Daily Archives: January 15, 2007

BeefTalk: The Future Starts with Common Sense

The future is much more than we, as individual producers or groups of producers, can fathom at times.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist NDSU Extension Service

There is a future – and it is bright.

During the past few weeks, several BeefTalk columns were based on an article titled “The Future of Animal Agriculture in North America” found in the electronic “Choices” magazine (http://www.choicesmagazine.org, Volume 21, No. 3, 2006). “Choices” is published by the American Agricultural Economics Association.

The series of articles identified issues that ultimately will shape our industry and included issues such as markets, structure and competition; value of integrated markets and consumer demand; global competitiveness; environmental concerns and regulations; community concerns and labor; food safety and animal health; and the welfare and care of animals.

However, the issues are not the future because the future is not simply a compilation of litigated issues. The future is much more than we, as individual producers or groups of producers, can fathom at times.

The future ultimately evolves as a very slow process that converts issues to change and involves three fundamental principles. For any futuristic action or solution to become reality, the action must be sensible, sustainable and reflect good stewardship.


Ranchers turn to expensive choices during hay shortage

By Greg Hilburn

The News Star (LA)

A hay shortage caused by drought last summer has ranchers scrambling to find enough roughage for their cattle to make it through the winter.

Though the shortage is most pronounced in Texas and Oklahoma, ranchers in Louisiana also are having to ration their hay or supplement it with expensive ground soybean or alfalfa products.

Robert Joyner of West Monroe, president of the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association, said producers are concerned that the hay shortage could force massive sell-offs of beef.


Bulls In a Large Multiple Sire Breeding Herd Varies In Calf Output


Little is known about the serving capacity or calf output of bulls in large multiple sire commercial herds. The objective of this Washington State Univ. study was to evaluate the calf output of 19 mature Wagyu bulls in a multiple sire setting through the use of DNA parentage verification. The bulls were turned out with 420 first-calf Angus-cross heifers on a Western Montana ranch for a 45-day breeding period. The 392 calves that resulted from these matings were tested for paternal identity.

Of the 19 bulls used, 10 of them (52.6%) sired 70.6% of the calves to which parentage was assigned. Amongst those 10 bulls, 5 (26.3% of all bulls) sired 42.6% of the calf crop. Conversely, the 5 (26.3%) least prolific bulls sired only 12.4% of the calves, with the 2 bottom ranking bulls siring only 6 (1.6%) calves each. Scrotal circumference (SC) measurements were available for 15 of the 19 bulls there was no correlation between SC and the number of calves sired.


Veterinarian jobs go unfilled

Asbury Park Press



For an aspiring veterinarian, Iowa State University student Pete Thomas is in a distinct minority.

He wants to work with livestock rather than pets.

He wants to stay in Iowa.

“I thought that vet school would be a good way to stay connected with agriculture, be with livestock and stay on farms without necessarily having the risk involved with being a farmer,” he said.

But veterinarians and livestock industry officials worry that there are too few future vets like Thomas, especially if there is an outbreak of diseases such as avian influenza or foot and mouth.


Cattleman claims his invention was stolen

News Examiner-Enterprise (OK)

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) – A cattleman is locked in a dispute with employees at a career technology center in Stillwater over his invention idea for a cattle temperature monitoring device.

Tom Hixson of Yale filed a complaint with the Meridian Technology Center superintendent in late November, accusing Meridian staff members of “fraud, theft and breach of contract.” He accuses them of conspiring with researcher Steve Trost.


Low tech with low inputs can be profitable


Delmarva Farmer

EASTON, Md. — Farming low tech and with low inputs has its advantages and is profitable in the right market.

That’s the view of Joel Salatin, a third-generation farmer from Swoope, Va., and author of five books on rotational farming and raising animals on pasture.

Speaking to the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore, Salatin detailed his farm operation, Polyface Farms, and philosophies on agriculture.

Salatin raises five animal species on the farm and uses a unique rotational program that comingles animals together as they are fed. By using electric fencing and homemade inventions, he raises them all on grass. He said it is also important on his farm to have forest, streams and fields intertwined and to treat the three as one.

