Monthly Archives: December 2005


Iowa State beef cattle researchers used close-outs on 1836 pens of cattle, from producers who participated in the Iowa Feedlot Monitoring Program, to analyze factors affecting performance and profitability. Following are summary statements of the research:

  • As initial weight increased, feed intake and average daily gain increased, but feed efficiency declined.
  • Cattle started on feed in the winter had significantly improved feed efficiency compared to those started in the summer or fall.
  • Cattle fed lower levels (less than 75%) of concentrate were the most profitable, those fed intermediate levels (75% – 85%) were the least profitable and those fed higher levels (greater than 85%) were intermediate in profitability.
  • Fewer cattle per pen (less than 100 compared to more than 100 head) led to greater profit per head.

Following is the percentage of profit variability attributed to various factors: market price of fed cattle, 26%; feeder cattle purchase price, 25%; feed efficiency, 13%; corn price, 2% and average daily gain, 1%.

Source: Koknaruglu et al. 2005 Professional Animal Science 21:286. Submitted by Jim Neel, University of Tennessee.

U.S. Cattle On Feed Up 3 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on December 1, 2005. The inventory was 3 percent above December 1, 2004 and 3 percent above December 1, 2003.

Placements in feedlots during November totaled 2.05 million, 17 percent above 2004 and 6 percent above 2003. Net placements were 1.95 million. During November, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 660,000, 600-699 pounds were 650,000, 700-799 pounds were 420,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 315,000.

Marketings of fed cattle during November totaled 1.70 million, 4 percent above 2004 and 11 percent above 2003.

Other disappearance totaled 91,000 during November, 16 percent below 2004 and 6 percent below 2003.

South Korea Delays Decision On U.S. Beef Imports

South Korea Delays Decision On U.S. Beef Imports South Korea’s animal quarantine committee has postponed a decision regarding the resumption of U.S. beef imports. The committee is scheduled to meet again later this month. Korea is the third largest market for U.S. beef and beef variety meats. In 2003, the U.S. exported $815 million in beef and beef products to Korea. — P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.

EU To Open Market To More U.S. Beef

EU To Open Market To More U.S. Beef The European Union (EU) and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) agreed Nov. 30 to grant more EU market access for U.S. products following the EU’s enlargement to 25 members last year. “I’m pleased we’ve been able to negotiate a good compensation package that expands market opportunities for U.S. exporters,” USTR Rob Portman said in a statement. The 10 countries that joined the EU in May 2004, including Poland and Hungary, adopted the EU’s tariffs and quotas, which resulted in a loss of market access for many U.S. products. Under the new agreement, which takes effect before July 1, 2006, after ratification by EU member states, a variety of new and extended quotas will allow more U.S. beef into Europe. The agreement will add 4,003 metric tons to the tariff rate quota for frozen beef and offal; 710 head of Simmental and Pinzgau heifers and cows for breeding; 711 head of spotted Simmental, Schwyz and Fribourg bulls, cows and heifers for breeding; and 24,070 head of fattening calves weighing under 300kg. The EU requires all imported beef and cattle be from certified hormone-free producers. Under world trade rules, trade partners must be compensated if market access is reduced as a result of joining a common market, like the EU. If the EU and U.S. didn’t come to this agreement, the U.S. could have imposed retaliatory trade measures to compensate for loss of market access. The EU is working on similar negotiations with Canada, Argentina and Malaysia. — Meghan Sapp in Brussels, Belgium

