BIF Recognizes Top Genetic Contributors
The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF), meeting in Colorado Springs, CO, this week, is commemorating the 40th anniversary of its founding. Among the presentations and festivities, BIF presented a number of awards.
Pioneer Awards are given annually in recognition of individuals who made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle and have had a major role in the acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make genetic change in beef cattle populations. Cited this year, were cattleman R.A. “Rob” Brown, R.A. Brown Ranch, Throckmorton, TX; Jim Gosey, University of Nebraska Extension beef specialist and professor emeritus; and David and Emma Danciger, Tybar Ranch, Carbondale, CO.
Consider culling earlier in this cow market
By Jason K. Ahola, Ph.D, University of Idaho Extension
Summer is shaping up to be a key time for selling cull cows or bulls before the market declines seasonally.
Your grass is green, your calves are growing, and there are a lot of grazing days to look forward to this summer. Weaning time, pregnancy checking, and marketing of calves and cull cows are a long way off in your mind. Why would you even consider making plans to send a cull cow or bull to market this time of year?
Well, if you’ve been watching cull cow and bull prices over the past few weeks and months, you might have an answer for this question. Since utility cow price hit its seasonal low last November (around $44-45/cwt), cow prices have steadily increased at a rate of about $2/cwt per month. As of late-May, cows were selling for over $55/cwt in many parts of the country, which is approximately 15-20% higher than the average year-round utility cow price over the past 5 years.
Hay Quality versus Hay Quantity
Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University
Harvest date is a very important factor that determines the quality of the hay cut from native grass meadows. Producers often strive for the best combination of quantity and quality of forage from the hay that they store for winter feed supplies. Research from Kansas State University range and pasture researchers sheds light on the optimum native range cutting dates. They harvested native grass meadows in early June, July, August, and September. The June and September dates were clearly less desirable as the June date produced about half as much tonnage as the early August cutting and the September hay quality was extremely low and produced a hay product that would be difficult for cattle to digest easily and yield little in terms of nutritional value.
Therefore the decision of cutting time boiled down to the early July versus early August dates. The July harvest produced about 2400 pounds of dry matter forage per acre compared to 2800 pounds per acre in August. The July cutting was tested at about 7% crude protein and the August cutting was about half as good for protein content (3%).
Cull Animals Based on Disposition
Clyde Lane, Jr., Professor – Animal Science, University of Tennessee
Are there animals in your herd that scare you? If so, then those animals should be culled. Each year beef producers get hurt working around animals with bad dispositions. Exercising caution and having the best equipment may not be sufficient to protect you from injury.
Most producers have a culling program based on age of animal, production, physical problems, etc. without having disposition as a component.
Each herd has at least one animal that makes it difficult to work with the remainder of the herd. Has thought ever been given to culling these animals? Other animals that should be considered for culling include those that go crazy in the working chute. Trying to perform recommended management practices on an out of control animal is difficult and dangerous. The noise created also gets other animals excited thus making the whole cattle working more difficult.
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Value-based Marketing of Cattle: More Than Just Carcass Quality
Ropin’ the Web
An increasing number of beef producers want the price they receive for their cattle to reflect their use of above average genetics in their cowherds. This is more commonplace as producers, feedlot operators and meat processors become more aware of the importance of genetics and good management practices.
Genetics not only relate to fertility and performance, but also to carcass qualities and the ability to meet the high to premium specifications for beef, as set by retailers and consumers.
A Marketing Tool
Value-based marketing (VBM) is a management and marketing tool that rewards or penalizes cattle, based on carcass merits. It provides an opportunity for producers to capture greater economic rewards for using above average genetics. If a producer raises a superior calf that yields a superior carcass, he receives a premium price. Producers who want to capitalize on premium markets need to evaluate the performance of their cattle, both in the feedlot and on the hook. To do this, producers require more information concerning the entire production process, from conception to consumption.
Microsoft funding major animal rights organization
UNITED STATES: New partnership with the Humane Society of the United States surprises Animal Agriculture Alliance.
The Animal Agriculture Alliance has learned that Microsoft, the software giant, plans to make a $100,000 donation to animal rights behemoth Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and is partnering with the vegan-led group on a pilot program called the ‘I’m Initiative.’
Through the new program, whenever a Windows Live Messenger user has a conversation using I’m, Microsoft will give a portion of the program’s advertising revenue to one of ten organizations selected by the user, states a news release. HSUS is one of the choices, and there is no limit to the amount of money that can be donated.
Other non-profit organizations, like the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, have urged Microsoft to end its support of HSUS, but the company refused. Tara Kriese, a Microsoft representative, said the program is “a great way to enable people to help causes that are important to them.” Apparently she missed the October 2006 statement from Miyun Park, HSUS’ Vice President of Farm Animal Welfare, who said that the organization’s long-term goal for the egg laying and broiler chicken industry is, ‘to get rid of the industry.’
