10 Tips for Picking Heifers
by By Boyd Kidwell
A set of matching heifers grazing in your pasture is a beautiful sight-especially when they all have robust calves. Here are 10 tips to help you pick great heifers for your beef herd.
1. Shop for heifers with calm dispositions. Don’t buy nervous, high-strung animals. Many sales and reputable producers cull heifers that are hard to handle.
2. Buy crossbred females (unless you raise purebred seedstock). They benefit from heterosis and usually remain in production a long time. If you are in a hot area (along the Gulf Coast or south Texas), you probably want a percentage of Brahman blood in your cows.
Should You Supplement Cows?
“Normally, feeding supplemental protein is necessary and justifiable when the available diet does not meet an animal’s nutritional requirements,” says Ed Huston, an emeritus beef cattle nutrition professor from Texas A&M University.
That typically occurs when grass pastures become dry and dormant, and protein content in the plants drops off. Protein supplements also can be important with winter grazing. Dormant winter range forage is usually very low in protein, making a protein supplement beneficial, according to Houston.
NCBA: Research – A Cornerstone Of The Beef Industry
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Dec. 20, 2006) – The topic of research may sound a little academic, yet it has been the cornerstone of nearly every decision that impacts the beef industry. Without research, there wouldn’t be a Flat Iron Steak, or monumental improvements in beef safety or even the unforgettable ad tagline, “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.”
A new Web site, http://www.beefresearch.org, showcases checkoff-funded research in fact sheets and summaries, graphics, extensive resource listings, related Web sites, staff contacts and even glossaries of terms. The site is basically reader-friendly, presenting facts and findings in layman’s terms.
CAB Cattle Update: Growth Promotion Can Impede Quality
Implants can negatively affect quality, if you let them.
Growth implants are commonly used in the cattle industry with little regard to how they influence marbling, the “taste fat,” says Gary Fike, feedlot specialist for Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB).
“For every dollar invested in an implant, the return could be more than $6 in increased weight and efficiency in today’s marketplace,” he says. “Most producers can’t afford to leave that kind of money on the table, but if the implants aren’t used properly, they could cost significant dollars in lost grid premiums.”
New Extension beef specialist starts in Miles City
By Carol Flaherty
Montana State University
BOZEMAN — Rachel Endecott has been hired as the new Montana State University Extension beef cattle specialist for eastern Montana.
Endecott will have an office at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Lab at Miles City.
Endecott grew up on a cow/calf operation near McAllister in Madison County. She received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from MSU, and master’s and doctoral degrees in range beef cattle nutrition from New Mexico State University.
Where’s the beef? Brazil
By BARRY SHLACHTER
Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)
VERA, Brazil – James King Carr De Muzio started cattle ranching later in life. But the easy-mannered 53-year-old Brazilian doctor and rancher feels as comfortable in the saddle as he does wearing surgical scrubs.
De Muzio – who says his mixed ancestry, unusual even in Brazil, includes Alabamans who joined a colony of Confederates after the Civil War on one side and a “tossed salad” Spanish-Italian-African heritage on the other – counts himself among producers enlarging their cattle holdings as the country’s beef industry continues a seemingly insatiable growth.
Forage Breeding Program May Have Impact on Livestock
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation recently teamed with Forage Genetics International in a joint plant breeding program that has the potential to impact agricultural producers in more than one-third of the continental United States.
“This joint effort will advance the breeding programs of each institution, as well as create new research opportunities for both organizations,” said Mark McCaslin, President of Forage Genetics, which is a subsidiary of the Minnesota-based Land O’Lakes, Inc. “The relationship also models how non-profit and for-profit entities can work hand-in-hand to benefit agricultural producers and agriculture production in our country.”
The new plant breeding program will focus on the development of new cultivated varieties of alfalfa suitable for use in forage and livestock systems in the southeastern portion of the United States from the east coast to Oklahoma and Texas. The improved alfalfa cultivars will have intended uses in both beef production and dairy operations.
FDA Animal Feed Safety System
UNITED STATES: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued the second draft of the “Animal Feed Safety System”.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued the second draft of the “Animal Feed Safety System” (AFSS).
The (AFSS) is the FDA’s program for animal feed aimed at protecting human and animal health by ensuring safe feeds.
It includes oversight of labeling, production, distribution, and administration of all feed ingredients and mixed feeds at all stages of manufacture, distribution, and use, whether at commercial or non-commercial establishments.
Growing Old or Growing Soft?
Last week, I addressed an industry meeting during which a speaker talked of the value of being profit-driven and that every decision should be made on the basis of its financial merits.
