Daily Archives: December 11, 2006

Feedlot size can affect cattle grades

Feedlot size can affect cattle grades

By Miranda Reiman, CAB information specialist

Farm & Ranch Guide

Feedlot sizes have been steadily increasing, while quality grades of cattle continue to drop.

“We think that’s more than a coincidence,” says Larry Corah, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) vice president. “Larger feedlots face a number of challenges that contribute to this decrease in quality grades.”

More than 50 percent of today’s cattle are fed at yards with more than 32,000-head capacity. Data from CAB’s Feedlot Licensing Program shows yards larger than 20,000 head have a 41 percent lower Certified Angus Beef brand acceptance rate than the average of their counterparts. They also drop 17 to 20 points in the number of cattle grading Choice or higher.

“We recognize that some of the difference could be due to feedlot location, as most of the larger yards have access to Southern-type cattle,” says Mark McCully, director of supply development for CAB. “But cattle that find their way into our dataset tend to be of similar quality.”


Check for Salt Water, Fall Diseases in Cattle, Warns LSU AgCenter Vet

Check for Salt Water, Fall Diseases in Cattle, Warns LSU AgCenter Vet

By: Linda Foster Benedict, St. Tammany.com

LSU AgCenter veterinarian Dr. Christine Navarre is getting calls from around the state that anaplasmosis outbreaks are occurring in cattle herds.

“It’s not uncommon to get these calls this time of year,” Navarre said. “But it’s still a red flag that producers need to be watching for this disease and take steps to prevent further outbreaks.”

Anaplasmosis is a disease spread by insects, usually flies, that can lead to death, especially in adult cattle. It can be prevented three ways – through vaccination, feed that contains an antibiotic and minerals, and fly control.

“If producers see signs of the disease, the first step they should take is to call their veterinarian to make sure their cattle are getting the appropriate treatment,” Navarre said.

Symptoms include depression and fever and, in milking herds, a rapid drop in production. The infected animal becomes weak, separates from the herd, and may be frightened easily. The moist surfaces around the eyes and muzzle become yellow. Animals that survive gradually recover but remain carriers, Navarre said.


Ethanol plants help complete cattle’s diet

Ethanol plants help complete cattle’s diet

By Rob Osman, KHAS-TV

With so many ethanol plants in the state and many more under construction, the demand for corn will soon be at an all–time high. Cattle producers are also in market for corn, but have found a way to work with ethanol plants.

Adam, since Nebraska is the number two producer of beef in the country, the demand for feed is high. With ethanol plants taking the lion’s share of corn in the future, cattle producers have found a couple of ways to make sure their cows are well fed.

For cattle to grow they demand to eat, for them corn is fuel. For some cattle producers, like Dose Land and Cattle in Hampton, making sure there is enough corn for their cattle is no problem. They grow their own. But they also rely on ethanol plants to complete their cattle’s diet.

While some could view ethanol plants as competition for corn, the fact is the by–product of ethanol is good food for cattle.


Money grows on grass

Money grows on grass

By Cindy McKay

Interlake Spectator

Dr. Anibal Pordomingo shares his knowledge with a MAFRI member about raising grass-finished beef.


Money really does grow on grass … if it’s managed properly. This according to 2006 Manitoba Grazing School speakers who spoke at the annual event in Brandon Nov. 29-30.

About 390 producers participated in the event which included a variety of guest speakers and topics related to the improvement of pastures and increased gains on cattle.


Want Age With That?

Want Age With That?

By Wes Ishmael Contributing Editor, Beef Magazine

It seems so simple. A buyer wants you to verify the age and source of the calves you’re selling, even says they’re worth more money if you do. They’re all wearing your brand and you’ve got calving records going back to Noah’s foundation stock; no problem.

Primedia Business – Beef Magazine, Click Here!

But the buyer shakes his head and asks which Quality System Assessment (QSA) or Process Verified Program (PVP) your calves are enrolled in. Huh?

Welcome to the complicated limbo of documenting and qualifying cattle characteristics in a way that can withstand the scrutiny of domestic and international beef customers.


Cattle Update: Cow Costs Are Up

Cattle Update: Cow Costs Are Up


According to its annual survey, Cattle-Fax® reported that the average annual cash cost to carry a beef cow increased by $36/head, from $315 in 2004 to $351 in 2005. Cash costs do not include depreciation, opportunity costs, or returns to management. Cow costs were moderately higher in all regions. The Northwest region had the highest average cost of $397, followed by the Southwest region at $358, the Midwest region at $349, the Southern Plains at $328, and the Southeast region at $324. Total feed costs accounted for the largest percentage of the total cash costs at about 60%. They ranged from an average of $190/head in the Southeast region to $234/head in the Midwest region.


Night Time Versus Day Time Feeding Influences Time Of Calving

Night Time Versus Day Time Feeding Influences Time Of Calving


It is generally accepted that adequate supervision at calving has a significant impact on reducing calf mortality. Adequate supervision has been of increasing importance with the use of larger beef breeds and cattle with larger birth weights. On most ranching operations, supervision of the first calf heifers will be best accomplished in daylight hours and the poorest observation takes place in the middle of the night.

The easiest and most practical method of inhibiting nighttime calving at present is by feeding cows at night. The physiological mechanism is unknown, but some hormonal effect may be involved. Rumen motility studies indicate the frequency of rumen contractions falls a few hours before parturition. Intraruminal pressure begins to fall in the last 2 weeks of gestation, with a more rapid decline during calving. It has been suggested that night feeding causes intraruminal pressures to rise at night and decline in the daytime.


