Monthly Archives: March 2007

Cattle Feeding: Factors Affecting Shrink

Cattle Feeding: Factors Affecting Shrink

 Several factors impact shrink including transit time, transit distance, environmental conditions (weather and transit conditions), cattle handling methods, and cattle management including nutrition. Research indicates that the combined effects of shipping and handling result in greater weight loss than holding cattle off of feed and water alone. Transit shrink in beef steers has been demonstrated to represent as much as 68% of the shrink from the combination of both fasting and transport. Weight loss varies depending on the circumstances, but a good rule of thumb estimate is that about 0.75% of cattle body weight will be lost per day with feed and water deprivation, and the weight loss will not necessarily be the same amount each day. When feed and water are unavailable, study results indicate that cattle shrink about 1% per hour for the first three to four hours and then roughly 0.25% per hour for the next eight to ten hours. This weight loss can increase several-fold when transport stress is added.


As ethanol production rises, so do mycotoxin problems

As ethanol production rises, so do mycotoxin problems

 Tri State Neighbor

 While Americans search for cheaper fuel, the damages wrought on the animal agriculture industry is far-reaching.

As has been well-documented, the demand for ethanol is booming throughout the United States, and as a result, raising the price of corn globally. To offset the rise in prices, farmers are using the byproduct from ethanol production, dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to feed their animals.

While this is a great source of protein, it can also present several challenges. One of the most serious challenges is the increased concentration of mycotoxins.


Vaccinate 30-45 days before breeding

Vaccinate 30-45 days before breeding

 American Cowman

 Protect against reproductive diseases by vaccinating close to breeding season

What’s one of the most common mistakes made with cowherd vaccination programs? It is administering vaccines for protection against reproductive diseases like IBR, BVD, Vibrio and Lepto at the wrong time, according to veterinarians Daniel Scruggs and Dr. Robin Falkner, who work with cow-calf and stocker producers in the Southeast as part of Pfizer Animal Health’s beef cattle veterinary team.

“We often see reproductive vaccinations given to cows at preg-check time, which is four to six months before the next breeding season. For these vaccines to be effective against reproductive diseases like IBR, Vibrio and Lepto it is always best to administer them close to breeding—usually within 30 to 45 days of breeding,” explains Scruggs.


USDA approves Tri-Merit electronic ear-tags for NAIS

USDA approves Tri-Merit electronic ear-tags for NAIS

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved g.TAG electronic ear-tags for use in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), offering producers greater choice and simplified means for participating in the voluntary NAIS program. Tri-Merit, a single-source animal identification and data management system, is the only USDA-interim approved animal identification database to offer NAIS approved ear tags integrated within the system. The system is powered by Global Animal Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Schering-Plough Animal Health.

“The new, electronic ear-tags have been put together with the data system to create a completely integrated, fully approved cohesive package that’s easy for the producer to use. All a producer has to say is “yes” and our system handles the rest for him,” says Jim Heinle, president, Global Animal Management.


Include scrotal circumference in your bull selection criteria

Include scrotal circumference in your bull selection criteria

 Dr. Glen Selk, Oklahoma State University

           Scrotal circumference is a trait that commercial cow calf operators should include in their bull selection criteria.  Studies conducted by Cates in 1975 on 1944 bulls indicated that the probability of the beef bull having satisfactory semen quality increased greatly as scrotal circumference increased from 30 to 38 cm. 


Publication addresses animal health issues in ‘natural’ programs

Publication addresses animal health issues in ‘natural’ programs

 Tri Sate Neighbor

BROOKINGS, S.D. – A new publication from South Dakota State University Extension discusses animal health issues to pay attention to when raising cattle for the natural beef market.

SDSU Extension Extra 11020, “Raising Cattle ‘Naturally’ – The Significance of Animal Health” is available online at this link: Or ask any Extension livestock educator.


UT ag college picks first woman dean

UT ag college picks first woman dean

 Knoxville News Sentinel

 Caula A. Beyl has been named dean of the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Beyl will be the first female dean of UT’s nearly century old college of agriculture.

Since January Beyl has been serving as interim dean of graduate studies for Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. She previously was director of Alabama A&M’s Office of Institutional Planning, Research and Evaluation.


After 3-year hiatus, U.S. beef returns to first major Japanese supermarket

After 3-year hiatus, U.S. beef returns to first major Japanese supermarket

TOKYO (AP) – U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer ate free samples of American beef Thursday at the first major Japanese supermarket to sell the meat after the lifting of a nearly three-year ban over worries about possible health hazards.

“Good,” he said, after popping a slice of grilled steak into his mouth at a Seiyu, a supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“I’ve been waiting all week to come out here,” he said, before purchasing steaks for his wife and himself.

Schieffer was visiting the Tokyo store with Seiyu Chief Executive Ed Kolodzieski, who also ate some of the beef for sale in the meat section, decorated with tiny American flags.


Polls indicate strong support for pen gestation for hogs

Polls indicate strong support for pen gestation for hogs

 By ANDREA JOHNSON, Assistant Editor
Farm and Ranch Guide

Charlie Arnot, president of CMA Consulting, a Kansas City, Mo.-based public relations firm, discussed the Arizona campaign with pork producers attending the National Pork Industry Forum. 

Two states have now banned the use of gestation stalls for sows – Florida and Arizona.

Floridians changed their constitution in 2002 to ban stalls. Caught off-guard, it was difficult for farm groups to know if a strong campaign against the ban would have changed voters’ minds.


