Daily Archives: February 20, 2007

BeefTalk: Good Bull Buying Rests on Knowing Your Cattle

BeefTalk: Good Bull Buying Rests on Knowing Your Cattle


Bottom Line – Quality Does Pay Bottom Line – Quality Does Pay

In the end, finding bulls that maintain or enhance growth is important.


By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist


NDSU Extension Service


Management decisions based on data is the mantra for good beef production. One large challenge that exists is that data collection and reporting doesn’t coincide with the time the data needs to be reviewed and utilized.


Feedlot data is a good example. Data gradually is generated over months and often set aside when it is needed the most – when producers are shopping for new herd bulls.


While the data was collected 10 to 12 months ago, it is important to access the reports because the data sheets are the most current available. The Dickinson Research Extension Center finishes calves produced at the center.


Proper Bull Management Enhances Fertility

Proper Bull Management Enhances Fertility


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

Cattle Today


The old cattleman’s observation that the bull is half your herd does not give the bull the credit he is due. He is much greater than 50 percent when herd reproductive performance, growth of calves, influence of replacements in the herd and overall profitability are considered.


Whether the producer uses a limited or year-round breeding season, he needs to understand the factors that affect the fertility of the bull and what strategies he can use to improve or maximize the fertility of the bull or bulls in his herd. This improves overall herd performance, individual calf performance and longevity of the bull’s usefulness in the herd.


Fertility in a livestock enterprise is 5 to10 times more important economically than any other production measure. Cows bred to high-fertility bulls bear more calves earlier in the season, resulting in more pounds of beef weaned and marketed per cow, which is a direct measure of profit. Bulls with identical semen quality in terms of physical assessment vary in actual fertility. The capability to identify bulls on the basis of fertility potential could result in higher pregnancy rates, leading to larger calf crops.


Cattle Require More Feed As Temperature Drops

Cattle Require More Feed As Temperature Drops




The winter months create lots of stress for cattle. With winter comes a drop in temperature, rain, snow and with precipitation, mud. All of these contribute to reducing the temperature that cattle are exposed. The colder temperature increases the cattle’s need for feed. Cattle in a “good” body condition (BCS of 5 or 6) can survive and perform well if adequate feed is available.


How much extra feed is needed to aid in keeping the cattle warm and performing at a profitable level? Reports from Oklahoma State and Ohio State beef cattle specialists report that for each degree in Fahrenheit below freezing (32 F) the cattle’s TDN intake should be increased by 1 percent. For example, if the animal was consuming 16 lb. of hay to provide 8 lb. of TDN per day with temperature at 32 degrees and the temperature declines to 25 degrees, the TDN would need to be increased to 9.6 lb to compensate for the colder weather. In this scenario, the animal would need to be fed an extra 3.2 to 3.5 lb of hay per day. This would increase the hay fed to 19 or more pounds per day. Another scenario would be to provide the extra TDN by an energy concentrate. In the example, 2 lb. of 80 percent TDN feed would meet the added need. Rain and wind will also contribute to lowering the environmental temperature the cattle are exposed.


Hay is best in cold weather

Hay is best in cold weather


Aberdeen American News


Although horse owners may think they’re doing their animals a favor by adding corn to the diet in cold weather, hay is actually a better feedstuff for keeping horses warm.


That’s according to SDSU Extension Equine Specialist Mark Ullerich, who says there’s a common misconception that corn or some other high-energy concentrate can help horses generate heat.


“In reality, allowing that horse high quality, long-stemmed forages is a better way to help that animal maintain its core body temperature,” Ullerich said. “Just keep in mind they will naturally consume more because their maintenance requirement will have increased due to the lower temperature.”


How do beef cattle perform on pea-barley mix

How do beef cattle perform on pea-barley mix


By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

The Prairie Star


BOZEMAN – You’ve heard of corn-fed beef. How about pea-fed beef?


Sixteen tons of field peas recently arrived at Montana State University, signaling the beginning of a 90-day experiment to see how beef cattle do when their rations contain field peas, barley malt sprouts and barley instead of corn.


KLA: Major Livestock Marketing Study Completed

KLA: Major Livestock Marketing Study Completed




A four-year study directed by Congress and managed by USDA has concluded restrictions on alternative marketing arrangements (AMAs) in the livestock industry would have negative economic effects on producers, processors and consumers. Beef producers and processors interviewed for the study believed some types of AMAs were responsible for more efficient management, reducing risk and improving product quality.


AMAs are defined in the study as all possible alternatives to the cash or sport market. This includes forward contracts, marketing agreements or contracts, production contracts, packer ownership, custom feeding and custom processing.


IBCA Convention this Saturday in Indy

IBCA Convention this Saturday in Indy


by Dave Russell

Brownfield Network


The 2007 Indiana Beef Cattle Association convention is going to be held Saturday, February 24 at the headquarters of Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis. Dawn Davis, Executive Assistant and Special Events Coordinator for the IBCA tells Brownfield the convention program will center around education. “We have Dr. John Clifford, director of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Dr. Marsh to provide an animal health update, we will have a forage update and Jane Ade Stevens, Justin Schneider and Mike Veenhuizen will tackle some of the environmental issues,” said Davis.


