%IMF or Marbling Score…Which is it? How can I tell?
by Patrick Wall, Director of Communications, The National CUP Lab
American Chianina Journal
With all of the incentives to raise Choice and Prime cattle, it’s easy to see why so much selection pressure has been placed on marbling. However, the industry has done a poor job of explaining how producers can use ultrasound to select for quality grade, how ultrasound “measures” marbling, and why it’s done in such a confusing fashion. Percent Intramuscular Fat, or %IMF, is the common ultrasound term for marbling, but it needs further explanation to fully understand the concept. In short, %IMF is simply an indicator trait for marbling, much like Birth Weight EPD is an indicator of calving ease. With high marbling EPDs and carcass quality genetics demanding top dollar in the sale ring, it is extremely important producers understand what they are buying.
The major difference between %IMF and marbling is that %IMF is a numeric objective measure, whereas marbling is subjective to the eye of the grader. The correlation is usually around +.70 to +.80 between the two measures. In order to accurately predict USDA marbling score using ultrasound, the same grader would need to be used for every research trial. As a result, a chemical extraction procedure was adopted, using the percentage of intramuscular fat in the ribeye muscle. The collection of %IMF comes from taking a thin slice of the ribeye in the cooler. External and seam fat are removed from the sample. The steak is then frozen, ground up, and ether extract analysis determines the fat percentage from a sub-sample of the ribeye. Thus, a live animal with an ultrasound estimate of 4.0%IMF should also produce a carcass with a ribeye steak that has 4.0% fat within it.
Efficiency. Marketing. Heterosis.
by Amber Jones, Crystal Young, David Mehlhaff, Amy Cowan and Angie Stump Denton
Approximately 100 Hereford producers attended the third Young Guns Conference Aug. 22-24 in Kansas City. The conference, which was at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino, included individual presentations and panel discussions on a variety of topics ranging from efficiency to ethanol and how the Hereford breed is measuring up in research projects across the nation.
Participant Kevin Schultz, Sandhill Farms, Haviland, Kan., says, “Young Guns is a great opportunity to visit with and get acquainted with many fellow breeders. It is a mini Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) meeting for Hereford enthusiasts.”
FULL STORY PDF
Grass-Fed: Boon or Bane
by Fred Minnick
As Stan Gentle smashes a couple of meatballs with a spatula, a man walks up to the Angus producer’s farmers’ market stand and points at the searing meat. He listens to the juices sizzling in the skillet and takes a big whiff.
“Are those ready yet, Stan?” he asks.
“Not quite,” Gentle replies. “Give me a moment, Brent.”
Gentle small-talks with the man and sticks a toothpick in a meatball. Brent eyes the half-dollar-size piece of meat in Gentle’s hand and grabs it. He briefly waves the ball under his nose, inhaling the aroma, and pops it in his mouth. He closes his eyes and chews slowly.
BeefCast Brings Experts To You
Now producers, veterinarians and nutritionists can receive timely industry analysis, news and commentary through BeefCast™, a new podcast that can be accessed easily on the Internet or via an iPod®. Each week, three 10- to 15-minute programs, which feature experts’ comments on beef production, industry issues and other wide-ranging topics, are produced. BeefCast podcasts are sponsored exclusively by Elanco Animal Health, hosted by Ned Arthur of Truffle Media Networks and made available free to listeners.
“What makes BeefCast so different is that people who make their living in the beef industry now can hear experts talking about a wide variety of helpful topics with the flip of a switch, at the times and places that are most convenient for them,” says Todd Ripberger, marketing consultant, U.S. Cattle Products, Elanco Animal Health. “Whether listening to automatically downloaded podcasts when driving or from the comfort of their home offices, producers and their consultants will have easy access to experts’ perspectives.”
How to Extend Pasture Days
Ropin’ the Web
Each pasture season has its challenges – periodic drought or cool weather can slow or halt forage growth, cattle numbers can go up as more beef producers try to create a larger income and overhead costs always seem to be on the rise. In facing these challenges, producers strive to find ways to create more profit.
