Get Ready, Summer’s Coming
Mel DeJarnette, reproductive specialist, Select Sires
We’ve all heard the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. But how many have ever stopped to apply this concept to summer breeding problems?
Each year, stress associated with high heat and humidity wreaks havoc on reproductive performance of dairy herds nationwide. Although there are numerous “cures” we can adopt to minimize stress and improve breeding efficiency of animals during the summer months (i.e., shade, fans, sprinklers, etc), the best alternative is to “prevent” animals from needing to be inseminated during the summer.
No matter what we do, all herds will have some cows that need inseminating during the summer. But, if we can adopt management procedures to get a higher percentage of the herd pregnant during the spring, there will be fewer headaches to deal with in the summer. Now is the time to get started.
Driven by Emotion
There is a strong group of activists working to end the transportation of livestock in the European Union (EU). So far, it has made some major headway.
“We have quite a [few] hoops to jump through now, and not a one of them is based on any research or science,” says Eddie Harper, chairman of the livestock transport group of the Road Haulage Association and director of Assured British Meat. “These regulations are so restrictive we wonder about the future viability of our industry. You in America need to be aware of what can happen if you allow those who do not have the knowledge to decide the laws that dictate how you can do business.”
Improving cowherd reproduction via genetics
Western Livestock Journal
A beef cow’s job is not an easy one. She is expected to conceive at slightly over one year of age, to calve by the time she is two, and rebreed shortly after that while weaning a healthy, viable calf. Furthermore, we demand that she consistently repeats this cycle for the rest of her life—one stumble and, in the words of California’s terminating governor, hasta la vista, baby!
To be sure, producers are best served when the cow successfully performs her task for many years, as the longer her productive life, the more profitable she is to the enterprise. Is there anything that can be done to help her out? Certainly, there are environmental factors we can manage that will give her a leg up. For example, by providing adequate nutrition, a proper vaccination regimen, and mating her to easy-calving sires (particularly when she is young) we increase the odds of her success. While a cow’s environment has a substantial impact on her reproductive performance, her genetic makeup can, too. This paper explores the genetics of female reproduction and offers suggestions on how to improve the reproductive performance of your cowherd via genetics.
Records that work
Certified Angus Beef
Whatever activity you think of, there’s probably a world record. Somebody has licked the
most envelopes in a minute, played the longest chess match and worn the most t-shirts at one time.
There are books, websites and even news articles that tell of oddities and obscurities that
make the list of being the most, longest, heaviest, smallest or fastest.
Many of you are probably thinking, “But who cares?”
Good point. Eating the most cockroaches ever earned Ken Edwards a spot in the “Guinness
World Records” book, but he isn’t exactly a household celebrity. So, if nobody cares about
records, what are they worth?
FULL STORY PDF
COOL Is Back…Again
Now that the Farm Bill process is finally over, cattle producers should be ready for the long delayed implementation of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). The new Farm Bill has some language that modifies the previous COOL legislation and that has a couple of implications for producers.
First, the new language simplifies the meat labels and the records requirements for COOL. This should make it easier for some producers to meet COOL requirements although the legislation applies to the requirements for meat retailers and it will be up to them to decide exactly what records to request from packers, feedlots, stocker and cow-calf producers. The second implication is that the legislative changes mean that the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) must change the implementation rules to conform to the new language. This means that the final rules are not yet spelled out and there is some uncertainty about the dates of implementation. It is anticipated that AMS will move quickly to implement interim rules while going through the process of finalizing the rules.
International symposium coming to K-State
Humane treatment of cattle is important in the livestock industry because it is not only the right thing to do; it positively impacts the bottom line.
That’s the word from veterinarian Dr. Dan Thomson, who leads Kansas State University’s Beef Cattle Institute. The Institute is attracting worldwide attention for its International Beef Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare, offered by the Beef Cattle Institute May 28-30 at K-State. A pre-symposium session will be offered May 28 on cattle welfare through proper cattle handling.
“With this symposium, we want people have a better understanding of beef cattle welfare guidelines from around the world,” Thomson said. “We are very excited about the diverse group of registrants.”
Missouri farmers must consider the threat of agri-terrorism
Springfield News Leader
The U.S. government has declared the agriculture and food sector to be one of 17 critical national infrastructures that are vulnerable to an intentional attack.
“It’s important to realize how important the agriculture and food sector is to our economy. The U.S. food supply chain produces about 13 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and accounts for 18 percent of domestic employment,” said Amanda Marney, agriculture preparedness specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
In Missouri, agriculture continues to be a mainstay of our economy.
The total agriculture sales in the Show-Me State are $4.8 million; 68 percent of Missouri’s land is devoted to agriculture. Missouri ranks second nationally in the total number of farms and beef cattle herds; third in all cow production; fourth in turkey and ice cream production; sixth in dairy cattle operations; sixth in hog production; and sixth in cattle and calves produced.
