Monthly Archives: November 2006

Beef Production Ideas for Part-Time Producers

Beef Production Ideas for Part-Time Producers

By Bill Henning, Cornell University Small Farms Specialist

American Cowman

When driving past many beef operations, the question often comes to mind: Just how profitable do you suppose that farm is? Granted, when it comes to many small-scale beef operations, profit is not the only motivating factor that prompts the beginning of a small-scale farm. There is nothing wrong with non-monetary motivation, but generating a few extra dollars along the way always makes it more interesting.

The part-time beef producer has an advantage that might not be apparent to some. That advantage, in many cases, is that they do not have to rely on cash flow from the beef operation to support the family. This gives them the freedom to do some things that can contribute to profitability with less concern for steady income.


Ohio Heifer Development Program Now Accepting Consignments

Ohio Heifer Development Program Now Accepting Consignments

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association

The recently created Ohio Heifer Development Program is now accepting heifer consignments. This program is being provided by The Ohio State University Extension Beef Team and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, with support from the Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation. Consignment forms can be found online at

Heifer Development programs can offer numerous benefits to producers. The upcoming Ohio Heifer Development Program can provide a potential solution to the challenge of raising replacement heifers from both an economical and management standpoint. This program allows producers to bring their replacement heifers to a central location to be developed. Producers will retain ownership in the heifers and pay a daily fee that covers the cost of feed, medicine, reproductive associated costs and labor. Heifers will be provided proper nutrition to meet their growth requirements. It is critical to have heifers through their first estrous cycle prior to the breeding season. This is highly correlated to having the heifers reach proper weight ranges. Ideally, heifers should be fed to reach approximately 60-65 percent of their mature body weight at breeding time. Heifers in the program will be artificially bred to bulls with proven genetics, focusing on calving ease and balanced traits. Once confirmed pregnant, heifers will be available for pickup. Ultimately, this program will be a hands-on educational tool as well as a vehicle to help create a statewide heifer development program patterned after other successful state programs.


Can you appraise hay by looking at it?

Can you appraise hay by looking at it?

Baxter Bulletin (MO)

Can the nutritive value of hay be estimated by simply looking at it? The short answer is no.

Generally, the crude protein (CP) or total digestible nutrient (TDN) content of forages can’t be estimated by visual appraisal alone.

The only accurate way to determine the feeding value of a specific lot of hay is by a laboratory analysis.

Even if the hay looks the same as another hay crop, it may have drastically different nutrient levels.

Variations in nutritive value occurs from year-to-year, field-to-field and cutting-to-cutting due to weather, management and several other factors .

Unfortunately, laboratory results are often not available when you are buying hay.


Sixth annual Missouri Livestock Symposium coming to Kirksville

Sixth annual Missouri Livestock Symposium coming to Kirksville

Kirksville Daily Express

KIRKSVILLE – Quilting and fabric design might not sound like a program for a Missouri Livestock Symposium, but it is one of 36 offered Saturday at the sixth-annual event.

The two-day symposium, which begins Friday at the Kirksville Middle School at 4 p.m., also features experts who will address issues related to beef cattle, sheep, forages, renewable resources, wildlife and conservation, meat goats and agriculture business.

At least 1,600 people attended last year, and they came from over half of Missouri’s counties and 13 other states.


U.S. Ag Secretary Calls Import Standards Which Cut Off Kansas Meatpacker "Invented"

U.S. Ag Secretary Calls Import Standards Which Cut Off Kansas Meatpacker “Invented”


The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture is criticizing South Korea for stopping beef shipments from a Kansas meatpacker.

Ag Secretary Mike Johanns says Korean officials, in his words, “invented” a standard for imports.

South Korea suspended imports from Creekstone Farms Premium Beef

because authorities said they found a bone fragment in boneless beef.

Creekstone raises Black Angus cattle in Kentucky and slaughters them in Arkansas City, Kansas. Johanns says the shipment was seven tons of beef.


Livestock a major threat to environment

Livestock a major threat to environment

Remedies urgently needed

Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.

Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations

Christopher Matthews
Media Relations, FAO

29 November 2006, Rome – Which causes more greenhouse gas emissions, rearing cattle or driving cars?


According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.


Soybean Residue as a Feed Source for Cattle

Soybean Residue as a Feed Source for Cattle

Southwest Nebraska News

This time of year it isn’t uncommon to see cattle grazing on corn, milo and soybean residue. However, it is unlikely cattle can graze on soybean stubble alone. The low nutrient value of soybean residue is not adequate to sustain even a small herd of cattle.

Soybeans are generally considered to be a high protein plant. However, the majority of this protein is found in the soybean itself. The leftover plant residue contains little protein.