Hoosier Hay Yields are Down
by Gary Truitt
Hoosier Ag Today
The outlook for Indiana hay production is not good for a couple of reasons. “The first being that corn acreage in the nation and in the state of Indiana has increased and some of that is from hay fields that were probably needing to be taken out anyway,” said Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension forage expert.
June acquires new title: ‘Georgia Beef Month’
By Billy Skaggs
The Georgia Beef Board and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association have proclaimed June as Georgia Beef Month.
The proclamation honors Georgia’s 25,000 beef producers who make up a significant portion of the state’s biggest industry — agriculture.
Beef Month highlights the economic role of the cattle industry and focuses on beef as an easy and versatile meal.
Being the fourth largest cash crop in Georgia with cash receipts totaling over $456 million, beef cattle are very important to the economic well-being of the state.
What’s a Farmer to do? Pasture is gone & no hay
Some beautiful spring days in March started our grasses growing and farmers were expecting a normal growing season. But on April 7 & 8th we had a devastating freeze that severely stunted our pasture and hay grasses. This was followed by a period of no measurable precipitation and livestock producers are now in a crisis situation. Grass that was stressed is now dying and our farmers are faced with issue to sell the livestock they own or feed hay (that they do not have) through the summer.
Manage Forages to Counter Dry Conditions
It’s time to be considering the alternatives for managing around these poor producing pasture and hay fields, says Stan Smith Fairfield County Extension educator.
“After experiencing a very wet fall and winter, this year’s 3 inch below normal precipitation in May was preceded by an extraordinary freeze in early April,” Smith says. “All that adds up to what many are describing as only 30-60% of normal spring forage production.”
It’s never too early in the summer to take a look at your forage and feed resources, and give some thought to alternatives that will hold you until cooler temperatures and timely rains return to Ohio. Consider some of these alternatives which will help best utilize limited resources:
Judge tosses ’81 law protecting right to farm
By MARK BABINECK
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
A Panhandle judge has thrown out a 1981 state law designed to protect agricultural interests, from giant cattle feedyards to chicken coops, against nuisance lawsuits from neighbors upset about dust, smell or other unpleasantness.
The Texas Right to Farm Act was among several similar measures enacted across the country to prevent lawsuits being brought by suburban newcomers against existing facilities.
It has remained in place for more than a quarter-century, and the Texas Supreme Court enforced it in a lawsuit out of McCulloch County in 2003.
NCBA announces several ‘additions’
UNITED STATES: Cattlemen looking to continue strong membership growth.
Building on the success of its growing membership, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has made several recent additions in its member services area. The additions are being made to build on the momentum NCBA achieved in 2006, when membership grew nationwide by eight percent to a total of almost 27,000 members.
In addition to its new vice president of affiliate relations and member services, NCBA has hired two new field representatives and plans to add two more. When the membership team is complete, NCBA will have five field representatives traveling in designated regions, meeting with area cattlemen, and serving as a conduit between grassroots members and NCBA staff and officers.
Don’t worry so much about scary diseases
By Laurel Naversen Geraghty
What’s scarier than mad cow disease? Nothing, really — except illnesses that are 10 billion times more likely to hurt you. Think about it this way: Your risk of getting mad cow is much lower than your odds of winning the Powerball lottery. In short, it’s not likely to happen. What could happen? In her lifetime, the average woman has a 1 in 2 chance of developing osteoporosis and a 1 in 3 chance of heart disease.
“We’re afraid of the new, the mysterious,” says Marc Siegel, M.D., a clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University Medical School who wrote “False Alarm: The Truth about the Epidemic of Fear.” “But we’re afraid of the wrong things.”
Customers find value in Beef Value Cuts
UNITED STATES: The Beef Checkoff announces success of new innovative cuts.
Retailers are making room in the meat case for Beef Value Cuts (BVC). Beef Shoulder Top Blade Steak (Flat Iron) and Beef Shoulder Petite Tender have experienced tremendous growth since their 2003 retail launch, according to FreshLook Marketing.
These two cuts, as well as six others, make up the full line of BVCs and are a result of a new cutting technique developed by the beef checkoff’s Muscle Profiling Study. The beef cuts are taken from the underutilized chuck and round and consist of steaks and roasts that do not have any connective tissue. Selected for their palatability, tenderness, and flavor, these cuts allow customers to enjoy more great-tasting steaks and roasts that are easy to prepare, states a news release.
Sales of the Flat Iron stayed consistent at approximately 119,000 pounds per quarter from the time it was introduced to the retail meat case until the third quarter of 2005 when more retailers started offering the cut. Retail sales expanded in the third quarter of 2005, increasing 579 percent to more than 1.1 million pounds sold in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the latest data available.
The Worming Question
Good grief, there’s a lot to do to a calf these days. There’s the Beef Quality Assurance requirements—the right vaccines given in the right places with the right needles, electronic ID (EID) tags and implants. It’s enough to give a producer a headache, not to mention what it does to the co-op bill.
There is one chore you might not want to skip, though, and that’s deworming. Even the experts disagree on when and who should be dewormed and if one more step really pays outs. A roundup of their opinions follows.