Monthly Archives: February 2007

Analysis: Push made for cellulosic ethanol

Analysis: Push made for cellulosic ethanol



Amid rising corn prices affecting the margins of livestock farmers, the Bush administration has renewed its call for cellulosic materials to eventually take the place of corn as the main source of ethanol.


The problem is we got a lot of hog growers around the United States and a lot of them here in North Carolina who are beginning to feel the pinch as a result of high corn prices, Bush said Thursday during a visit to Franklinton, N.C.-based enzyme firm Novozymes. “A lot of the cattle people around the United States … they ‘ re worried about high corn prices affecting their making a livelihood. … And so the question then is how do you achieve your goal of less dependence on oil without breaking your hog raisers? And here’s how: You develop new technologies that will enable you to make ethanol from wood chips, or stalk grass, or agricultural waste.As part of its efforts to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil the Bush administration has set a goal of reducing gasoline usage by 20 percent over a 10-year period. More than 45 percent of gasoline sold in the United States is 10 percent blended with ethanol, and there are growing calls for that proportion to increase to 85 percent.


Tetanus May Be A Problem Following Band Castrating Of Bulls

Tetanus May Be A Problem Following Band Castrating Of Bulls


Cattlemen using bands to castrate bulls must adhere to proper vaccination procedures and timing of vaccine in order to obtain protection against tetanus. Banding has become a popular castration means particularly for larger bull calves. The type of necrotic lesion that develops on the scrotum is conducive for the tetanus organism (Clostridium tetani) to`grow and produce toxin that can result in classic signs of severe muscle tetany. Cases of tetanus seven to ten days following banding are not uncommon, even though a dose of tetanus toxoid was administered. Death can result only a day or two after signs of tetanus are apparent.


BeefTalk: A Review of a Good Sale Catalog

BeefTalk: A Review of a Good Sale Catalog

Two Points to Look For in Bull Sale Catalog Two Points to Look For in Bull Sale Catalog


By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist

NDSU Extension Service


A good catalog starts out with a friendly welcome and factual information about the sale.


The procedure for buying bulls should be fairly methodical. While the process can be as encompassing as one wants, we can not forget that the genes are what is needed for herd improvement.


The number of sale catalogs received can be overwhelming, but the future return on the time investment of reviewing catalog information is critical. Looks can be deceiving, so that is why homework is necessary.


A good catalog starts out with a friendly welcome and factual information about the sale. This information is fairly common, but certainly is needed. Of critical importance is a very clear and obvious phone number and contact information. (In today’s world, cell phone dependability is important.)


Ranchers issue plea for help to recover

Ranchers issue plea for help to recover

Area ag producers detail catatrophic loss for state officials, congressional aides.





SPRINGFIELD – Ranchers in Southeastern Colorado are pleading with state and federal officials to provide more assistance to help offset catastrophic losses that are mounting in the wake of two devastating blizzards that blasted the region during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.


Ranchers from across the Lower Arkansas Valley met Sunday with aides for U.S. Sens. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., and Wayne Allard, R-Colo., as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the Baca County Resource Center in Springfield.


“We wanted to arm them (state and federal officials) with information from Southeastern Colorado agriculture producers because everyone in Southeastern Colorado is struggling right now,” Baca County Conservation District manager Misty George said on Monday.


The back-to-back blizzards buried fields, cut off electrical power, and stranded thousands of cattle across the region.


In the following four weeks, cold temperatures and scattered snowstorms dealt another punch to ranchers in areas from Fowler to Lamar and small towns in between.


New potential cash crop being discussed

New potential cash crop being discussed

Teff, an Ethiopian cereal grain, touted as new cash crop




MALONE — Teff, a hearty grass grown primarily in Ethiopia as a cereal grain, has the potential to be a high-quality horse feed and forage grass for dairy cows in northern New York.


Results of a two-year study on the promising cash crop will be presented to farmers and growers in six counties as part of the 11th-annual North Country Crop Congress, to be held Wednesday, March 14, in Carthage and Thursday, March 15, in Canton.


Peter Barney, a field-crop educator from the St. Lawrence County extension office in Canton, and his counterpart in Jefferson County, Michael Hunter, will present regional field-crop research on teff.


