Monthly Archives: December 2005

Japanese supermarkets reintroduce US beef

Japanese supermarkets reintroduce U.S. beef
by Pete Hisey
on 12/28/2005 for

Two supermarket chains, Cowboy and Marunaka Co., reintroduced U.S. beef for the first time in two years on Monday. According to Kyodo News Service, Marunaka was selling about six tons of Kansas beef for prices ranging from about $8 per pound for chuck to about $14 for sirloin (230 yen and 400 yen, respectively, for 100 grams of beef, a bit less than four ounces). According to Kyodo, customer reaction was approving but cautious, with one customer saying she would stick with domestic beef for a while longer, while another said he was not worried about the beef’s safety.

Severity Of Winter And Impact On Calf Birth Weights

Does the severity (coldness or mildness) of the winter have an impact on spring-born calf birth weights?

Ranchers have asked that question during many springs and veterinarians have speculated for years. The debate rages on! This is obviously a difficult subject to research because you cannot have a “control” group of cows to compare to a “treatment” group that is exposed to a cold winter while still running on the same pasture. Therefore research data on this subject is limited. University of Nebraska researchers (Colburn and co-workers) have done the next best thing. They have monitored the birth weights of genetically similar calves across three different winters and have related average winter temperatures to birth weights. A 3-year study was conducted to evaluate effects of high and low air temperatures and wind chills during winter months on subsequent calf birth weights and calving difficulty of spring-born calves. Records on approximately 400 2-year-old heifers and their calves were used. Heifer and calf genetics were the same each year. Heifers were fed similar quality hay free-choice each year before calving. High temperatures during the 1994-95 winter were 9 degrees higher than during the 1992-93 winter. The low temperatures were five degrees higher for 1994-95 compared to 1992-93. The greatest differences in monthly temperatures between years were found during December, January and February. Average temperatures for these three months increased 11 degrees F over the three years. Average calf birth weights decreased 11 pounds (81 to 70) from 1993 to 1995. A 1:1 ratio was observed. Although calving difficulty was high due to the research design, it also decreased from 57% to 35% from 1993 to 1995. Results indicate that cold temperatures influenced calf birth weight. Weather cannot be controlled; however, with below average winter temperatures, larger birth weight calves and more calving difficulty may be expected in the spring.

Other data that may shed some light on this subject, comes from OSU in 1990. Birth weights of 172 fall born calves and 242 spring born calves were compared. These calves were the result of AI matings using the same bulls and bred to similar crossbred cows. The fall born calves averaged 4.5 pounds lighter at birth than their spring born counter parts (77.7 vs 82.2). One possible explanation for this phenomenon, the changing of blood flow patterns of cows gestating in hot weather versus cold weather. During hot weather blood is shunted away from internal organs toward outer extremities to dissipate heat, while the opposite is the case in very cold weather with blood flow directed toward internal organs in an effort to conserve heat and maintain body temperature. This change in maternal blood flow may impact fetal growth in a small way, but result in a measurable difference.

Source: Glenn Selk, OSU Extension Cattle Reproduction Specialist

No sacrifice

No sacrifice
Drovers Journal
Posted: December 14, 2005By Troy Smith
In its effort to build calving ease and efficiency into its cow herd, this South Dakota operation hasn’t sacrificed growth or carcass quality.
Rich Blair and his brother, Ed, are cow men. Running a western South Dakota cow-calf operation, near Vale, they’ve strived to build a better cow herd — one that’s suited to their sometimes harsh, always challenging environment. But in the effort to make better cows, Blair Brothers Angus hasn’t given up any other important traits. The outfit raises calves that grow, perform satisfactorily in the feedlot and produce a product worthy of a premium price.

Checkoff takes to the Road

Checkoff takes to the road By Drovers news source
(Thursday, December 22, 2005)
After visiting roughly 100 venues on behalf of the beef checkoff in 2005, the Beefmobile program has scheduled more than double that number in 2006. At each location, the Beefmobile and its “Wranglers” reach out to producers throughout the country to provide information – and solicit input – about the Beef Checkoff Program.


Sometimes a price quotation for a supplemental feed may seem like a great buy when priced per ton. However, when comparing the cost of feedstuffs, producers should compare the nutrient cost rather the cost of the feed per volume. For example, divide the unit cost of the supplemental feed by the volume of nutrient content to get the price of nutrient per pound. That is the way to get the least cost when comparing supplements. For example, if the producer is shopping for a protein supplement and corn distillers grains are available in the area @ $120 per ton, with an average protein content of 25 percent, there would be 500 pounds of protein in the ton of product. The cost of protein on a per-pound basis would be 24 cents per pound.

Costs that producers often overlook is the cost of transporting, handling and feeding. Dry matter or water content of the feed will also affect the cost of nutrient per pound. Make comparisons on a “dry matter” basis. Bottom line, evaluate the cost of nutrient delivered to “the cow.”

Submitted by Jim Neel


Of the cow-calf producers that responded to the Cattle Fax Survey in 2005, 62 percent said their cow herd was predominately English based, 25% were Continental based, 2 % reported a mix of English/Continental while 10% reported other.

Regionally, a greater percentage of producers in the Northwest, Southwest and the Midwest have English based herds, compared to the Southern Plains and the Southeast. Thirty-one percent of the producers in the Southeast and 27% of the producers in the Midwest and Southern Plains have Continental based herds.

An even greater percentage (69%) of cow-calf producers said their bulls were predominately English based. Regionally, 76% of the cow-calf producers in the Southwest used English breed bulls compared to 60% in the Southeast.

It was interesting to not that only 9% of the producers reported their bulls were predominately Continental based.

Source: Cattle Fax. Submitted by Jim Neel.


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.