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Aug-Sept 2006 Farm Business Management Update newsletter.
Peter Callan is Virginia’s Newest Farm Business Management Agent
Alex & Dave’s Economic “Fore-guess”
The Management Calendar
Financial Analysis of an Agricultural Business – the Balance Sheet
Virginia Tech Student Presents on Specialty Beef Markets at International Conference
Pasture-fed Beef Markets the Focus of a New Research and Education Program
Organic Dairy Project Funded
46th Virginia Tech Income Tax School
Back issues can be found at the following website
Farmers say demand growing for locally raised, organically grown meat, produce
By AMY RINARD
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
When Donna Laughlin’s husband, Tom, was diagnosed with cancer, she set about eliminating all chemicals, preservatives and hormones from the family diet and started searching for the kind of organic food she was sure would help make him well.
Nearly a year later, Laughlin still is buying meat and produce directly from farmers she knows and trusts near her Town of Oconomowoc home.
Cattle: Don’t Forget the Bulls
The drought continues to cause concern about which cows to sell and which to keep. Of course feed and water supplies for the cowherd are huge concerns. However, we must still keep in mind that half of the herd’s genetics and half of the fertility is penned up in the bull pasture. Therefore, it is important to remember to take good care of the bull battery during the drought.
After the breeding season, bulls become a necessary evil or unwelcome visitor. Many producers might like to forget about them for the balance of the year and some almost do. While it is true that bulls during the post-breeding season don’t require much management, adequate planning and care can help insure that bulls costs will be kept within reason and that bulls will be ready to go again the next time they are needed.
Jack Dillard: Calves are much lighter than last year
The Shreveport Times
It is hot, it is humid, the rains are scattered — but this is August and this is what should be expected.
Livestock, especially cattle, are suffering the most as our forage is gone. Still, the livestock auction markets in the Ark-La-Tex are not seeing any more cattle being sold than a year ago.
I have one sale barn that I have kept weekly records for years, and last year they sold more than 1,200 head at this time; last week they sold in excess of 700 head. The difference is the weight of the calves selling — they are much lighter than last year.
Shade can be critical element in raising livestock
“Don’t underestimate the value of shade for beef cattle in the fescue belt,” said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
Management intensive grazing, where larger pastures are reduced in size for more efficient use of the forage, often leave some pastures without shade. Some argue shade is not that critical, but Cole says more often than not, shade is helpful in southwest Missouri.
Two years of shade research were carried out at the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center, Mount Vernon, with impressive results favoring shade.
According to Cole, five years ago a group of spring-calving cows were compared using small portable shades and no shade. The trial was done on both endophyte-infected and endophyte-free fescue.
Turnips coming up roses on N.D. ranch
BURLINGTON (AP) – Rancher Dave Herzig has been experimenting with livestock feed, and he thinks turnips may be the answer.
“Turnips have 25 percent protein while grass is about 8 to 10 percent,” Herzig said.
Herzig’s family runs the Dakota Land and Cattle Co., along the Des Lacs River west of Burlington.
“In 2002, I began looking for a feed to increase grazing capacity,” he said. “I read about experiments in Nebraska, including this mixture of oats, turnips and an annual grass called Italian rye grass.”
Many Factors Work Against Beef Quality
With so many factors lined up to reduce marbling deposition in cattle today, its no wonder the beef industry struggles to maintain 55 percent USDA Choice grade. Acceptance levels in cattle identified for the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand languish in the 14 to 15 percent area.
That’s a problem, because consumers prove every day they will pay more for higher quality beef, says Larry Corah, vice president of Certified Angus Beef LLC. “What could be better profit opportunities for producers often go unheeded,” he says, “due to a series of unfortunate events.”
Most of those factors relate to management and environment rather than cattle genetics, but it may help to recognize all that’s working against beef quality today, Corah says.
Beef: Japanese Health Minister Threatens Drastic Measures
If Risk Materials Found In U.S. Beef
Jiro Kawasaki, Japan’s health minister, told the Japan Times that if any specified risk materials are found in any shipment of beef from the United States, all beef trade would end instantly, and he would probably have to resign from the government.
BeefTalk: A Cow’s Production Needs to Cover Expenses
By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist
NDSU Extension Service
There seems to be many recent events that could be termed critical, if not tragic. As people, we encounter difficulty more frequently than any of us really deserve. In agriculture, the situation is one of uncertainty and adversity, not guaranteed sustenance.
The recent drought is only the last on a relatively long list of natural calamities that impact agricultural producers. Currently not only do those involved have little to no moisture, but nature’s wrath and fire are literally burning what remains. The tragedy is exponentially confounded when what stored forage remains is burned.
The response is critical, but the correct or even the most appropriate answer generally is not well- known. The bottom line quickly becomes survival, financial survival being the most pressing.
Signs of the Times
Bruce Gordon shares his thoughts on how producers need to take a cue from the commercial sector.
Commercial cattle producers have always wanted problemfree cattle that produce the most amount of return. Unfortunately many seedstock producers-no matter what breed — often lose track of this basic fundamental. For instance, I often see seedstock producers who tend to focus too heavily on one or two traits, and it eventually costs them customers. Another mistake I see is producers who do the same thing year in and year out with their genetics and marketing. Because of this, little advancement is made and no new customers are attracted.
ISU feedlot tour showcases runoff control systems
by Jason Vance
Audio related to this story
(Audio with Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension Ag Engineer. MP3 3:46)
The Iowa State University Feedlot Tour is being held in southwest Iowa on Tuesday, August 15. The tour begins at 10 A.M. at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm and continues to three other feedlots.
“We are hoping to show people some of the different options out there for environmental controls on open feedlots,” said Shawn Shouse, an ISU extension ag engineering specialist. “We’ll see different sized feedlots from about 200 head on the small end to some three to four thousand head feedlots on the larger end.”