Monthly Archives: August 2006

Larry Turner: director of UK’s Cooperative Extension Service, Crash Victim

Larry Turner: director of UK’s Cooperative Extension Service, Crash Victim

By Art Jester


With the death of Larry Turner, 51, the University of Kentucky lost a forward-looking agriculture leader whose efforts had earned him national as well as statewide respect, colleagues said yesterday.

Turner, who grew up on a farm in Rising Sun, Ind., began his career with the UK extension service in 1978. Since 2002, he held the influential post of associate dean for extension and director of the Cooperative Extension Service in UK’s College of Agriculture.


Extension director dies in plane crash

Extension director dies in plane crash

From Drovers Alert

Larry Turner, director of the University of Kentucky agricultural extension service, was one of the people who died in the Comair plane crash Sunday morning in Lexington, Ky. Prior to assuming his administrative responsibilities, Turner was noted for his work in livestock facility design and management. For a statement by University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr., follow this link.

Ranchers in need of assistance get relief

Ranchers in need of assistance get relief

Western Livestock Journal

— Range cubes derived from ethanol byproducts aid displaced cattle.

Fires in Nebraska have scorched approximately 70,000 acres impacting several ranchers’ livelihoods by eliminating grazing acreage for thousands of cattle. The state has approximately two million head of cows and nearly seven million head of cattle and calves making it the third largest cattle state in the center of corn country. Along with mass cattle production, Nebraska is third in corn production and second in ethanol production. These statistics have enabled Nebraska cattle producers to have an advantage over other drought and fire stricken regions by having access to more feasible, plentiful feed sources despite burned rangeland. Most of the fire damage was seen on pasture ground, rather than crop ground, which provoked the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) to lend support.
“Eighty percent of the corn in our state is irrigated, so it wasn’t affected as much by the fires or drought,” said Don Hutchens, NCB executive director. “Much of northwest Nebraska was hit with significant range fires. Cattle producers lost a lot of feed, and there’s a lot of displaced cattle needing roughage.”


There’s more to like about Grass Fed Beef

There’s more to like about Grass Fed Beef


Chef Ann Cooper

FROM Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester County and Sparky’s All-American Food in New York to Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and Acme Chophouse in San Francisco, more diners are switching to rich, juicy and tender grass-fed beef, which is fast losing its reputation as tough and tasteless but good for you.

My own delicious research shows the industry has taken giant steps. When I wrote about grass-fed beef in 2002 there were about 50 producers, and most of what they raised was not very good. Now there are about 1,000 of them, and after I grilled rib-eyes from 15 producers for friends, it was clear that more of them are learning to get it right.


Through the Eyes Of The Intern At The Nebraska Beef Council

Through the Eyes Of The Intern At The Nebraska Beef Council

Kearney, NE (August 30, 2006) It was the pride that I felt at the age of ten as a young 4-Her when I showed “Twinnie” my bucket calf at the county fair and won Grand Champion. My excitement was repeated the next year after I again won Grand Champion Bucket Calf with my second calf, “Alberta”. The impact when walking from the show ring, leading a calf that weighed twice as much as I did, a trophy that barely fit in my hands, smiling ear-to-ear, dripping in sweat, and being high-fived by my friends and relatives wouldn’t be fully realized until nearly 15 years later. It was those meager beginnings that I now reflect on that were instrumental factors in my developing appreciation for the beef cattle industry.


Animal welfare bills increasing in number

Animal welfare bills increasing in number

Western Livestock Journal

— Efforts to regulate animal agriculture a result of changes in society, misperceptions.

Public scrutiny of farm animal welfare and the industry’s common practices is growing each year. Animal rights activists have been working ‘round the clock to pass both state and federal statutes which dictate how animals must be treated. This includes not only pets, but also livestock and poultry.

The general public has lost its contact with rural life and, for the most part, has little understanding of agricultural practices. When coupled with the support of celebrities—who paint agricultural practices with a broad brush showing extraordinary practices—the general public often becomes willing to turn on animal producers.


