Monthly Archives: January 2007

Company said to be eyeing Swift purchase

Company said to be eyeing Swift purchase

Meat News

A newspaper report says National Beef Co. is considering buying Swift.

Kansas City, Missouri-based National Beef Co. is considering buying Swift and Co. beef and pork business, Steve Kay, publisher of Cattle Buyers Weekly, told the Greeley (Colorado) Tribune.

Greeley, Colorado-based Swift announced last week it had hired JPMorgan to help review strategic and financial alternatives, including a possible sale or merger.

According to the newspaper report, National Beef has an equity partner already lined up who is prepared to finance the purchase of at least part of Swift, if not all the business.


Nebraska cattle, corn groups work together for the future

Nebraska cattle, corn groups work together for the future

By Terry Anderson,

Tri State Neighbor

From the time sod was broken and seed was planted on the seemingly endless prairies of the Great Plains, cattle producers and corn growers have leered, maybe sneered, at each other.

Neither group was willing to give an edge to the other. If corn prices were low, cattle feeders profited from reduced costs. If corn prices were high, cattle feeders paid that price or backed off on production.

That was then; this is a new day.


ARS: DNA fingerprinting for livestock promotes health and safety

ARS: DNA fingerprinting for livestock promotes health and safety

AG Professional

Identifying individual animals is essential to controlling diseases and monitoring international imports and exports.

To find out who’s who in a herd, scientists and cattle industry professionals rely on DNA — especially when traditional animal identification has been lost or damaged. Highly specialized genetic markers, developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Neb., are helping to improve animal identification and parentage testing.

The most common type of genetic marker present in U.S. beef and dairy cattle is the “single nucleotide polymorphism” or SNP. The scientists have already identified 122 specialized parentage SNPs and annotated more than 1,600 neighboring SNPs. This knowledge has increased the accuracy of parentage and identification tests.


Management of cows and heifers before and during calving is critical to productivity

Management of cows and heifers before and during calving is critical to productivity

by: Stephen B. Blezinger, Ph.D, PAS
Cattle Today

Every cow-calf operation contains several basic components without which it cannot survive. First, the producer has to get the females bred. Second, the bred females have to carry the unborn calf to term. Third, she has to calve with a minimum of stress to the cow and to the calf. Finally, she need to raise that calf to weaning. While all of these are vital to operational success and are equal in importance, the calving period seems to be the most stressful for all concerned, the cow AND the producer.


Timing of Artificial Insemination

Timing of Artificial Insemination

Dr. Glen Selk

Oklahoma State University

Traditional methods to determine when to inseminate beef cows depend on accurate detection of heat. A common practice used to inseminate cows is the AM/PM. rule. With this method, cows detected in estrus in the morning are inseminated in the evening, and cows first exhibiting estrus in the evening are inseminated the following morning. Twice daily visual observation of cows and tail marking do not allow precise detection of the onset of estrus. OSU researchers have examined the length of heat and number of mounts that occur in beef cattle using an electronic heat detection system called HeatWatchTM. Cows were in heat 17 – 18 hours in the summer time and about 14 hours in the winter. They were mounted about 70 times in winter but only 44 times in the summer. There is tremendous variation among cows around these average numbers.


Cattlemen endorse beef checkoff

Cattlemen endorse beef checkoff

Peggy Steward

Capital Press

Most U.S. cattle producers approve of the national beef checkoff program and most favor a periodic vote on continuing it, according to a nationwide survey recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Under the beef checkoff program, established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, $1 per head is assessed on all cattle sold in the United States. Assessments are comparable on imported cattle and beef products.


Colorado Cattleman Is Limousin Commercial Producer of the Year

Colorado Cattleman Is Limousin Commercial Producer of the Year

An emphasis on moderation and multi-trait selection helped earn the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) Commercial Producer of the Year award for John Raftopoulos of Craig, Colo. He topped a field of five nominees that also included Broken Arrow S Ranch, McLaughlin, S.D.; J Eisenbath Cattle Farms, Bowling Green, Mo.; Leonard and Theresa Leier, Tappen, N.D.; and Wiesen Cattle Farm, Hendricks, Minn.

