Monthly Archives: February 2006

Great West Cattle Company and Thorbardin Ranch Setting New Standards for Veal in the U.S.

Great West Cattle Company and Thorbardin Ranch Setting New Standards for Veal in the U.S.

Great West Cattle Company and Thorbardin Ranch are trying to turn the Veal industry around and public perception with it. The companies are setting new standards in the industry for raising veal.

Peyton, CO (PRWEB via PR Web Direct) February, 28, 2006 — Great West Cattle Company and Thorbardin Ranch are raising the bar for quality and humane treatment in veal production, through its free range veal practices. With the use of these practices, Great West Cattle Company is taking the lead in changing public perception about veal and bringing back the popularity of the fine delicacy.

Great West Founder, Jon Cordonier, says the company’s exclusive provider, Thorbardin Ranch’s practices differ from widely known practices for raising veal. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show over the last 3 decades, veal consumption in the United States has declined by more than 80%. The decline is largely due to an increased awareness of the inhumane practices of most veal producers in America. Great West Cattle Company veal is raised naturally without confinement, staying with mom on the Wyoming range with a diet of both milk and summer grasses.”

Great West’s exclusive provider, Thorbardin Ranch takes great care in raising Heritage breed animals with a well balanced diet that is healthy as well as hormone and antibiotic free. Heritage Highland Beef is known as the world’s best beef and now will be known as the world’s best veal.

A number of regional chefs have fallen in love with Great West Cattle Company veal. Patrons appreciate knowing that the animals are raised naturally in a humane manner while providing an award winning dining experience of extremely tender and exceptionally flavorful veal.

Recently Scott Savage, Executive Chef of the Four Diamond Cliff House restaurant in Colorado Springs, Colorado, won “Best of Show” and “Best Entree” for the 2006 Chefs’ Gala using Great West Cattle Company veal. “When you start with an exceptional product like Great West Veal, you can’t help but win something,” says Chef Savage after accepting his award.

“Great West veal is the hallmark for all veal in North America today. This product is another example of our commitment to provide the very best beef in the world to our customers”, says founder, Jon Cordonier. Great WestCattle Company has found a recipe for success that keeps turning out the best products you can find anywhere: Heritage Highland cattle are naturally raised, grain finished, processed with the latest technology, and then dry aged for taste and tenderness. Order online at and have 5 star restaurant quality beef delivered directly to your door.

A temporary hiccup with beef exports to Japan?

A temporary hiccup with beef exports to Japan?

Those in cattle industry hope so, but regaining trust, confidence of Japanese consumers won’t be easy

By Henry C. Jackson
Associated Press
Grand Forks Herald

DES MOINES, Iowa – The days after the first U.S. case of mad cow disease were a frightening time for the cattle industry.

Beef markets experienced unprecedented volatility. Critical export markets were snapped shut. There was widespread fear about the long-term financial impact on Iowa’s cattle industry.

Yet, more than two years later, those fears are mostly unrealized.

Strong demand

Iowa cattle producers enjoyed fairly good years in 2004 and 2005, says John Lawrence, director of the Iowa Beef Center. He credits a lucky combination – a bullish appetite for beef domestically and an ebb in producers’ supply.

But those conditions do not exist every year, Lawrence cautions, and keeping key export markets, such as Japan, open remains a critical task for the long term future of the cattle industry in Iowa.

“They were very lucky, in that demand was as strong as it was … .” Lawrence says. “As we go forward, it’s going to be important that we earn those markets back. Not only get the legal clearance to continue imports, but win back the Japanese consumers.”

Once the largest importer of U.S. beef in the world, Japan imported more than $1.4 billion worth of U.S. beef – more than a third of total U.S. beef exports – in 2003.

Ban backers

If polls are any indication, restoring the trust of the Japanese consumer will not prove easy. In a survey by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun, more than 85 percent of 1,915 Japanese adults said they supported the most recent ban.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is rare and the threat to the consumer is minimal, says Dr. Nolan Hartwig, extension veterinarian at Iowa State University in Ames.

“It tends to be out of perspective for the average consumer,” he says. “The disease is extremely complex … getting the average person to understand all of that is a bit difficult.”