Smithfield says would consider buying Oscar Mayer

Smithfield says would consider buying Oscar Mayer


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA (Reuters) – U.S. meat company Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD.N: Quote, Profile, Research) would be interested in the Oscar Mayer meat unit of Kraft Foods Inc. if it became available, but the price may be too high, a top Smithfield executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

Talk has circulated that Altria Group Inc. (MO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) may soon spin off Kraft (KFT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) of which it is majority stockholder.

“Oscar Mayer is the only piece of that that we would have any interest in at all,” said Smithfield president and soon- to-be chief executive officer C. Larry Pope. “That’s probably going to go at a price we are not going to like.”


Getting Weaned Calves To The Bunk

Getting Weaned Calves To The Bunk

American Cowman

To help calves get on feed faster and reduce the stress associated with it, North Dakota State University researchers offer these reminders:

· Preconditioning feeds should be palatable, dust-free, and nutritious. Feeds that are unpalatable, dusty or moldy will result in low feed intakes and a poor start for the calves.

· Several management practices can be employed to get calves to eat quickly during backgrounding. Some cattlemen place an older calf or dry cow with the calves in order to train the newly weaned calves. The leader calf or cow knows the location of feed bunks and water in the pen and can train the new cattle to eat and drink a bit sooner.

· Placing feed bunks and waterers along the fence line will help calves find feed and water more quickly because freshly weaned calves tend to pace back and forth along the fence line for a few days following weaning. Allowing waterers to run over for a few days may also help attract calves to water since the sound of running water may be familiar to them.


Forage Focus: Hay Harvest Less Expensive When Animals Do The Work

Forage Focus: Hay Harvest Less Expensive When Animals Do The Work

Mechanical hay harvesting costs time and money. A Purdue University specialist said livestock producers can save both by switching to nature’s harvesting equipment: the animals.

Producers who practice what’s known as “stockpiling forage” can extend the grazing season, thus letting the livestock do the work, said Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension forage specialist.


Minnesota Bovine TB Testing Campaign To Start In Fall

Minnesota Bovine TB Testing Campaign To Start In Fall

KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)–A one-time targeted bovine tuberculosis testing campaign is planned for the fall to determine if Minnesota’s cattle population harbors any remaining level of bovine TB, according to a release from the state Board of Animal Health.

In 2005, five beef cattle herds in northwestern Minnesota were identified as positive for bovine TB, the release said. As a result, the U.S. Department of Agriculture downgraded the state’s TB status from TB-Free to Modified Accredited Advanced.


Facility at Center of Organic Debate

Facility at Center of Organic Debate

The Baltimore Sun, (MD)


by Chris Guy, The Baltimore Sun

Aug. 28–KENNEDYVILLE — Sprawling over 140 acres of hilly pastures outside this Eastern Shore crossroads, the Horizon Organic dairy farm looks for all the world like a postcard. But lately, it has become a flash point in a national debate about how to raise cows to supply a burgeoning market for organic products.

At issue isn’t the milk that comes from more than 500 Holsteins at the Kent County farm. It’s about whether cows should be cows — or at least how much time they should get to spend outside the barn, grazing in green pastures of grass, clover or alfalfa.

Horizon, the nation’s largest organic milk producer, has drawn criticism — and a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic standards board — from a Wisconsin-based industry watchdog group and a former dairy veterinarian at the Kennedyville farm.


National ID Process Remains Muddled

National ID Process Remains Muddled

Beef Stocker Trends

Anyone hoping for answers and clarity at last week’s ID/InfoExpo — a de facto national forum for discussing and developing the national ID system — surely walked away disappointed. Though USDA Secretary Mike Johanns was on the docket and took questions from the crowd, his answers remained vague and non-committal.

For example, Johanns repeatedly dodged questions about whether USDA’s intent was to make and maintain NAIS as a voluntary or mandatory program. He stressed it’s a voluntary program today and believes a voluntary program is preferable. Yet USDA’s NAIS Implementation Plan ( issued in April states in black and white that adopting mandatory regulations is a contingency plan for producer participation.

Johanns also demurs from questions aimed at assessing what level of voluntary participation is required for effective animal-health trace-back.


Farm Progress Show opens

Farm Progress Show opens

Brownfield Network

by Tom Steever

The 53rd annual Farm Progress Show opened in Amana, Iowa Tuesday to steady rain. The showers let up just before midday, but not before leaving the ground’s pathways a muddy mess. By late afternoon the sun was shining accompanied by a gentle breeze to start drying the show site.


