Monthly Archives: May 2006

Broad coalition meets to study potential enhancements to Beef Checkoff

Broad coalition meets to study potential enhancements to Beef Checkoff

A broad coalition of beef industry leaders met in Kansas City May 22-23 to address opportunities to enhance the Beef Checkoff, and what potential changes to its operating procedures might strengthen the checkoff in the future.

The 17-member Industry-Wide Beef Checkoff Task Force established their mission; “to review, study and recommend enhancements to the Beef Act and Order for the purpose of strengthening the Checkoff for the common good of the beef industry.” In its first meeting members identified key issues facing the checkoff and analyzed both strengths and weaknesses of the current checkoff system.

A unanimous opinion of the Task Force at the May 22-23 meeting was that the current checkoff has succeeded in helping build beef demand and assisted in moving product. New product development efforts and work to change consumer perception of beef’s healthful properties was recognized by the group. In addition, the significant contributions and program coordination of state beef councils was acknowledged.


Cattle Vaccines and Their Use

Cattle Vaccines and Their Use

Dr. Stuart D. Lincoln, Caine Veterinary Teaching and Research Center

What vaccinations should cattle have at various times of the year? This is difficult to answer because management practices, disease prevalence, and nutritional levels vary from region to region or even from ranch to ranch in the same area. Recommendations in this fact sheet are meant to serve as guidelines. You should consult your veterinarian and Cooperative Extension agent to tailor a program to your operation.

Commonly used vaccines and injections are listed here. Sometimes you may need to use all of them. At other times you may need very few. The vaccines and injections are listed starting at calving time and continuing through fall.


University Studies Way Of Fueling Cars With Cattle Waste

University Studies Way Of Fueling Cars With Cattle Waste

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP)–As gas prices continue to rise, more attention is being paid to alternative energy projects, like one at Western Washington University that would power cars with natural gas harvested from cow manure.

Students at the state university’s Vehicle Research Institute have developed a scrubber that removes the corrosive chemicals from the gases released by manure so it can power a natural gas car, The Bellingham Herald reported.

Eric Leonhardt, director of the institute, said the fuel that he calls “biomethane” is less flammable than gasoline and produces fewer greenhouse gases than manure left to decompose naturally in fields, according to the newspaper.

He estimates the natural gas would cost about half the current price of gasoline to produce, but emphasizes that is not the real benefit of cow power.


R-CALF pleased with BSE regulations changes

R-CALF pleased with BSE regulations changes

The Prairie Star
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 4:36 PM MDT

BILLINGS, Mont. – R-CALF USA was pleased to learn that member countries of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) last week voted unanimously to revise the three definitions of risk categories for countries affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE): negligible, controlled, and undetermined.


Number of foot-and-mouth disease affected localities rises in Vietnam

Number of foot-and-mouth disease affected localities rises in Vietnam

Peoples Daily

The number of Vietnamese localities stricken by foot-and-mouth disease has increased to 40, after the disease outbreaks have been detected in southern Binh Duong province, according to a local animal health agency on Tuesday.

Last week, local veterinary agencies detected 34 infected bulls in 8 farms in the province’s Thu Dau Mot town and 5 ill pigs in one farm in its Phu Giao district, said the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


Western Cow-Calf Resource Manual Now Available

Western Cow-Calf Resource Manual Now Available

Beef / Mycattle,com

The recently updated “Cow-Calf Management Guide and Cattle Producer’s Library” is now available from the University of Idaho (UI).

Published as a three-ring binder filled with various decision-aiding worksheets and more than 230 research-based fact sheets on all aspects of beef-cattle production, the manual addresses such major topics as reproduction, nutrition, management, finance, genetics, drought, quality assurance, health and pasture. Material is peer-reviewed and revised annually by the Western Beef Resource Committee, a team of state Extension beef specialists and educators from 12 western states.


Congress votes to fund animal ID

Congress votes to fund animal ID

Wilson County News (TN)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Ron Paul sponsored an amendment to the 2007 agriculture appropriations bill May 23 that would prohibit any federal funding for implementing the National Animal Identification System.

The vote went against his amendment 34-389.

