Spring time is thunderstorm season across the Plains. Spring storms occasionally bring severe winds or even tornadoes. Windy spring days also can cause wildfires to move rapidly across range lands. Cleaning up after a severe storm or wildfire is difficult enough. Losing valuable cattle brings additional financial hardship to the situation.
Cattle loss can occur in several scenarios. Livestock may be killed, lost, or stolen during a stormy situation. Branding today is still the most recognized and accepted means of indicating ownership of cattle in North America. Eventually, other methods such as electronic “chipping” may become the standard for identification, but until this procedure becomes a more economical and practical alternative, producers will continue to utilize the time-tested, permanent, and universal method of branding. State registration of your brand is not required by law in Oklahoma. However, recorded brands, take precedence over similar unrecorded brands when questions of ownership arise. Registered brands are prima facie evidence of ownership in a court of law. Brands are recorded by The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) for more information contact OCA at (405) 235-4391 or www.okcattlemen.org.
A brand is defined as a permanent mark not less than three inches in length or diameter and burned into the hide with a hot iron. “freeze branding” is also a recognized form of legally identifying animal ownership in Oklahoma. Cattlemen can read more details about hot iron and freeze branding by downloading the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet ANSI-3255 Livestock Branding in Oklahoma. Producers should follow Beef Quality Assurance Guidelines when choosing locations of hot iron brands.
An accurate accounting of livestock and property is essential to a cattle operation’s storm preparedness. Keep a currrent inventory of all animals and the pastures where they are located. Individual animal ID tags on all animals serve several purposes, but can become extremely valuable if cattle become scattered or even stolen. During the spring calving season, update these records frequently to reflect the newborn calves that are arriving.
If these records are computer based, consider having a “back-up” copy stored at a neighbor’s or a relative’s house. These can be emailed to a relative or trusted neighbor to insure that a digital copy is always available. Hand written records can be photocopied and placed in two different locations. We do not like to think about the “unthinkable” situation of a direct hit on our home or livestock buildings, but tornadoes and wildfires occasionally do destroy these dwellings. After the disaster is over, that second set of records could prove to be very inexpensive and very helpful.
If you have any questions, or would like further information on this or other related management topics, visit us on the west end of the Clay Jones Community Building at 1901 S. 9th Avenue in Durant, or call (580) 924-5312.
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.
March 7-8, No-Till Conference, Shawnee, OK. For more information look at the following website: http://notill.okstate.edu/2017-no-till-oklahoma-conference/No-till%20Agenda2017.pdf
April 6 – Eastern Oklahoma Beef Cattle Summit, Southeast Oklahoma Expo Center, McAlester, OK. Pre-registration required by March 30 and cost is $10. A registration form is available at the Extension Office or you can call the Pittsburg Extension Office at 918-423-4120.
April 7-8 – Texoma Spring Garden Show, Bryan County Fairgrounds, Durant, OK. For more information contact Gingerlei at 580-230-0581.
Robert Bourne is a Bryan County Extension Educator.