Bo Sexson, NALF director of commercial programs, presented the award in the form of a commemorative mantel clock Jan. 10 during the Limousin pen and carload shows at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, Colo.


Cattle Update: NCBA Scrutinizing COOL Bill

Cattle Update: NCBA Scrutinizing COOL Bill

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said it is reviewing a Senate bill that would move up the deadline for mandatory country-of-origin labeling for all meat products from Sept. 30, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2007.

NCBA spokeswoman Karen Batra told that while NCBA continues to support COOL, it still believes the labeling should be voluntary rather than mandatory. Among other problems, the law exempts poultry, putting beef producers at a competitive disadvantage, she said.

“What we’re talking about here is a marketing program,” Batra said. “And the government shouldn’t mandate how someone markets their product.”


Central Coast ranchers get lesson in food safety

Central Coast ranchers get lesson in food safety

Bob Krauter

Capital Press California Editor

With a state lawmaker poised to introduce food safety controls this week in Sacramento, Central Coast cattle ranchers are learning ways they can help in the fight against food-borne pathogens. At two “Cut the Crap for Ranchers” seminars this week, including one today in Guadalupe, Rob Atwill, a University of California Extension specialist in veterinary medicine, will tell ranchers how to prevent potential contamination of surface water with pathogens like E. coli.


Texas purebred herd is part of world’s endangered population

Texas purebred herd is part of world’s endangered population

By KARI KRAMER | East Texas Edition, Country World

FEB. 1, 2007 – Dr. Marsha Stein, 47, of Snook, has something rare in her possession – a herd of American Dutch Belted cattle.

The herd, comprised of nine cows, four calves, and one altered bull, is part of an endangered population. According to Stein, who manages the herd for her mother Jean Hoehn, there are less than 2,500 purebred Dutch Belted cattle remaining in the world.


Antibiotic Resistance Still Rising Despite Lower Feed Use

Antibiotic Resistance Still Rising Despite Lower Feed Use

KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)–Disease resistance to antibiotics among humans and animals continues to rise, despite declines in their use as a feed-ration

additive to prevent illness and to promote growth in livestock and poultry, according to scientists and livestock industry members.

In addition, worldwide use of antibiotics to treat sick animals has increased in the last seven years, but total use remains below mid-1990s peaks, according to statistics for Europe by the Danish government.


Feds approve emergency loans

Feds approve emergency loans


Casper Star Tribune

DENVER — The federal government agreed Friday to make emergency loans available to ranchers and farmers in 10 southeastern Colorado counties after devastating snowstorms left thousands of cattle dead.

The loans will be available in Baca, Bent, Crowley, El Paso, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Otero, Prowers and Pueblo counties, Gov. Bill Ritter said.

He said family farmers in 10 contiguous counties may be eligible for the loans.


Illegal Canadian cattle discovered in the U.S.

Illegal Canadian cattle discovered in the U.S.

South Dakota stockgrowers concerned

High Plains Journal

An independent South Dakota feeder was under the impression, in November of 2006, that he had delivered U.S. cattle to a slaughter plant in Nebraska, but found out differently when the packing plant denied him payment on seven head of the fat cattle, says Fox. “He bought calves in South Dakota, and fed them at home in his feedlot like he always does, so he was pretty surprised when he got a call from the packing plant telling them that seven head out of the load had been condemned because they were of Canadian origin. The offal on the entire load was also condemned, which meant another substantial loss in income. He did not realize that the cattle were from Canada–he had purchased them assuming that they were domestic cattle.”


Application affects nitrogen loss

Application affects nitrogen loss

By Mike Surbrugg

Joplin Globe

“Nitrogen is a tricky, slippery thing to work with.”

That was the assessment from Peter Scharf, a University of Missouri plant scientist, during a recent meeting held in Mount Vernon where he talked about different sources of nitrogen fertilizer.

He focused of using urea or ammonium nitrate sources.

There is potential for nitrogen loss from any source, he said.

A lot of fertilizer in Missouri is broadcast on the surface of pastures and hay fields. “Grass is king in Southwest Missouri,” he said.

A lot of broadcast urea can be lost through volatilization, he said. The loss is greatly reduced when the urea can be knifed into the soil or by tilling it into the soil within four days of application.