Ten years ago, I’d have made nearly the same speech. My conviction at the time was that we needed to think in terms of agribusiness and not agriculture (business vs. culture).
Listening to the speaker, however, it struck me that I no longer agree with solely a profit motivation. I’ve come to understand that part of the allure of this business is its culture. The integrity, traditions and values that symbolize our business must be preserved.
Minnesotans Registering Their Premises At 26% Clip
More than 11,300 Minnesota livestock producers have voluntarily enrolled in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), reports AgriView. That’s slightly more than 26% of the state’s 44,109 livestock premises, said Ted Radintz, Minnesota’s National Animal ID coordinator.
The Minnesota support level is on par with the premises registration effort nationally, which stands at about 24%, says Bruce Knight, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs. Based on census data, USDA estimates there are 1,433,582 livestock premises in the U.S.
Total U.S. cattle on feed comes out near expectations
by John Perkins
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. cattle on feed as of December 1, 2006 totaled 11.973 million head, compared to 11.726 million a year ago, an increase of 2%. Prior to the report, analysts were expecting the total on feed figure to be around 101.9% of a year ago, in a range of 101% to 102.6%. The Ag Department reports that this is a record number for December 1 on feed since the series started in 1996.
November placements were the second lowest ever at 1.889 million head, or down 8% from 2.045 million for November 2005. Before the report, expectations ranged from 83.6% to 96%, with an average estimate of 90.6%.
Grassroots: Tons of beef sticks sent to Iowa troops
Fifteen shipments totaling 3.5 tons of beef sticks have been sent to Iowa National Guard and Reserve units deployed overseas over the past two years.
Lee Faris, a cattle producer from Mount Ayr and president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation, said the beef sticks were sent as a gesture of appreciation for the troops’ efforts in the war on terrorism.
The “Beef’n Up the Troops” campaign was launched in May 2004 and was coordinated by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation with an initial goal of raising $7,500 for one shipment of 12,000 beef sticks to deployed Iowa soldiers.
Painter keeps American Royal tradition alive
Bud Snidow captures livestock in portraits while teaching children about farm life.
The Kansas City Star
Kansas City — “You have to get the eyes right,” Bud Snidow said. “If you don’t, you miss it altogether.”
Whether he’s painting a portrait of a person or of a prize-winning bull, Snidow says the trick to capturing any living creature, human or quadruped, is to master the eyes.
His portraits of prized livestock grace the walls of the American Royal Museum. But his paintings are just one of the ways Snidow has made his mark on the Royal in the more than 50 years he has served as organizer and volunteer.
Hay in short supply though drought has eased
By BEVERLY MOSELEY
Bryan College Station Eagle
The trauma of drought continues to plague Texas ranchers as winter begins, with hay in extremely short supply for the second year in a row.
“We get calls every day,” said Ross Kinney, owner of Ross Kinney Farms in Kilgore. “It gets to the point that you don’t even want to answer the phone sometimes.”
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Eagle Photo/Beverly Moseley
Jason Malazzo unwraps a bale of hay for cattle at John Malazzo Farm and Ranch in Caldwell. Owner John Malazzo, Jason’s dad, says his hay inventory is down about 20 percent from a normal year but that good rains and an early spring could offset the shortage to some extent.
Kinney produces coastal bermuda and Tifton 85 horse-quality hay. He said he made nearly 20,000 square hay bales last year that sold for around $6 each. The volume of calls from horse owners hunting hay started picking up in August at his farm, he said.
Meat and Milk From Cloning are Safe
A long-awaited study by federal scientists concludes that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring is safe to eat and should be allowed to enter the food supply without any special labeling. The finding is a strong signal that the Food and Drug Administration will endorse the use of cloning technology for cattle, goats and pigs when it publishes a key safety assessment intended to clear the way for formal approval of the products
Ranchers forced to make hard choices
Hay has become scarce due to drought that has lingered throughout the state.
By Julie Bisbee
EL RENO — Denny Pankrantz did something this fall he hasn’t done in 24 years of farming. He paid nearly $4,000 for hay to keep his cattle fed through winter.
Pankrantz, like many farmers, is faced with a troubling dilemma this winter — spend money on hay that is fast becoming scarce, or thin a herd he’s spent years cultivating.
Drought conditions dried out grass pasture early in the fall, forcing farmers to begin feeding hay to cattle earlier in the year. Those same drought conditions hit hay fields hard, and producers cut nearly half as much as they have in previous years.
The end result is that it’s costing cattlemen more to maintain their herds and forcing them to make tough decisions.