Monthly Archives: April 2008

Costs of producing beef in a “natural” program without implants or antibiotics.

Costs of producing beef in a “natural” program without implants or antibiotics.

John R. Brethour and Brittany Bock

There is considerable interest in programs that market beef that has been produced from cattle that were not implanted or fed antibiotics. This research measured the additional costs from engaging in a natural program in which performance would be adversely affected by omitting technology that improves production efficiency.

In this study, steers on the conventional program were implanted with Synovex Plus at the beginning of the trial in Experiment 1 and with Synovex Choice at the beginning of the trial and Synovex Plus 70 days before laughter in Experiment 2. In both experiments 300 mg Rumensin and 90 g Tylan were fed daily to cattle on the conventional treatment. These practices were omitted among the natural cattle. It is not known whether the cattle had been implanted before they were obtained for this research; but that should have not materially affected results.

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Ethanol mandate splits corn farmers, livestock producers

Ethanol mandate splits corn farmers, livestock producers

Chris Blank

STL Today

A newly implemented ethanol mandate coupled with rising livestock feed prices is dividing Missouri’s farmers.

It pits corn farmers, who are getting record prices for their grain, against livestock producers, who are struggling to feed their herds.

At the center has been a law that, starting this year, requires most Missouri gasoline to be blended with 10 percent ethanol if the biofuel is cheaper than regular gas.

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Confined Animal Feeding Operations Cost Taxpayers Billions

Confined Animal Feeding Operations Cost Taxpayers Billions

Kansas City Infozine

Misguided federal farm policies have encouraged the growth of massive confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, by shifting billions of dollars in environmental, health and economic costs to taxpayers and communities, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). As a result, CAFOs now produce most of the nation’s beef, pork, chicken, dairy and eggs, even though there are more sophisticated and efficient farms in operation.

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What bad things lurk inside …..protozoa????!!

What bad things lurk inside …..protozoa????!!

High Plains Journal

Protozoa are tiny, one-celled creatures that can make a comfortable home out of any place with some moisture in it–the soil, ponds, air vents or even the inside of animals. Although they can only be seen using microscopes, these little critters share a couple of characteristics with much larger mammals: they move about, and they breathe oxygen.

It’s true that some of the many types of protozoa in the world can be harmful all by themselves. But many others are helpful. Inside animals, one of the most important things protozoa do is gobble up bacteria that can cause disease.

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CDC tells Congress MRSA not from food animals

CDC tells Congress MRSA not from food animals

Feedstuffs Foodlink

Claims that food animals, such as pigs, are increasingly the source of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria in humans are greatly exaggerated, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) reported today that in a recent letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) and panel members Leonard Boswell (D., Iowa), Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) and Robin Hayes (R., N.C.), CDC said if transmission of MRSA from food animals to people occurs, “it likely accounts for a very small proportion of human infections in the U.S.”


Weaning Calves Successfully

Weaning Calves Successfully

The production loss and death loss of calves at weaning is second only to the losses at calving. Weaning is a very stressful time and bovine respiratory disease (pneumonia, shipping fever, etc.) is a common problem. Coccidiosis and other digestive problems, such as acidosis, (grain overload) are also common.

Producers often ask what vaccines they should use to help control health problems during this period. There are some vaccines which can be of help. But it is important to recognize that there are a number of other factors which must be controlled in order to have a successful weaning program. Vaccines should be viewed as an aid to herd health programs, not as the cure-all.


Rising Prices for Food Begin at the Farm

Rising Prices for Food Begin at the Farm


The average family spends three times more on food than gasoline. That’s why economists say escalating food costs – the fastest rise in 17 years – could present a greater problem for the economy.

In the past year, the cost of eggs has increased nearly 35 percent; milk 13 percent; cheese 12.5 percent. Beef costs are up 3 percent and poultry prices are up 5 percent.

Economists say demand in the global market is outpacing supply. And that is having an impact on local farmers and shoppers.

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Red Angus Junior Roundup to be Held in Tennessee

Red Angus Junior Roundup to be Held in Tennessee

The National Junior Red Angus Association of America (JRA) will host the 18th annual Junior Round-Up June 24 through June 29, 2008, in Tennessee. Round-Up is an annual event held at a different location across the country each year. It is designed to build public speaking and leadership skills while informing attendees about the Red Angus breed as well as the beef industry. The annual JRA business meeting, board meeting, committee meetings and officer elections are held during Round-Up as well as a variety of National contests. Participants in Round-Up travel by deluxe motor coach to the various ranches and industry stops during the week.


Spring Cattle-Pen Cleaning Can Curb Odors, Insects

Spring Cattle-Pen Cleaning Can Curb Odors, Insects

Spring is a good time for producers to clean feedlots or areas of manure accumulation, once cattle are removed for summer grazing.

The expression “spring cleaning” conjures images of spotless households, but it can apply to cattle operations, too.

Spring is a good time for producers to clean feedlots or areas of manure accumulation, once cattle are removed for summer grazing, said Kansas State University´s Joel DeRouchey.


One Family, Two Views on How to Run Iowa Farm

One Family, Two Views on How to Run Iowa Farm

John Biewen

National Public Radio

It’s a good time to be a farmer in Iowa.

Corn prices, at $5.91 per bushel as of Monday, are soaring in part because of growing demand for ethanol, a corn-based fuel that the federal government supported when it passed the energy bill late last year.