However, BSE enjoys its frightful reputation for a reason. BSE in cattle is linked to a rare variant of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, which has killed about 180 people worldwide.

The incident that prompted Japan’s most recent ban on U.S. beef typify the sort of pitfalls the cattle industry would like to avoid.

Under heavy pressure from the United States, Japan agreed to lift its two-year ban on U.S. beef, provided shipments adhered to strict standards. They included a requirement that the meat be from animals younger than 21 months and contain no bones or bone tissue.

But a mere six weeks later, Japanese officials discovered a bone in a shipment of veal from a plant in New York. A renewed moratorium on U.S. beef imports has been in place since.

Credibility threatened

Beef industry representatives insisted the bone posed no threat to Japanese consumers. U.S. officials, though, acknowledge that it harmed the way Japanese consumers viewed U.S. beef.

“This is not about a lack of safety of U.S. beef,” Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says. “It is about perceptions and consumer confidence.”

Harkin, ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, says the onus was on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop such incidents. Not doing so, he says, puts the credibility of U.S. beef in peril.

Lawrence, with the Iowa Beef Center, hopes Japan’s current ban will be shorter than the last one.

“We are all hoping this is a temporary hiccup, a temporary closure – and then we will go back, sit down at the table and discuss what happened,” he says.

The best scenario, Lawrence says, is that Japan reopens its markets later this year and other markets, such as South Korea, follow.

If imports can resume, it can be left to consumers to decide if they have confidence in U.S. beef, he says.

“Ultimately, the consumer is king or queen … .” Lawrence says. “Hopefully, they’ll look and see that everyone in America eats the product and realize that it’s a safe and wholesome product.”

On the Net: and

Date set for boxed-beef price trial

Date set for boxed-beef price trial

by John Gregerson on 2/27/2006

A federal jury trial date has been set to consider allegations that four of the U.S. beef industry’s largest packers misreported boxed-beef prices to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2001.

The case, to be tried on April 3, 2006, was first filed two and a half years ago by cattle producers Herman Schumacher, Michael Callicrate and Roger Koch, who all sold cattle to the defendant packing companies — Tyson Fresh Meats, Cargill Meat Solutions, Swift & Co and National Beef Packing.

District Court Judge Charles Kornmann certified the case as a class action on behalf of all cattle producers who sold fed cattle on the cash market, and the trial follows motions by the defendants to have the case dismissed, which Judge Kornmann denied in January.

Under boxed-beef reporting laws, packers have to report twice daily to USDA certain cattle-price information. During the period in question, the packers are alleged to have underreported the price they were receiving for boxed beef, which had the effect of depressing the prices cattle producers received for fed cattle sold to the packers during the same time period.

Beef Trivia – Questions & Answers

Beef Trivia – Questions & Answers

by Minnesota Beef Council Today 2/25/2006 8:24:00 AM

Beef Trivia – Questions & Answers

1. Q: Top quality leather basketballs are made from cowhides. How many basketballs can be made from 1 cowhide?

A: Eleven, according to the Wilson Sporting Goods Company

2. Q. How many cowhides does it take to supply the National Football League with enough leather to produce footballs for one season?

A. About three thousand.

3. Q: What is the average daily consumption of meat per person in the United States? a) 10 ounces per person per day b) 6 ounces per person per day c) 3.4 ounces per person per day?

A: According to the latest from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the correct answer is (c) 3.4 ounces per day. Of that, 1.8 ounces per day is the average beef consumption.

4. Q: What mark on the surface of the beef carcass indicates that the beef is wholesome and safe to eat?

A: The inspection stamp or inspection mark is a purplish mark found on the surface of the beef carcass, which indicates that the beef animal was healthy and processed under sanitary conditions?

5. Q: What mark on the surface of the beef carcass indicates the eating quality of the beef?

A: Look for the grade shield or grade mark to tell you how tender, juicy and flavorful the beef should be. (Examples are USDA Prime, USDA Choice and USDA Select).The grade shield or mark is found on carcass beef and normally isn’t visible on retail cuts.

6. Q: What body-building nutrients does beef supply?

A: Beef is an excellent source of iron, vitamin B12, zinc and protein.

7. Q: Which mineral supplied by beef is most likely to be missing from American diets?

A: Beef is one of the best food sources of iron, a mineral lacking especially in the diets of many women and children.

