Sen. Craig Thomas passes, 74; Voice For Wyo. Mining, Cattle Interests
By Adam Bernstein
Craig Thomas, 74, a Wyoming Republican who served three terms in the U.S. Senate and was a reliable voice for the state’s conservative political leanings as well as its mining and cattle industries, died June 4 at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. He had leukemia.
Sen. Thomas first won national office in 1989, in a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of then-U.S. Rep. Dick Cheney (R) to become defense secretary under President George H.W. Bush. Sen. Thomas spent five years as his state’s only U.S. representative before winning election to the Senate.
New K-State Beef Conference Slated For August
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Adding more value to crops has been a hot topic in recent years, but Kansas State University will host its first ever conference on adding value to calves August 9-10 at Weber Hall on K-State’s Manhattan campus.
The two-day conference will include several presentations about what beef producers can do to become more efficient and get the most profit out of their businesses. The first day will include nine presentations; three one-hour symposiums in the morning and six shorter sessions in the afternoon. The following is a list of the presentations and presenters.
• “Show Me the Money;” Bill Mies, Elanco Animal Health, Greenfield, Ind.
• “Finding the Right Business Partner;” David Lehman, K-State business department.
Research is Essential to a Successful E.T. Program
by: Stephen B. Blezinger, Ph.D., PAS
In the last issue we began an extensive discussion of the basics of embryo transfer in the beef cattle industry. In this issue, we’ll continue and complete this discussion by examining a number of issues surrounding the use of technology as well as its overall effectiveness and efficiency.
Donor Selection – one more time
In the previous issue we briefly discussed some of the consideration for selecting the donor cow. The most significant of these factors being selecting an animal of superior genetic make-up. What does this mean, exactly? What is superior genetic make-up? Is this a cow that has done really well in the show ring and exhibits excellent conformation and eye appeal? Is she an animal that has shown outstanding muscling, weight gains, feed efficiencies, ultrasound ribeye area? The answer to this is, all of the above. These are all important, economic traits that can be evaluated before the animal is even close to breeding age. But then other production characteristics must be considered in a donor prospect. What is her milking ability, expectation of calving ease, reproductive capability – not just producing eggs and embryos but actually carrying a calf to term. Also, how are her heifer and bull calves going to produce.
Summer grazing tour June 14
Hagan farm in Monroe County will be the site
By GARY TILGHMAN
Glasgow Daily Times (KY)
GLASGOW — Mark your calendar to attend a Summer Grazing Tour in Monroe County on June 14. It will begin at 4 p.m. on the John Hagan Farm near Mt. Hermon.
This program is sponsored by the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council.
Topics of discussion include: New Innovations in Forages, Developing and Monitoring Quality Summer Pastures, Mineral Selection for Grazing Beef Cattle, Pasture Weed Control, Grazing Considerations for Horses, Parasite Control in Goats on Pasture, Managing Pastures for Goat Production, Economics of Rotational Grazing, and Using Warm Season Grasses in Rotational Grazing Systems.
Several UK and Industry Specialists will present this powerful program. A complimentary dinner will be served after the tour.
Farmers in Global Warming Alarmists’ Crosshairs
Written By: James M. Taylor
Publisher: The Heartland Institute
When politicking in farm belt states, global warming alarmists frequently assert that restrictive global warming legislation will benefit farmers. Farmers are told measures taken to address global warming will encourage more ethanol production and induce industry to purchase carbon sequestration credits from farmers engaging in no-till agriculture.
Once out of the farmers’ earshot, however, alarmists are making it all too clear that farmers are seen as more of a problem that needs correction than a friend who deserves reward.
Stephan Singer, the World Wildlife Fund’s European Head of Climate and Energy Policy, told Reuters on April 30 that beef consumption is a major contributor to global warming, because the methane emitted from cattle is a key greenhouse gas. “The diet of the West has a big impact on the atmosphere,” Singer said.
San Jose State University sociology professor Dan Brook told attendees at an April 16 public lecture that giving up meat is “even more important than switching from an SUV to a Camry” because agriculture is “the number one cause of greenhouse gases.”
