Feeding Strategies in the Age of Ethanol
Story by Ed Haag
It is a given that ethanol production and the availability of distillers’ grains will dramatically increase during the next decade. What is still an unknown is how well individual beef producers will adjust to this new reality.
“When there is a major change, there are always winners and losers,” says Terry Klopfenstein, University of Nebraska (NU) animal scientist and one of the country’s leading researchers in feeding ethanol byproducts to beef cattle. “The winners will see the opportunities and have the foresight to take advantage of them.”
Cattle lice thrive through winter; have treatment plan ready
By Jamie Larson, U of M Beef Team
Minnesota Farm Guide
We usually think of the winter as our escape from pesky insects, however, cattle lice thrive during the cold weather and increase their populations on cattle. Now is the time of the year to evaluate cattle for lice and plan a treatment if necessary.
Lice have been accused of being the most underestimated livestock insect in terms of economic loss; USDA estimates that U.S. producers lose $125 million a year to cattle lice.
Cattle that are infected with lice are generally in poor condition with rough, patchy hair coats. Lice or their eggs can be visually detected, especially those severely infected. Heavy lice populations cause lowered milk production, decreased flesh growth, unthriftiness and anemia which can also affect reproduction and the immune system.
Weigh costs, premiums of raising ‘natural’ cattle
Tri State Neighbor
BROOKINGS, S.D. – Cattle feeders should weigh costs as well as possible premiums when deciding whether to raise “natural” cattle that could command a higher price.
South Dakota State University Extension beef feedlot specialist Erik Loe says cattle raised the conventional way put on beef faster.
“When cattle feeders are going to consider managing their cattle for natural programs, they have to consider what they’re going to get for cattle performance,” Loe said. “There will be a lowered rate of gain and a decrease in feed conversions.”
Trimming Feed Supplement Costs Can Be Key to Profits in the Lean Years of the Cattle Cycle
With 2007 likely to be one of the last years that Idaho’s cow-calf operators clear a noticeable profit before the 10- to 12-year cattle cycle once again levels and dips, Jason Ahola says producers should take a fine pencil to their trace mineral supplementation costs.
A national survey conducted in the mid-1990s-when the previous cattle cycle was bottoming-found that low-cost producers attributed their greatest savings to trimming their feed supplement expenses. That doesn’t mean eliminating them, but it does mean using them as efficiently as possible, says Ahola, University of Idaho Extension beef specialist at Caldwell.
Cattle Preconditioning: Dehorned Calves Receive Consistently Higher Prices
Cow calf producers are constantly looking for management techniques that can give them an advantage on sale date. A very simple, but increasingly important trait in feeder calves, is the absence of horns. With the increased emphasis on “beef quality assurance”, all segments of the industry are working toward methods of reducing product loss due to bruising. Horns on feedlot cattle can be an important source of carcass trim due to bruising. Therefore feedlot operators are discounting feeder calves with horns. Horned calves will have to be dehorned or have the horns tipped as they arrive at the feedlot.
The big question in ethanol: Do DDGs impact yield or quality grades
By Lura Roti, Freelance Writer
Tri State Neighbor
As ethanol production continues to drive corn prices, more cattle producers are looking to ethanol’s byproduct, distillers grain (DDG) as an economic feed alternative.
“Starting in September when corn prices increased, demand for modified distillers grains increased. It prices very economically into rations,” said Erik Loe, Extension feedlot specialist for South Dakota State University. “The plants were able to sell all of the co-product that they were producing. More producers would like to feed it if more product were available.”
While DDGs cut down on feed expenses, are they costing producers in the form of higher yield grades and lower quality grades?
Japan suspends beef imports from one U.S. facility
Japan has suspended beef imports from a U.S. facility after finding a meat shipment that may have violated the age limit of beef imports as agreed upon between Japan and the United States, the government said Friday.
Japan requires that the United States limit shipments to meat from cattle aged up to 20 months and remove the brains, spinal cords, bones and other risky materials in order to safeguard against mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Premises Registration Takes Focus in Animal ID Talks:
This week, NCBA met with Bruce Knight, USDA’s under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, Burton Eller, USDA’s deputy under secretary, and other USDA officials to discuss continuing efforts regarding premises registration as part of a National Animal Identification System.
USDA is reaching out to livestock groups to get their help in promoting premises registration to their producer-members as a necessary next step toward implementing a National Animal Identification System. “It’s clear that USDA is focused on premises registration and is trying sincerely to work with all the livestock sectors in a slow, deliberate process so producers can best understand how they need to participate,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Truitt.