8. Q: Small flecks of fat found in lean red beef are an indication that the beef should be tender, juicy and flavorful. What are these flecks called?

A: The small flecks of fat are called marbling. The higher the grade of beef, the more marbling you will find.

9. Q: A popular steak sold in restaurants is listed as a “filet mignon”. What is the standard retail name for this steak?

A. “Filet Mignon” is just a fancy name for a beef tenderloin steak.

10. Q: Leather and feed additives are not the only by-products of cattle and beef production. Name a few of the medical by-products?

A: Epinephrine is derived from the adrenal glands and used to treat asthma and allergies; thrombin, obtained from cattle blood is used in helping clot blood; liver extract is used in treating anemia; and insulin can be taken from the pancreas of cattle for treatment of diabetes.




by: Wes Ishmael

There’s good reason that bulls are ultimately worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for them, no more and no less. Fact is, calculating the true value of a particular bull is akin to bottling a blizzard, given the vagaries of predicting precisely the added performance a bull will pass along to his progeny, let alone assessing the value of that added performance at least 18 months down the road.

Randy Perry, a beef cattle specialist at the University of California Fresno, sums up the common bull appraisal approach as well as anyone can: “Most buyers have an idea of the type of quality they want to buy and will pay what it takes to get that quality.”

That means prices cow calf producers are receiving for calves, the availability of feed and a host of other production and marketing factors have as much to do with the price of bulls as bulls’ intrinsic value.

Sure, there are at least as many rules of thumb for calculating bull value as there are bull buyers. Some say a bull is worth four or five weaned steer calves or three yearlings. Others say a bull’s price should be equivalent to some number of bred heifers. Still others begin the process by calculating how many calves it will takes to buy a new pickup …the rules of thumb and variations on them are endless.

Over time, there have also been a fair number of attempts at making price calculations for bulls more sophisticated. For instance, a good decade ago, extension specialists at the University of Florida suggested that one way to begin assessing the economic differences between bulls and therefore price was to subtract the herd average weaning weight from that of the prospective sire, divide by two and divide by the heritability of weaning weight. The result is an estimate of the difference in weaning weight the bull should make to the calves he sires in a herd, relative to existing herd performance. Multiply that difference by the going rate of feeder calves and you have the potential economic value, again based solely on the impact of weaning weight.

For perspective, say your herd average weaning weight is 500 lb. Using the above formula, you’d calculate a bull with a 600 lb. weaning weight (in a breed with a heritability for weaning weight of 0.30) to serve up an increased average weaning weight in your herd of 15 lb. per calf sired. At 25 calves, that’s 375 lb. per year. If you use him four seasons, that’s 1,500 lb. Multiply that by the price of a 550 lb. calf and you’re talking at least $1,500 or so based on today’s market. That’s the added value of the bull in question, compared to one holding the herd average weaning weight steady.

Others have developed spreadsheets that account for the total cost of a bull, relative to predicted added returns, coming up with an estimated net cost per pregnancy as a benchmark to use for comparing potential bull purchases.

Any of these methods can have value. Ultimately, though, market fundamentals and the distance between bulls purchased today and their first calves marketed two years down the road means that cash in hand, hope in heart is still the most popular, and arguably, the most rational approach.

However producers tackle the challenge, Jason Cleere, an extension beef cattle specialist with Texas A&M University (TAMU) says, “I encourage producers to think about bulls more as an investment rather than as an expense. Think about what you can invest economically, relative to what that investment can return.”

In fact, Cleere developed an online spreadsheet that enables producers to quickly estimate the net cost of a bull including purchase price, interest and salvage value along with the predicted value of additional weaning weight the bull might deliver ( {go to Beef Cattle Information, then to Genetics and look for “Bull Power”}).

After all, whether calves are sold at weaning time or are retained through a stocker phase and then the feedlot, pounds still drive returns as much or more than the actual selling price.

That’s why buyers reward and discount feeder calves on weight potential as much as anything. For instance, in 2001 University of Arkansas extension specialists evaluated auction receipts in the state to determine value factors and impact. In that study, compared to Muscle Score (MS) 1 calves, buyers discounted MS 2 $4.72/cm.; MS 3 $13.40/ cwt.; and MS 4 $22.65/cwt. Similarly, using USDA Frame Score grades, relative to USDA Large, buyers discounted Medium $0.96/cm. and Small $19.53/cwt.