Hybrid alfalfa, Harvestore spur progress over the years
The sweet smell of newly cut hay is a sure sign of summer. The long green windrows of alfalfa snake their way around hills in contour strips or run in neat, straight rows across farm fields.
Hay, whether in the form of high nutrition alfalfa in the United States or roadside grass in some parts of the world, is harvested and stored for winter animal feed. It’s the basic feed for milk production.
Most of today’s older dairy farmers have seen the great strides made in making hay. They look back and wonder how come they had to work so hard making hay as kids. It was one of the toughest jobs on the farm, even worse than harvesting tobacco, often considered the “backbreaker” in the Dane, Rock and Vernon county tobacco areas.
In the 1950s farmers were still making hay with a hay loader and storing it loose in the hayloft. It was a dirty, sweaty job as the chaff from the very dry hay got down the neck of your shirt and stayed there. Most likely, stacking hay in the nearly airless and dust-filled hayloft (called mowing) of years gone by would never pass safety rules today.
Forecast for FFA: bright, variable
By Shannon Livick
The Cortez Journal/MSNBC
Forecast for FFA: bright, variable Farmers will grow in demand, need to adapt
Organizers and speakers at this week’s Colorado FFA Convention say the future of farming for high school students is bright but that agriculture is definitely changing.
Steadily over the years, the average age of farmers in America has increased, but the nearly 1,400 FFA students at this week’s convention at the Montezuma-Cortez High School will be told that the future of farming is not for the aging farmer.
“I think we are going to see a resurgence in agriculture,” said Jeff Berman, San Juan Biodiesel project manager.
Berman will give a presentation to the FFA members during the conference at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
No Herd Expansion Expected For Several Years
Say all you want about historically high cattle prices, the longest sustained period of cow-calf profitability on record, robust consumer beef demand and the growing seasonal prospects for more grass and forage.
“We didn’t expand the herd last year, we won’t this year, and I don’t believe we’ll grow it to any degree for the next several years,” says Bill Helming, of Bill Helming Consulting Services at Olathe, KS.
Net economics appear to be the growing reason.
“The financial health of the production sector is at greater risk than a year ago because cost of inputs has increased so dramatically and quickly,” says Nevil Speer, a Western Kentucky University livestock economist.
UT kicks off Hay Day in Newbern
By NED B. HUNTER
Jackson Sun (TN)
The University of Tennessee Extension Service’s 11th Annual Hay Day is Thursday. The event will be held at the Zarecor Farm in Newbern.
This year’s event will have seminars on hay storage and beef cattle performance, said Brian White, Western Region Beef and Forage specialist.
White said using proper hay storage techniques are extremely important this year because of reduced hay production across the state.
“This is important, because at this time, producers are harvesting between one-third to one-half of their normal production because of the drought,” he said. “(Also) about 30 percent of each bale of hay is lost when stored outside.”
The task: Tasting our way to superior steaks
Flavor can vary widely, even with the same cut of beef
By Jarett C. Bies
Argus Leader (WI)
When it comes to steak, there are plenty of experts who’ll tell you where to buy the best ones, how to grill and which cut beats the rest.
But what tastes best?
To find out, we grilled six ribeye steaks, from different shops and categories, in hopes of finding out if choice tops organic or if aging makes a big difference.
Our steak tasters found that the Amana USDA Choice steak from Hy-Vee stood out as a great-tasting steak, although the voting was mixed. Several other steaks received some raves, as well.
Bad Beef By Design
By Nancy Scola
Air America Radio
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.
Every day lately we seem to get re-taught the lesson that if for some crazy reason you actually wanted to design a system to produce unsafe food, well, you could do worse than to copy the one we’ve got here in the U.S. Today’s reminder is this report: 75,000 pounds of American beef is being recalled because of E. coli contamination, including meat sold by Albertsons and Save-A-Lot stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
What do I mean when I say that the system we’ve got produces food that makes us sick? Over the years in the U.S. we’ve developed an approach to food that consists of a public policy of warping the production process and a Reagan-esque “no government is good government” approach to oversight of the food we eat.