The minimum amount of crude protein needed to support a dry beef cow is 7 to 8 percent. Soybean pods and stems contain only about 4 to 6 percent crude protein. The soybean leaves in residue contain up to 12 percent protein, but only 1/3 of this material is actually digestible by the cow.


Farmers leave fields to study agricultural issues

Farmers leave fields to study agricultural issues

By Chris Knape

The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS — Immigration reform, privacy issues and renewable energy issues lead the agenda.

But this isn’t Washington, D.C. This is DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. And this agenda wasn’t being set by lawmakers, although a few will be attending.

It was set by more than 1,000 members of the Michigan Farm Bureau — men and women who grow corn, raise hogs and milk cows, among other products, as part of the state’s $60 billion agricultural industry.


Labels can be misleading

Labels can be misleading

Home News Tribune



The label “natural” doesn’t mean “all natural.”

The label implies food as close to nature as possible.

But, according to government regulations, “natural” for meat, poultry and dairy means that the food does not contain ingredients, colors or preservatives considered artificial and not natural to the product. It has nothing to do with how the animal was raised or what it ate.

“Organic” is the only label certified by U.S. inspectors, and certified products must carry a United States Department of Agriculture organic seal.

Other common food labels — “all natural,” “cage free,” “range free” — are simply unregulated guidelines. That said, experts recommend consumers pay close attention to labels before buying.

Here are a few of the most confusing label categories:


Organic food rising in popularity

Organic food rising in popularity

MSU part of the trend, experiment station studies apple crops


The State News

A $50,000 grant was awarded to the Michigan Apple Committee in October to fund organic research, which will be used to determine whether growing organic apples is economically feasible.

The grant highlights a trend in the increasingly popular organic market, which has grown 28 percent since 2003 and pulled in $14 billion in 2005. Organic food sales now account for 2.5 percent of all food sales in the nation.

The Clarksville Horticultural Experimental Station, run by the MSU Agricultural Experiment Station, is an agriculture research facility that focuses partially on organic crop research.


Minnesota livestock producers often hurt by high corn prices

Minnesota livestock producers often hurt by high corn prices

By The Associated Press /


WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Minnesota livestock producers say the ethanol-fueled rise in the price of corn could drive their businesses into the red, and force them to find other foods with which to feed their cattle and swine.

“How long corn prices will stay at $3 will be a determining factor of when livestock producers will return to profitability,” said University of Minnesota Extension Educator Dave Bau. “The longer they are unprofitable, the less time they can exist.”


National ID Is Dead

National ID Is Dead

Beef Stocker Trends

USDA effectively and quietly knocked the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in the head last Wednesday. It did so with the unheralded publication of the “NAIS User Guide,” which replaces all former NAIS draft documents. This document, for the first time, emphasizes NAIS as a voluntary program rather than as a steppingstone to a mandatory one.

In fact, at the very beginning, the guide explains, “USDA is not requiring participation in the program. NAIS can help producers protect the health and marketability of their animals — but the choice to participate is theirs.”

Late last month at a community outreach event in Kansas City, Chuck Conner, USDA Deputy Secretary, and Bruce Knight, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, paved the way for the agency’s back-pedaling.


EPDs Can be Useful in Hitting Production Targets

EPDs Can be Useful in Hitting Production Targets

by: Dr. Joe Paschal

Texas Cooperative Extension, Livestock Specialist

Cattle Today

Ever walked into a pen of purebred bulls or replacement heifers that look pretty much the same in terms of quality and wonder how in the world you are going to accurately pick the best genetics?

You might have a copy of their weights, adjusted weights, ratios and maybe some other records that tell you exactly what the animals weighed on a certain day, what they would have weighed if they were adjusted to a common age, sex of calf, age of dam or which were the highest in their trait.

Now suppose you go to a second breeder and a third and they all have the same records and pretty much the same high quality cattle. How do you decide what head to buy?

In the early 1970s a group of progressive cattle breeders and their breed associations pushed for the development of a new method of evaluating the performance of their purebred cattle. They wanted this method to take into account differences due to ranches and environments to improve and increase the ease of genetic selection.


Dormant Planting Grasses & Legumes

Dormant Planting Grasses & Legumes

Dormant season or winter planting of grasses and legumes can be nearly as successful as planting during the more conventional time of early spring. Dormant plantings succeed as long as your soil is relatively dry and soil temperature is too cold for seeds to germinate. That’s the key — too cold to germinate. When these conditions exist, seed just lies in the soil until favorable conditions for germination occur next spring. Then seeds begin to grow as if they had just been planted. Warm-season grasses, like those used in CRP and range plantings, are especially well-suited to dormant planting. They won’t germinate until soil temperature exceeds 45 degrees. Since soils generally remain colder than this for most of the winter, dormant plantings of these grasses can be made anytime between late November and March. In addition, the alternate warming and cooling of the soil in spring stimulates a natural process in these seeds to improve their germination.


