Basic Strategies for Buying the Right Bull
Dr. Scott P. Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech
As we move to the heart of bull buying season, the question is often asked- “which is the best bull in the sale?” The response to such a simple question cannot be painted with a broad brush, or in a manner which fits all needs. If we consider the question in the context “which is the right bull for my operation?” we are prompted to define the important parameters that need to be considered. Successful bull selection is dependent on effective strategies that allow the right bull to be identified.
Strategy 1: Define Herd Goals and Objectives, Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Broad herd goals and objectives serve as the foundation for sire selection and provide guidance as to traits with the most economic relevance. A basic definition of the production and marketing system, along with management strategies and environment are key factors that warrant consideration:
CAFO operators facing February 15 deadline
by Dave Russell
Brownfield Network (IN)
February 15th is the deadline for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) operators to submit their annual report to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Information to be included is the amount of manure generated, the amount of manure transferred to other parties, the number of acres available and where manure has been applied and an update of current animal numbers.
Prolapses in Cattle, an Ugly Fact of Life
W. Dee Whittier, DVM, Extension Veterinarian for Cattle, VA Tech
Prolapses in cattle are a dirty problem that can be a real health frustration for beef cattle producers. Uncared for or improperly treated they can result in significant economic losses.
Prolapses are the result of tissues that normally are a tube inside the body turning inside out and bulging from the body. The rectum, the vagina and the uterus commonly prolapse in beef cattle.
Vaginal prolapses occur most commonly in heavily pregnant beef cows. They are associated with increased pressure in the abdomen of these cows. Fat cows are more prone to the problem because fat increases the pressure in the abdomen. Rations that create very full abdomens also increase the risk. Two common situations where this occurs is during the winter when cows are on poor quality hay and in the spring when lush pastures with high water contents result in cows filling themselves greatly. The late stage of pregnancy increases belly pressure and also is associated hormones that prepare the rear-end tissues for calving so that these softer, swollen tissue permit a prolapse.
Corn Prices Shifting Cattle Feeding Geography
Beef Stocker Trends
Call it a coincidence if you must, but according to the latest monthly Cattle On Feed reports (COF) — feedlots with capacities of 1,000 head or greater — there are more cattle being fed in northern lots and fewer in the south.
More specifically, Nebraska reports COF in that state is 5% more than Jan. 1 of last year at 2.54 million head, and 10% more than Jan. 1, 2005. That’s the largest state inventory since the report series began in 1994. Likewise, South Dakota reports a record-large number of cattle on feed for harvest at 225,000 head — 9.3% more than last year.
Cattle Update: Coping With High-Priced Corn
Feed costs represent 50 to 70% of livestock production expenses and are a critical component of livestock profitability. In the Upper Midwest and Upper Great Plains, corn grain is a primary source of energy in livestock diets. Consequently, as the price of corn escalates, so does the cost of feeding livestock. But cost isn’t all: you also must address dietary and management considerations when coping with increased corn prices.
Agriculture thefts on the rise due to drug production
By: John Wenz
In 2000, Ray Bennett, a Boone County farmer who lives near Cedar Rapids, had a little problem – the heads of cattle he had bought at an auction weren’t quite his.
Unbeknownst to Bennett, who lives just on the border of the brand inspection line, the cattle had been rustled by the dealer.
“He lived about 40 miles from where we lived,” he said, adding that there had been a bit of wariness about the dealer from other ranchers and farmers in the area.
As soon as these things came to light, the farmers and ranchers in the area were working towards stopping the dealer.
“We were wanting to get along with everyone and wanted to get this guy convicted,” Bennett said.
Eventually, he was – and Bennett said the dealer got seven years in prison.
For the cattle that hadn’t been branded, identification wasn’t easy and required DNA testing the bull in South Dakota.