Beef Industry’s Long-Range Plan Ready For Review

Jim McAdams, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) president, delivered a working draft of the industry’s new long-range plan (LRP) to members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) at their annual meeting this week. Every five years, the industry develops an LRP to help increase beef demand and provide a road map for the industry. The last LRP, in 2000, set a goal to increase beef demand by 6%. “We followed the goals set by the last LRP and were successful in reaching them,” McAdams says. “We hope to see the same success with the new plan.” The new LRP takes into account all competition the beef industry faces — from other protein sectors to worldwide increased protein production and competition. It also includes challenges from anti-beef groups, and the growth in alternative beef production. The faces of beef consumers are also changing. McAdams points to the aging Baby Boom generation, more ethnic diversity in the U.S., a continued focus on convenience and health, and a global growth in disposable income that is fueling a desire for more protein in the diet. Critical issues like food safety, agroterrorism, global trade, etc., also impact the industry’s competitive position, he says. Focusing on these changes, LRP created a vision to “Unite and mobilize all U.S. cattle and beef industry participants to prosper amidst growing domestic and global competition by strengthening beef’s position as the No. 1 protein of choice.” To do this, the following priorities were identified — to create unity in beef industry relationships in order to create value through beef production, create growth through consumer markets and create opportunity through global competitiveness, McAdams says. “In the beef industry, we need to agree on common values and principles,” he says. “It’s necessary to pull all the issues together to develop one vision — but we can only do that by working together.” The LRP committee was established by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and NCBA at the 2005 annual convention in San Antonio, TX. In the plan, the 14 members — representing all livestock production entities — detailed necessary industry actions to meet looming challenges and capitalize on opportunities in the next five years. McAdams encourages all with a stake in the beef industry to visit to review the working draft and submit comments by Dec. 31. Comments will be considered in developing a final draft for presentation to members at the 2006 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Denver, CO, Feb. 1-4. — Stephanie Veldman

Take An In-Depth Look At BVD Control In Your Operation

A two-day event — the first day for researchers, and the second for producers — will focus on improved bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) control in the U.S. Set to immediately precede the 2006 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in Denver, “BVD Control: The Future is Now” is Jan. 30-31 at the downtown Adam’s Mark Hotel.
The Jan. 30, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m., session is focused toward research scientists, veterinarians and lab diagnosticians with an interest in the control and eradication of BVD virus (BVDV). Addressed will be diagnosis and surveillance, control strategies and programs, BVDV vaccines, BVDV’s economic impact, and development and funding of control programs.
On Jan. 31, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., a production-level session focuses on what producers and vet practitioners must know to prevent BVD and handle existing herd infections. Scientists, ranchers, cattle feeders and vets will address what what’s needed to design effective control plans, control-plan components, disease costs and the tools needed for control. Go to for more info or to register.

Pick An Appropriate Winter Cow Feeding Program

Winter-feed costs are a cow-calf operation’s single largest expense. But arriving at the most viable program for a particular operation depends on the animal type, stage of pregnancy, body condition, available feed resources, quality of fed forage and feed cost. Dry or mature cows, for instance, require lower-quality feed than nursing cows or young females. Generally, winterfeeding consists of harvested hay and silage. One can estimate winter feed requirements based on dry matter (DM) intake/head/day. A 1,350-lb. pregnant beef cow typically requires 25-30 lbs. DM/day, or about one 1,000-lb. bale/head/month. Grazing crop residues are another option. Research indicates cows will graze through snow up to 9 in. deep for high-quality forages, but intake can be reduced by as little as 1/4-in. of ice covering the snow. Winter conditions, such as precipitation and cold temperatures, will also decrease the digestibility of DM and protein. A practical rule of thumb is to increase energy intake by 1% for every degree of coldness below the lower critical temperature (20°F) of a cow. Regardless if you feed stored forages or graze residues, the cow’s diet must be sufficient through the winter months to uphold a body condition score (BCS) of 5 to 6 (9-point scale; 1 = emaciated and 9 = obese). Research shows a cow BCS of 5-6 is optimum for maintaining body weight and supporting lactation and fetal growth. Supplementation may be needed when nutrient demands aren’t met by the basic winter diet. Late gestating beef cows have minimum nutrient requirements of 55% total digestible nutrients (TDN) and 8% crude protein (CP). But lactating fall-calving cows or spring calving first- and second-calf heifers have minimum winter requirements of 62% TDN and 11% CP to maintain a 5 to 6 BCS. Those requirements will increase (TDN = 66-70%; CP = 11-13%) for fall-calving, first- and second-calf heifers during the winter months. If a TDN or CP supplement is needed, compare the nutrient intake of the diet with the cow’s nutrient requirements (based on animal type and pregnancy status) and determine what additional nutrient(s) are needed. Throughout the winter, evaluate cow performance (body weight and condition changes) as a result of your winterfeeding program, especially if additional nutrient supplementation was needed. This will tell you if you’re correctly supplementing your cattle through the winter and maintaining body conditions. Find more cattle management info at the University of Minnesota Beef Industry Center Web site: Another source of winterfeeding info is Just type “winter feeding” into the “Title Search” box on the opening page. — Ryon Walker, University of Minnesota Extension Service

Should You Remove The Net Wrap From Bales?

