Summer interns in animal sciences arrived at the University of Illinois’ DixonSpringsAgriculturalCenter on May 28 as part of the I-BELIEF internship program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This year, there are two students participating in the 10-week internship at DSAC. Sara Graham will be a junior in animal sciences at the U of I this fall. Julissa Navarrete will be a senior at IllinoisStateUniversity this fall. Both students are from the northern part of Illinois, approximately six hours north of the DSAC.

Cows and heifers in the research herd at DSAC are being processed for a couple of research projects to begin in June. Fall-born replacement heifer calves born in the fall of 2018 are being assigned to a research project investigating the potential for a long-acting eprinomectin to alleviate symptoms of fescue toxicosis.

Cows confirmed pregnant to a timed artificial insemination in mid-December are being assigned to a research trial investigating the effects cow and calf performance associated with feeding varying levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids to cows in the last trimester of gestation. All cows are receiving fly tags and dewormer along with booster vaccinations for anaplasmosis, leptospirosis and pinkeye.

Frequent rains in southern Illinois continue to hamper timely hay harvests and field crop plantings. We are still awaiting the delivery of hay for starting dry lot feeding trials at DSAC. With many pastures not being clipped prior to seed head formation, cows may be consuming tall fescue seeds and stems and therefore, receiving high levels of toxic ergot alkaloids. Additionally, these weather conditions are conducive to the formation of ergot bodies in the seed heads.

This ergot, when consumed, can also cause symptoms similar to fescue toxicosis in livestock. These ergot bodies can be identified by examining the seed heads for small, black fungal bodies that are similar in appearance to mouse droppings.

We want to welcome Lucas Neira as an assistant farm manager in Animal Sciences to the DSAC. Lucas recently graduated with his master’s degree in animal sciences from the U of I.

For more information on programs at the U of I and the DSAC, call the main office at 618-695-2441.

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