The Texas Farm Bureau opposed Paul’s amendment and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar voted against it as well.

Paul’s argument against animal ID is that it threatens to put thousands of small farmers and ranchers out of business.


USAIO reports solid progress on animal-movement database

USAIO reports solid progress on animal-movement database

The United States Animal Identification Organization (USAIO) has cleared several technical and procedural hurdles in developing a national animal movement database for use by the nation’s livestock producers. The USAIO database is a producer-controlled, multi-species solution for livestock producers participating in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Producers retain ownership of their data at all times, with state and federal animal health officials having access to the information only when necessary for animal health surveillance.

USAIO recently submitted two key documents to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS): an Application for Cooperative Agreement, and an Application for System Evaluation. Through these applications, USAIO continues the dialogue with APHIS that began with its submission of a Memorandum of Agreement earlier this year.

“USAIO’s interaction with APHIS has been extremely positive and constructive to date,” said Charles Miller, a Kentucky cattlemen and chairman of the USAIO Board of Directors. “USDA remains committed to a producer-led solution, while USAIO brings something very important to the animal ID discussion – a simple way for government to access the data it needs while producers continue to own and protect their business information.”


Where’s the beef (from)?

Where’s the beef (from)?

ZACHARY FRANZ Bismarck Tribune / Meat & Poultry

For most of the food Americans eat, it’s a long trip from field to fork – an average of 1,500 miles, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Burleigh County ranchers Alvin and Juanita Braun are out to bring that average down.

The couple is opening a store in Bismarck that will sell only beef born, raised and processed in North Dakota. The store, ND Branded Beef, is set to open June 8 at 3120 E. Broadway.


Swift completes sale of business to XL Foods

Swift completes sale of business to XL Foods

GREELEY, COLO. — Swift & Co. officials announced this past Friday the completed sale of its non-fed cattle business to XL Foods, Inc., based in Alberta, Canada.

Having gone public with plans for the transaction this past April, XL officials completed its due diligence on the deal, which includes acquiring Swift’s Omaha plant and its assets in Nampa, Idaho. XL will operate the company as XL Four Star Beef, Inc.

XL Foods is a division of Nilsson Bros. Group, a cattle feeding and marketing company, and is one of Canada’s largest beef processing companies, processing 450,000 head per year at its operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.


31 Senators Call for End to Japan and Korean Beef Embargoes

31 Senators Call for End to Japan and Korean Beef Embargoes

American Meat Institute

Thirty-one United States Senators sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Japan and the Ambassador of Korea urging them to resume trade in U.S. beef. The letter urged Japan to resume trade prior to the Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit in June. The senators signed a similar letter requesting the Republic of Korea to reopen their market prior to negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

The letter to the Prime Minister outlines that ”despite overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the safety of American beef and an agreement between the United States and the Government of Japan, the embargo on beef from the United States still exists.”


Australian Cattle Traceback System Upgraded; Big Growth

Australian Cattle Traceback System Upgraded; Big Growth

CANBERRA (Dow Jones)–An Australian cattle traceback system, which the industry regards as a key component in holding and building shares in premium beef exports markets, has been upgraded amid a sharp increase in usage. The National Livestock Identification System, or NLIS, is a key component in a system that allows beef to be traced back to individual animals.

More than 143,000 farms and 38 million electronic devices are registered on the database of the NLIS, with usage quadrupling since July 1, 2005, when the system became mandatory, according to a statement issued late Monday by system manager Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd. The NLIS database records an average of 41,000 cattle movements a day and has recorded up to 96,000 cattle movements in a single day.


Do you have to be rich to eat organic?

Do you have to be rich to eat organic?

All-natural foods cost much more because of labor-intensive farming, but lower prices may be on the way

Tuesday, May 30, 2006
LESLIE COLE, The Oregonian

Danita Bergseng, pushing her cart along a supermarket produce aisle in Southwest Portland, sings a common refrain about whether or not to buy organic food. She likes the idea, but balks at the prices.

“I would buy it all the time,” says the wife and mother of a 17-year-old son, “if it weren’t so expensive.”

So while wild salmon, organic milk and the lovely landscape of Whole Foods beckon, she can’t go there.