Meat that makes the grade
Looks aren’t everything — at least when it comes to steak. During the rib-eye tasting at The Blue Room we realized that it is difficult for people who aren’t trained as butchers to evaluate how a piece of meat will taste based on looks. All the rib-eye, in fact, had a similar appearance, but that’s where the likeness ended.
The US Department of Agriculture grades steaks based on fat content. Prime beef is 10 to 13 percent fat, choice is 4 to 10 percent, and select is 2 to 4 percent. Our steaks were all choice or higher.
Hay turns to gold
Weather, scarcity turn hay into a pricey commodity for Missouri farmers
By CAROLINE ZILK and KATIE ALLEN
A two-year drought and this year’s harsh winter weather are contributing to a national hay shortage that’s hurting many Missouri farmers. Back-to-back years of low hay production are forcing them to decide between selling their livestock or paying two to three times more than last year for hay.
“We are completely out of hay,” Boone County hay supplier Ken Rall said. “Normally we have hay left until March or April.”
Cattle Health: Calving – Correction of Dystocia
It is important to be very clean when attempting to correct a dystocia and the vulva of the cow should be washed thoroughly with a mild soap or disinfectant solution. The operator’s hands and arms should also be scrubbed clean.
If you find upon inserting your hand into the vagina that the cervix will admit only two or three fingers, the case is probably one of nondilation of the cervix or possible uterine torsion. You may possibly be interfering too soon. If not, call a veterinarian who may elect to perform a caesarian operation.
Rejection of U.S. beef imports ‘must have scientific ground’: Seoul official
By Kim Deok-hyun
A top South Korean trade official made an issue Wednesday with his country’s recent rejection of U.S. beef imports, suggesting that the dispute should be resolved as soon as possible to clear the way for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Ending a three-year ban prompted by a mad cow scare, South Korea re-allowed imports of American beef last year but has since turned back three shipments totaling 22.3 tons after tiny bone chips were found in them.
South Korean quarantine officials defended their action as health-oriented but Washington accused Seoul of applying its safety regulations too strictly to block U.S. beef imports.
The Merits Of High-Capacity Mowers, Alfalfa Rotations
Hay and Forages Grower
The latest in mowing equipment as well as the benefits of using alfalfa within a crop rotation were two of many presentations made to members of three organizations last week at Wisconsin Dells.
The annual meetings of the Wisconsin Custom Operators, Midwest Forage Association and Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin were combined into a two-day workshop.
At one session, high-capacity self-propelled mowers were critiqued. University of Wisconsin ag engineer Kevin Shinners’ list of advantages: they offer better cutting management, require fewer people and machines, and maintain capacity at slower speeds as compared to smaller machines.
Some of the disadvantages of these machines: the capital outlay; that those with dedicated tractors on the power units can be justified only through high annual usage; and the fact that, if such a machine breaks down, all cutting stops.
Lemmon Livestock Raises Almost $6,000 for National Organization
Lemmon, S.D. – Lemmon Livestock hosted a rollover calf sale fund-raiser here last week that generated almost $6,000 for R-CALF USA – just one of many such events the auction house has held in the past to benefit the national organization.
R-CALF USA Southeastern Field Coordinator John West said almost everyone in the ring bid on the calf, and the animal sold about 25 times.
West spoke to the crowd about the many issues R-CALF USA continues to work on, including animal identification, Beef Checkoff reform, marketing concerns, mandatory country-of-origin labeling, (M-COOL), health and safety issues regarding import standards, Canada’s problems with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), as well as USDA’s proposal to open the border to older Canadian cattle.
“I sure appreciate Paul Huffman and his crew for donating the calf, and the producers and businesses that were so generous in their participation – especially during such cold weather,” West said. “It was a good crowd. They were really engaged. The producers seemed to put equal importance on all of our issues, but the entire Canadian border situation – in that part of the country – well, producers really key in on that issue.
“It was a real pleasure to get to interact with South Dakota producers,” West concluded. “Their dedication to the industry and to R-CALF is unparalleled.”