Protect Alfalfa Seedlings During Drought
Despite their slow growth and tender appearance, alfalfa seedlings are tough, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension forage specialist.
“Many seedlings manage to survive stressful conditions and become productive plants, but some years are harder on them than others and this is one of those years,” says Anderson. “Because of the extended hot, dry weather in many areas, alfalfa seedlings are experiencing more stress than usual.”
Natural Beef: Could your cattle qualify?
Beef Quality Strategies
Among the growing popularity of branded beef programs, brands labeled “natural” are also coming of age. So what does the buzz-word “natural” truly mean, and what’s the future for the natural niche?
Turk Stovall, with the Montana-based integrated beef genetics company ORIgen and formerly with North Platte Feeders in Nebraska, says, “Natural beef is moving from niche to mainstream. I really believe we are at the dawn of natural programs exploding. The industry is sending signals for international and domestic growth.”
Creep Feed Considerations
by Barb Baylor Anderson
Sending calves on pasture to the creep feeder is often considered the best solution for providing supplemental feed to improve preweaning average daily gains (ADGs) of calves. In a year like 2006, with predictions for relatively strong fall calf prices and “reasonably priced” corn, beef specialists say producers can push the pencil and find profitability. But, they also caution that creep-feeding must help meet the rest of your goals to really pay.
BeefTalk: Early Cow Pregnancy Check Can Create Marketing Options
By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist
NDSU Extension Service
And the heat hangs on.
Each summer leaves its mark. This year it is the mark of heat. The grass is drying, the crops are dying and the cattle are starting to roam. If it wasn’t for flies, the herds would be more dispersed, but the constant irritation tends to force the herds to congregate for some relief.
The point still remains – the pastures are dry. So what should a producer do?
Obviously some fly tags wouldn’t hurt, but the point at hand is the drought, and the first inclination is to reduce numbers and look for feed. The search for feed will happen regardless, but the real difficult point is when does one start thinking of gathering cows and sorting some for market.
“Computer Cows” May Crash
by Heather Smith Thomas
American Chianina Journal
The beef industry has come a long ways toward producing animals with better performance and more predictable desirable qualities like low birth weight, high weaning and yearling weights, higher yielding carcasses and more red meat.
Much of that progress has been through diligent record keeping, recording weights, doing ultrasound testing, using EPDs for selecting breeding stock and crunching the numbers with computer technology. This technology will continue to help us improve our cattle, but it has certain flaws that every producer needs to remember. The numbers that come out of the computer are only as good (or reliable) as the data put in. There are also some very important cattle traits that cannot be measured and numbered.
A herd of brood cows (or a bull battery) selected by numbers and computer alone may be heading for a wreck.
NCBA: U.S. Cattle Producers Take Action on Key Policy Issues
Washington, D.C. Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) addressed current policy priorities at the 2006 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Reno last week, passing new resolutions and directives to make amendments to the 2006 Policy Agenda.
The official NCBA Policy Book is a detailed, almost 200-page compilation of policy priorities on more than 50 cattle industry issues.
“Our policy committees tackle an incredible amount of issues, with everything from the Farm Bill to nutrition policy to trade barriers to Death Taxes on the agenda,” says Andy Groseta, chairman of NCBA’s public policy group and Arizona cattle producer. “Fellow members come from across the nation to hash out the biggest issues that are hitting the cattle industry right now and make some specific decisions on how to move forward on these priorities.”
Texas Rancher Cashing In With Grass Fed Cattle
Shannon Hori Reporting
GRANDVIEW In America – we love to eat beef. But when you sit down to your dinner table – do you ever think about where that beef has come from?
It’s a question more and more people are asking themselves and its good business for some ranchers going back to the old way of doing things.
On one farm in Grandview you’ll find hundreds of cattle roaming free on some 1,400 acres of land.
“Kind of does what Mother Nature’s done for thousands and thousands of years. The buffalo when they moved through, that’s the way they did it… just naturally in their migration,” said cattle rancher, Jon Taggart.
Factors Affecting Sale Price of Calves
By Glenn Selk (Adapted from Troxel, et al. 2006)
At the recent American Society of Animal Science meetings, Dr. Tom Troxel of the University of Arkansas presented information about factors that affect sale price of Arkansas beef calves as they were marketed in fifteen Arkansas livestock auction markets in 2005. He reported on data from over 100,000 head of calves sold in 52,401 lots. Several very interesting price differences were noted. Calves selling as groups of six head or more brought $122.61/hundredweight, while calves selling as singles sold for $117.26/hundredweight. Once again, producing uniform groups of calves that are marketed together has added value. Healthy appearing calves of unknown “processing” brought $118.21, which was more than calves with “dead” hair ($105.55), stale-looking calves ($100.01), sick calves ($80.22), bad eyes ($104.39) or lame ($84.74) calves. However, if the calves were announced as “preconditioned”, they sold for a higher price ($122.36) compared to the healthy unknown ($118.21) calves. Polled calves still sell for more than horned calves by $3.70 per hundredweight and the difference between steers and bulls was $6.27 per hundredweight. Very full or “tanked” calves were discounted about $10 to $17 per hundredweight compared to calves that appeared to have normal shrink. Much of this data is very consistent to information reported by the Arkansas group several years ago. Likewise, Eastern Oklahoma county extension educators found many of the same prices differentials in 1997 and again in 1999 when they collected data from fourteen Oklahoma auction markets. The bottom line continues to be: that properly managed, process-verified, calves that are sold in group lots will bring home the most dollars. Source: Troxel, et al. J. Anim. Sci. Vol. 84. Suppl. 1.
Farmers, ranchers struggle as drought tightening grip across East Texas, the state
By CHRISTINE S. DIAMOND
The Lufkin Daily News
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Known for having green pastures long after all other hay meadows around Angelina County have turned brown, Jim Gordon Bell’s family-operated ranch is experiencing the worst drought conditions he’s seen since the 1950s.
“He’s the biggest and the best cattle operator in this part of East Texas,” said Bell’s neighbor and fellow cattleman, Billy Gauer, who’s had to sell off a third of his cattle this year.
No Drought Required For Federal Drought Aid
Livestock Program Grew To Cover Any ‘Disaster’
By Gilbert M. Gaul, Dan Morgan and Sarah Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
CHANDLER, Tex. — On a clear, cold morning in February 2003, Nico de Boer heard what sounded like a clap of thunder and stepped outside his hillside home for a look. High above the tree line, the 40-year-old dairy farmer saw a trail of smoke curling across the sky — all that remained of the space shuttle Columbia.
Weeks later, de Boer was startled to learn that he was one of hundreds of East Texas ranchers entitled to up to $40,000 in disaster compensation from the federal government, even though the nearest debris landed 10 to 20 miles from his cattle.