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Articles written by Don Llewellyn


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  • How to identify pinkeye in cattle

    Don Llewellyn|Updated May 23, 2024

    Sometimes it takes some thinking to figure out what to write for an article. I try to make the content relevant and applicable to real-world cattle production. Finally, I asked myself, as summer approaches what are the real issues that I faced as a cattleman? One of the summer issues that a lot of us have experienced is pinkeye. It terms of a cattle disease; I think we all can agree that it is both an economic problem, a cattle well-being issue, and a nuisance as well. In...

  • Beef cow type, then and now, Part 2

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Feb 22, 2024

    Welcome to 2024! Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday that I was thinking that graduating from high school in 1977 would be an eternity in the future. Now I appreciate what they meant when my elders used to say they wish they could go back to days gone by. Oh well, with a little optimism, the future can be pretty good too. Last month I started the discussion of 70 years of change in beef cow type. Now, let’s continue but from the perspective of how the evolution o...

  • Beef Cow Type: Then and Now

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Dec 21, 2023

    This month’s article isn’t so much a Mythbuster, but a retrospective on where we’ve been with cow type and the implications of the changes over time. As I write these lines it’s only several days before Thanksgiving. It is the holiday season and in my line of work, it is really easy to find a lot of things to be thankful for and have hope for a great future in agriculture. I’m the eternal optimist, I also acknowledge that immense stressors are facing our agricultu...

  • Winterizing the Cow Herd - Part 2

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Nov 16, 2023

    Editor’s Note: See last week’s newspaper for Part 1 of this series. Feed and Water In winterizing the cow herd, calculation of forage needed to make it through the winter is also a priority. This can be harvested or standing forage. Either way, determination of how much a beef cow will eat is related to her size and the quality of feed (always rely on a forage analysis so that you know the actual quality of the feed you are dealing with). Remember that lactation, body con...

  • Winterizing the Cow Herd - Part 1

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Nov 9, 2023

    What a year it has been, wet, to drought, a veritable bounty of variety. That’s what living in Eastern Washington is all about. Sometimes it lulls us into a false sense of security, weatherwise. And for sure this influences our responsibilities and approach to managing our cow herds. I remember my dad reminiscing about one fall in the 1950s when the temperature changed from the mid 50°F range to minus 10°F or so in a couple of days. The implication was that the newly see...

  • Beef Cattle Mythbuster

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Sep 21, 2023

    It’s been a pretty nice season to go to the fairs around the region—in most cases not too hot and not too cool. Always nice to be able to connect with both our adult and youth producers. The fairs are certainly an American tradition and it’s great to see that people are out supporting them. When I talk with producers, I’m always happy when topics of conversation come up that lend themselves to an article. A recent conversation highlighted that concerns about mRNA vaccine...

  • Managing cows in drought conditions

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Aug 24, 2023

    Note: This is Part 2 of a 2-part Beef Cattle Mythbuster series. Now back to the discussion of nutrients. Those of you that have heard me give presentations on forage quality and nutrition will probably remember that I emphasize protein being the “first limiting nutrient” when dealing with low quality forages. That means until the deficiency of protein is corrected, performance (keeping up body condition and milk production) will not be very good in those cows. During dro...

  • Managing cows in drought conditions

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Aug 16, 2023

    Note: This is Part 1 of 2 in this Beef Cattle Mythbuster series. Check out next week’s paper for Part 2. Hi everyone, I hope your summer is going well. A couple of months ago, we all thought the pastures in our region were in pretty good shape moisture-wise, but wow has that changed in a lot of places. Recently, I was invited to give a couple of talks to cattle producers. The presentations dealt with pastures and cow nutrition management within the current dry conditions a...

  • Algal Poisoning in Livestock and Pets

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Jun 29, 2023

    The myths surrounding algal poisoning I was thinking that with summer upon us its probably a good time to talk about water quality. Water is the most important nutrient we provide for our animals (and humans; we won’t last long without water). Water gives life to animals and plants, but under certain conditions can be the bearer of some not so wholesome constituents that we should be concerned about (for example vectors of disease like biting midges (Culicoides gnats; n...

  • Pine needles harmful to cows?

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Jan 12, 2023

    Question: If cows eat pine needles, will it hurt them or cause a problem? In general, yes pine needles can be a problem if cows consume them. Pine needles occur across much of the cow country in the western United States. However, there are some things that producers can do to protect their herds. Pine needle toxins fall in the category of what is referred to as abortifacient and reproductive toxins. This means that they can cause abortions and upset the reproductive cycle of...

  • What is protein degradability?

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Dec 15, 2022

    Question: What is meant by the term protein degradability and what does it mean for beef cows? Protein degradability is a term used in ruminant nutrition and therefore applies only to ruminant animals like cattle, sheep, and goats, etc. To get a handle on this concept let’s define crude protein (CP), and how it is measured, and then relate it to ruminant nutrition. The CP content of feed is measured by analyzing for the total nitrogen (N) in the feed and multiplying by 6.25 (...

  • Beef Cattle Mythbuster

    Dr. Don Llewellyn|Updated Nov 23, 2022

    Dr. Don Llewellyn Livestock Extension Specialist Director, WSU Lincoln County Extension, Davenport, WA Myth: The mystique of "water belly". Here's one that is especially relevant for our youth producers and their animals for the fair. I think most cattle producers who have been around the business for a good while will agree that when you think you have about seen it all, eventually you will get a big surprise. Such is the case with "water belly." First, let's point out here...

  • Beef Cattle Mythbuster

    Dr. Don Llewellyn, Livestock Extension Specialist, Director, WSU Lincoln County Extension|Updated Sep 8, 2022

    Myth: It makes no difference if one calculates cow feed intake on a dry matter basis or an as-fed basis. Answer: Oh, but it does matter! Okay, here we go! This is one of those topics that probably caused more confusion among my students than most any question I asked them (or had them calculate on an exam!). Let’s make some practical sense of this and how it applies to the real world for cattle producers. Before we can address this concept, we define our terms: As-is (or a...

  • Beef Cattle Mythbuster

    Don Llewellyn, Lincoln County WSU Extension|Updated Jun 23, 2022

    When you request forage quality analysis from a laboratory, do all methods of analysis provide the same results? Feed/forage analysis is an important part of developing feeding strategies for beef cattle. Knowing the composition of feeds helps us be confident that we are meeting cattle nutrient requirements. Meeting or not meeting those requirements has long-term implications as to how cows perform through the annual production cycle. Depending on the quality of the feed,...

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