Use of Better Carcass Data Will Improve Beef
Carcass data is one key to making upward change within a cow herd.
by Miranda Reiman
Certified Angus Beef
As the beef industry moves closer to grid marketing, it’s economically important to focus on the end product, said Larry Corah, vice president of Certifi ed Angus Beef LLC (CAB). The Choice-Select spread averaged more than $13 per hundredweight (cwt.) last year, he said. That should make carcass data collection and use a top priority for cattlemen this year.
Glen Dolezal of Cargill Meat Solutions spoke at a seminar that CAB co-sponsored last fall, and said the company sees value in sharing information with producers. There are ways to make it more relevant, however.
“We understand fully that it’s important to make progress,” Dolezal said. “We strongly prefer that if you ask for data, the cattle be individually identifi ed — then the data can be meaningful.”
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Ranchers Leaving Cull-Cow Money On The Table
Jeff Carter, University of Florida-Marianna
Generally, ranchers leave dollars on the table when it comes to marketing their cull cows, says Jeff Carter, an assistant professor in the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna. On average, cull cows can produce 10-20% of the total revenue in a beef cow-calf enterprise. Increasing that value by just a third can improve overall ranch revenue by as much as nearly 6%. And as little as a 10% increase in net income from the sales of cull cows would nearly double the overall ranch profit margin.
Thanks to the availability of economical and plentiful byproduct feeds, feeding cull cows can add value to an animal that has otherwise held only salvage value. Cows with a higher body condition score, and more weight, optimize economic returns by delivering both a higher carcass value and a higher live value. Research shows cows on full feed for 28-56 days had higher carcass weights, which were due to an increase in carcass soft tissue, or lean, as well as carcass fat and not just gut fill.
Co-Products from the Steer’s View
Evan Vermeer, Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc.
Co-product is a relatively new term to the cattle feeding industry. This class of feeds includes the products left over from the production of ethanol or other products for human use from corn or other grains. Co-products are breaking on the cattle-feeding scene in the upper Midwest in a big way recently. For many years, the industry has been using corn gluten feed and steep water from ethanol production plants. These are classed as wet mill plants as the corn is soaked before grinding and processing. These plants have the ability to make several edible human products as well as ethanol such as starch, sweetners, oils, etc. The gluten and steep products are very different from the output from dry mill plants. These dry mill plants grind the grain before soaking, hence the name. Dry mill plants are cheaper to build but are geared for strict quality control for the ethanol with everything else produced being the byproducts. These by-products are called co-products and consist of wet distillers grains and CCDS or solubles or syrup.
BVD: Why Biotype Matters
When veterinarians discuss bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus with producers, they often talk about the two different genotypes – BVD Type 1 and BVD Type 2. The two BVD biotypes – noncytopathic (NCP) and cytopathic (CP) – are seldom mentioned. Yet, the NCP biotype causes greater than 90 percent of BVD outbreaks.
“According to research, NCP BVD is always the cause of persistently infected (PI) animals,” says Gary Bosch, DVM, director of research and development at Novartis Animal Health US, Inc. “NCP is not something that we can ignore.”
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Feeding of Young Beef Bulls Can Influence their Reproductive Capacity
Ropin’ the web
Research conducted at the Agriculture Canada Research Station, Lethbridge, over an eight-year interval indicates that the feeding of high versus medium energy diets to young British breed beef bulls is detrimental to their reproductive capacity. Experiments have been carried out in which the feeding of high versus medium energy diets to strains of Hereford and Angus bulls was compared. High energy diets consisted of 80 percent concentrate (barley, 60%; oats, 10%; beet pulp, 10%) and 20 percent forage (alfalfa or alfalfa-straw (70:30) cubes), while the medium energy diet was forage alone. Bulls were fed either high or medium energy diets from weaning until slaughter at 12, 15 or 24 months of age.