CAB Feedlot Licensing Program Hits the 1 Million Mark

CAB Feedlot Licensing Program Hits the 1 Million Mark

Cattle Today

In a million minutes, you will be almost two years older. A million-car traffic jam would reach from New York to L.A. and back again.

A million is a lot of anything—dollars, miles or years. It’s also a lot of data, and the most recent milestone for Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) Supply Development.

The CAB Feedlot Licensing Program passed the 1 million mark this year in its carcass database that began with the first pen of steers in May 1999.

“The program began modestly and increased steadily, thanks to the diligence of our network of licensed feedlots in 14 states,” says Gary Fike, CAB feedlot specialist based in Manhattan, Kan. “They enrolled and took action to help capture data on a million cattle.”


Hawkeye Community College ag programs shine

Hawkeye Community College ag programs shine


WATERLOO — It is a farmer’s life — even for college students.

Up at the crack of dawn, students studying agriculture at the Hawkeye Community College Laboratory Farm lace up work boots when most classmates are still snuggled in bed. They do chores in temperatures that would make a penguin shiver. The animals don’t care how cold it is, all they want is food and lots of it.

Day after day the ritual is the same for freshman Lane Worden, sophomore Andie Platner and their fellow ag students.

“Get up at 6:30 (a.m.), do chores, go to class and do it all over again,” Worden said, with a hint of smile. “It’s no big deal, I used to do it at home.”

That is what a farmer does, and many students want that life — all but the class part. They know how important an education is to being a successful producer. Worden and Platner believe HCC is the best place to start.


Hoping for new life on the farm

Hoping for new life on the farm

By MARK ANDERSEN / Lincoln Journal Star

“Rain would be good right now.”

Matthew Bohling offers the farmer’s prayer on a blue-sky day in mid-May.

He sits with his wife, Leisa, in their updated yellow farmhouse, home to five generations of Bohlings. The Tot Finder window sticker upstairs marks where Matt and three sisters slept.

Outside, a steady wind pushes against the bins and outbuildings sticking up from the featureless landscape. Its unvarying force creates a sensation of motion despite the postcard stillness. It is, at least, one certainty among the immense fields of risk.


Beef Builds Kansas

Beef Builds Kansas

For more than a century, beef has been a vibrant, though volatile, force in the Kansas economy


Salina Journal

When baby calves hit the ground in the spring and fall, they’re destined for a six-month stay with their mothers before being weaned and sent to a pasture for a short period of grazing. At about 850 pounds, they are shipped to a feedlot, where in four months their weight will balloon to more than 1,200 pounds.

That’s market weight.

At processing plants, they’ll be killed, their carcasses will be disassembled, and their meat will be boxed and shipped to domestic and foreign markets. Within two weeks, most of the animal’s carcass will be consumed.


Animal agriculture is a danger

Animal agriculture is a danger

Morris County, NJ Daily Record

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.

To the Editor:

A recent report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow — Environmental Issues and Options,” warns of the dire environmental consequences of the world’s growing meat and dairy production.

According to the report, animal agriculture uses 30 percent of the earth’s land surface for pasture and feed crop production. It is the driving force in worldwide deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction, with 70 percent of the irreplaceable Amazon rainforest turned into pasture. Eventually, pastures are degraded into desert through overgrazing, compaction and erosion.

Animal agriculture contributes more pollution to our waterways than all other human activities combined. Principal sources are animal wastes, as well as soil particles, minerals, organic debris, fertilizers and pesticides from feed cropland. Most of the world’s water supplies are used for irrigating animal feed crops.

Animal agriculture is also a key source of man-made greenhouse gases responsible for global warming — 65 percent of nitrous oxide, the most damaging of these, is emitted by animal waste, according to the FAO report, and 37 percent of methane comes from cattle’s digestive process. Operation of farm machinery and transport trucks account for 9 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. We don’t have to wait for Earth Day to help save our planet. We can start with the next trip to the grocery store.




Council working to open Asian markets for ethanol byproduct

Council working to open Asian markets for ethanol byproduct


Associated Press / Aberdeen American News (SD)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The rapid expansion of the ethanol industry is helping to boost Asian imports of distillers grain, a byproduct of the alternative fuel used as high-protein livestock feed.

The U.S. Grains Council is working to expand markets for DDGS – or dried distillers grains with solubles – in Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and China, said Cary Sifferath, the council’s Japan senior director.

“If we can find export markets for it, we can keep export prices up,” Sifferath said recently by telephone from his office in Tokyo. “Most corn board members are very keen for us to keep working on that.”

When ethanol plants turn corn into fuel, the process uses only the starch, which is about 70 percent of the kernel. The protein, fiber and oils left behind are concentrated into distillers grain.


Despite current woes, Brazil seen as U.S. farm rival

Despite current woes, Brazil seen as U.S. farm rival

By Barry Shlachter

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Brazil’s global challenge First of three parts

LUCAS DO RIO VERDE, Brazil — When Paulo Sergio Franz guns a mud-splattered pickup past a spread of white Brahman cattle and wide expanses of newly planted soybeans, it becomes evident this is no ordinary family farm.

Mano Julio Fazenda, which Franz owns with an older brother, Marino, is diversified like farmsteads that once dotted the American landscape, with portions committed to several crops, hogs, beef and dairy cattle.