Burp … burp … toot: Save a cow, and the earth, this Memorial Day
Save yourself and the planet this Memorial Day weekend.
Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.
Do not barbecue cow byproducts.
Beef not only is a threat to your arteries and colon, it is listed as one of the top three threats facing the entire globe, according to a report by the United Nations.
“Livestock’s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale . . .” the report says. “The impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency.”
J.R. Simplot passes away
Idaho’s billionaire potato king passed away in his Boise home Sunday morning. J.R. Simplot was 99.
The Ada County Coroner says Simplot died of natural causes at 10:52am. According to Erwin Sonnenberg’s office, Simplot’s family is spending time together Sunday and has asked for some privacy. They will be making a statement at a later date.
Simplot was born Jack R. Simplot, growing up in Declo, Idaho, back in the days when riding and roping were as much a part of the man as the West.
And from the beginning, he had a golden touch. He dropped out of school when he was 14 to rent and farm 40 acres of land.
But before the computer chip, before his potato chips, before the cattle — it was hogs that got Simplot’s juggernaut going.
Feedstock makes a difference in feeding distillers grains
High Plains Journal
When it comes to using distillers grains in finishing rations of High Plains cattle, a Texas AgriLife Research scientist says the type of grain used makes all the difference.
Dr. Jim MacDonald, AgriLife Research beef nutritionist at Amarillo, said there’s been some skepticism about using distillers grains in this region. Distillers grains are a by-product of ethanol processing that can be used for animal feed.
“I believe we can do it successfully, provided we have distillers grains that are equivalent in quality to those used in the North Plains states,” he said.
Two years ago, MacDonald began investigating the dramatically different animal performance responses observed in the Northern Plains and Southern Plains, and to determine how to successfully incorporate distillers grains into this region’s finishing rations.
Farm Bill 2008 a wasted chance for change
Asheville Citizen Times
Global food crisis? Consumers demanding more local, sustainable food from family farmers? Public health and environmental concerns over factory farms? The recently passed Farm Bill is an abysmal disappointment for those seeking solutions to these urgent questions. Despite the global food crisis and consumer demands for a healthier food system, Congress chose to stay with the failed status quo that favors industrial factory farms and corporate agribusiness profits over the interests of family farmers and consumers. While some critics of our farm programs targeted their ire towards “millionaire farmers” receiving subsidies, the main beneficiaries of our farm programs were able to escape scrutiny: corporate agribusinesses.
Tennessee beef, forage field day set June 12
Southeast Farm Press
Cost share programs and best management practices for cattle operations will headline the topics to be discussed at the 2008 Beef and Forage Field Day. The event is being held on June 12 on the grounds of the University of Tennessee East Tennessee Research and Education Center — Blount Unit.
Activities will begin with a trade show at 7:30 a.m.
Mike McElroy, district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will present a keynote presentation on current opportunities for beef cattle producers to enhance their operations. Two key programs he will discuss include the NRCS cost share program and best management practices recommended by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
Ban wasn’t such a hard decision
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
OUR VIEW: Ending the practice of sick animals lessens health risks for us all.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture at last made the right call in banning the slaughter of downer cattle at meatpacking houses.
The USDA finally came around to this sensible position after the meat and dairy industry reversed its opposition in April and endorsed the complete ban on slaughtering cattle too sick or injured to stand or walk.
The U.S. meat industry realized that the reputation and salability of its products depends upon putting American and worldwide consumers at ease that they are not eating products from sick animals.
Cattle Feed Byproducts: Backgrounding & Finishing Diets
Distillers grains (wet or dry; with or without solubles) can be fed at 10 percent to 15 percent of the diet (DM basis) as a source of supplemental protein in backgrounding and finishing diets. When fed at levels greater than 15 percent of the diet, distillers grains are also an energy source, replacing corn or other grains in the diet. Dried distillers grains can be fed at levels up to 40 percent the diet DM. However, in most cases, the optimum level is generally less than 30 percent. Wet distillers grains can be included in backgrounding and finishing diets at levels up to 40 percent the diet dry matter. However, at these levels, diets will contain excess protein and phosphorous, which may have manure nutrient management implications for many cattle feeders. In addition, at these levels, sulfur becomes a concern. Most research data indicates the optimum level of wet distillers grains is 25 percent to 30 percent of the diet dry matter when used in dry-rolled corn based diets.
U.S. Angus cattle are making their way to Russia
The University of Minnesota Extension Beef Team is teaching the value of global networking.
Their template for building U.S./Russian networking opportunities has already resulted in a sale of U.S. cattle to Russia.
Additional sales are expected in the months and years to come, built by developing relationships.
“This is just our maiden voyage,” said Lori Schott, University of Minnesota Beef Team member. “This is a great opportunity as Russia investigates import partners. Russia is looking for long term partners and relationship