Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

May 10, 2014

The Ag Corner 05-11-14

Study: Irritatable cows don’t produce

Now we have another good excuse to cull cows due to bad temperament. 

Producers that routinely breed cows artificially realize that cows that are unruly and nervous are less likely to conceive to artificial insemination.  Presumably the lowered conception rates were because they have been stressed as they are passed through the working facilities and restrained while being synchronized and inseminated. Now it seems that, even in the serenity of a natural breeding pasture, cows with bad dispositions are less likely to conceive when mated with bulls.

University of Florida animal scientists recorded disposition scores over two years on 160 Braford and 235 Brahman x British crossbred cows. They wanted to evaluate the effects of cow temperament and energy status on the probability to become pregnant during a 90-day natural breeding season. Cows were scored as 1 = calm, no movement to 5 = violent and continuous struggling while in the working chute. Also a pen score assessment was assigned as 1= unalarmed and unexcited to 5 = very excited and aggressive toward technician. An exit velocity speed score was measured as the cows exited the working chute as 1 = slowest and 5 = fastest. An overall temperament index score was calculated by averaging the chute score, pen score and exit velocity score. Blood samples were analyzed for cortisol concentrations. 

Cortisol is a hormone released when mammals are stressed or excited.  Increased cow temperament score and elevated plasma cortisol concentrations both were associated with decreased probability of pregnancy. 

These results suggest that excitable temperament and the consequent elevated cortisol concentrations are detrimental to reproductive function of cows. These authors concluded that management strategies that improve cow disposition, enhance their immune status and maintain the cow herd at adequate levels of nutrition are required for optimal reproductive performance. 

Source: Cooke and co-workers. 2009 Florida Beef Research Report.

Rural Development


Rebecca Eastham will present the next Home-Based Business program noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Payne County Administration Building. Remember, anyone is welcome to attend these programs — not just home-based business owners.

Eastham is the Director of Business and Industry Services at Meridian Technology Center. She works with business and industry clients to identify training and development needs throughout their organizations and matches resources to assist in meeting those needs. She provides assistance in the areas of human resources, strategic planning, team building and organizational development.

Rebecca’s presentation — Goal Setting for Your Small Business — will provide an overview on the topics of both goal-setting and long range planning. She has indicated that she will provide some useful resources and tools that participants will be able to pursue.  ‘

For May, we are back in the County Administration Building and lunch will be available for $10 at the door to those who RSVP and request it. To make sure we have lunch for you, RSVP at  or 405-747-8320 by 5 p.m. May 25.

If you bring your own lunch or do not want lunch, there is no cost to attend this program.

Compiled by Payne County Extension Educators Nathan Anderson, Dea Rash, Suzette Barta, Keith Reed and Brenda Brantley.

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