Give the facts on animal welfare
By Suzanne B. Bopp
Producers have always had to adapt to a changing business environment and keep in touch with what matters to consumers. One thing that is becoming increasingly important to them is animal welfare. This is demonstrated vividly in a statistic reported by the Animal Agriculture Alliance: Donations to animal rights groups with anti-agriculture campaigns increased 40 percent between 2003 and 2004.
It’s a trend that continues to rise, says Philip Lobo, communications director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, where research has shown that people under 25 have views on animal welfare that diverge from those of the rest of the population. “It may be an indicator of what’s coming down the pike,” Lobo says.
One question they asked participants in their research was about agreement with this statement: “While it is important to be concerned about how farm animals are raised, they can be raised just for food.” Respondents over the age of 25 agreed at a rate of 87 percent. Among respondents 25 and under, 61 percent agreed.
USDA Tackles Livestock Odors
UNITED STATES: Researchers explore novel method for reducing offensive smells from livestock production and holding units.
One of the key objections to the construction or expansion of livestock production units or meat processing plants is the objectionable odors from the cattle, pigs, and poultry at those facilities. However, a group of U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers believe they may have found an effective way to reduce those odors.
The researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit in Fayetteville, Ark., found that aluminum chloride – a common ingredient in deodorant sticks – helps minimize livestock odors.
Soil scientist Dr. Philip Moore, Jr. – the leader of the group – discovered that aluminum chloride significantly slashes ammonia concentrations in the air. Ammonia concentrations are typically high in confined-livestock production units, such as poultry or pig houses.
Moore first discovered the power of aluminum – in the form of aluminum sulfate (or alum) – in 1992 while researching ways to reduce phosphorus loss from livestock manure. Alum binds the phosphate, keeping it from escaping into waterways. It also reduces the buildup of ammonia gas in chicken houses. Based on Moore’s research, almost 700 million chickens are raised each year in the United States using alum.
Researchers Measure Cattle Sweat Rate, Seek Genetic Markers to Offset Heat Stress
Using a device resembling an electric razor, University of Missouri (MU) researchers are measuring sweat rate in cattle in search of ways to help producers overcome heat stress in their herds.
According to an MU release, heat stress can be a major factor in limiting cattle growth and reproduction. Cattle sweat more in the shoulders than in the rump area due to a higher number of sweat glands, but different breeds sweat at different levels when exposed to heat, said Don Spiers, associate professor of animal science.
Spiers and other researchers studied three groups of cattle: Angus raised in Missouri, and Angus and Romosinuano raised in Florida. They compared sweat rates and corresponding body temperature of the three groups.
U.S. Senator Seeks Blanket BSE Testing for Exports to Japan
Kyodo Times / My Cattle
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning has sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns urging him to allow beef producers to conduct blanket testing for mad cow disease for their exports to Japan and other countries, according to a copy of the letter made available Thursday.
“This is vital to regaining U.S. market share in Japan, South Korea and other markets critical to U.S. beef suppliers,” the Kentucky Republican said in the letter dated last Friday.
Bunning also expressed concerns about the announcement by Johanns in July that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will reduce its nationwide testing program to about one-tenth this year.
“I was troubled to learn that,” Bunning said, questioning the objectives of reducing the program to test for mad cow disease, medically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.
Cattle Feeding Requires ‘Balance’
Southeast Farm Press
by By Steve SutherCertified Angus Beef Program
The blink of an eye separates winners from losers. A couple of feet and a thousandth of a second may send one driver around for a victory lap, while others cruise into their pits to analyze why they fell short.
Little things make a big difference. Thomas Dewey and Al Gore would have been presidents of the United States if a few more of their supporters had voted in a few precincts.
As Ben Franklin wrote some 250 years ago, “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost.” And on it goes, building greater significance to that missing nail.
What details are you overlooking right now?
The “slight edge” philosophy has often been quoted in marketing seminars. You can turn your life around by taking baby steps, improving something just a little bit every day. The underlying truth is constant change. Things will either get a little better or a little worse over time, and it takes action to sway that in your favor.
Age and Source Verification Pays — $35/Head
Last fall, the experts said age-and source-verified cattle received a premium of $20-$30/head. Then we saw those premiums dissipate as the Japanese and Korean export markets failed to open or re-closed.
Iowa State University researchers just released a study looking at data from calves that sold from fall 2005 to February 2006; they found the premium was actually $35/head.
While it’s easy to document the premiums on grids, etc., for age-verified cattle, there’s been a lot of discussion in sale barns this fall that pre-conditioning and age- and source-verification weren’t bringing any premiums. But it’s difficult to determine premiums while sitting in a sale barn due to all the variables — differences in weight, condition, quality, breeding, management, and reputation being just a few of them.
Evans Elected Hereford President
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jack Evans, Winona, Miss., was announced as the new president of the American Hereford Association (AHA) at the AHA Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 23. His goals for the AHA include taking Certified Hereford Beef® (CHB) to the next level, gaining more Hereford market share and making the Association as efficient as possible.
In 1970 Evans graduated from Kansas State University, where he was herdsman of the college’s cattle division. After graduating he managed Flint Hill Hereford Ranch in Eureka, Kansas; Higgens Hereford Ranch in Nowata, Okla.; and finally EE Ranches Inc.’s Mississippi division in Winona, where he remains after 23 years.
This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s Sale Barn
Story by Boyd Kidwell
Angus Beef Bulletin
For years, Brett Crosby tried to find a better way of marketing calves from Crosby Ranch’s 900 commercial Angus cows. Crosby had a couple of choices: He could truck the calves 90 miles from his ranch at Cowley, Wyo., to a sale barn in Billings, Mont., or he could sell them to order buyers in his area.
USDA approves MicroBeef database
Micro Beef Technologies, Ltd. this week became the latest company to gain USDA approval as an interim Animal Tracking Database for participation in the National Animal Identification System. The USDA approval follows an extensive independent review of Micro Beef’s patented database system and secure, state-of-the-art data center. The database is now operational for producers looking for a secure and confidential database to register their animals, either in anticipation of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) or for an age or source verified program.
“Protecting the health of our nation’s livestock industry, while meeting producers’ needs and creating economic value for their operations, has been the life’s work of our company. We’ve worked closely with our customers, state and federal health officials and numerous animal species groups in developing the most comprehensive database solution in the industry,” said Mark Shaw, CEO of Micro Beef. “This database provides producers with what they’ve been asking for … a private sector system that protects their interests.”
In creating this system, Micro Beef collaborated with representatives from industry and livestock species groups to develop a shared vision for how a national database system can and should function. This inclusive, multi-species group has held multiple meetings to discuss the individual needs of each species group and to define common goals.