Livestock health topic of second Burlington Farm Cafe lunch session Feb. 21

Chance Marshall

Livestock health is the discussion item Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the second of three monthly lunch sessions at the Burlington Town Hall.

University of Wyoming Extension educators are calling the sessions Farm Cafe.
Weed management is the final topic Tuesday, March 21. All sessions are noon to 1:30 p.m. Lunch is provided.

Cover crops was the January topic.

“The first in this farm café series was very successful, and we look forward to another good event,” said extension educator Caitlin Younguist, based in Washakie County. “The format allows for lots of interaction and discussion between participants and specialists.”

For more information, contact extension educator Chance Marshall in Fremont County at 307-332-2363, or educator Mae Smith in Big Horn County at 307-765-2868.

UW researcher studies microbiome effects on cattle feed efficiency

Hannah Cunningham

You thought you were feeding silage or hay to cows these frosty winter mornings, didn’t you.

The livestock really being fed are smaller and their names harder to pronounce than Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Charolais or Blonde d’Aquitaine – maybe not that last one – but chances are the next time livestock producers gather, “bacterioidetes” or “firmicutes” won’t be rolling off their tongues.

Those two and others like them are microorganisms Hannah Cunningham is studying at the University of Wyoming to determine their effect – if any – on feed efficiency in cattle.

They’re part of the rumen microbiome – the microorganisms that ferment ingested feed in the giant vat that is the cow’s digestive systems. Cunningham is trying to determine if a specific microbiome can make an animal more feed efficient than another.

Feed efficiency is a critical area of research for production livestock, said Cunningham, a Ph.D. student in animal science in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“If we can make improvements there, producers are going to benefit, especially given all the pressures we have – increased demand for product but also less land, drought and feed prices,” she said.

Cunningham studied feed efficiency in the small intestine for her master’s thesis. “I’m continuing a similar line of research, just shifting up the digestive tract a step,” said Cunningham.

Bacteria numbers are huge. There is an estimated 100 trillion bacteria cells in the human gut, and effects of the microbiota go beyond digestion. Research in humans indicates it affects cognitive function and even behaviors such as social interactions. Some research studies its effects on mental health.

Continue reading UW researcher studies microbiome effects on cattle feed efficiency

Big Horn Basin students invited to Worland ag career fair

Amber Armajo

Big Horn Basin students interested in agricultural careers have an opportunity to question professionals during the Ag Career Extravaganza Tuesday, Feb. 14, in Worland.

The 5:30-7:30 p.m. event in the Worland Community Center is set specifically during the annual two-day WESTI Ag Days, which draws agricultural experts in many professions to Worland. WESTI Ag Days is Feb. 14-15.

“This is an opportunity for youths to interact with ag professionals to learn the ins and outs of what they do in their careers,” said Amber Armajo, UW Extension 4-H educator in Washakie County, who helped plan the event with educator Caitlin Youngquist.

RSVPs are requested for the free dinner by calling 307-347-3431.
Students from high schools in Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties are invited, said Armajo.

Recruiters from the University of Wyoming and community colleges are also expected.

“There are many career opportunities in ag-related fields youths may not be aware of, especially if they were not raised on a farm or ranch,” said Youngquist. “Youths and parents will be able to visit with professionals and college recruiters, ask questions and learn about career options.”

Expected to attend are people in professions such as animal nutrition, agricultural economics, agricultural communications, irrigation and implement companies, sales, banking, seed companies, plant science, research, and agronomy and others.

“We highly encourage youths who do not have an ag background to attend,” said Youngquist.

For more information, contact Armajo or Youngquist at 307-347-3431.

Extension bulletin offers three-step cattle body condition scoring

A new bulletin from University of Wyoming Extension offers a three-step guide to determine body condition scores in cattle.

“3-Step Body Condition Scoring (BCS) for Range Cattle” is available for free download or viewing by going to and clicking on the Publications link, then typing the title into the search field.

“Body condition scores are a systematic approach to quantifying the energy reserves of beef cattle grazing on rangeland and pastureland,” said Derek Scasta, UW Extension range specialist and one of the authors.

Scasta collaborated with fellow author Scott Lake, UW Extension beef specialist in the Department of Animal Science, to streamline how producers score cattle and to apply that information to range and cattle management decisions.

“Changes in these fat and muscle reserves are visually noticeable and are an indication of the nutritional status of the animal, rangeland forage conditions and reproductive performance,” Scasta said.

Key times to score cattle are prior to calving, prior to breeding and at weaning. This is often done 100 days before calving and 60 days before breeding, he said.
Body condition of beef cattle is judged on a scale of 1-9 (with 1 being emaciated, 5 being ideal, and 9 being obese).

“This 3-step guide is an easy-to-use and practical approach to determining body condition scores of cattle and will assist ranchers in making management decisions,” said Scasta.

Annual WESTI Ag Days Feb. 14-15 in Worland

Educators Caitlin Youngquist, Chance Marshall, and Jeremiah Vardiman welcome those to WESTI Ag Days last year.

An ag career extravaganza for youths and parents and two days of sessions for producers are featured in this year’s WESTI Ag Days in Worland Tuesday-Wednesday, Feb. 14-15.

Wyoming Extension’s Strategically and Technologically Informative Ag Days sessions begin 9 a.m. both days at the Worland Community Center at 1200 Culbertson Ave.

Wyoming Ag in the Classroom executive director Jessie Dafoe is Tuesday’s lunch speaker. Worland and Ten Sleep high school students will share their ag science projects and an ag issues speech during lunch Wednesday. The free lunches are prepared by the Washakie County CowBelles.

Tuesday sessions include a livestock market outlook, irrigation management, weather resources for making weather and climate decisions, mentoring the next generation, using EPDs and DNA for genetic selection, various regulatory updates, invasive and resistant pest information, and Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, and Wyoming Department of Agriculture programs available to producers

The career extravaganza is 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Soil management begins Wednesday sessions followed by cover crop selection, grazing permit renewal information, weed control in barley, forage analysis for ration balancing and solar stock tank information.

There are two workshops 1-5 p.m. Wednesday. A four-member panel will offer advice on navigating the grazing permit renewal process, and private pesticide applicator training will be provided by UW Extension educator Caitlin Youngquist and Jarrod Glanz of Washakie County Weed and Pest.

For more information, contact Youngquist in Washakie County at 307-347-3431.