New Jersey Case Seeks To Set Farm-Animal Precedent
Castration of livestock without use of anesthetic is one practice at the center of an animal-cruelty lawsuit in New Jersey by activist groups. The Humane Society of the U.S. and Farm Sanctuary claim New Jersey’s Department of Ag failed to establish humane standards for farm animals as required by a law implemented in that state in 2004. Reuters reports the groups hope the lawsuit might help set national standards for the treatment of livestock.
Distiller’s Grain Cautions
Beef Stocker Trends
Though distiller’s grain (DG) can be a valuable, cost-effective component of growing rations, Chris Reinhardt, a Kansas State University feedlot specialist, cautions producers, “The phosphorus content (about 0.8-0.9%) of DG may increase the required calcium content in order to maintain a proper calcium to phosphorus ratio. Excess phosphorus also will result in increased phosphorus excretion in the manure and the associated need to dispose of this element. Excessive sulfur content (about .5-1.2%) can limit the potential use of DG due to mineral imbalances, health problems, reduced intake and possibly death.”
Further, he explains, “The fat content of DG is beneficial to growing and finishing cattle as a concentrated energy source; but excessive fat in the diet of forage-fed animals can reduce forage digestibility, resulting in lower net energy consumption and lost body condition.”
Fixed or flexible grazing cells?
by Jim Gerrish contributing editor
When it comes to designing Management-intensive Grazing (MiG) systems, every farm or ranch is different. Every producer has a different set of goals, challenges and resources to consider. There are two basic approaches to subdividing pastures for MiG fixed or flexible designs.
Meat Safe: Producers OK, Animal ID Not Required
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
by Susan Mires, St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.
Dec. 17–They’re concerned about food safety, but another government program is not the answer, livestock producers say.
Most were pleased with the government’s decision to drop plans for a required animal identification program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last month that a proposal to individually track all livestock will not become mandatory.
The livestock industry simply isn’t ready for a complicated, government program, said Mike John, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
“We’ve always maintained that the industry could provide a more secure, confidential and efficient solution that would be met with much less resistance and mistrust than a government mandate,” he wrote in an editorial on the issue.
Producers also recognize, however, that as food-borne illnesses crop up across the country, consumers want more assurances about the safety of their food.
Corn Demand, Dry Conditions, & Balky Trade Adversely Affecting Cattle/Beef Sector
Both grain and forage prices are higher this year than they were at the same time a year ago. November alfalfa prices are up by 11 percent over November 2005 prices, other hay prices are up by 23 percent, and November corn prices are up by about 76 percent from a year ago. Higher hay and corn prices translate into higher feeding costs for the livestock and poultry sectors. The first significant snowstorm of the season and a widespread lack of standing forage have raised concern about current hay stocks. As a result, cows continue to be marketed in large numbers, which will likely slow the current cattle inventory expansion. Hay stocks for December 1, 2006, will be reported in the January Crop Production report.
NCBA: New Wranglers Join Beefmobile Outreach Project
As the Beefmobiles roll out for a fourth year on the road, two new “Wranglers” are at the helm to help beef and dairy producers to better understand how their beef checkoff dollars are being spent.
Stephanie Ausfahl and Craig Hamilton, both well-versed in the livestock industry with firsthand experience as beef producers, are taking their industry involvement to new levels as they marshal the Beefmobiles – mini-vans emblazoned with mouth-watering images of sizzling beef, across the United States. They join veteran Wrangler Tracey Orsburn, who is starting her third year with the Beefmobile program, now serving as project coordinator.
The three undertake the lofty task of visiting more than 250 livestock marketing facilities and beef events and 10 consumer venues. At each location, the checkoff-funded Beefmobiles and their Wranglers reach out to producers throughout the country to provide information – and solicit input – about the Beef Checkoff Program.
Cattle Group Supports Brucellosis Surveillance Program
The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund board of directors is recommending that the USDA keep its brucellosis surveillance and vaccination program in place, in fear that if USDA phases out the program, it would set the stage for a mandatory national livestock ID program.
USDA is currently moving toward ending the federal brucellosis program in brucellosis-free states, R-CALF vice president Max Thornsberry says. However, he says that if USDA eliminates the program, it would leave an opening for a mandatory ID program which the cattle organization says would be too expensive for smaller cattle producers.