Pictured during AC Fair Beef weigh-In are Tracy Barnes (back) and Cameron Oswald. (Submitted photo)

Submitted by Amie Schleicher, Regional livestock specialist, University of Missouri Extension

In preparation for the 2017 Atchison County Fair, 4-H and FFA youth weighed their market beef project animals on Saturday, January 7, at the Atchison County Veterinary Clinic in Tarkio. A total of 11 calves (eight steers and three heifers), averaging 748 lbs, were weighed for seven exhibitors. This weight will be subtracted from the final weight at the fair and divided by the number of days between the two weights to determine the calves’ average daily gain. Exhibitors also had the opportunity to have their steers and market heifers noseprinted for the Missouri State Fair and hair samples taken on their beef projects for the Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Stock Show.
Noseprints and hair samples are two ways that we can confirm an animal’s identity. Each calf has a unique pattern of bumps on its nose like a fingerprint. A print can be taken at weigh-day, and again at the state fair, then compared to make sure it is the same calf. Hair samples also provide something unique to that animal — its DNA. About 30 hairs are pulled from the tail switch (the long hairs at the end of the tail) and it is the hair follicle at the end of each hair where the DNA comes from to prove an animal’s identity.
We appreciate John Walter, DVM, and his crew at the Atchison County Veterinary Clinic for letting our 4-H and FFA members weigh their project animals at his clinic, and the volunteers who helped weigh and process the calves.
The 2017 Atchison County Fair is scheduled for July 15-22. For more information, contact a fair board member or the Atchison County MU Extension Center.