Age-verification a simple tool

Sometimes it takes me a while to think and come up with reasons.
One of the speakers at the RRCA’s recent annual meeting was discussing markets and how we need to be able to access all markets.
A question was asked whether it would help if we tested all of our cattle for BSE. The speaker’s response was “yes,” though he did explain we don’t have the killing capacity and the BSE test is at least $30 per animal.
I was thinking about that off and on since then. The speaker is right: we need to be able to access all markets, but currently we could not kill all our cattle to do the test (here in Rainy River District, we certainly understand the lack of kill plants) because the cattle have to be dead to do the test.
We currently have a simple tool that does help to access markets—and it’s free and the cattle do not have to be dead to boot! It is age verification.
All you need to do is keep track of your RFID tag numbers and your birthdates. You can do it on an individual basis, or simply a beginning calving date and end (I do recommend using the individual birthdates, if possible, as if you just do a beginning date, that is the date you use for all your calves).
This may seem fine to you as a cow/calf producer. But it is the feedlot guy who may need another month to finish an animal, yet he cannot do it as another month could put him over the 21-month age and this will close a market for him.
Right now, the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association (once you have attended a simple two-hour age verification workshop) will pay you $5 per calf to age verify them. The OCA also has hired reps to age verify your calves in case you don’t want to tackle this yourself.
I have age verified many calves in Rainy River District now and would be happy to help you out, so please call if you have any questions.
The web address to set up your account with CCIA, which is where you age verify, can be found at www.clia.livestockid.ca
We’ve seen the buyers requesting age-verified cows last year at Stratton and the buyer speaking at our annual meeting told us how he wants to see them—it is something you should not overlook.
Age-verified cows actually have brought more money and I know we can all use more of that.
Again, I would be happy to help any of you out–please give me a call.
• • •
Here’s something neat. The OCA is providing a vet on-call link on their website. Go to the home page at www.cattle.guelph.on.ca/ and click on “Vet on Call–Dr. Mac.” You can ask him questions (and this is leaning towards beef cattle health) and he will respond to you.
I realize this doesn’t help everything, but he may be able to answer a few things for you.
Thankfully, Nor-West Animal Clinic in Fort Frances has continued to bring in Dr. Blair. And even though it is not full-time and does not help with all emergencies, we still are lucky to have such a great vet part-time.
Dr. Dan, from Slate River Vet Services, has been coming in two times per month but since he has had very limited calls, he no longer is going to provide this service after March 31.
• • •
Saturday night was quite a night as we started out with only part hydro (and no, I don’t have any pull at Hydro One despite the company I keep). The part power was really creepy—you didn’t know if you should have lights on or not.
Finally it went out completely around 8:30 p.m.
I was told I should shut any motor-related things off when it was only part power to prevent damage. So out I trucked to the well house to shut off that stuff (it is darn dark without yard lights). Then down in the basement I thought it would be best to turn off my brand new heat pump only to find water dripping (fortunately, it turned out that was just from the chimney that wasn’t being used–ice had likely built up and then melted in the warm sun earlier that day).
As I called Hydro One and the time they expected power to return kept getting bumped back, it made me realize we had a serious situation. I slept very little (kept thinking of all the things that could go wrong and what about the cows? They would be getting thirsty and what if everything froze up! )
It turned out that once the power came on at 3:30 a.m., all was fine (except my TV, which has very little colour now!)
I don’t envy the Hydro One workers who were out working on such a terrible night, but I appreciate what they do to get things restored despite the miserable conditions.
• • •
January was a tough month as we’ve lost some special community members. We are all thinking of these families that are going through some tough times currently and hoping that things will improve.
It was nice to end January with the birth of two big boys from some farm/rural families. Wishing you guys lots of love and fun times.

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