BeefTalk: Calf Growth Makes the Beef Business

BeefTalk: Calf Growth Makes the Beef Business

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

Growth is a common point of discussion for most beef producers because calves need to grow to make money. The paycheck is the accumulated weight of a group of calves. Accumulated weight, however, does not guarantee a profit. There are several reasons for that.

Calves that simply put on weight in the form of fat generally are valued less than those that put on red meat. Even excessive production of red meat can produce tough carcasses, which are less valued.

Understanding growth has been a topic of study by many. The summation of all the work would imply that calf growth rates are manageable and amenable to different production settings.


Genetically profiled feeder sales

Genetically profiled feeder sales

Beef Magazine

Nichols Genetic Source, Bridgewater, IA, will host two more trademark feeder-calf sales – Nov. 29 and Jan. 10, in Creston, IA. Nichols has sold 3,000 calves/year since 1995 through these special sales featuring about 1,000 calves (400 heifers, 600 steers) each. With 50-75 animals on average from 15-20 consignors, the sales allow smaller consignor-producers to commingle cattle, without losing the animals’ individual identity.


Canadian Cattle Producers Hope U.S. Border Fully Re-open by Mid-2007

Canadian Cattle Producers Hope U.S. Border Fully Re-open by Mid-2007

Written by Neil Billinger

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has sent a new BSE risk assessment proposal on older cattle to the White House. It’s the first step in resuming trade of breeding stock and cattle over 30 months of age.

The Vice-President of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Brad Wildeman says the next step will be to determine how long the comment period will be.


Ag secretary criticizes S. Korea for rejecting U.S. beef shipment

Ag secretary criticizes S. Korea for rejecting U.S. beef shipment


AP Food and Farm Writer

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns criticized South Korea for halting beef shipments from a U.S. meatpacker, saying authorities there had “invented” a standard for imports.

“They have applied a standard we did not agree to. It was a standard that they invented along the way,” Johanns told reporters Tuesday in Washington.

Cut off by mad cow disease in 2003, American beef shipments had resumed only recently after lengthy negotiations with South Korea.


Sen. Harkin’s ag committee

Sen. Harkin’s ag committee

By Forrest Laws

Delta Farm Press

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin will become chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry when Democrats assume control of the House and Senate in January.

Incoming Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he anticipates naming Harkin Agriculture Committee chairman when he meets with the new Republican minority leader to discuss the make-up of each committee.

Harkin is no stranger to the post, having served there during the debate over the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act or 2002 farm bill in 2001 and 2002. (Democrats controlled the Senate when Vermont’s Jim Jeffords declared himself an independent in 2001.)


Producers Should Expect Regulatory Compliance to Add Value

Producers Should Expect Regulatory Compliance to Add Value

Red Angus Association of America

The Red Angus Feeder Calf Certification Program (FCCP) was the Beef industry’s first USDA Process Verified Program (PVP), and has a dozen years experience in providing Source Verification to the ranch of origin and USDA audited traceability to Angus bloodlines. Earlier this year the program’s process verified claims were expanded to include Age verification.

Over the past decade the Red Angus FCCP has involved over 2,000 producers who have collectively enrolled over a million head of cattle. March 2006 saw FCCP enrollments surpass 22,500 head, marking the fifth month to exceed 20,000 head.

Enrolled cattle are identified by the FCCP’s official “yellow” ear tags, which include unique, sequential ID numbers. A “Combo” tag is also available, and provides a “matched set” RFID component for producers who need electronic identification capability. The RFID option utilizes USDA NAIS approved Digital Angel technology. Either tag meets the process verified claims of genetics, source and age. A “Certificate of Compliance” is available for enrolled cattle at no extra charge to producers, and provides documentation for buyers who require process verified age and source to supply export demand.

While the last 12 months have seen the emergence of several USDA process verified age and source programs, the Red Angus FCCP remains the only one that offers Age and Source regulatory compliance while utilizing genotypic verification to supply Angus product lines.

Red Angus Marketing Programs exist to help commercial cow/calf producers capture a greater return on their investment in superior Red Angus Genetics. In addition to providing access to value based grids, Angus product lines, and regulatory compliance for export markets, marketing services for feeder cattle and replacement female are available at no cost to Red Angus bull customers.

For more information about marketing feeder or fed cattle, or how to enroll calves in the Red Angus FCCP, contact Red Angus Marketing Programs at 940.387.3502 or visit us on the web at