Volume 5, Issue 1 (January 2016)
In this issue of the Journal we introduce stockmanship in feedlots, and its under-appreciated role in animal well-being, health, and performance. In all subjects treated in the Journal, the editor seeks out the subject experts or “go to” people. When it comes to the aforementioned subject, those people are Joyce Van Donkersgoed, DVM, MVS, a prominent Canadian veterinarian and consultant specializing in feedlot cattle health, and Lynn Locatelli, DVM, who has more expertise and experience in training feedlot pen checkers and processing crews than anyone. With Dr. Lynn’s help, Dr. Joyce is putting low-stress livestock handling on the radar of many Canadian feedlots. As co-authors, they set the conceptual framework in their article, Animal Handling and Emotional Well-Being in Feedlots. Although their focus is feedlots, much of what they say is relevant to farms, ranches, and dairies.
That article is complemented by a contribution by the best feedlot animal handler around, Dawn Hnatow, the senior student of Bud Williams. In her article, Feedlot Health: The Missing Dimension, Dawn focuses on two vitally important but profoundly misunderstood aspects of cattle management in feedlots: (1) how to prevent calves from getting sick, and (2) how to take care of calves that do get sick. Although the article focuses on feedlot calf health, Dawn’s advice is generalizable to farms, ranches, and dairies.
Next, I lay the foundation for low-stress livestock handling with a discussion of its five essential fundamental aspects: mindset, attitude, “reading,” “working”, and “preparing” animals. An understanding of these aspects is a prerequisite to any future discussion of principles, techniques, and practical applications.
Then, my colleague in Argentina, Marcos Giménez-Zapiola, Ph.D, who has contributed to the Journal in prior issues, writes a very interesting and informative article on the early history and methods of cattle handling in the Pampas region of South America. His article can be considered a companion piece to my Cattle Handling in Early North America: An Historical Analysis that appeared in the last issue. However, unlike my historical research, Dr. Marcos discloses some strong evidence of enlightened cattle handling in the 18th and 19th centuries in South America, more so than is in evidence in early North America.
In the Applied Stockmanship section I discuss and illustrate how to prepare our cattle for future production events with dry runs with eight video examples.
I am pleased that Dr. Joyce agreed to a Profile and Interview in which she answers questions relative to the important role of stockmanship in feedlots.
As is now customary, the issue includes the Mythbusters, Research Pearls, Instructional Materials Review, and Resources sections.