Stocker Cattle Forum: Feed Additive Basics

Stocker Cattle Forum: Feed Additive Basics


Feed additive use can be very effective in improving production levels, efficiency, and animal health. Feed additives are appropriate not only in cattle finishing operations, but also in stocker grazing operations. The primary effects of feed additives are to increase feed efficiency and/ or improve average daily gain. Some feed additives have additional benefits such as reducing incidence of bloat, acidosis, and coccidiosis. Other feed additives are used to suppress estrus, reduce liver abscesses, control foot rot problems, and control parasites. Feed additives can be classified into five general categories: antibiotics, ionophores, estrus suppressants, buffers, and others.


Ethanol demand could mean higher food prices

Ethanol demand could mean higher food prices

But the prices may not go up enough for consumers to notice



Mail Tribune (OR)


DES MOINES, Iowa — Soaring demand for ethanol will likely mean higher prices at grocery stores for products from soft drinks to broiler chickens, but the increases may be too small for most consumers to notice.


In the past six months, the rush to produce more corn-based ethanol has doubled the grain’s value, increasing costs for foods that include corn as an ingredient or rely on it as animal feed.


The value of other crops — soybeans, cotton, wheat, rice and vegetable crops — also will likely climb as farmers switch to corn and cash in on prices as high as $4.08 a bushel. Last year at this time, prices hovered around $2.22.


“We’ve seen a little of the retail food price impact already,” said Robert Wisner, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University.


Web site tells how to handle smelly farms

Web site tells how to handle smelly farms




A University of Missouri-Columbia agriculture program launched a Web site last week to help livestock producers cut down on air pollution through the strategic use of trees and shrubs, also known as shelterbelts.


Tax Time Tips for Livestock Owners

Tax Time Tips for Livestock Owners


by: John Alan Cohan, Attorney at Law

Cattle Today


Many people who own livestock farms are full-time professionals in non-farming fields–doctors, for instance. The IRS often enough will assess deficiencies against these individuals based on the idea that the activity is simply a means of generating tax write-offs.


The IRS might argue that, given your full-time day job, you don’t have much time to manage the operations. According to numerous Tax Court cases, working on the farm only on weekends and holidays is not enough time to devote to a cattle or other livestock venture unless you have a qualified farm manager whom you supervise during your absence. Hiring a qualified farm manager is evidence that you are conducting your farm as a business, particularly if you personally only can devote a minimal amount of time to the activity.


In addition, according to recent Tax Court cases, one of the most important elements in withstanding IRS scrutiny is to have some type of plan–a business plan–in which you set forth in writing how and when you expect to make a profit from the venture.


It is important, as well, to maintain herd inventory records on each animal, including parentage, birth date, birth weight, and registration or other identification number. The growth of the size of your herd is evidence that you are engaged in a business rather than a hobby.


Night Time versus Day Time Feeding Influences Time of Calving

 Night Time versus Day Time Feeding Influences Time of Calving


Dr. Glen Selk, University of Oklahoma


It is generally accepted that adequate supervision at calving has a significant impact on reducing calf mortality. Adequate supervision has been of increasing importance with the use of larger beef breeds and cattle with larger birth weights. On most ranching operations, supervision of the first calf heifers will be best accomplished in daylight hours and the poorest observation takes place in the middle of the night.

       The easiest and most practical method of inhibiting nighttime calving at present is by feeding cows at night; the physiological mechanism is unknown, but some hormonal effect may be involved. Rumen motility studies indicate the frequency of rumen contractions falls a few hours before parturition. Intraruminal pressure begins to fall in the last 2 weeks of gestation, with a more rapid decline during calving. It has been suggested that night feeding causes intraruminal pressures to rise at night and decline in the daytime. 



Ranchers Hope To Preserve Purity Of Texas Longhorn

Ranchers Hope To Preserve Purity Of Texas Longhorn


(AP) LUBBOCK Hondo rancher Debbie Davis has no beef with those who want to see their Texas longhorns, well, beefier.


Her passion, though, lies with preserving the traditional longhorn breed that survived on little grass and water as it roamed Texas and other parts of the West during the mid-1800s.


“A true Texas longhorn is endangered right now,” said Davis, president of the Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry which is striving to keep the bloodline of the traditional longhorn as pure as possible.


The longhorn isn’t on any endangered lists, but visit any livestock show and all the competition is between longhorns that have far more heft and girth than the traditional rangy and gaunt animal.


U.S. cattle on feed down 3 percent

U.S. cattle on feed down 3 percent


By USDA / North Texas E-news


Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on February 1, 2007. The inventory was 3 percent below February 1, 2006 but 3 percent above February 1, 2005.


