber and ash, which does not make all feeds created equally in terms of nutritional value.
Another option of a feed source is rice straw. Rice straw is a byproduct of the rice grain industry in Northern California which makes it great potential alternative feed source for local producers. Rice straw comes with some potential challenges when using it as a feed source. It has to be baled within 10 days of harvest, it has low digestibility, low protein and is high in oxalates. With proper supplementation, rice straw could be an effective replacement for forage in a ration.
If choosing to supplement with an alternative feed source, it is important to test them for nutritional value and combine them with other feed sources to make sure the complete nutritional needs of the cattle are met. Make sure to contact your local Farm Advisor if you are interested in creating a ration with alternative feedstuffs or want more information on feed options.
Almond hull containment made from straw bales. Photo from Larry Forero.
Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Update and Survey
Our next presentation was an important update from David Lile regarding the Irrigated Lands Program. Since 2005 the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) has managed their Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program which requires that operators of all irrigated agricultural land enroll and participate in sub-watershed water quality monitoring and reporting. Irrigated forage crops including pasture, grass hay, and alfalfa are the dominant agricultural production type in the upper Pit River watershed. Years of data show little to no adverse impact from irrigated forage crops to the watersheds in the upper Pit. In fact, continuous ground cover provided by most forage crops combined with best management practices in many cases can improve water quality and increase groundwater recharge. Economic data demonstrates that the relatively low per-acre value of forage crops compared to valley row crops and orchards creates a disproportionate cost and reduction in profitability to farmers in the upper Pit and similar higher elevation watersheds.
CVRWQCB staff have developed a draft plan for the Goose Lake area to EXEMPT irrigated pasture and hay. That decision is slated for August. Surveys provided by landowners demonstrating the relatively low water quality impact of forage crop production made the difference! We want to expand the opportunity to all irrigated pasture lands. Grower organizations have been advocating for years for relief from the Irrigated Lands Program.
The opportunity is now! Please fill out the survey for irrigated land that you own or manage. No ranch specific data will ever be shared, we only need to accurately summarize typical agricultural practices in our area. It is important that our survey reflect as many acres in the upper Pit watershed as possible to maximize the opportunity to have irrigated forage crops released from the Irrigated Lands Program.
Cattle Deworming Project
Larry Forero, Laura Snell and Gaby Maier, UC Cooperative Extension
Laura Snell and Nicole Stevens conducting fecal sampling.
Over the last couple months, livestock advisors across Northern California have been conducting fecal samples to look at internal parasite loading and the effectiveness of dewormers. Internal parasites are roundworms, tapeworms, flukes, coccidia and other protozoa. In order to control internal parasites, you want to interrupt their life cycle. This can be accomplished by:
Creating unfavorable climatic conditions like when winter sets in or dry rangeland, removing the warm, moist environment that they thrive in
Development of resistance in cattle, especially older cattle
Management of cattle to prevent their ingestion of infective organisms by rotating cattle through pastures before parasites are at the stage to infect cattle again (rotating every 4-6 weeks)
Destruction of intermediate hosts
Therapeutic chemical treatment of cattle
Some key points to remember are that cattle suffering nutrition stress and disease are likely less resistant to parasites and that 10% of the herd sheds 90% of the parasites. Management of individual cattle and fecal testing of replacement heifers can be an effective parasite management strategy.
So far we have sampled approximately 25 groups of cattle from irrigated pasture and dry land operations. About 50g fecal was collected one day one and then animals were dewormed. A second samples was taken two weeks later to evaluate different chemical dewormers.
Some general rules about sampling results, 150 eggs per gram (epg) likely should be treated. Treatment should result in at least 90% reduction in egg count. Less than that could indicate resistance. However worm counts don’t tell the whole story, species identification is important. For example, 700 epg Trichostrongylus probably is not an issue, whereas Ostertagia at same levels is a problem (Coles, G.C., et al. 1992 World Association for Advancement of Vet Parasitology Paper).
Samples from Modoc County have generally been low in worm counts. Region wide, this isn’t necessarily the case. Pretreatment ranges have been from 35- over 600 epg. The graph on the left shows a herd with generally low worm counts but one individual with a very high count. Even after treatment, this animal still had high levels of worms. This case is an example of the principle that few cattle host a majority of the parasites and continue to spread them to the rest of the herd. Lastly, another take away from this herd and others is that 90% treatment from chemical dewormers is not being widely seen. This count indicates that we have a resistance to dewormers in cattle in the region. This study will continue with final results to be shared in 2022.
Cattle Protein Supplementation
The final presentation of the evening, presented by Kyle Merino, highlighted how crucial adequate protein intake is for the development and optimal performance of cattle in every production stage. In order for cattle to extract all available nutrients from forage, adequate protein needs to be supplied to support the microbiome of the rumen, the ideal amount is about 7% crude protein. Throughout the year, forage may be lacking in adequate protein in order to meet the cattle’s needs and supplementation is required (Cappellozza et al. 2019. Protein nutrition for cattle. Oregon State University Extension Service).
The presentation covered the main forms of protein supplementation such as alfalfa hay, blocks, tubs, pellets and liquid. Choosing the type of supplement depends on many factors, such as operation size, location of herd, and ability to access pastures. Alfalfa hay can be a sufficient of protein and forage for cattle, however, may become costly and is not always allowed as a feed supplement on public lands. Pellets and liquid supplements are a good choice for operations that can easily distribute them through vehicle access to pasture or feeding bunks. Typically, for rangeland cattle, blocks and tubs are the most successful choices due to variety of sizes offered and long-lasting ability on the range (Thomas. 2020. Protein Supplements – Many Options. American Cattleman).
No matter which protein supplement a producer chooses, it is important to know protein content of the product so enough can be provided to support the size of herd. Additionally, monitoring consumption and waste of the supplement helps determine the economic viability of the product for that operation. For any questions or recommendations, contact your local Farm Advisor or Veterinarian.
Special thanks to all our presenters from the evening, McArthur Farm Supply and American Ag Credit for sponsoring food and beverage, and Modoc County Cattlemen for help organizing the event!