The December 6, issue # 515, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at:
Some are suggesting that the influence of ethanol alone will create an agricultural revolution over the next few years unequalled by anything we experience in our lifetimes. In response to this, and the many other factors presently impacting the Ohio beef cattle industry, OSU Extension offices around Ohio, as well as the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association have scheduled many meetings and programs for this winter. This week we focus in on a few of those programs.
Articles this week include:
* BEEF 509 is Set For January
* 2007 Ohio Beef Feedlot Management School to be Held in Meigs County
* Livestock Mortality Composting Workshop Scheduled
* Forage Focus: Water System Savvy
* Weekly Roberts Agricultural Commodity Market Report
Program Assistant, Agriculture
OSU Extension, Fairfield County
831 College Ave., Suite D
Lancaster, OH 43130
Animal rights groups press Congress to halt the slaughter of horses
Knight Ridder Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON – Animal rights groups mounted a final effort Tuesday to push through a ban on U.S. horse slaughterhouses in the closing days of Congress, displaying graphic videos and wielding a letter of support from more than a fourth of the Senate’s 100 members.
The legislation, which would shut down three processing plants in Texas and Illinois, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 263-146 in mid-October after a high-profile campaign that included celebrities such as country music star Willie Nelson and actress Bo Derek.
Animal rights groups and their supporters say the horses are kept and transported in inhumane conditions as part of a ‘slaughter pipeline’ that reaches across the U.S. border and ends with brutal deaths. Opponents of the bill argue that the U.S. plants are needed to prevent a surplus of unwanted horses and that the horses are killed instantly and humanely.
Midland Empire to ready for agro-terrorism
KQ2 TV St. Joseph, MO
Terrorism in our own back yard?
Missouri officials say it`s a likely possibility.
That`s why they`re taking steps to prevent an `Agro-Terrorism` attack in the Midland Empire.
But KQ2 found that many farmers just don`t see the threa.
Robin Rhodes with the Health Department says “There have been threats of agro terrorism, across the country in the past.”
And Midland Empires farmlands may be in danger of being next, that`s why state and local officials are making sure everyone knows what to do if and when an agricultural emergency occurs.
Bill Brinton with Buchanan County Emergency Management Agency says, “We`re always ready, we haven`t practiced this part of the plan yet, but I have taken courses on how to deal with these things.” He adds, “We would just get all of our local resources and take care of it.”
The Department of Agriculture talked plans and prevention in case of an intentional or accidental outbreak of animal borne diseases in the area.
Seccret Agent O157: Evolution of a Killer
Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.
Every pathogen has a story, but the biography of E. coli O157:H7 is especially instructive because it shows how chance favors the prepared germ — and how we are giving certain disease-causing organisms more chances than a rigged roulette wheel. Though E. coli O157:H7 has turned up in unpasteurized apple cider in 1991, 1996, and nearly every year since the Odwalla outbreak [in 1996], it is best known as the agent behind “hamburger disease.” Hamburgers, in fact, are Rolls-Royce conveyances for O157. Think of your next Big Mac as the end product of a vast on-the-hoof assembly line. The story begins on hundreds of feedlots in different states and foreign countries. The animals are shuttled to slaughterhouses, where they become carcasses. The carcasses go to plants that separate meat from bone. The boning plants ship giant bins of meat to hamburger-making plants. The hamburger-making plants combine meat from many different bins to make raw hamburgers. At this point, your burger is more fluid than solid, because ground beef continually mixes and flows as it’s made, its original ingredients indistinguishable. Grinding also multiplies surface area, so that the meat becomes a kind of soup or lab medium for bacteria. Finally, from the hamburger-making plants, these mongrel patties are frozen and sent to restaurants. A single patty may mingle the meat of a hundred different animals from four different countries. Or, looked at from another perspective, a single contaminated carcass shredded for hamburger can pollute eight tons of finished ground beef. Finding the source of contamination becomes impossibly daunting. (Making juice is also like making hamburgers: one bad apple can ruin a huge batch.) In the Jack in the Box outbreak, investigators found that the ground beef from the most likely supplier contained meat from 443 different cattle that had come from farms and auction in six states via five slaughterhouses. As the meat industry consolidates and the size of ground beef lots grows, a single carcass may have even more deadly potential. In 1997, Hudson Foods was forced to recall 25 million pounds of ground beef for this very reason: a small part of one day’s contaminated beef lot was mistakenly mixed with the next day’s, vastly spreading the risk.
Animals also suffering from the storm
Kansas City.com / Associated Press
ST. LOUIS – The day before an ice and snow storm paralyzed St. Louis and left much of it without power, animal welfare volunteers were busy rescuing stray dogs and building straw huts for those they couldn’t cajole into shelter.
Despite their efforts last week, Stray Rescue founder Randy Grim said Tuesday he expected to find a lot of them dead.
