OPINION: By extension

Risk-management workshop offered for cattle producers

A workshop on the use of futures and options as risk management tools for cattle producers will be held at 9:30 a.m., Feb. 22at the Tampa Community Hall.

The workshop will be led by Jim Mintert, K-State Research and Extension livestock marketing specialist.

Participants will learn about the relationship between futures and local cash prices, how to forecast the difference between futures and cash prices, what hedging is and is not, how to use a live or feeder cattle futures contract to place a hedge, put and call options and how they can be used to manage risk.

The workshop will include a hands-on exercise in the use of futures and options. Workshop participants are asked to register by Feb. 17 with the Marion County Extension Office, 316-382-2325.

Preparing for calving season (2)

After the calf has arrived, it is imperative that they get up and suckle within a few hours.

We are just now realizing how important that first day of life is for the calf. How well they are taken care of affects their ability to fight health challenges.

If the mother does not accept the calf, the producer should restrain the cow so the calf can start working on the udder. Producers are advised to milk colostrum from the heifer if the calf does not get nourishment within an hour.

Another calving problem is retained placentas. Producers should not attempt to remove the placenta by pulling it out, as that could cause hemorrhaging or serious damage.

Let nature take its course. Do nothing for 24 to 48 hours. Then, if she starts to look sick, get some antibiotics in her or take her to the vet.

Diet is also an important part of the calving process. A few days prior to calving, a cow will naturally stop eating. Then, after calving, they will come back on feed quickly.

After cows calve, their nutritional requirements for energy and protein increase 30 to 40 percent. Be sure to allow them to eat more and provide them access to a more energy rich diet with more protein per pound.

Throughout the calving process, the potential for problems is high. But with may problems, like retained placentas and edemas, good management practices will help to reduce the risk. The key point to remember is not to panic and to get help.

Proper management and good preparation will help to decrease the likelihood of many of these problems.

Consult with your veterinarian prior to problems. Establish standard operating procedures with the veterinarian so they are not a fireman coming to the rescue. Make them a part of your team so you an maximize the use of your management system.

Flint Hills Grass Management School offered Feb. 21

The biannual Flint Hills Grass Management School will be held on Feb. 21 at the Cassoday Grade School. The school is sponsored by the Marion, Butler, Lyon, Chase and Greenwood county extension councils.

Program topics include ag lease laws pertaining to grass leases, maximizing grass gains, minimizing shrink, value of gain and updates on Sericea lespedeza, stocker conference and stocking rates.

A supper will be served for $5. Meal reservations should be made with the Marion County Extension Office by Feb. 14.

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