After bird flu, France fears ‘mad sheep’ disease

After bird flu, France fears ‘mad sheep’ disease

Sun Feb 26, 3:56 PM ET

France, which last week became the first European Union country to register the deadly bird flu in its commercial poultry sector, now fears it might have an outbreak of a rare strain of “mad sheep” disease, the agriculture ministry said.

Two suspected cases of a rare strain of the brain-wasting disease, which is also called scrapie and ovine spongiform encephalopathy, have been identified on two different farms in central France, the ministry said in a statement issued on the second day of France’s annual agricultural show.

“We will have more details in a few days,” a source at the ministry said, while the ministerial statement said that a year of tests would be needed before a final assessment could be made.

The source said that given that the strain was “unknown it is important to know exactly what the consequences are and in what conditions it is transmissible.”

A representative of the national ovine federation stressed that there was no risk to consumers.

“There is no risk for human consumption because since ‘mad cow disease’, whether it be for cattle or sheep, all risk materials, like brain, the bone marrow and the spleen are systematically removed before they are put on the market,” Emmanuel Cost, the federation’s deputy president, told AFP.

He said that neither of the sheep — which had originated in the adjoining central departments of the Cher and the Nievre — had been put on the market and the herds from which they came had been isolated and placed under surveillance.

However officials in the Cher later denied a case of scrapie had been detected in their region.

Scrapie was common in France in the 19th century, but only one case of the rare strain was publicly announced in a goat in 2004, an official for the French meat information centre said.

France’s national flock has been in decline to eight million head today, from 9.4 million in 2000 to 11.5 million in 1988.

Fill ‘er up: Rural residents forced to city taps

Fill ‘er up: Rural residents forced to city taps



Eagle Staff Writer

The drought of 2005 introduced a whole new meaning to the term “running water” for McDonough County farmers.

Ken Dallefeld of rural Macomb is of those farmers. He adds one more hour to his day each morning by driving into Good Hope to fill up on water for his cattle.

Dallefeld has been doing so since July, when the drought dried out his retention pond and the 25-foot well he has for livestock. He estimates the water table throughout McDonough County is at least nine inches below normal

In the summer he used a 1,200-gallon tanker every other day, but now, due to a smaller herd and to prevent any surplus from freezing, he fills up a 450-gallon tank in the back of his truck each day.

“It takes more time than just the hauling, it takes extra time to dispense it, too,” he said. “The actual cost of the water is minimal, but the labor and the cost of equipment … I’ve got a truck tied up that I could normally use for other things.”

Records at the waterworks station in Bushnell indicate Dallefeld is not alone.

In January 2005 the plant sold only 6,500 gallons of water out of its coin-operated dispenser. This year it had a more than 600 percent increase, to 40,500 gallons. In fact, the overall sale of water through its dispensing system increased from 141,600 gallons in 2004 to more than 340,400 gallons in 2005. The increase hit at the same time as the drought in June and July.

Dan Roberts, superintendent of water and sewer for Bushnell, said there’s been a considerable increase because of the drought, and there are several other communities with water works that have seen this, as well.

Matt Heisner, manager of the McDonough County Farm Bureau, said the farmers who use shallow wells for their livestock are the ones getting hit this winter.

“A lot of the farmers that use pasture for beef cows, sheep and horses have to haul water in. There’s just a lot of creeks and watering holes that over the last summer are drying up,” he said. “They just haven’t refilled due to the lack of precipitation.”

Drying up

That is the case with Dallefeld. Several years ago he built a retention pond on his property rather than dig a deeper well; the pond was one-third of the cost. But now he has to reduce the number of cattle he keeps on hand.

“Usually I’d have bought replacement cattle by now,” he said. “I’m not going to buy any until the ones that I’m feeding now are gone. Normally I have some big ones and some little ones. I’m starting next year’s crop, but I feel with the water situation right now, I will get rid of my bigger ones then buy some little ones.”

Dallefeld also farms corn and soybeans, and as concerned as he is about the state of his livestock, he is more so over the future of his crops.