At slaughter, sperm production by the bulls was estimated by epididymal sperm reserves. In most cases, regardless of age, bulls fed high energy diets had substantially reduced reproductive potential compared to bulls fed medium energy diets. For example, feeding medium versus high energy diets to Angus and Hereford bulls from weaning to 15 months of age increased paired testes weight by 6 percent, efficiency of sperm production by 13 percent, daily sperm production 19 percent and epididymal sperm reserves by 52 percent. Table 1 summarizes the results for epididymal sperm reserves in four experiments. It should be noted that, with the exception of 24-month-old Hereford bulls in 1983, at the end of these experiments the average bull fed the high energy diet was carrying less backfat than bulls of comparable age and breed being marketed by the beef industry today. Along with a reduction in sperm reserves, quality of semen and the libido of bulls fed high energy diets were reduced. For example, in 24-month-old Hereford bulls slaughtered in 1983, bulls fed the high energy diet had one half the motility and one third as many normal sperm as bulls fed the medium energy diet. Also, fat bulls had eleven times fewer services during libido testing than did lean bulls. To be fair, this is an extreme case as the bulls in question were obese, but it shows what can happen.
NIAA Announces Dates, Location, Theme for ID•INFO EXPO 2007
BOWLING GREEN, KY—The National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) annual ID•INFO EXPO 2007 will be held in Kansas City, Missouri August 28-30th at the Westin Crown Center.
“Based upon the input we received from last years attendees, we are expanding the scope of the event as reflected in this year’s theme, ID•INFO EXPO 2007—Where Traceability Needs Intersect: Animal Health, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), Food Safety and Consumer Demand,” explains Robert Fourdraine, chair of the NIAA Animal Identification and Information Systems Committee.
“While progress on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Identification System (NAIS) will be discussed at this year’s event, we recognized that producers and animal agriculture are eager to consider other aspects of livestock identification and food traceability. As producers and industry look at creating greater value for their product, industry driven programs such as source verification, quality assurance and branding of products have increased in importance,” points out Fourdraine.
New CIDR Based Synchronization System Gives Fixed Time AI Option
Last year we reported on a Fixed Time AI system (CO-Synch+CIDR) that has become widely recommended in the industry for AI breeding of postpartum cows on a single day. (See October 2006 Cow Calf Manager). Our work in Virginia indicates this program results in pregnancy rates of 55 % to 65% to fixed-time AI (FTAI). In field studies in Missouri, the CO-Synch+CIDR system averaged 65% pregnancy rate in over 3000 cows in 35 herds. The range in their studies was 57% to 72% AI pregnancy rate. It should be noted that all herds were well managed with cows in good body condition.
America, meet your mock meats
By Ted Anthony
The Associated Press
Ashland Daily Times (NJ)
A warm spring evening in American suburbia, not long before dusk. Green lawns, well-kept houses, SUVs parked in driveways. From a backyard gas grill comes the enticing, smoky aroma of food cooking. Atop the fire: a mixed grill — all manner of carnivorous delights.
Look closer, though. Those burgers, ribs, hot dogs and shish kebabs are in reality “burgers,” “ribs” and “shish kebabs.” Or, more accurately, “veggie burgers,” “riblets,” “Smart Dogs” and “meatless skewers” — painstaking imitations of the real thing, made of 100 percent non-animal materials like seitan, tempeh and other downright meatlike vegetable proteins.
These days, mock meat sits smack in the middle of America’s most traditional pastiches — Fourth of July burgers and dogs, Thanksgiving turkey, cold cuts in the lunchbox. Is this the culinary heresy of a nation committed to faking itself out? Or is it simply a healthier populace turning to savvier eating habits?
NAIS Impact on Missouri Farmers
High gas prices, drought, and feed shortages have all plagued Missouri farmers over the past few seasons. But it’s new legislation some say might put them out of business.
The USDA is pushing an animal identification program to track health issues and local farmers are arguing the overhaul of an already successful method might put them under.
Cattleman Bob Parker spends his days herding cows. But lately, he’s spending just as much time corralling fellow ranchers.
“On the surface, it looks good,” says Parker.
But he says an in-depth look at a new plan by the United States Department of Agriculture could put local farmers out to pasture.
Parker says, “It’s not a project that’s going to fly.”
