JULY 2006 Ranch Hand Newsletter (Adobe Acrobat PDF file)
This month's issue is devoted to topics related to drought and drought management. Unfortunately, many of you are dealing with very dry conditions. I hope you will find some useful information in this issue that will help you more effectively manage the situation.
NDSU Animal and Range Sciences Department
100e Hultz Hall Fargo, ND 58105
The latest issue of the Cattle Call (Adobe Acrobat PDF) is now posted at:
Blight Farms Recognized for Environmental Stewardship
Dates and Changes for Michigan Bull Test Station
Tonsor Joins MSU Ag. Econ.
Johne’s Disease Control Demonstration Project
UP Agricultural Experiment Station Field Day
Department of Animal Science 100th Anniversary Celebration
Official Cattle Identification
Why are Michigan Farms Getting Bigger?
Low Stress Cattle Handling and Facilities Workshop
Pasture Conditions Continue Their Decline
Beef Cow-Calf Weekly
The National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) most recent numbers offer detail on why cow slaughter is up. Compared to last year, 14% less pasture is rated Good or Excellent, and 14% more is rated as Poor or worse.
More specifically, for the week ending July 2, NASS reported:
States with the worst pasture conditions — at least 30% of the acreage rated poor or worse — include: Alabama (66%); Arizona (78%); Colorado (65%); Georgia (43%); Kansas (33%); Louisiana (50%); Mississippi (40%); Missouri (41%); Nebraska (50%); New Mexico (74%); North Dakota (31%); Oklahoma (58%); South Dakota (46%); Texas (71%); and Wyoming (53%).
Small force for large animals
Willing to care for cows? Large-animal veterinarians are becoming a rare breed as more vets choose to treat household pets.
By Christina Rogers
Roanoke Times (VA)
Dr. Tony Hutchins works as a large-animal vet.
Wearing navy-blue coveralls, black rubber boots and a red baseball cap, Dr. Tony Hutchins leans over a metal pen and injects a milky-white vaccine into the neck of a 5-month-old Holstein calf.
The heifer wriggles about in the pen. Using an inked clamp, Hutchins tattoos her left ear and clips a triangular piece of skin from the right — a literal earmark identifying the vaccination.
Company Unveils Silage Web Site
A new Web site devoted to forage information, research data and news has been introduced by Lallemand Animal Nutrition.
“Our goal is to help beef and dairy producers maximize the value of their for-ages by learning, and then practicing, quality silage management,” says Bob Charley, forage product manager for the company, which sells silage inoculants.
ISU gives advice on managing nitrates in forages in dry weather
Stephen K. Barnhart, Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University, writes the following:
During periods of dry growing conditions, forage producers begin to ask about the increased risk of nitrate accumulation in forages and how best to manage them.
Plants take up nitrogen from available soil sources during normal plant growth. Soil-source nitrates are used by the plant to form protein. Since photosynthesis-formed sugars are also components of protein, anything that influences normal plant growth (such as drought) will reduce protein synthesis, and nitrate (NO3) can accumulate in the plant in higher than normal amounts.
Conner Announces $6.2 Million for Rural Community Development
High Plains Journal
OMAHA (DTN) — Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner Thursday announced the availability of more than $6.2 million in grant funds through the Rural Community Development Initiative Program (RCDI). The RCDI program provides technical assistance and training funds to qualified intermediary organizations to develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas.
“The projects funded through this program promote economic investments and job development in our rural communities,” said Conner. “The community buildings, housing and improvement projects these funds will help finance are providing additional economic opportunities and improving the quality of life of rural America.”
Nitrate Toxicity After a Drought-Interrupting Rain
by Glenn Selk
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma summers often bring “high pressure domes” that cause 100+ degree days and no rain. The resulting heat stress can cause nitrate accumulation in summer annual forage crops. Producers are very cautious about cutting or grazing the drought-stressed forages and for good reason. However, when the first thunderstorm comes along, cattlemen are anxious to cut the forage or turn in the cattle on the field that has just received rain.
This practice can lead to a potentially dangerous situation. As the plant starts to grow and turn green once again, the nitrate uptake is accelerated. Plant enzymes (such as nitrate reductase) are still not present in great enough quantities or active enough to convert the nitrate to plant proteins. Therefore the plant nitrate concentrations become even greater in the first few days after the first rain.
Producers should exercise caution and test forages before cutting or grazing shortly after a drought-ending shower. Some of the greatest concentrations of nitrate in forages will be recorded at this time. Usually by 7 – 10 days after the rain, plant metabolism returns to normal and nitrate accumulations begin to decrease. Be sure to test the forage before cutting and storing a large quantity of potentially poisonous hay.
Against a Stacked Deck
Compiled by Larry Corah and Mark McCully
Considering all of the factors that combine to reduce marbling deposition in cattle today, it is no wonder Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) acceptance levels are on the low side.
Most of these factors relate to management and environment rather than genetics, but confronting them should help to overcome their negative effect. That’s why CAB Supply Development created the white paper, “Declining Quality Grades: A Review of Factors Reducing Marbling Deposition in Beef Cattle,” now available on the Web at cabpartners.com/ news/whitepapers.
Electronic ID Tags Trials Get Mixed Reviews from Sale Barn Operators
High Plains Journal
OMAHA (DTN) — Some sale barns, including some of the largest in the country, have been trying out electronic tags to test the effectiveness of a controversial animal identification system. So far results have varied.
Sale-barn operators say producers who use electronic tags in their cattle are getting premium prices, but the technology hasn’t effectively caught up with sale barns that push 1,000 cattle or more an hour through their sale rings.
At the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association summer meeting this week in Reno, cattle producers and sale-barn operators are learning more about some of the early experiences implementing animal identification programs.
Grass-fed beef, hold the chemicals
By Tory N. Parrish
DEANSBORO — Hay may be for horses, but it’s not for cows — at least not according to Troy Bishopp.
The farmer, known as “The Grass Whisperer,” has been tapping into a relatively new market by raising grass-fed only cows for a LaGrangeville beef company. That company, New York Beef, markets its “natural, 100-percent grass-fed” beef as a step above competitors who use antibiotics and growth implants to grow bigger cattle faster.
“We don’t have to do anything at all. All we have to do is manage it,” Bishopp said of the minimal technology used to enhance cattle growth at Bishopp Family Farm.
NCBA Says Troops Should Eat U.S. Beef (07/14/06 07:15)
High Plains Journal
OMAHA (DTN) — U.S. cattle producers want the military to start buying beef from U.S. packing plants to serve to troops overseas, rather than serving beef from other countries.
Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association adopted a resolution Thursday seeking to push the U.S. military to require companies that supply troops in Iraq and other countries to buy beef processed in the United States.
Atlantic farm wins top environmental award
Atlantic News Telegraph (IA)
The Hunt family of Clan Farms, in Atlantic ,is one of seven Regional Winners in the 16th annual Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The award program recognizes cattle operations that are proven stewards of the land, dedicated to natural resource conservation through the use of innovative, cost effective stewardship practices.
Market outlook brings positive news
Western Livestock Journal
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) held its annual summer meeting in Reno, NV, last week. During the first general session last Tuesday, Randy Blach of Cattle-Fax provided his much anticipated market outlook for the second half of 2006. Overall, Blach said he sees good things for the market between now and the end of the fourth quarter. He believes the industry has already seen the summer low at the $78 level, so long as a few wildcard factors don’t intervene.
The strength in prices has helped to bolster support for the fed cattle market. He said that despite industry concerns, the number of cattle on feed isn’t significantly higher than last year.