Nebraska Cattlemen decries unfair rules on U.S. beef to Japan

Nebraska Cattlemen decries unfair rules on U.S. beef to Japan


by Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network


The Tyson beef packing plant in Lexington got blacklisted Friday by Japan after accidentally sending 95 pounds of rib meat to Japan. The meat came from cattle under 30 months of age and is otherwise safe. But Japan insists U.S. beef must come from animals 20 months of age or younger.


Michael Kelsey, Executive Vice President of Nebraska Cattlemen, told Brownfield that Friday’s incident shows the rules on shipping beef to Japan just aren’t right. “Our trade with Japan is not fair, and it should be,” said Kelsey.


Indeed, Kelsey said there’s absolutely no reason for Japan’s age restrictions on U.S. beef. “Our border with Japan should be open – our beef is safe,” Kelsey emphasized. “We have testing procedures, we have strategies in place that keep our beef safe, and so it’s frustrating to say the least.”


Organic Farming Not A Panacea

Organic Farming Not A Panacea


Sensible Mom Blog


“The study found that producing organic milk, which has higher levels of nutrients and lower levels of pesticides, also generates more carbon dioxide than conventional methods – 1.23kg per litre compared to 1.06kg per litre. It concluded: “Organic milk production appears to require less energy input but much more land than conventional production. While eliminating pesticide use, it also gives rise to higher emissions of greenhouse gases and eutrophying substances.”


CAFO regulation coming to Legislature

CAFO regulation coming to Legislature




JEFFERSON CITY — A showdown over local control of environmental regulations is coming to the legislature.  Right now, county governments can impose their own ordinances to restrict emissions from CAFO’s, or confined animal feeding operations, to protect air and water quality.


In his state-of-the-state address, Governor Matt Blunt endorsed legislation to give that control over to the state.  “If we continue to regulate agriculture by 115 different regulatory structures, what we will see is out cattle ranchers going to Brazil, hog farmers going to Iowa or to Mexico, if Missouri is going to be on the cutting edge of agriculture, then we need to unify the regulatory structure that we have here in this state,” says Harrisonville Republican Senator Chris Koster.


Careful Bull Selection Crucial to Future of Cow Herd

Careful Bull Selection Crucial to Future of Cow Herd


by: Heather Smith Thomas

Cattle Today


Careful bull selection is crucial to the future genetics of your cow herd and to the saleability of your calves. Genetics is very important in selection: EPD’s for growth, milk, reasonable birthweight, etc.–all the measurable traits you want to maintain or improve on in your cow herd or calves. But just as important as looking at EPD’s, sire summaries, pedigree, actual birthweight, weaning and yearling weights is examining each bull prospect visually for structural correctness or faults, and to check his breeding soundness and fertility.


Sire summaries, pedigrees and EPD’s don’t provide information on whether an animal is too tall, too large, too small, too thick or too narrow, nor information about structural soundness, leg conformation, muscling, testicle size, reproductive ability or longevity. The way a bull has been fed can make a difference in whether he has foot problems, adequate fertility, ambition and desire to breed. No matter how good his performance record is for growth, he won’t be any good unless he can breed and settle cows. His future as a sire depends on his reproductive development and performance. His breeding abilities will affect the reproductive abilities of his offspring since fertility factors are heritable.



Cloning for Profit

Cloning for Profit

Cloned kittens are cute, but how profitable are animal cloning companies?


The Scientist


Genetic Savings and Clone’s cat manager, Leslie Ungerer and CEO Lou Hawthorne present “Little Nicky” to a Dallas, Texas, resident who paid $50,000 for the kitten.


When San Francisco-based Genetic Savings and Clone announced in December it had sold a cloned kitten to a Texas woman, the public seemed caught between feelings of revulsion and excitement over the idea of cloning the family pet. The Maine Coon cat’s genetic replica, dubbed Little Nicky, was not the first cat ever cloned; the company had already cloned four. However, it was the first to be sold commercially, and it will hardly be the last.


Natural/Organic Meats Rise Among Trends Identified In Survey

Natural/Organic Meats Rise Among Trends Identified In Survey




ORLANDO, Fla. — The steady rise of natural and organic meats and the continuing dominance of the conventional supermarket when it comes to meat purchases are just a couple of trends uncovered in a study released by the American Meat Institute and the Food Marketing Institute this morning at the 2007 Annual Meat Conference.


The study, sponsored by Sealed Air’s Cryovac Food Packaging division, was an online poll of 1,750 consumers. It marks the second straight year such a report was compiled exclusively for the Meat Conference.


Cattle lice thrive through winter; plan treatment

Cattle lice thrive through winter; plan treatment


By Jamie Larson, U of M Beef Team

Minnesota Farm Guide


We usually think of the winter as our escape from pesky insects, however, cattle lice thrive during the cold weather and increase their populations on cattle. Now is the time of the year to evaluate cattle for lice and plan a treatment if necessary.


Lice have been accused of being the most underestimated livestock insect in terms of economic loss; USDA estimates that U.S. producers lose $125 million a year to cattle lice.


Cattle that are infected with lice are generally in poor condition with rough, patchy hair coats. Lice or their eggs can be visually detected, especially those severely infected. Heavy lice populations cause lowered milk production, decreased flesh growth, unthriftiness and anemia which can also affect reproduction and the immune system.