Neighbors come together to brand calves near Kadoka
By Wendy Sweeter, Editor
Tri State Neighbor
About a dozen horse trailers pull into a 400-acre green pasture with rolling hills and grazing Angus cows with calves by their sides.
Forty adults and kids as young as 7 get on their horses and head out to round up the cattle at the Weller Ranch north of Kadoka, S.D.
They bring the 100 cow/calf pairs down to a corral made of cattle panels. Five or six men on horseback sort the cows out and leave just the calves in the pen.
Roundup and sorting calves are just the first steps in the branding and vaccinating process on Bill and Carrie Weller’s ranch.
Those 40 people were a few more than normal Bill Weller said. The Kadoka school district did not of have school May 4 due to teacher inservice, so more kids than usual came out to help.
“We have about 20 different neighbors. They know the routine. You don’t have to tell them twice,” Bill said. “They know how to do it, so it’s a deal where you just turn them loose and your neighbors take care of you.”
The Wellers met while at South Dakota State University. Bill was a transfer student after attending college in Torrington, Wyo., for a couple years. Carrie, a Marion, S.D., native, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science from SDSU in 1990.
Weevils May Be Feeding In Indiana
Hay and Forage Grower
Indiana hay growers should be on the lookout for alfalfa weevils now. Alfalfa fields in southern and central Indiana need to be inspected immediately for weevil tip feeding and skeletonization of leaves, say Purdue University entomologists.
Forage Focus: Grazing Livestock Affects Pasture Fertility
At the February Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council annual conference, Dr. Dave Barker, an Ohio State University forage specialist, presented some of the research he is doing regarding the effects of livestock grazing upon pasture fertility. Probably the main message that came across in his presentation was that animals move nutrients. Grazing animals move nutrients within a pasture paddock, between pasture paddocks and move nutrients off the farm as animal product. One of the main effects of grazing from a pasture fertility standpoint is to concentrate nutrients into patches through urine and manure deposition.
The main nutrient contained in urine is nitrogen. Urine accounts for about 70% of the nitrogen returned to a pasture by grazing livestock. According to Dr. Barker, one urine patch can have a nitrogen application rate equivalent to about 1000 pounds/acre. This is too much nitrogen to be effectively used by grass growing in the area, so there are high nitrogen losses. Leaching losses, where nitrogen moves down through the soil and out of the rooting zone, account for nearly 50% of the nitrogen in a urine patch according to a German study cited by Dr. Barker. Another 22% of the nitrogen is lost to the air by volatilization as ammonia.
Purdue offers look into niche farming
By Jenni Glenn
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Many livestock farmers keep adding more animals to their herds to keep up in a consolidating industry.
But some local farms are finding ways to thrive without growing larger and larger. By targeting a niche market, smaller livestock operations can remain profitable and generate enough income to support the owners.
A Purdue University tour will spotlight two sustainable farming operations in LaGrange County on Thursday. At least 25 farmers are expected to visit Cook’s Bison Ranch and Gunthorp’s Pastured Pork and Poultry to learn more about these specialty livestock operations.
Forage planning cushions impact of drought
By Mark Parker
Farm Talk (Parsons, Kan.)
Every farmer and stockman knows that, despite recent wet weather, the dry variety is never far away.
Speaking to a large crowd recently at the Oklahoma State University Forage Seminar at the Eastern Research Station near Haskell, OSU Extension area agronomist reminded producers that drought should never come as a surprise.
“That means we need to manage our forage supplies so that when an extended drought hits, we can avoid or at least moderate the kind of problems many producers faced last year,” he said.
The Red Hide Rebellion
When the beef industry continues to differentiate the value of a feeder calf based on its color it tells me one thing — our beef industry is not a very mature industry. In fact, it says that the beef industry is still interested in establishing false values and misleading perceptions that are designed to take advantage of one segment of our business and line the pockets of another. It’s time to say no more to these falsehoods, misleading perceptions and mischaracterization of livestock in an effort to fit a color pattern that has become nothing more than an overstated value standard to fit a now commodity black-hided brand.