Vet’s Advice: The value of calf health
By Mike Apley, DVM, BEEF Magazine contributing editor
We’ve all misread a few trends in life, some of which evolved into forces that drastically changed lives and entire industries.
Thirty years ago, who would have thought that the roughest, most mismanaged, cedar-infested grassland in the Flint Hills of Kansas would bring as much or more at auction than well-managed parcels? A lot of this market pressure results from the spillover of disposable income from urbanites looking for recreational ground, combined with some pretty reasonable interest rates.
Poll Shows More Americans Checking COOL Labels
More Americans are checking product and food labels after the proliferation of scares associated with Chinese imports, according to a survey conducted by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute.
Nearly 69 percent of the 1,000 Americans polled indicated they check labels for nation of origin, up from 53 percent a year ago, the institute said.
Furthermore, 86 percent agreed with a statement calling for suspension of Chinese imports until China meets U.S. product and food-safety standards.
Meantime, 87 percent indicated they have confidence in American-made and distributed products and food.
But fewer than half of Americans surveyed (47 percent) agreed that the United States is doing a good job ensuring imports meet set safety and quality standards.
Headed in the Right Direction
Mother Nature affects most everything tied to agriculture. Weather can ruin a hay crop, branding day or feedlot performance. It can also have a positive influence on everything from calf health to calf prices.
For James Washburn and his son Tony, a wet spring accelerated plans to increase the number of cows in their herd near King City, Mo.
Before Tony came back to the farm in 1992, the cattle operation took a back seat to hogs and crops. The team had already decided to phase out the pork enterprise when an unusually wet year in 1995 hastened its dispersal.
Residual Feed Intake (Net Feed Efficiency) in Beef Cattle
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Benefits | Residual feed intake | Research | Results | Value of residual feed intake | Selecting for residual feed intake
Improving the feed efficiency of a beef cattle herd can mean big savings for producers. One way to achieve this goal is to select breeding bulls that are naturally feed-efficient, since 80 to 90 per cent of the genetic improvement in a herd comes through the sires.
On average, it costs $50 less over 112 days to feed an efficient bull compared to an inefficient one. An efficient bull will pass on superior genetics for feed efficiency to his progeny, which will be realized as feed savings for calves in the feedlot and for replacement heifers entering the cowherd.
Feed is a major expense for cattle producers, second only to fixed costs. With 75 per cent of the total feed cost used for maintenance in breeding cows, improving feed efficiency can have a big economic effect.
A 5 per cent improvement in feed efficiency could have an economic effect four times greater than a 5 per cent improvement in average daily gain. Improving feed efficiency will have an effect on the unit costs of production and the value of breeding stock, embryos, semen and feeder animals.
New technology may mean diseases can’t hide
By JEFF NESMITH
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Washington — Scientists have glimpsed a near future when infectious diseases will be diagnosed almost instantly, and possibly even anticipated before they exist.
New instruments can race through a sample of blood, sputum, tissue or other biological specimen and spell out the genetic code of virtually everything present, including new diseases.
The new technology is comparable to the invention of the microscope and will cause a fundamental change in the way disease is identified and diagnosed, some scientists believe.
“It’s a whole new world,” said Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University epidemiologist and pathologist. “If we’d had this, we could have anticipated HIV. We could have had a blood test ready. Think about the millions of people whose lives would have been saved.”
Lipkin was part of a team of government and university scientists who recently used the new technology — called metagenomics, or sometimes “shotgun genomics” — to link an unusual virus to the massive die-off of honeybees last winter.
Beef Checkoff Program is Key to Export Efforts
Centennial, Colo., Aug. 20, 2007 — Exports of U.S. beef continue to increase, thanks in part to promotions funded by U.S. beef producers through the Beef Checkoff Program. These efforts are coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and state beef councils by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
For the Beef Board’s fiscal year ending Sept. 30, more than $4.8 million in national checkoff funds is budgeted for foreign marketing. This national money was combined with checkoff funds from state beef councils and further supplemented with funds from the Market Access Program (MAP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, leveraging the value of producer dollars to the greatest extent possible. In fact, a $6.3 million checkoff investment by beef producers in 2006 purchased $15.5 million in total international promotions, when USDA MAP funds and contributions by grain and soybean producers were included.
Acting U.S. farm chief asks Japan to raise age limit on beef imports
By Tom Wray
National Provisioner Online
WASHINGTON – Acting U.S. Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner asked Japan on Monday to raise the age limit on American beef imports.
“The international standards for beef trade into Japan would allow us to ship all our beef products of all ages into that country given our safety measures that we have in place in this country,” Conner said in a teleconference monitored by Japan Economic Newswire.
It was the first news conference held by Conner since assuming the post after Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns’ resignation last Thursday, the news service reported.