To increase profit, the best way is usually to keep down the cost per pound of animal raised. Pasture is cheaper than feeding mechanically harvested hay or silage systems. High pasture production is needed for all grazing animals and for a cowherd the ability to extend the grazing season is particularly important. Pastures can only meet these goals if they are managed with some planning. A plan for a grazing season starts before cattle are turned out on grass. In a perfect world, ongoing and spring decisions are based on the information gathered from a fall assessment of pastures. Just as a winter feed inventory is done in fall to determine if there are enough bales or silage to last the winter, the same should be done with pastures in winter time before spring turnout arrives.
“To start, first look at the big picture,” says Grant Lastiwka, pasture specialist/extension with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development/Western Forage-Beef Group, Lacombe. “It’s easiest to look at percentages and compare them to normal. If your cattle numbers are 10 per cent more, you will need 10 per cent more grass. If some pastures were hurt by drought and grasshoppers or hammered with overgrazing, they could be for example, 30 per cent less productive. If this is the case, it means that there is going to be a 40 per cent shortage of grass.
If it Aint Broke, Don’t Fix It
MFA Health Track
I just read an announcement that by November 15th USDA is going to have finalized a standard for getting PVP certification for grass (forage) fed beef. I presume that the process for getting qualified would be much the same as getting PVP certified for producing Source and Age Verified cattle. The question I have had trouble getting around in my own brain is if there is merit behind this process? I don’t see or hear consumer demand pushing this issue. Is the benefit worth the cost?
Beef cattle management strategies during a drought
By David Richmond
The Register Herald
With this summer being one of the driest on record, livestock producers in southern West Virginia are at a point where monumental management decisions will need to be made in order to survive financially in the livestock arena.
Periods of drought requires beef producers to make some adjustments in their production program or sell livestock. When cattle are sold out of desperation, the producer loses. If you have not begun to make contingency plans, start now.
You certainly want to avoid feeding hay before the winter season begins especially if you know your hay crop is going to be below normal. Even with early conservation, most producers will need additional feed for cattle. Is it possible to make it? The answer is yes, if you plan and make the necessary adjustments. Several small things can be done that collectively can conserve your feed resources.
‘The Optimal Beef Cow: Does She Exist?’ Topic of Annual Nick Petry Workshop Nov. 30
Colorado State University
FORT COLLINS – Methods and factors that define top beef cow operations will be the theme for the eighth annual Nick Petry Workshop, titled “The Optimal Beef Cow: Does She Exist?” on Nov. 30 at the stadium arena at the National Western Stock Show Complex in Denver. The workshop is co-sponsored by Colorado State University’s Western Center for Integrated Resource Management and the National Western Scholarship Trust.
The daylong program will feature nationally known experts in beef cow production. Professor Don Adams of the University of Nebraska will speak on “Defining the Production Environment for Beef Cattle.” Adams is part of Nebraska’s West Central Research and Extension Center. “Land Health, Production and Biological Traits of Beef Cattle” will be examined during a presentation led by Robbie Baird LeValley, a livestock extension specialist with Colorado State University Extension.
EQIP Conservation Program Sign-Up Underway
Tennessee landowners who want to improve their land may qualify for cost-share assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS has begun a sign-up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Eligible applicants can receive 50 percent cost-share funds to help convert their croplands to grasslands; reduce erosion; improve an existing irrigation system; contain waste from animal feeding operations; improve forest habitat; improve water habitat for aquatic at-risk species; or even get rid of envasive plant species such as kudzu.
Eligible Limited Resource Farmers may qualify for up to 90 percent in cost-share funds. Program sign-up continues until Nov. 1.