Stocker Cattle: Increasing Profit By Using Year-Round Grazing Systems
Winter feed and winter-feeding systems are the largest cost that cow/calf operators incur. Two-thirds of calf production cost is feeding the cow and winter feed is two-thirds of that feed cost.
With expenses in agriculture continuing to rise, feeding alternatives are needed. Adjusting traditional winter-feeding alternatives only cuts costs marginally. It costs about $30 to put-up a ton of hay. Delivering it back to the cow costs about another $20. Silage costs even more. In other words, every ton of hay or silage fed in winter costs at least $50 per ton above a ton of forage in pasture, swaths or crop aftermath.
Dale Kaliel, of Alberta Agriculture’s economics and competitiveness division, has shown that low cost is high profit in cow/calf operations across Alberta. Costs can be decreased significantly by extending the grazing season rather than relying on traditional hay or silage-based winter-feeding systems. Replacing a traditional 200-day wintering period with a year-round grazing system can result in a cost savings of $0.25/pound or more, for each pound of calf raised. Also, extending the grazing season requires less labour than putting-up and feeding winter feed.
Stocker management affects feedlot, carcass performance
Tri State Neighbor
Many producers believe the feedlot phase is the only one that influences beef quality grade, but the cow/calf and stocker phases also contribute to marbling.
“As a stocker operator, you know subsequent feedlot performance and quality grade help determine value for the cattle you sell,” said Larry Corah, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB).
Speaking at a Pfizer-sponsored stocker conference during the Cattle Industry Annual Convention, Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 in Nashville, Tenn., the CAB vice president explained cattle health at that stage of production has an effect on economics and feedlot performance.
Livestock Sector Use of Distillers Grains, a Coproduct of Ethanol Production
With the expansion of the U.S. ethanol industry and higher prices for corn, a reduced share of the corn crop is used directly for domestic livestock feeding. However, a coproduct of ethanol production, distillers grains, may substitute for corn in some livestock rations, particularly for beef and dairy cattle. Cattle feedlots located close to an ethanol plant will benefit from a steady supply of distillers grains.
Meanwhile, distillers grains are less suitable in poultry and hog rations. The divergent effects of ethanol expansion on the different categories of livestock and in different regions of the country could result in structural changes in some parts of the U.S. livestock sector. For each 56-pound bushel of corn used in the production of ethanol, about 17.5 pounds of dried distillers grains are produced.
The use of distillers grains in livestock feeding and their overall substitution for direct corn feed use in the projections reflect a number of important underlying assumptions.
Websites Offer Producers Marketing Advantages
by: Dana Stewart
Director of Member Services, American Gelbvieh Assoc.
A BREEDER’S WEBSITE is a powerful tool. By using the Internet, potential customers can search for Gelbvieh breeders and find seedstock providers both near and far. Hundreds, even thousands of people can get a true look at your program with just a few clicks of a mouse.
Websites allow their creators many advantages over traditional print advertising: Distribution is virtually unlimited, customers can easily respond through email links and feedback forms, and the cost of publishing a website can be much more economical than print advertising for large audiences.
On the other hand, a website can also be a powerful tool to drive business away. That’s right, the same tool that can draw interest in your program and genetics can also turn interest away. An outdated or cluttered site can give visitors a negative impression, thus limiting repeat visitors and actual responses from the site.
Cutler Reports ‘Substantial Progress’ In U.S.-Korea Trade Talks
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler told reporters that though a seventh round of free trade discussions between U.S. and South Korean negotiators this week didn’t lead to any breakthroughs, it did generate optimism.
“I don’t underestimate the challenges facing us,” she said, “but the prospects are good, and we made substantial progress this week.”
Negotiators are slated to huddle for an eighth round in Seoul the week of March 5.
The two countries reached their first formal accord this week on the issue of tariffs on digital songs and movies, but didn’t resolve more sensitive issues involving automobiles and pharmaceuticals.
Cattle Inventory Report Has Positive Implications
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 15, 2007 — The Agriculture Department’s cattle inventory report issued last week revealed the total U.S. beef cattle population to be down 100,000 head, with less than 32.9 million head as of the first of the year. American Farm Bureau Livestock Economist, Jim Sartwelle blamed severe and persistent drought conditions in top cattle producing regions for the herd reduction.
“While record high calf and feeder cattle prices the last three years encouraged beef cattle producers to increase their individual herds and reap the benefits, it’s obvious that persistent drought in many important cow-calf productions prohibited producers from holding onto the brass ring,” Sartwelle said.