BeefTalk: Animal Identification, a Reality or Simply a Perception

BeefTalk: Animal Identification, a Reality or Simply a Perception

The latest bit of news regarding the questionable origin of cattle slaughtered last fall, but only noted this year, continues to call for some type of explanation.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

There is a point of frustration in the beef industry. The U.S. currently produces healthy, wholesome beef, ready for American consumption and export to the world. Yet, as an industry, we produce our own barriers and then commence to trip over them in a seemingly endless array of missed opportunities.

There always should be something substantial and factual to what we read or spend much time listening to. The future really needs to be guided by facts that substantiate reality and are clearly different than positioned perception.


Grass Tetany May Occur in Mature Cows on Wheat Pasture

Grass Tetany May Occur in Mature Cows on Wheat Pasture

Dr. Glen Selk, Oklahoma State University

Grass tetany, caused by magnesium deficiency does not seem to be a major problem in Oklahoma although occasional cases are reported. It typically occurs in beef cows during early lactation and is more prevalent in older cows. The reason is thought to be that older cows are less able to mobilize magnesium reserves from the bones than are younger cows. Grass tetany most frequently occurs when cattle are grazing lush immature grasses or small grains pastures and tends to be more prevalent during periods of cloudy weather. Symptoms include incoordination, salivation, excitability (aggressive behavior towards humans) and, in final stages, tetany, convulsions and death.


Harsh weather may have lingering effect on cattle herds

Harsh weather may have lingering effect on cattle herds

AG Professional

MANHATTAN, Kan. – This winter’s harsh weather will subside, but its effect on Plains-area cattle herds will linger long after the ice and snow have melted away, a Kansas State University veterinarian said.

“The weather this winter has certainly resulted in some death loss in cattle, but the real problems are going to be much harder to get our arms around,” said K-State Research and Extension veterinarian Larry Hollis.

Winter storms prompted Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to request federal assistance for 44 counties. In turn, President Bush declared a major disaster in Kansas, making federal funding available to state and local governments in those 44 western Kansas counties.

Hollis said that although the death loss already tallied from this year’s snow and ice storms could have been even worse, he is concerned about what he called “secondary losses” – weak calves at birth, cows that are in poorer condition than usual during calving season, and the possibility that cows’ poor condition at re-breeding time could impact fertility and, ultimately, conception rates.


Cold, rainy weather could spell danger for cattle

Cold, rainy weather could spell danger for cattle

High Plains Journal

A cattle expert with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service urges cattle producers to take extra precautions for their herds during cold, wet weather.

“Cattle could be negatively impacted because they are used to the recent warm weather. Cold, wet weather can hurt the cows’ productivity,” said Dr. Tom Troxel, professor and associate department head of extension’s animal science section.

He said the bad weather could impact nearly a million cows in the state and hurt the bottom line for an estimated 27,000 beef cattle producers. Arkansas ranks 13th in the nation in beef cattle production.

Troxel urged cattle producers to make adjustments and try to protect their herds’ health.


Cattleman learn of a promising new vaccine

Cattleman learn of a promising new vaccine

Daily News (CA)

SACRAMENTO – At their recent 90th annual convention, the California Cattlemen’s Association’s (CCA) Livestock Memorial Research Fund (LMRF) approved a contribution of $50,000 to the University of California, Davis to fund the development of a promising foothill abortion vaccine in cattle.

The LMRF has agreed to make an initial $50,000 contribution in 2007 and has set aside an additional $15,000 each year for the following two years to support research and funding at the UC Davis School of Veterinarian Medicine. This represents the largest funding commitment made by LMRF and reflects the importance of this research to California’s beef cattle industry.


Testing for bovine diarrhea offered

Testing for bovine diarrhea offered

BILLINGS – A pilot project to screen Montana cattle for persistent infection of bovine viral diarrhea has become a permanent program, says Clint Peck, director of the Montana Beef Quality Assurance programs for Montana State University.

Ranchers and cattle feeders can sign up any time for the 2007 Montana BVD-PI Herd Screening Project, Peck said. The ranchers and feeders do the work themselves, but they’ll receive technical assistance and limited financial support through 2007. They’ll also receive a screening kit.