“The more we can intersect and connect the open land, the forest land and the water, the more diversified the landscape. The more diversified the landscape, the more flora and fauna we will have to act as checks and balances on each other.”


Feedlot meeting to feature ethanol, corn and cattle

Le Mars Daily Sentinel (IA)

What a difference a year makes in the price of ethanol, corn and cattle! This will be the central theme for a Beef Feedlot Meeting to be held in Sioux Center Wednesday, Jan. 17. The meeting will be from 9:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. in the Corporate Centre.

Keynote speaker for the day will be Mike Murphy, market analyst for Cattle Fax. Murphy will discuss the market situation and outlook for cattle, including feeder and fed cattle. This fall’s increase in corn price has pressured cattle prices. See what Murphy predicts for 2007 and beyond.


Louisiana cattlemen focus on diseases, animal identification

By Bill Sumrall

The News Star (LA)

ALEXANDRIA — Beauregard Parish cattleman George Hauser and his wife, Cookie, both 75, oversee 100 head of cattle around DeRidder.

The Hauser’s were among about 200 cattlemen registered to attend the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association’s 10th annual Southeast Beef Industry Symposium & Trade Show held this weekend at the Holiday Inn and Riverfront Convention Center in downtown Alexandria.


Hagel Joins Senators in Re-Introducing Disaster Assistance Legislation


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) joined a bi-partisan group of Senators today in re-introducing legislation that would provide $4.5 billion in agriculture disaster assistance. Hagel was an original co-sponsor of this bill in the last Congress.

“Nebraska’s agricultural producers have endured one of the worst sustained droughts in U.S. history. This funding is long overdue, and it will provide important relief for Nebraska’s producers who have suffered severe losses to crops and livestock due to the ongoing conditions. The Senate must address disaster assistance in the 110th Congress,” Hagel said.


Appeals Court Rejects Anti-Packer Amendment


The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, St. Louis, threw out an amendment to Nebraska’s state constitution that effectively banned meat packers from owning or feeding livestock.

The court called the amendment, which also banned non-family-owned corporate farming, unconstitutional. The 8th Circuit also agreed with a lower federal court, which ruled that it effectively discriminated against out-of-state businesses.

The Nebraska Farmers Union, which has championed the cause since a 1982 petition drive to add the ban to the state constitution, said it was disappointed with the court’s decision.


Japan May Ease U.S. Beef Inspections

Health Official: Japan May Scale Back Inspections Spurred By Mad Cow Fears

(AP) Japan may scale back stringent inspections of U.S. beef imports that were imposed over mad cow fears, a senior health official was quoted as saying Monday.

Japan eased a 2 1/2-year ban on U.S. beef in July, but strict restrictions — including every box of American beef being opened and checked by Japanese officials — has slowed imports.

That practice could soon be under review, Kyodo News agency reported, quoting a senior health official.


Some facts about big animal-farming operations

Mlive.com (MI)

The Associated Press   

The U.S. Department of Agriculture refers to farms where large numbers of animals are raised as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs.

• The USDA defines a “large CAFO” as an operation with at least 1,000 cattle or cow/calf pairs, 700 mature dairy cows, 2,500 pigs weighing 55 pounds or more, 10,000 pigs under 55 pounds, 10,000 sheep, 5,500 turkeys, or 30,000 to 125,000 chickens, depending on whether they are laying hens and what kind of waste disposal system is in use.


Welch Hired As CHB LLC Food Service Director



KANSAS CITY, Mo. ­­­— Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) LLC welcomes new staff member, Mick Welch, Oak Grove, Mo. Welch joined the Hereford team Jan. 8 as the CHB LLC food service director.


He will oversee the CHB® brand’s food service distribution network, focusing on customer development and sales opportunities for value-added cuts. His position was developed after CHB food service sales increased by 27% in fiscal year 2006, indicating the growth potential in this arena.

