Eradicating important cattle diseases
by Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, Kansas State University
Depending on how old you are, you will have varying experiences with and opinions about cattle diseases such as brucellosis (Bang’s disease) and tuberculosis (TB). If you are 40 or younger, these diseases will likely have had very little effect on your herd management. However, if you are older, you will very likely remember when these diseases and their control were an important consideration in your management decisions.
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Managing the Feedlot in the Cold
By John M. Kelly, Ph.D.
The writer is Manager of Technical Services with Land O’Lakes Farmland Ontario
Winters in Ontario over the past few years have been variable. Last year, we went through temperatures that were higher than normal and indications are that this years average temperatures will be on average above normal, however there were periods when temperatures were very low, particularly during the month of January. Temperature fluctuations that are seen under Ontario conditions can be very stressful to feedlot cattle. While we cannot change the weather, we can implement some management and production techniques that increase cattle comfort and keep cost of gain figures from increasing.
Great Lakes cattle feeding short course
Maintaining animal health and understanding the value and limitations of feeding distiller’s grain solubles are major challenges to feedlot managers. To learn tools and strategies that minimize the consequences of poor animal health and make the best use of ethanol co-products as feed, producers can attend a two-part cattle feeding program set for four Great Lakes locations.
The 2008 Great Lakes Cattle Feeding Short Course will be held Jan. 21 and Feb. 4 at the DeKalb, Ill., Farm Bureau Building; Jan. 22 and Feb. 5 at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education in East Lansing; Jan. 23 and Feb. 6 at the Wood County Junior Fair Building in Bowling Green, Ohio; and Jan. 24 and Feb. 7 at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall in Wyoming, Ontario. The program begins at 6 p.m. in every location.
Should We Just Accept And Adapt To Ethanol?
“Accept and adapt” has certainly been the rallying cry of leading management gurus regarding the government-created ethanol boom. These experts have a valid point.
The reality is that the industry is shifting from a $2/bu. corn market to a $4/bu. or higher corn market. That’s arguably the biggest structural change to our business ever experienced. It makes the move to boxed beef, the branded revolution, selling on grids, and the like seem insignificant by comparison.
Certainly, operations that embrace this new reality and adapt to fit this new environment will be in the driver’s seat. No one involved in studying the political environment in D.C. is predicting that U.S. policy on subsidies, tariffs and mandates is going to be reversed in the near future.
Unlocking Genetic Secrets
Barb Baylor Anderson
Feed costs account for 65%-70% of total beef production costs. And with grain prices at some of the highest levels in recent memory, the American Angus Association is looking for ways to help producers manage those costs. By selecting genetics for the best feed efficiency, producers may someday be able to lower the feed line item in the ledger.
“The American Angus Association has agreements in place with principal investigators from the University of Illinois (U of I) and North Carolina State University (NCSU) to take a multidisciplinary approach to studying feed efficiency,” says Sally Northcutt, genetic research director for the Association. “We hope that this research will spearhead future practical data collection and analysis for genetic selection tool development.”
Through multiyear studies at both universities, the Association hopes to better understand genetic, hormonal and physical trait differences that affect feed efficiency between animals, and develop animal selection procedures that will improve efficiency.
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Economists: 2008 may be a better year for producers
Industry expansion expected to be larger than in 2007
The first half of the New Year may not be a good year for livestock producers, given anticipated higher feed costs and full livestock operations. But, the second half of 2008 may see market pressure subside somewhat, economists forecast.
The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture hogs and pigs report confirmed that expansion is still underway in this livestock sector and that pork supplies are expected to be larger in 2008 than in 2007. Iowa State University (ISU) agriculture economist John Lawrence said that, considering current prices for corn and soybean meal, the cost of production will be higher than selling prices for most pork producers.
Will cloned meat sell?
Despite the initial dismissal of safety concerns by food regulators in the U.S. and Europe, most consumers remain apprehensive of embracing cloned products in their diets
Cloned animals — pigs, dairy cows and the like — promise to make food production more cost-efficient and could yield better cuts of meat. And the federal government’s main food regulator is expected any day to make a final ruling that clones in the food chain pose no dangers.
So why has the nation’s largest milk company, Dean Foods, told its suppliers that they can’t use cloned cows if they want to keep Dean’s business? And why has Smithfield Foods, the nation’s biggest pork producer, said it is not planning to process meat from cloned animals, even though it owns a minority stake in a cloning company?