“It’s a sad time of year,” Grim said. “I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.”
Strays, pets and farm animals suffered, along with people, in the first storm of the winter season, said animal welfare advocates and growers.
Factsheet: What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
Canoe News (Canada)
The following are excerpts from the World Health Organization website on Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease:
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a rare and fatal human neurodegenerative condition. As with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, vCJD is classified as a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) because of characteristic spongy degeneration of the brain and its ability to be transmitted. vCJD is a new disease that was first described in March 1996.
The Future of Farming
Wilson County News (TX)
Wilson County is still in a drought, as a farmer reminded me last week, pointing to his tank. “That tank has never been this low in 11 years,” he said.
That particular farmer had a decent year because he grows irrigated hay, and the drought has created a strong demand for his product.
But nobody — not the feed dealers, the drivers who haul feed and hay, or those with irrigated crops — has felt any personal pleasure in a situation where so many are taking losses.
Wilson County’s biggest dairy farm has gone out of business because of the drought. The owners were simply not able to grow enough forage for their herd, and they had to sell.
Cultivating cattle culture
By NATHAN CRABBE
Frank Batey paints a pretty picture of what he loves about cattle ranching: sitting on his steed in the summer, watching cows and their calves munch on the green grass.
But the job is often much tougher. He spent Wednesday morning corralling an ailing cow with a retained placenta, which would later need to be pulled from the animal.
The job is “definitely interesting. It keeps you thinking,” said the 60-year-old Archer resident.
Batey this week will take part in the Great Florida Cattle Drive near Kissimmee. The event is like the movie “City Slickers” on steroids: hundreds of ranchers and less experienced folks riding horses and wagons on a 50-mile cattle drive over four days.
First Clones Entering Livestock Performance World
The Baltimore Sun
by Jonathan D. Rockoff, The Baltimore Sun
On the California county fair circuit this summer, it looked as if the accomplished Taz was winning mule races all over again. During the Horn Showcase in Fort Worth, Texas, last month, the champion longhorn Day’s Feisty Fannie seemed to place first once more. And barrel-race horse fans shouldn’t be surprised if one day they see a younger version of the legendary Scamper, now 29 years old, competing.
Just a few years after the development of cloning technology, clones of show animals have begun participating in public competitions. “It’s the next step in evolution as a breeder,” said Ron Marquess, a longhorn breeder in East Texas.
Trouble-Shooting Reproductive Failure
by W. Mark Hilton contributing editor
With fall preg-checking season well underway, some herd owners are surely pleased with their results. Meanwhile, others are looking for bred females to purchase.
The goal shouldn’t be to have 100% of your cows bred each year. Herds at or near 100% pregnant year after year generally represent one of two situations – a very extended calving season or overfeeding. Neither option is cost-effective for overall herd profitability.
Financial analysis indicates a pregnancy percentage of 90-95% in 65 days is both achievable and likely most profitable. If your herd is below this level, some investigation by you and your herd-health veterinarian is needed.
Five Minutes with Mark Akin, Circle A Ranch
Can we call Circle A Ranch a legend in the Angus business? Or at just 15 years old, is it to early to induct them into some kind of agricultural hall of fame? Owned by the Dave Gust family of Orland Park, Il, the ranch claims almost 9,000 animals on 30,000 acres spread across Missouri and Iowa. Home base is near Iberia, MO and the general manager is Mark Akin.
Mark works with purebred manager Jeff Gooden and commercial marketing manager Jeff Windett to keep the ranch functioning at a level that produced 2,500 finished progeny last year that graded out at 95% USDA Choice or better.
Akin expands the commercial herd at a steady 10% annual increase. It’s a slow and deliberate growth rate that insures “doing it right,” according to Arkin. In an interview earlier this year, he said, “If I wanted to be less critical, we could move the numbers pretty quickly. But I have said from the start, what we don’t do right now in management we’re going to pay for later. That’s why we cull at every step.”
by Vic Cortese
Have you ever heard someone complain that they vaccinated their calves and the animals still got sick? Or maybe it’s happened in your herd. What’s the reason?
The leading factor causing vaccines to be ineffective is mismanagement in handling and administering the product. Fortunately, with attention to detail, these management errors can be corrected to achieve optimal effectiveness of the vaccine. …
Corn Silage Cuts The Crap
by Fran Howard
Feeding corn silage instead of alfalfa haylage or hay can reduce the amount of manure a cow produces as well as its nitrogen content.
After 10 years of research that included 14 experiments and 55 rations, Ohio State University dairy scientist Bill Weiss has quantified how realistic it is for producers to strive to reduce manure output, along with phosphorus and nitrogen, without sacrificing milk production. It’s a matter of efficiency.
“If you get less manure and the same amount of milk, cows are using the feed more efficiently,” he says.