Tips For Saving Time When Planting Alfalfa

Tips For Saving Time When Planting Alfalfa

Hay and forage Grower

Alfalfa producers can save time in several ways when planting alfalfa in spring, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska extension forage specialist. “Spring fieldwork for grain crops often competes with the time needed for late alfalfa plantings,” he explains. He offered the following tips in the most recent issue of the Nebraska Crop Watch newsletter.


What the labels mean

What the labels mean

Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The Oregonian

Marketers love to dazzle consumers with labels that give their products a virtuous air. But what do the terms mean exactly? Here’s a glossary to help you sort out the most common descriptions you’ll see on fresh and processed foods.

Certified organic: Adherence to USDA uniform organic standards (see “How green is your food?” on FD1) has been verified by an independent state or private organization. Oregon Tilth is one of hundreds of accredited certification agencies that inspect farm fields and processors, test soil and water and keep detailed records.


Limits to ethanol’s wild success

Limits to ethanol’s wild success

By ALAN GUEBERT, Columnist
Farm and Ranch Guide

When biofuel promoters begin to extol the virtues of ethanol, it’s sometimes difficult to determine if their excitement is powered by corn-based fuel or corn-based liquor.

Please don’t misunderstand. Ethanol’s 25-year childhood is over; it’s on a rocket ride no alternative energy source has ever experienced in America.

And, yet, caution signs – some close, others years away – are coming into focus. Farmers, farmer-investors and community leaders in pursuit of new markets, value-added profit and local jobs need to consider these signs because, ethanol, like its cousin ethyl, might deliver a head-splitting hangover.


Selk: One Calving Season Versus Two Calving Seasons

Selk: One Calving Season Versus Two Calving Seasons

Deciding on the use of one calving season or two calving seasons is a big first decision when producers are choosing calving seasons. Many fall calving seasons have arisen from elongated spring seasons. Two calving seasons fits best for herds with more than 80 cows. To take full advantage of the economies of scale, a ranch needs to produce at least 10 to 20 steer calves in the same season to realize the price advantage associated with increased lot size. Therefore having forty cows in each season as a minimum seems to make some sense.


Monitoring Alfalfa Quality

Monitoring Alfalfa Quality

Hay and Forage Grower

Alfalfa producers and dealers in northern Illinois can still benefit from the Alfalfa Watch project, which helps monitor plant quality, growth and first-cut timing, according to the University of Illinois. The project estimates preharvest quality in the field using the Predictive Equations of Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) technique. PEAQ predicts fiber and relative feed value (RFV) based on the height of the tallest alfalfa stem and stage of maturity in a sampling area.


Capturing and keeping soil moisture

Capturing and keeping soil moisture

Peace Country Sun

Soil is the foundation of agricultural production, and water may be the most limiting factor to crop production in Alberta. The ability of soil to store water in times of excess and provide it to growing crops in times of need, is key to successful and sustainable crop management.

“There are various Best Management Practices (BMPs) that increase the conservation of soil moisture,” says Jody Heinz soil quality program agrologist with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development’s AESA soil quality program, Edmonton. “BMPs are practices that benefit a farm’s soil, water, air and wildlife habitat. They contribute to both the farm’s overall sustainability and the quality of life for the farm family.”


UT Beef and Forage Field Day

UT Beef and Forage Field Day

June 15, Knoxville, Tenn.

A joint event of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station and the Eastern Region University of Tennessee (UT) Extension, the field day will begin at 7:30 a.m. with registration and a trade show on the grounds of the Blount Unit of the East Tennessee Research and Education Center.

The field day will feature a panel discussion on trends and patterns in consumer demand for beef, and how consumer preferences relate to cattle producers in Tennessee. Field talks will be presented on topics including how to make culling decisions for the cow herd, factors to consider in bull selection, hay quality and feeding needs, controlling weeds in pastures, and other pasture management tips.

Following a sponsored beef brisket lunch, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training will be offered if enough participants preregister for this optional training.

Preregistration is requested by June 9. For more information contact Patricia Daniels, UT Institute of Agriculture marketing and communications, at (865) 974-7141.