Eight Issues For Cattlemen To Watch For In ’08
Burt Rutherford and Joe Roybal
Here are eight issues that look to be top of mind for the U.S. beef industry in the coming 12 months.
1. Food Safety. For much of 2007, consumer and political concerns over beef safety, particularly E. coli O157:H7, had nearly been crossed off the list of industry issues.
Then came the Topps recall, making E. coli and the beef industry once again the top food safety news story.
While Topps was an unusual case, in that the company ignored its own hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) program and carried over raw material from one day to the next, it put even more pressure on USDA, and therefore on beef processors, to ratchet up their food-safety efforts. That effort will continue in 2008. But USDA will use a more sensitive E. coli test beginning this year, meaning it’s likely that federal inspectors will find more positive cases.
Nutrition Matters All The Time
We know the nutritional needs of a beef herd are at their lowest during mid-gestation. With no milk production, and minimal fetal demand, the cows’ requirements are essentially those for their own maintenance. But even though the amounts of nutrients needed are relatively low, we can’t afford to forget they are still, by definition, required. Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy has a double cost: decreased calf performance, and, later conceptions and fewer total pregnancies.
Impact on Calves
In a recent review, Caton and co-authors stated “…biological mechanisms regulating normal growth, development and nutrient utilization are programmed in utero for postnatal growth and adult function.” Or, to put it simply, the way we feed spring-calving cows through the winter is going to have a lifelong impact on calf health, gains, and efficiency.
Carcass Ultrasound 101: The importance of ultrasound rump fat
By Patrick Wall
Director of Communications, The National CUP Lab
High Plains Journal
It’s fairly easy for any cowhand to understand the necessity of collecting ribeye area, fat thickness, and a measure of marbling via ultrasound. Those images largely attempt to mirror what a grader looks at in assessing USDA quality and yield grade. However, the image taken over the rump often escapes breeders as to why it’s necessary or how the information is used in the carcass Expected Progeny Differences of their respective bull or heifer. While their dedication to science and research has certainly been appreciated, purebred producers are certainly due an explanation on the importance of rump fat.
New Tyson Cattle Pricing Program Discounts Heavier Animals
Tyson Foods is phasing in a new cattle pricing grid designed to reward producers of animals that best meet customer needs — namely, animals that are not too heavy.
“Retail and foodservice beef customers have consistently expressed concern about excessive piece weights from heavy carcasses,” the company said in a written statement. “These beef subprimals are subsequently difficult to portion and merchandize.”
Savvy shoppers find that saving cash pairs nicely with buying beef in bulk
The Journal Gazette
With the upcoming tax-refund season, Sandy Seyfert knows how some people will spend their returns.
“They use it to buy meat for their freezer,” says Seyfert, owner of New Haven Custom Meats and Custom Quality Meats.
But tax season isn’t the only time people buy meat in bulk, she says.
“I’ve noticed when times are tough, people stop going out to eat as much, and they want to put some meat in their freezers. It is a convenience to have it on hand so you can go to your freezer and take it out.”
Smithfield Beef Imports Suspended By Japan
Smithfield Beef Group’s Moyer Packing Co. plant in Souderton, Pa., has been suspended from exporting beef to Japan, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.
FSIS’s Web site didn’t explain circumstances, but media reports indicate the action follows the discovery that a portion of a recent Tokyo-bound shipment contained beef from 21-month-old cattle.
Japan accepts U.S. beef only from cattle aged 20 months or younger on fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Cattlemen’s Association to hold convention in Pigeon Forge
The Daily News Journal
The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, which is based in Murfreesboro, will host its annual convention and tradeshow Jan. 24-26 at the Music Road Hotel in Pigeon Forge. The convention promises to be packed with the latest information to help cattle producers take advantage of changing markets and innovative production practices, says Richard Daugherty, TCA president.
Man forced to destroy wandering cattle
MAHOMET – A Mahomet man said he decided to have his beef cattle killed rather than take the risk that they might cause an accident that could hurt humans.
Robert Furtney, who lives on County Road 900 E about 3 miles east of Mahomet, said he discovered about 7 p.m. Wednesday that 10 of his beef cattle had gotten out of a 3- to 4-acre pasture at his farm.
Furtney said the cattle leaned against a board around the pasture until it broke and were able to get out.