Maximize Managed Grazing Opportunities
by Barb Baylor Anderson
Cool-season forages provide an abundant supply of spring forage and the opportunity for deferred fall grazing. But the cool-season summer slump and the winter feeding period represent significant production gaps for beef producers. Justin Sexten, University of Illinois Extension beef systems specialist, says producers can maximize managed grazing opportunities during these times by working in grain coproducts.
“Supplemental feed costs represent the most important factor influencing profitability in beef herds,” he says. “Warmseason perennial and annual forages and winter annuals with crop residues can extend the grazing season in some areas. But in regions with shallow soils and marginal slopes, supplement alternatives may be required.”
Don’t poison your cattle
Cattlemen should look out for johnsongrass, sudangrass and other members of sorghum genus in October.
It usually is in October that the first killing frost visits Arkansas. Crops such as johnsongrass, sudangrass, sorghum-sudangrass, grain sorghum and sorgo-types sorghums are very sensitive to temperatures below 32 degrees.
Plant cells of these crops are damaged by frost and hydrocyanic acid (HCN) or prussic acid is formed.
There is a chance that cattle may be killed by eating only a few pounds of forage from plants belonging to the sorghum genus if the plants have been killed by frost. The same crops are considered safe prior to frost if they are properly fed.
Feeding alternative forages raising concerns
by Dave Russell
Dave Redman, Extension Educator in Lawrence County tells Brownfield those livestock producers in southern Indiana heading in to winter with less than half of the needed hay supplies are turning to alternative forages.
“And those alternative feeds are things like corn stalk bales, soybean stubble bales, even some of the CRP grass hay bales and that’s what farmers are going to relying on this winter to try to get them through,” said Redman.
But Brad Shelton, Washington County Extension Educator says that with those alternative forages come some concerns.
Identifying poisoning signs, sequelae
This is the third in a series of articles on toxic plants that are likely to poison horses in North America. This installment covers myotoxic plants, those that damage muscle and the cardiovascular system.
Horses find many of these plants unpalatable, but, when feed selection is restricted or when toxic plants are included in prepared feeds, many horses eat them and become poisoned. Some are very palatable ornamentals; animals are poisoned whenever they are allowed access to the plants or to plant clippings.
Following are some common myotoxic plants, for which we outline the clinical signs, lesions and sequelae of poisoning and present current recommendations for treatment and prognosis for poisoned animals.
Value of U.S. red meat exports increase in August
Meat & Poultry
Exports of U.S. red meat increased in value through August, with U.S. pork up 6% to $1.96 billion and U.S. beef up 28% to $1.67 billion compared to the same period last year, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (U.S.M.E.F.) and provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.).
U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports worldwide also were up 16% in volume to 495,829 tonnes, with notable gains in Central America and South America as export volume increased 68% to 5,986 tonnes and value 64% to $10.9 million. This growth was driven by liver exports to Peru and frozen beef exports to Guatemala.
Canada also showed gains, with a 31% increase in volume to 81,380 tonnes and a 34% jump in value to $372.1 million. Mexico remained the No. 1 market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports with a volume of 235,471 tonnes valued at $781.5 million. The U.S.M.E.F. expects beef prices to remain strong domestically through the rest of the year due to relatively tight cattle supplies, and U.S. beef products will remain a good value internationally due to the weakness of the U.S. dollar.
Preparing For The Unexpected
Earlier this week, I received an unexpected call. It was a call we all get sometime in our lives, and one we most never want to hear.
“I’m sorry, so-and-so has passed away,” the caller informs you. What? No, it can be, you think to yourself. She was in the prime of her life! Two kids in college, two still at home. A wife, a mother, a cattle lady, a friend. Was she in poor health? What happened?
These were just some of my initial thoughts, and I know many of you can relate. Whether it’s the loss of a neighbor or family member, primary operator or seasonal help, it affects each part of the farming and ranching business in different ways. At times like this it’s hard to pull everything together and carry on with business, which is why Damona Doye, Oklahoma State University Extension economist, stresses preparing for the unexpected.