Placements in feedlots during January totaled 1.69 million, 23 percent below 2006 and 10 percent below 2005. Net placements were 1.59 million. This is the second lowest placements for the month of January since the series began in 1996. During January, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 320,000, 600-699 pounds were 390,000, 700-799 pounds were 545,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 435,000.


Cattle owners plead for aid

Cattle owners plead for aid



By John Ingold

Denver Post Staff Writer


Springfield – Hundreds of southeastern Colorado ranchers – many arriving with muddy boots and tired faces – packed a small community center Sunday to plead with state and federal officials to provide some kind of direct assistance to offset a winter of punishing weather and catastrophic losses.


“This is pretty close to home,” said rancher Curtis Foos, who estimated he has lost more than 250 calves and cattle. “Raising cattle is our livelihood. The experience the last two months that everybody in this room has had is going to be something we’ll be talking about for the rest of our lives.”


Increasing beef consumption keeps cattle industry relevant

Increasing beef consumption keeps cattle industry relevant


By Paul Paterra



For about 40 years, Alquin Heinnickel has been feeding and selling cattle.


He has about 600 head on his Crabtree farm, located on Route 119 just four miles outside of Greensburg.


“You just go at it every day,” Heinnickel said.


Beef farming remains a relevant business in Pennsylvania. Paul Slayton, executive director of the Pennsylvania Beef Council, said there are 28,000 people in the state who raise cattle.


Back to grass roots

Back to grass roots

How much do you know about where your beef comes from?



York Daily Record/Sunday News (PA)


When Jenny Shearer used to go to the grocery store, she fumbled over the labels as she read the ingredients and wondered what was in the food she fed her family.

“I always had a conscience about food,” she said.

The more she read about nutrition, the less she wanted to eat commercially produced foods, including beef.

Shearer and her husband, Marc, started raising small herds of sheep, cattle and chickens on their farm and selling the milk, eggs and meat. Their mission is to educate others on the benefits they’ve experienced from eating beef, chicken, eggs and milk produced the way self-sufficient farmers of eras past did it.


Beef rules irksome

Our view: Beef rules irksome

Our View: If feds won’t test cows, state should open records


Two developments on the mad cow disease front show that it’s taken just over three years for the nation to go from high alert to hands off.


First, documents obtained by Cattle Producers of Washington indicate that the feds and the state of Washington don’t have a reliable system for tracking cows that are shipped across the border from Canada, which recently registered its ninth case of mad cow disease.


Second, the only laboratory in the Northwest that tests cows for mad cow will be closed on March 1.


UW Student Picked for Internship with NCBA

UW Student Picked for Internship with NCBA


University of Wyoming


Heather Hamilton, a University of Wyoming senior double majoring in animal science and agricultural communications, earned an internship with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).


Hamilton worked for the NCBA for one week, focusing her efforts on the association’s recent annual cattle industry convention in Nashville, Tenn.



State’s largest beef sale and show headed to Murfreesboro

State’s largest beef sale and show headed to Murfreesboro


Murfreesboro Post


“Tennessee Beef Agribition is more than the state’s largest combined show and sale,” according to Margie Hunter, livestock marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “It’s also the best place all year for cattle producers to find out the latest in information and technology for their industry.


“This year, that includes the latest opportunities to receive cost share funds for equipment you need through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program Cattle Improvement Initiative.”


Tennessee Beef Agribition will be held in Murfreesboro, March 9-11 at MTSU’s Tennessee Livestock Center. The annual three day cattle show and sale event traditionally features one of the largest cattle trade shows in the Southeast, giving producers a look at new products and the direction of the industry. The trade show portion of the event will be conducted Mar. 9-10.


New Ethanol Study

New Ethanol Study


There’s a lot of talk and a lot of promise.  Now a new study examines the value of ethanol distillers’ grains for cattle.


What some in the Canadian cattle feeding industry see as a black cloud on the horizon may in fact be a cloud with a silver lining.


A dramatic rise in ethanol production is expected to drive up costs for traditional livestock feedgrains, but massive amounts of “distillers’ grains” created by this production may provide a valuable alternative feed source.


Industrial “Food” a Growing Menace

Industrial “Food” a Growing Menace


By Tom Glaister



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.


One of the drawbacks of being a vagabond writer is the health risk that constant travel entails — bandits with guns on third world borders, malaria in jungles and the occasional bout of Montezuma’s revenge from a steak that hasn’t been cooked properly.


Food poisoning can hit the traveler anywhere and it pays to be on your guard. I was recently hanging out in a country where everyday around 200,000 people get sick from bad food, 900 are hospitalized and 14 die.