 Welch brings to the team 30-plus years of experience in the meat industry. Since 1986 he has worked for Kansas City’s L&C Meat Co. He started at ground level as a sales representative with no accounts and worked his way to sales manager in the early ’90s.


Natural beef website launching soon


A new website for natural beef producers and others is set to launch in February.

Ivy Natural Solutions, a division of VetLife, is launching a new website next month called the Natural Cattle Connection.

The website is a listing service that collects information from cattle producers and provides it to feedlot managers and natural beef programs. In addition to listing services, the website will offer resources to cattle producers, such as information on tools and cattle management practices. The resources and listing services are provided free for cattle producers and purchasers.


Rancher helped pioneer new cattle crossbreed

The Raton Range (NM)

Gene Stockton, a lifelong Colfax County rancher and hay farmer who helped pioneer a new crossbreeding technique for beef cattle, died Jan. 12 in Albuquerque. He was 87 and died of heart failure.

Stockton and his wife Margoree, who survives him, raised cattle and grew hay on a ranch along the Canadian River south of Raton. They began married life on the ranch in 1943 and worked together running it for the next 62 years, before moving to Albuquerque in 2005.

Stockton’s family ranching roots go back more than a century and at least two generations before Gene carried on the ranching tradition near Raton. He continued to maintain his cow herd until he was 80 years old.


Fort Worth Stock Show Chilled By Weather


The cold weather has forced North Texas Salvation Army centers to kick into high gear.Sunday night, The Salvation Army provided emergency shelter for more than 900 people in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, and …

 “I’ve never driven in ice before,” said West. “I was fine until I got inside the Stock Show and started sliding on ice.”

 Dairy farmers from as far away as Toronto, Ontario said they didn’t expect the cold blast of icy weather.


Feeder Cattle: Deathloss Measured In Tens Of Thousands, Financial Loss In Tens Of Millions

Feeder Cattle: Deathloss Measured In Tens Of Thousands, Financial Loss In Tens Of Millions


Compared to last week, feeder cattle sold steady to 2.00 lower for both yearlings and heavy calves bound for the feedlot. Tighter supplies of lightweight stocker calves to be backgrounded sold steady to 3.00 higher with the full advance on steers and mostly in the Southeast. Auction receipts were heavy, as they normally are for the first full week of the New Year, especially in Midwestern areas where the weather was good like in Missouri which had reported receipts of 67,500 head. Feedlot demand was only moderate this past week as many yards were still trying to recover from last month’s severe snow and ice storms.


Kansas State University Student Wins Beef Industry Scholarship

Kansas State University Student Wins Beef Industry Scholarship

Cattle Today

Denver (January 12, 2007) – Twenty outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry have each been awarded a $1,500 scholarship provided by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (CME) and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF). The CME has sponsored this scholarship program for 17 years.

Each scholarship winner wrote a 750-word essay that identified key issues confronting the beef industry and suggested possible ways of dealing with those issues.

The overall scholarship winner, Ben Williams of Logansport, Ind., was awarded an all-expense-paid trip to the 2007 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Nashville, where he will be recognized during the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Awards Program Lunch on February 3.


MSU Research Boosts Livestock Fertility

MSU Research Boosts Livestock Fertility

by: Bob Ratliff

Cattle Today / MSU Ag Communications

Mississippi State — Cutting-edge genetic research by a Mississippi State University animal scientist may help solve a problem that costs livestock producers millions of dollars each year.

The research by Erdogan Memili, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, is aimed at improving fertility in cattle and can be applied to other mammals.


Hay shortage puts farmers in a bind

Hay shortage puts farmers in a bind

By Mike Linn

Montgomery Advertiser

Mike Dee has downsized his herd of cattle by 10 percent since November, a move to keep his stronger cows fed in the wake of one of the worst hay shortages in more than 40 years.

Unfortunately, the Pickens County rancher isn’t alone.

Alabama ranchers sold 20 percent more mature cows in 2006 than they did the previous year, making Alabama’s cattle population the smallest since World War II, according to Billy Powell, executive director of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.