And with help from chemicals and biotechnology, Iowa farmers produce 150 bushels of corn per acre, nearly double the yield in 1970, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Video Feature: Low Stress Cattle Handling – Ron Gill – AgriLife Extension

Ron Gill demonstrates low stress cattle handling principles. He uses cattle behavior to move cattle. This video demonstrates moving cattle without driving aids.


Realistic Expectations From Estrous Synchronization & AI Programs

Producers that are wanting to improve the genetic makeup of their beef herds very often turn to artificial insemination (AI) as a tool to accomplish that goal.  Many times, these producers have very high expectations as they begin the first season of artificial breeding.  Perhaps they have heard other producers tell of situations where “near-perfect” pregnancy rates resulted from THEIR artificial insemination program.  Everyone wants to get every cow or heifer bred as they start the labor and expense of an AI program.  However, the rules of biology do not often allow for 100% pregnancy rates in most situations.

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Three spring practices boost beef profits

Delta Farm Press

Beef producers can increase their profits by performing recommended spring management practices. Three of the most important management practices to perform in the spring include castration, dehorning, and implanting, according to Clyde Lane, a beef specialist with University of Tennessee Extension.

Producers should castrate all commercial male calves in the spring if it was not done at birth. “The preferred method of castration is with a knife,” Lane said. “This method is 100 percent effective and usually causes no problems if done properly.” Using a Newberry knife is the safest way to perform the surgical castration.

Lane advises farmers to use an insecticide spray on the wound to control flies.

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‘Boot Stage’ Means High Quality Hay

Kevin L. Rose, Extension Director

Grass is beginning to grow and hay harvesting time is getting near. Yet, many producers lose hay quality by harvesting their grasses too late every year.

Last year’s drought greatly affected hay supplies. Harvesting hay at the correct stage could provide not only more quality but additional feed by allowing earlier second cuttings if a similar situation were to happen again.

All cool-season grass hay such as fescue or orchardgrass should be harvested in the “boot stage.” What is “boot stage,” you might ask? Basically, it is the stage of plant growth where the plant itself begins to concentrate on seed head development as opposed to the leaf tissue. Quality remains in leaf tissue as long as nutrients are being supplied. However, each plant’s ultimate goal is survival of the species and a plant survives by producing seed.

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Mexican import protocols frustrate ranchers

Western Livestock Journal

Nearly a month after the declaration from Mexico which announced the country would begin to resume the import of all breeding cattle from the U.S., ranchers on both sides of the border are expressing their frustration with legal red tape which seems to be preventing beef breeding cattle from flowing across the border.

In March, Mexico agreed to lift its longstanding ban on the import of any breeding cattle besides dairy heifers under 24 months of age, and cattlemen in both the U.S. and Mexico saw the opportunity they had waited so patiently for. Unfortunately, industry sources have indicated that miscommunications within and between the two countries are creating a trade bottleneck, and that no beef breeding cattle have crossed into Mexico.

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U.S. Tightens feed ban for South Korea beef deal

Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday published a final rule in the Federal Register that expands the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban. The feed ban is seen as the key tool in preventing the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and eliminating it from existing herds.

The final rule prohibits feeding specified risk materials to any animals, not just cattle, and modestly expands the definition of specified risk materials (SRM). SRMs are the portions of the cattle carcass thought to contain prions, which are blamed for causing BSE in cattle and the human form of BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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Cattlemen’s program focused on beef quality assurance

Gothenburg Times

A program developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association seeks to help producers deliver a better product to their customers, said a University of Nebraska-Lincoln veterinarian.

“In 1991, producers asked the association to look at the product after it left the ranch or feedlot for opportunities to improve quality,” said Dee Griffin, beef production management veterinarian at the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center in Clay Center.

In 1991, they found a problem with injection sites that no one knew existed, Griffin said. Some 24 percent of carcasses sustained losses at damaged injection sites but by 2001 that number had dropped to two percent, he said.

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Rising input costs impact beef industry, cattle markets

BRIDGER FEUZ, UW Cooperative Extension Service

The Prairie Star

Three major factors affect the market dynamics of the beef industry – the supply of beef, the demand for beef, and the status of beef trade.

Looking at each of these factors provides a better understanding of long-term market trends. One additional factor that also must be addressed is input costs.

Starting in 2004, the January 1 total cattle inventory experienced slow growth through 2006.

The inventory increased at a rate of about 0.5 percent in 2004, 1.5 percent in 2005 and 0.3 percent in 2006. However, after three years of growth in total cattle inventory, 2007 inventory declined 0.3 percent.

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Trade Is Important to Indiana Beef Producers.

Gary Truitt

Hoosier AG Today

After more than 3 years of negotiations, the US Beef industry is finally regaining access to export markets. US beef is considered to be the highest quality in the world. In light of international fears about BSE, export markets, especially in Asia, have been closed to US cattlemen. Korea, a very large market for US beef exports recently agreed to resume importing US beef. Julia Wickard, Executive Director of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, told HAT this is a significant development for Hoosier cattlemen, “That particular market is very critical for Midwest producers, and we have been working with our national organization and the White House to reopen this market.”

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Beef network splitting off some functions

Montana’s News Station

The Montana Beef Network is dividing its functions between two separate entities.

A Montana limited liability company, Verified Beef, will be responsible for the part of the program that hundreds of Montana ranchers have used to certify feeder calves, for source and age verification, as well as carcass data tracking and collection.

MBN will continue its other functions — including Beef Quality Assurance, educational programming and beef cattle research.

MBN has been a cooperative project between Montana State University and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

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