Ideally, net wrap should be removed from bales before tub-grinding or processing, but there’s no definitive research indicating that not doing so leads to intestinal problems. That’s what Greg Lardy, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension beef cattle specialist, gleaned from conversations with manufacturers of net-wrapping balers. He was tracking down the answer for a North Dakota producer who wondered whether he should worry about taking off the wrap. “According to company reps, there have been no conclusive studies on the topic to date. However, they were unaware of any reports of intestinal or stomach damage in cattle due to ingesting the small pieces of plastic resulting from net-wrapped bales being tub-ground or shredded with the wrap on,” Lardy reports. He says cow-calf producers seem most likely to remove the wrap, using the logic that cows are around longer and would have the opportunity to ingest more of the plastic bits than stocker or feeder cattle. Meanwhile, Lardy asks producers to let him know their observations and experiences along these lines. Contact him at or 701-231-7660. — Wes Ishmael, BEEF Stocker Trends newsletter

Durbin Introduces BSE Prevention Legislation

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has introduced S. 2002, the “BSE and Other Prion Disease Prevention and Public Health Protection Act,” which would make changes to regulations to prevent BSE in the U.S. The legislation would expand the Food and Drug Administration’s list of specified risk materials (SRMs) prohibited from use in all animal feeds. It would also ban the use of plate waste, poultry litter, and blood and blood products in feed intended for use in food-producing ruminants. In addition, prion-disease rapid-screening tests would be conducted on all cattle and bison 30 months of age or older. — P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.

Estimating The Amount of Grain Left In The Field

Estimating the amount of corn down in a field helps producers determine a grazing strategy. An 8-in. ear of corn contains about 0.50 lb. of corn grain. Therefore, 112, 8-in. ears would equal 1 bu. (1 bu. = 56 lbs.). By counting the number of ears, the amount of corn can be estimated. If corn is planted in 30-in. rows, count the number of ears in three different 100-ft. furrow strips and divide by 2 to give an approximate number of bu./acre. Small ears and broken ears should be counted as half-ears, while very large ears should be counted as 1 1/2 ears. Any amount beyond 8-10 bu./acre will require a well-planned grazing strategy to ensure that too much grain isn’t consumed. Because of the hard outer coat, the grain in a milo stubble field is essentially unavailable to cattle, but founder can occur if large amounts of grain are available. One milo head has about 0.12 lb. of grain; about 400 milo heads would equal 1 bu. of milo (1 bu. = 56 lbs.). As fields approach 10 bu. down in the field, producers need to implement well-planned grazing strategies to avoid founder. — Rick Rasby, University of Nebraska professor of animal science

USDA Approves ViaGen AnguSure™ Test

USDA has approved ViaGen’s AnguSure™, a DNA verification test to verify the genetic heritage of animals sold as “Angus.” The test utilizes ViaGen’s patented genetic breed ID technology to quantify the amount of Angus genetics in any cattle DNA sample. The tested animal is compared to more than 275 registered Angus bulls, which have collectively sired more than 100,000 calves in the last decade, ViaGen says. In a Wednesday morning press conference, Rick Morris, CEO of Premium Gold Angus Beef (PGAB), called AnguSure “one more tool to ensure consumers receive the best premium eating experience.” He said testing indicates more than 80% of AnguSure-tested cattle graded Choice or higher, compared to 60% of “commodity” cattle. ViaGen has granted an exclusive retail license to PGAB to market the “Independently Verified by AnguSure™” testing program and the AnguSure emblem at retail. PGAB products are available nationwide through 2,500 select retailers. PGAB says the “Independently Verified by AnguSure” emblem will begin appearing on products in stores in January. ViaGen points out AnguSure is supplemental to existing requirements for all USDA-certified Angus programs. The Austin, TX-based ViaGen developed AnguSure and other similar tests to enable producers and feedlots to determine or verify breed composition of all cattle. The tests are sold directly to cattle producers to help them manage and market their animals into programs desiring breed-specific criteria, a ViaGen release says. “This is the new way of getting the right type of cattle into the right hands,” says Sara Davis, ViaGen vice president for genetic services. “Our tests provide certainty — giving producers documented predictability and consumers DNA-verification of the best beef available.”