GE Animals Full of Promise in Brave New World
Genetically engineered (GE) animals provide innovative technologies that are transforming public health through biomedical, food and environmental applications, according to a scientific report released yesterday at the BIO 2008 International Convention.
The report, Genetically Engineered Animals and Public Health – Compelling Benefits for Health Care, Nutrition, the Environment and Animal Welfare, details how GE animals are enhancing human health, food production, environmental protection, animal health and cutting-edge industrial applications.
Cattle farmers need to have water plans
Regardless of feed prices and forage quality, water is the most important nutrient for cattle.
Dry beef cows need eight to 12 gallons of water on a day when it is 50 degrees and 20 to 30 gallons at 90 degrees. Lactating beef cows need 12 to 20 gallons at 50 degrees and 25 to 30 gallons at 90 degrees. A lactating dairy cow should drink 20 to 30 gallons a day at 50 degrees and 30 to 40 gallons at 90 degrees.
Lush forage or feed can reduce daily water needs.
The Missouri office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service provides information on the water needed by grazing cattle.
N.C.B.A. supports pursuit of non-feedgrain fuel sources
A petition filed June 19 by the State of Texas to reduce federal mandates for production of grain-based fuels is being supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Cattlemen want a greater emphasis put on fuels produced from cellulosic or non-feedgrain sources.
The Environmental Protection Agency is being urged by the petition to use its statutory authority to reduce the Renewable Fuels Standard mandate for 2008 by 50%, which would trim the mandate to 4.5 billion gallons of feedgrain-based ethanol from the current 9 billion gallons. This mandate is scheduled to expand to 15 billion gallons by 2015.
Feed costs keep cattle off lots
Tulsa World Staff Writer
Corn’s gain is cattle’s pain as Oklahoma ranchers and feedlots adjust to higher costs for grain by cutting back, officials said Friday.
The Oklahoma field office for the U.S. Department of Agriculture counted 305,000 head of cattle in feedlots of 1,000 or more head statewide this month, according to a report released Friday. The feedlot total was unchanged from May but tied for the state’s lowest inventory since last August.
Corn, meanwhile, reached a record high of more than $7 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade earlier this week.
Total red meat production at record high for May
North Texas e-News
Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.22 billion pounds in May, up 4 percent from the 4.08 billion pounds produced in May 2007.
Beef production, at 2.38 billion pounds, was 4 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 3.14 million head, up 3 percent from May 2007. The average live weight was up 19 pounds from the previous year, at 1,251 pounds.
Veal production totaled 11.5 million pounds, 7 percent below May a year ago.
Many beef cuts are never tested for E. coli
Des Moines Register
Fourteen people got sick from E.-coli-tainted meat near Omaha this spring, but the culprit wasn’t the usual culprit, undercooked hamburger.
Instead, investigators blame the roast beef that was served at a political fundraiser.
Processors are not allowed to sell ground beef that is tainted by E. coli because the product is considered most likely to carry the bacteria and pose the biggest risk to consumers.
But it’s perfectly legal to market whole cuts of beef that might be contaminated by E. coli, and the government doesn’t test them for the bacteria, either.
American Simmental Juniors Head to Texas for ASA National Classic XXVIII
The Wichita Falls Multipurpose Event Center and the Howard Johnson Hotel in Wichita Falls, Texas will welcome the American Simmental Association’s (ASA) National Classic XXVIII on July 13-18, 2008.
American Junior Simmental Association’s (AJSA) premier event, the Classic is “the epitome of what our junior program is all about” according to coordinator Nancy Tom, Campbellton, TX. Junior members between 9 years and 21 years will compete in contests such as Sales Talk and Livestock Judging, as well as the Simmental Cattle Show and Showmanship. AJSA Board members will be elected at the National Classic and Merit Award winners are announced. The Classic is designed to provide competition and a learning experience to juniors across the nation.
Higher Corn Costs Affect Other Food Prices
The flood waters in Iowa have destroyed millions of acres of corn and the impact will likely go well-beyond the Hawkeye state.