Farmers Feeling Effects of Drought
Reporter: Mike Gurspan
The on-going drought across Florida and Alabama is forcing some beef producers to sell their cattle early.
At Tuesday’s annual Northwest Florida Beef Field Day in Jackson County, the dry conditions weren’t far from farmer’s minds.
The Northwest Florida Cattle Research Center outside of Greenwood is one of the most advanced facilities’ in the country.
Scientists constantly look at improving feed, but with an on-going drought and grazing land drying up, area ranchers are looking to cut costs and send their livestock to market.
Jackson County Livestock Agent Doug Mayo said, “Some ranchers had to sell. We can fertilize and kill bugs but without water nothing grows. It has been challenging to say the least.”
Tips to avoid summer beef health, productivity problems
Summer’s hot, dry weather can take a toll on cattle in the High Plains, but producers can take steps to keep health and productivity problems at bay, says Kansas State University beef cattle specialist Twig Marston.
In a university report, Marston provides the following tips for producers to keep in mind as they manage their cow herd operations to maximize nutrition and health during July:
# Provide plenty of clean, fresh water.
# Provide free-choice mineral to correct any mineral deficiencies or imbalances.
# Monitor grazing conditions and rotate pastures, if possible and/or practical.
Irsik & Doll Team #1 Wins Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest
GARDEN CITY, KAN. – The roots of Beef Empire Days and Southwestern Kansas are found in the beef industry. The Beef Empire Days cattle working contest is a celebration of our long, proud heritage in working with cattle.
The 2007 cattle-working contest was held May 31 at the Finney County Fairgrounds Arena. Twelve teams took part in the event which is designed to test teams on cattle working efficiency and effectiveness. Each team administered an injection, a growth implant, pour-on wormer, a dose of oral anti-biotic and ear tag placement.
The event also allows livestock companies to showcase new products and educate feedlots about how, why and where to use them. Veterinarians judge the event to evaluate how accurately, safely and correctly each product is used.
R-CALF: Swift sale signifies need for industry reform
BILLINGS, Mont. n The world’s largest cattle herd soon will have greater access to the world’s largest beef-consuming market if U.S.-based Swift and Company n now the third largest beef packer in the United States n is sold to Brazil’s JBS-Friboi.
The sale would reportedly result in JBS-Friboi becoming the world’s largest beef packer.
Brazil, with estimated 207 million cattle, more than 50 million of which are estimated to be beef cows, has the world’s largest cattle herd. By comparison, the U.S. has less than half that, with approximately 97 million cattle, 33 million of which are beef cows.
Cattle Feeding: Common Questions About Nitrate Poisoning
How does nitrate get into the forage?
Nitrate is the form of nitrogen that the plant roots take up from the soil, and is transported to the leaves.
When do excess nitrates accumulate in the plant?
Excess nitrates accumulate in plants when they are stressed. Drought or hot dry winds put forage under water stress often resulting in nitrate accumulation. Damage caused by hail or frost impairs photosynthesis resulting in excess nitrates. Cool cloudy weather can also cause the problem.
When any of these conditions occur within a few days of harvest or grazing, the potential for nitrate poisoning exists. If the stress is removed and the plants recover, nitrate levels should return to normal within several days. If there is any doubt then test the feed.
R-CALF Is Wrong In Its GIPSA Study Analysis
R-CALF USA’s recent analysis of a congressionally mandated USDA GIPSA RTI Livestock and Meat Marketing Study (LMMS) is based on an “incorrect economic interpretation.” That’s what Stephen R. Koontz, professor of agricultural and resource economics, Colorado State University, says.
R-CALF announced in a press release last week that it’s asked James Link, administrator of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), to request a formal investigation of a pattern of practice by the meat-packing industry that raises concerns regarding compliance with the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA).
But, Koontz says R-CALF’s justification for the request contains inaccuracies and potential misrepresentations.
“I participated in and contributed to the study,” Koontz says. “I understand the research methodology used and I am aware of the study’s strengths and limitations.”