U.S. beef exports to Japan this year will total $400 million

U.S. beef exports to Japan this year will total $400 million
by John Gregerson on 8/29/2006 for

The Agriculture Department projects that beef exports worth around almost $400 million will be sold to Japan in fiscal 2007.

That’s about one-third the amount the U.S. beef industry shipped to Tokyo prior to December 2003, when Japan banned the product on fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

USDA says the amount still accounts for about 20 percent of the Japanese market.

Cattle TB Testing Begins This fall

Cattle TB Testing Begins This fall

(AP) St. Paul Targeted testing begins this fall to see if Minnesota’s cattle population still has any traces of bovine tuberculosis.

Last year, five beef cattle herds in northwestern Minnesota tested positive for bovine TB.

For Minnesota to regain its TB-free status, more tests need to be conducted throughout the state.


Cattle Update: Creep Feeding Calves

Cattle Update: Creep Feeding Calves

Creep feeding is a way to provide suckling calves with supplemental nutrients. The type of creep feeds commonly fed are in the form of grain, protein supplements, high quality forages, or commercial calf creeps. The decision to creep feed along with what nutrient to utilize can vary from year to year. Also, what is profitable for one operation may not be for another. Producers should carefully consider their marketing objectives and evaluate the economics of creep feeding in order to determine whether or not it will be profitable? If the market endpoint for a producer is at weaning, the producer would be inclined to supplement calves most years in order to maximize weight gain prior to weaning.


Trans Ova on the cutting edge of reproductive research

Trans Ova on the cutting edge of reproductive research

By Ryan Wendland


SIOUX CENTER, Iowa — Don’t be fooled by the two miles of bumpy gravel road it takes to get to Trans Ova. The firm’s headquarters, which doesn’t look much different than a modern livestock farm, is as high tech as it gets.

“There’s nobody in the world that does what we do for our clients,” Chris Sigurdson, sales and marketing director at Trans Ova, said.

Tran Ova began in 1980 as an on-farm embryo transfer service provider by Faber, Funk and Schuiteman. Today, 90 percent of Trans Ova clients raise beef cattle, and 50 percent of those clients raise Angus. Fifteen years ago, half of Trans Ova’s clientele were dairy producers. Trans Ova is currently re-entering the elite and commercial dairy industry. One burgeoning market Trans Ova has entered is bucking stock, which has gone from backyard hobby for many producers to a multi-million-dollar business.


Beef Cattle Producers discuss Winter Feeding Alternatives

Beef Cattle Producers discuss Winter Feeding Alternatives

Debra Davis

Alabama Farm Bureau

TROY, Ala., Aug. 28 — The hot, dry summer has created a hay shortage in Alabama and is forcing state cattle producers to look at alternative feeds as a way to sustain their herds through the approaching winter.

More than 100 cattlemen from the Wiregrass attended a meeting in Troy Aug. 28 where Dr. Darrell Rankins, Extension specialist and associate professor of animal science and forages at Auburn University, discussed options that could allow them to hold on to their brood cows.


US beef battling to make a comeback

US beef battling to make a comeback

MAD COW HANGOVER: US product is freely available in Japan, but consumers seem wary about putting it on their tables, preferring instead to turn to Australian or local beef


Taipei Times

Chief sales clerk Tomohiro Kuriki arranges packs of beef imported from Canada and Australia at a Hanamasa Co supermarket in Tokyo on Aug. 18.


The Japanese restaurant chain Zenshoku said it would serve US beef starting yesterday, a first among this nation’s restaurants since the ban on US beef was lifted last month.

Zenshoku Co, which specializes in Korean-style barbecue dishes said in a statement on its Web page that it plans to offer US beef starting with dinner last night.

US beef has only been trickling in to Japan since the easing of the ban, imposed in 2003 due to mad cow fears.


State changing cattle ID system

State changing cattle ID system



Farmers, cattlemen, countrymen, lend your ears … well, the ears of your livestock, anyway.

A new state law mandates that all cattle leaving the farm of origin as of Thursday, March 1, must have an electronic ear tag, known as a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag.

The tags cost $2 apiece; the applicator, $20.