Corn is a commodity that’s already being diverted to make ethanol fuel. That, in addition to the farmers’ losses, will be a double-whammy for consumers.
From baked goods to cereals and soda – corn is the number 1 food ingredient, and consumers will feel the effects of higher corn costs in nearly every aisle at the market.
From beef to beans on Argentina’s famed pampas
Mia Mitchell, Andrea Goodrich and Dalina Castellanos
Arizona Daily Star
Standing on his patio overlooking an endless sea of green, Jorge Lagger struggles to imagine these lands as they were just one year ago.
San Jerónimo Norte, a farming community in the province of Santa Fe, once resembled a quilt of different crops alternating with pastures filled with grazing dairy cows. Now it is nearly impossible to tell where one man’s land ends and another’s harvest begins.
Farmers see rise in cost of fertilizer, fuel
Spring often is a stressful time for growers, but this planting season has been especially trying because of spiking costs.
“Fertilizer and fuel — we call those the f-words,” said Gary Blocker, owner of Zim Sod Co. in Forbes.
The cost of fertilizer has risen even more dramatically than fuel prices. Farmers paid an average of 65 percent more for fertilizer in April than they did the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Whipping up healthy food campaigns
Women, traditionally the main household food buyers in Canada, have a rich history as powerful lobbyists in some of the country’s most controversial food campaigns, according to research that examines the links between domesticity and activism.
At the height of Canada’s BSE crisis, for example, the Alberta beef industry was represented by three female ranchers who toured the country visiting beleaguered farms in an attempt to raise confidence across the nation.
Texas Officials Want Another Look at JBS Takeover
Representatives of the Texas, largest cattle state in the US, have recently contacted the United States Department of Justice to implement a ‘thorough review’ of the proposed acquisitions by Brazilian-owned JBS SA of National Beef Packing Co., Smithfield Beef Group and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding.
Todd Staples and Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs were both praised by the US meat industry action group R-Calf for their latest decision.
Beef Furor Provokes a Turnover in Seoul
New York Times
President Lee Myung-bak replaced 9 of 10 senior presidential aides on Friday, hoping the changes would help restore trust in his four-month-old government, which has been shaken by a deeply unpopular deal on importing American beef.
President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea, center, introduced his new staff during a news conference at his residence in Seoul on Friday.
United States and South Korean trade officials are close to an agreement in which American beef exports to South Korea would not be from cattle older than 30 months, according to officials close to the talks, despite an April deal in which South Korea agreed to import meat from older cattle as well.
How Reliable Are EPD’s?
Producers often debate the accuracy of the EPD’s (Expected Progeny Differences) reported in sale catalogs. The father-son duo of Dr. Fred Thrift and Dr. Todd Thrift of the University of Kentucky and the University of Florida, respectively, have published an interesting review of scientific literature. (Source: Thrift and Thrift. 2006. Professional Animal Scientist. 22:413-423.) They thoroughly reviewed the scientific publications where Expected Progeny Differences (EPD’s) were directly compared to the actual outcomes of beef cattle progeny.
Studies were summarized that compared expected progeny differences with actual realized progeny differences for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, marbling, hot carcass weight, subcutaneous fat, loin eye muscle area, percent lean yield, milk, total maternal and scrotal circumference. Actual progeny differences agreed well with expected progeny differences (EPD) for birth weight and weaning weight, but for yearling weight, realized tended to be greater than EPD especially when yearling weight was the primary sire selection criteria.
Agriculture secretary’s reassurance rings hollow in light of current industrial beef processing
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.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer recently assured Americans that USDA inspectors check “every single” processed American beef carcass. Charitably put, his statement is highly misleading. USDA inspections are perfunctory and fall far short of checks performed by other countries’ meat watchdogs.
The issue arose after South Korea agreed this April to lift most of the restrictions it had placed on U.S. beef imports. That prompted intense protests by South Koreans who say they fear mad cow disease in U.S. beef. They want their government to negotiate a tougher deal or to scrap it.
In Texas last week touring meat processing plants, Secretary Schafer defended domestic meats as safe.