Can We Breed ‘Em Healthy?
We can breed them black or red, horned or polled. We can breed them for growth, marbling, tenderness or milk production. But can we breed cattle to resist common diseases, respond to vaccination protocols and stay healthy?
The answer is on the way. Researchers, cattlemen and industry partners from across the U.S. and New Zealand met recently in Kansas City at the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC) Cattle Health Symposium to create a national system for genetic selection for disease resistance in beef cattle.
Salt: An Essential Element
Cattle producers hear it time after time: The lion’s share of production costs is related to nutrition. Producers who keep a close account of feed expenditures often wince at the fi nal tally. The smart ones keep looking for ways to shave the cost, while still providing adequate nutrition for their herds. A few producers might be willing to cut corners on things like … well, like salt and mineral, for instance.
What about salt, plain ol’ sodium chloride (NaCl)? After all, cattle seem to be able to get along without it, for a little while at least. Even if it was unintentional, plenty of producers have allowed their cattle to go without salt for a day or two, or maybe longer.
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NCBA Hires Southeastern Field Representative
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has hired two new field representatives for the High Plains and the Southeastern United States. Both began serving those regions at the end of January.
Nate Jeager will serve NCBA affiliates and members in the Southeast region of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. He will be based in Birmingham, Ala. Jeager grew up on a cattle operation, and comes to NCBA with four years of valuable industry experience with Laura’s Lean Beef and AgInfoLink. He holds a master’s degree in agriculture from Colorado State University in the Beef Industry Leadership program.
Veteran Tazewell extension agent calling it a career
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
When this coming Friday rolls around, Mike Harris won’t have anywhere he will have to be at 8 a.m.
“It seems like all of my life, I’ve had to be somewhere every day at 8 a.m.,” Harris, the 23-year veteran extension agent of the Virginia Tech Extension office in Tazewell said. “This Friday, I can sit in the house until 11 a.m., if I want to. I don’t have to go anywhere.”
Harris, 59, has spent a lifetime helping farmers, serving his country, supporting his community and learning how to read the subtle signs of seasonal and cyclical changes in the rhythms of the agricultural universe, and to figure out how farmers can survive those changes.
Food inspectors aren’t doing their job
The recall of 143 million pounds of beef raises disturbing questions about the safety of this nation’s food supply.
Inspectors for the U.S. Department of Agriculture are supposed to patrol the ramps and pens of slaughterhouses, watching for problems such as sick and “downer,” or non-ambulatory, cattle that could pass on diseases. In fact, eight on-site inspectors worked at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. of Chino, Calif., the target of the USDA recall, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Yet it took an animal-rights group, the Humane Society of the United States, to make an undercover video showing apparently sick cows being dragged, prodded and otherwise tortured into pens for slaughter.
Food safety should concern everyone
Tri City Herald
The horrific video of animal cruelty at a California slaughter plant spurred the largest beef recall in U.S. history this month.
The clandestine video was released by the Humane Society of the United States and showed workers at the plant hitting and kicking sick and injured cattle and even using forklifts to get the animals on their feet.
The plant workers’ actions were disturbing to be sure and in direct violation of USDA policies, which aim to keep meat from downer cows (those that can’t stand up and walk on their own) from being introduced to the food supply.
Proper Protein Feeding Important to Herd Health
by: Stephen B. Blezinger, Ph.D, PAS
A while back we reviewed protein nutrition in cattle and discussed at length individual protein components. The following is the second part of this series and is well-timed given the AI and Herd Bull topic for this issue. Protein is an extremely important part of the breeding program for both cows and bulls. Artificial Insemination programs require feeding programs properly balanced for all nutrients with protein and protein components a very major part of this. The following discussion considers a variety of issues as related to protein nutrition in these breeding cattle.
In the previous discussion of protein in cattle, we discussed crude and degradable protein (protein that is available to the rumen bacteria and is readily broken down in the rumen). These forms of protein make up a very large portion of the animal’s total protein intake and sources include soybean meal, cottonseed meal, corn gluten feed, whole cottonseed, urea (protein equivalent).
LMA asks Supreme Court to review horse slaugher ruling
The Prairie Star
An Illinois law that closed a state horse processing plant, and the federal appeals court decision upholding the law, have effectively exempted 40,000 n 60,000 horses from humane slaughter.
That is a key reason why the U.S. Supreme Court should hear the appeal of the decision by the plant, Cavel International, Inc., according to an “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) brief filed on Feb. 22 by Livestock Marketing Association.
When the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld the Illinois law that closed the DeKalb, Ill., plant last year, it “failed to address the adverse impact” of the law, LMA’s brief said.
Cattle Protein & Reproduction
While all aspects of nutrition impact reproductive performance in cows, protein (nitrogen) metabolism plays a unique role in these interactions. There is a wealth of research data outlining the problems caused by inadequate dietary protein, as well as a growing pool of information relating to the effects of excess protein on fertility.
California meat packer may never reopen.
The meat packing company that once earned the government’s title of the school lunch program’s Supplier of the Year will probably close its doors for good. Charges of excessive cruelty to the cattle it processed triggered the biggest meat recall in U.S. history and had school districts in Seattle, Spokane and throughout the rest of the country destroying millions of pounds of beef this month, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Mexico and Barbados Open to Canadian Breeding Cattle
The Government of Mexico today announced they will now allow the import of breeding cattle in addition to Canada’s current access for beef and beef products, and that revised conditions for export of breeding cattle to Barbados have been accepted.
The news was welcomed by the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, and the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics.
Mary Margaret Pecht,
Jody Graybill opened Wednesday’s Ag Outlook meeting at Perry Valley Grange, Old Ferry, with the analogy that agriculture is like a deck of cards.
“What you’re dealt — weather, things like that — is something you can’t do anything about. But how you play the game is up to you.’’
A wealth of information targeted at helping farmers “play their hands’’ was on the day’s agenda.
Graybill, president of First National Bank of Mifflintown, welcomed about 185 people to the event, designed for Juniata and Perry county farmers, sponsored annually by Cooperative Extension and the bank.
Cattle Fly Control: Management of Face Flies
To control adult face flies within the home, locate the area where the flies are hibernating and then treat them directly. Begin searching for resting sites on the southern and western sides of the building because in fall and winter these walls receive the most sun and therefore are usually the warmest parts of the building. The flies are attracted to these warm areas when searching for protective wintertime harborage. Face flies seeking shelter will often enter cracks and crevices that lead to structural voids in a building, such as crawl spaces, attics, or false ceilings. These structural voids may need to be inspected if the presence of adult face flies persists throughout the winter.
USDA must improve
The recent commotion about tainted beef shows the U.S. Department of Agriculture must do a better job in looking out for our health.
On Feb. 17, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a voluntary recall of 143 million pounds of ground beef by the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. slaughterhouse in Chino, Calif. The company supplied beef to schools for tacos and burgers.
Some of the meat went to fast-food chains. About 50 million pounds went to federal nutrition programs. Of that, about 19.6 million was consumed. Another 15 million was placed on hold; another 15 million was being tracked down.