S.D. Beef Council honors Prime Promoters
Tri State Neighbor
BROOKINGS, S.D. – Two individuals, a restaurant and community organization have received special recognition for their efforts in promoting beef and the beef industry.
The South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) honored its 2007 Prime Promoters during its Prime Promoter Award Luncheon. The event was held Sept. 22 in conjunction with the SDBIC annual meeting and South Dakota State University (SDSU) Beef Bowl in Brookings, S.D. Honorees this year include Robbi Pritchard, Eldon Roth, Cabaret Steakhouse and Lounge, and the Mobridge Beef and Fun Day Committee.
Gelbvieh Juniors Earn Foundation Scholarships
The American Gelbvieh Association Foundation presented scholarships to six deserving junior Gelbvieh members during the American Gelbvieh Junior Association (AGJA) Gateway Classic in Sedalia, Mo., July 8-13. The Heart of America Gelbvieh Association and Heart of America Junior Gelbvieh Association co-hosted the event with the American Gelbvieh Junior Association.
Research takes a hit in Beef Board budget
by Peter Shinn
The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) last week figured out how it planned to spend its $46.8 million budget for the 2008 fiscal year. That budget represents a 9% decrease from the current fiscal year.
CBB Chairman Ken Stielow is a beef producer from Paradise, Kansas. He told Brownfield a number of factors contributed to this year’s smaller budget.
“The cattle inventory in the United States isn’t growing and the imported assessments were down,” Stielow explained. “And then also, we’ve been doing a better job of budgeting and using our funds, so that in the past, we’ve had some carryover funds to budget into the new budget each year and this year we just didn’t have that – we’d used ‘em up.”
That leaner budget, Stielow said, led the CBB Beef Promotion Operating Committee to reject $1.8 million in program requests. And according to Stielow, many of the rejected requests for beef checkoff dollars involved research.
Governor Rendell Announces 51st Annual Keystone International Livestock Exposition
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ — Governor Edward G. Rendell today invited the public to attend the 51st Annual Keystone International Livestock Exposition, Sept. 29 – Oct. 7, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg.
The largest livestock show in the eastern United States, this year’s expo features more than 4,500 animals and 1,300 exhibitors from 30 states and Canada.
“Each year, the Keystone International Livestock Exposition features some of the finest livestock in the world,” said Governor Rendell. “This show plays a particularly important role in the Pennsylvania livestock industry – providing producers the opportunity to exhibit, sell, merchandise and promote premier livestock from across the state.”
Since it began in 1957, the show has grown bigger and better, adding more to its schedule and doubling the number of entries. The cattle show expanded from eight to 16 beef breeds and categories. The sheep show has grown from six to 14 breeds, and the swine show now includes nine breeds. Throughout the years, the horse show has grown to feature nine different breeds.
Beef Myths: Cattle Are Given Large Amounts Of Antibiotics On A Regular Basis
Fact: In reality, antibiotics are used very sparingly by cattlemen. Antibiotics are used to treat animals that are sick, but those animals are not permitted to be marketed until the antibiotic residue has been reduced to safe levels in the animal’s system (as determined by requirements of the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).
Study Shows Hereford Heterosis Advantage
Preliminary research shows a $78 advantage for Hereford-sired calves compared to Angus-sired calves in a real-world commercial setting.
The American Hereford Association (AHA) announced the first-year results of a heterosis study being conducted in cooperation with California State University, Chico; Lacey Livestock; Harris Feeding Co.; and Harris Ranch Beef Co. The objective of the research project was to conduct a controlled crossbreeding system, comparing progeny sired by Hereford and Angus bulls, under commercial conditions, emphasizing economic differences at the ranch, feedlot and packing plant.
South Korea beef imports from US returning to pre-ban level
Seoul – Even in the face of farmers’ protests and consumers’ health concerns, South Korea has increased its consumption of US-produced beef and has almost regained its number 3 spot on the list of American beef importers since it resumed limited imports in April. South Korean consumption of American beef was tallied by the US Meat Export Federation at the 63 million US dollars worth of 14,822 tons during the April-to-June period.
The federation said that South Korea has become the world’s fifth-largest importer of American beef after Mexico, Canada, Egypt and Japan.
North Dakota To Offer Beef Grading Services
BISMARCK – North Dakota will soon offer beef grading services to meat slaughtering operations in the state.
“North Dakota cattle producers and meat packing companies can add significant value to their products by having their beef graded to accepted standards,” said Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson. “With the state handling the process, the cost will be significantly lower to producers and packers.”
Johnson said the grading service is made possible by a legislative appropriation and through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
“AMS already offers meat grading service to North Dakota,” Johnson said. “It can be very expensive, however, since the producer or packer must pay the necessary fees, plus the expense of having a federal grading specialist come to the state.”