USDA Approves Two Instrument Systems for Beef Carcass Marbling Scores
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Livestock and Seed (LS) Program today announced approval of two image-based instrument grading systems for the determination of beef carcass marbling scores for use in the evaluation of Official USDA Quality Grades for Carcass Beef.
The two instruments approved are the VBS2000 (E+V Technology, Oranienburg, Germany) and the Computer Vision System (RMS Research Management Systems, Fort Collins, Colorado). The systems were found appropriate for objectively predicting marbling scores accurately and precisely for use in the evaluation of beef carcasses for quality grade, certification programs, and carcass data information programs.
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Revolutionary animal health bag promises big livestock benefits
By Mark E. Johnson
The inspiration for a good idea can come from anywhere. For Sir Isaac Newton, it came from a falling apple. Levi Strauss saw potential in yards of unwanted tent canvas and thousands of poorly dressed 49ers. And last December, Dr. Clyde Lane’s epiphany arrived with the recollection of a gallon of ice cream at a grocery store checkout lane.
“I was sitting in my office trying to come up with ways to get our Beef Quality Assurance [BQA] message across,” explains Lane, a University of Tennessee professor of animal science and state coordinator of the BQA program. “For some reason, I remembered seeing a supermarket clerk putting ice cream into an insulated bag. I thought, ‘Now, why can’t we do that with our vaccines?’”
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The Purpose-Driven Herd
by: Steve Suther
The cows in your herd are there for a reason. For profit’s sake, let’s hope it’s not just because you can’t catch them. How did they get on the place, and why do you let them stay?
You should consider those questions for each cow, but start with the big picture. Why do you have cows? That’s a deeper question than you can answer in a few seconds.
Many people looking for even deeper answers have purchased Rick Warren’s spiritual bestseller, “The Purpose-Driven Life.” In the last few years, his concepts have spread to the business world. You can now find articles on “purpose-driven management” in everything from software development to drywall construction and forestry. Why not animal husbandry?
A garlic flavored cow
Veterinarian researchers find that garlic used to ward off cattle ticks also improves taste of beef
Soon there’ll be no need to season your steak as cows will be fed garlic flavored hay.
The Veterinarian Institute at the Agricultural Ministry recently conducted comprehensive research into the food being fed to cattle raised
for meat. Contrary to the black and white dairy cows, cattle grown for beef spend most of their time pasturing outdoors and often become infested with ticks
UTM, state partner to improve cattle health
Michael Crump Staff Writer, The Pacer (TN)
UTM and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture are going into “business” together.
The current venture involves a partnership to improve cattle health in West Tennessee.
The partnership was marked with the unveiling of a mobile, high-tech trailer that will be managed by the university for the purpose of demonstrating proper cattle handling and health practices.
The MobilcattleDocTm is a 24-foot long, 8-foot tall trailor that can be pulled to any location and is efficient for handling and holding cows.
Creekstone answers USDA in court over mad cow testing
The Wichita Eagle
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef has answered the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s court documents opposing the company’s motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit against USDA.
Creekstone sued the USDA in March for refusing to allow the Arkansas City beef processor to voluntarily test all the cattle it slaughters for BSE, commonly called mad cow disease.
USDA officials have told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Creekstone’s case is now largely moot because Japan and Korea have re-opened their borders to U.S. imports. Several countries had banned imports of U.S. beef because of concerns over mad cow.
The USDA maintains that it has the right to regulate private testing for BSE on the basis of a 100-year-old law intended to stop the sale of bogus hog cholera serums to Midwest farmers.
Early weaning can be solution to limited range resources
By Jennifer M. Latzke
High Plains Journal
It’s dry out there.
In these drought conditions, from Texas to North Dakota, and all points in between, ranchers are facing some difficult decisions regarding their cow herds. “Should I cull more stringently?” “Should I retain fewer replacement females?” “How am I going to feed the cow herd when pastures are blowing away and my hay resources are shot?”
One answer that researchers at Kansas State University and other agricultural colleges are touting is the use of early weaning calves as a range management and cow management tool.
Black ink-ID, records don’t have to be high tech
Western Livestock Journal
Climbing into a tractor cab at a farm sale, you discover corn yield counts for the past 20 years. The crop rotations on the back 80, the river bottom and “John’s place” are laid out in barely legible layers on the vinyl interior. To an outsider, this “chicken scratch” is useless information, but to the farmer who owned that tractor, it was priceless. He might have used it to pick different seed varieties or to change his weed and pest control from year to year.
What about the rancher who gets a new pair of gloves every calving season so he has a new place to record each calf’s birth date? After a 2 a.m. calving check reveals a baby on the ground, he writes about it on his glove. In the morning, that impromptu notepad still provides individual identification (ID).
In today’s world of lightening-fast technology and computerized gadgets of every sort, some would have you believe that the only way to keep records is by computerized spreadsheets, electronic ear tags and chute-side scanners. Maybe you think someday you’ll learn about all of those thingamajigs and start keeping records.
by: Baxter Black, DVM
There are people who are ennobled by their service to mankind. We think of soldiers, nurses, teachers or ministers whose contributions are recognized daily. Others are national leaders, inventors, Olympic athletes or philanthropists. Their achievements attract laudatory headlines and press.
But there are many who toil beneath the radar, who persevere and over a lifetime of service produce profound long-lasting benefits to the world. One example is research scientists. I think of research scientists as the really smart people in my Physiological Chemistry classes who now work in bat caves chasing cures for the physical maladies of mankind.
Feed Costs a Bigger Concern for Cow-Calf Producers
by Derrell Peel
Oklahoma State University
Many Oklahoma cow-calf producers are facing a winter with hay supplies that are less than normal in both quantity and quality. Hay is expensive and producers should carefully evaluate alternative feed sources on a nutrient equivalent basis. Many producers will need additional supplemental feed including the usual protein needs and perhaps increased energy feed needs to compensate for limited supplies of poorer quality hay.
Feed costs have increased significantly in recent weeks following a surge in corn prices. Although the 2006 corn crop was the third largest on record, unprecedented demand for corn for ethanol production has emerged quicker than expected to push up corn prices and raise prices for most grain and by-product sources. Although the long term impact of bio-energy demand for agricultural products is uncertain, what does seem clear is that feed markets will be volatile and many feed market price relationships will have to be continually reevaluated for the next several years. New uses for grain and oilseed crops will likely change what products are available, where they are available and will result in changing values in different regions and for different products. Relative values of energy and protein feeds will likely change as well and producers will need to carefully evaluate the nutritional and economic values of an increasingly diverse set of grain products and by-products.
Meanwhile this winter, cow-calf producers should focus on matching cattle nutritional requirements to available resources, including the feasibility of purchased supplemental feed. By the 2007 breeding season many cows will have been through 15 months or more of drought conditions and careful management will be required to maintain herd health and reproductive performance in 2007.
Managing Mother’s Milk-Colostrum
Bethany Lovaas, DVM
University of Minnesota Beef Team
Getting a calf off to a good start by ensuring colostrum intake is one of the most important steps for overall calf health. Calves are born “agammaglobulinemic”, which means they have no antibodies in circulation when they’re born. Colostrum is their only protection from disease until their own immune system develops the ability to respond to disease challenge. In general high quality colostrum is thick, syrupy, and yellow to tan in color.