Ostrich and buffalo come to the table

Ostrich and buffalo come to the table

Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot

 A man pulls into the Husky Boy in North Laguna, steps up to the window and orders. “Gimmee the special cheeseburger with pastrami, fries and two ostrich burgers or maybe just one ostrich burger and one buffalo burger.”

No, this is not the set-up for a joke, or some scenario from the world of the future! It actually happened the other day — in fact, Terry had her first ostrich burger and thought it was really good. She also had several bites of a buffalo burger and would have eaten more but she was already stuffed.


Packers, producers need each other to succeed

Packers, producers need each other to succeed

 Tri State Neighbor

  “I don’t mind paying a premium for good cattle.”

Art Wagner of National Beef Packing Co. LLC, can say that because he knows the economics.

 “I make more money on the cattle that grade Choice and higher, than I do on Select, so I have no problem discounting those that are below par. I’d like every animal that walks through my doors to grade Choice or Prime,” said the procurement vice president. “Is that a reality? No, but the more we get, the more premiums we can pay out.


Forage Risk Management, Livestock Risk Protection and Livestock Gross Margin Insurance Relatively New Products to Help Ranchers Cope With Financial Risk

Forage Risk Management, Livestock Risk Protection and Livestock Gross Margin Insurance Relatively New Products to Help Ranchers Cope With Financial Risk

 Texas Tech University

 After record high prices for most beef cattle categories last spring, prices have weakened as cattle producers face substantially increased financial risks as production costs increase and the drought lingers. Increased demand for corn has resulted in sharply higher prices for corn, consequently higher feed costs. Higher feed/energy costs and slightly increased cattle feeder supplies are impacting weakening cattle markets relative to last spring. It appears unlikely that these increased costs will be reduced in the near term. As a result, cattle producers should plan to contend with higher costs and higher market risk and find alternatives to help manage increased financial risk.


American Meat Institute urges consumers to treat study with skepticism

American Meat Institute urges consumers to treat study with skepticism

 The following statement was issued today by AMI Foundation Vice President of Scientific Affairs Dr. Randy Huffman:

“Announcement of a study on the impact of beef consumption during pregnancy and sperm concentration and fertility in adult male offspring should be viewed with a giant dose of skepticism.

In conducting this study, adult men who had already conceived children were told to ask their mothers what they ate decades earlier during pregnancy. It is widely accepted that food recall can be notoriously poor from even a day or a week before, let alone multiple decades. Asking a woman of advanced age to recall with any degree of accuracy her beef consumption patterns 20, 30 or 40 years ago is absolutely absurd.


Cattle Preconditioning Forum: An Ideal Strategic Deworming Program

Cattle Preconditioning Forum: An Ideal Strategic Deworming Program

 Successful strategic deworming is all about timing: planning treatments to kill the most parasites possible. Spring may be the most critical time in a strategic program for the northern United States because adult worms in cattle and infective larvae on pastures are emerging from winter inhibition and both populations are peaking. It’s also when calves are beginning to graze and acquire these parasites.

That’s why the whole herd should be treated with an endectocide in the spring. Even older cows with some level of immunity remain vulnerable to the effects of subclinical parasitism, and they will also continue to contaminate pastures. In a North Dakota study, cows treated with ivermectin weaned calves a mean of 15.5 pounds heavier than controls, suggesting increased milk production.


Creekstone wins testing case; appeal likely

Creekstone wins testing case; appeal likely

 The Wichita Eagle

     We’ve been waiting almost a year since the lawsuit was put into place and the judge has had all the final motions in his hand since Dec. 16.

Creekstone Farms Premium Beef and other meatpackers have the right to test all the animals they slaughter for mad cow disease, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson immediately put his ruling on hold, pending a possible government appeal. If the government does not appeal by June 1, the ruling will take effect.

In Arkansas City, Creekstone general manager Kevin Pentz called the ruling a ‘moral victory’ but said he expects there will be an appeal.


Argentine government challenging country’s famed beef industry

Argentine government challenging country’s famed beef industry

 By Jack Chang
McClatchy Newspapers


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Since its founding more than a century ago, the Liniers Market on the outskirts of this capital city has been an institution in Argentina’s famed beef industry.

Thousands of cattle – as many as 20 percent of those sold nationwide – passed through the sprawling market on any given day, and the prices paid here guided buyers and sellers all over Argentina.


Niche Marketing: Not For the Under Managed

Niche Marketing: Not For the Under Managed

 By: Tyler Melroe, Extension Educator
Marshall County Journal

      When a cattle producer is not satisfied with the price he is receiving for his product he has two options; complain or change! Perhaps change means adapting your operation to meet the requirements of a branded beef program or niche market.

A recent survey of 100 U.S. sale barn operators, by the Livestock Marketing Association and Global Animal Management, revealed that value-added verification programs are extra work, extra record keeping, and extra management. However, they went on to say it means more dollars in your pocket, and the potential to attract new buyers.


Cattle Market Symposium – All Natural Beef: John Butler, Beef Marketing Group

Cattle Market Symposium – All Natural Beef: John Butler, Beef Marketing Group

 The beef industry faces many challenges. None of which are more important than our ability to compete in a global protein marketplace. We must evaluate every value add option available as the commodity system of producing beef will not sustain long term viability.

To evaluate the Natural category we need to look to the consumer who is asking for it. What is she/he really looking for and are they willing to reward our industry for producing it with their pocket book. Perhaps the most significant concern we have is…. what is Natural anyway? The research confirms the fact that we have confused the consumer. This is dangerous not only for the Natural category but for the entire beef offering. If we loose consumer confidence in our product, we will face loss of market share that could be devastating. The majority believe that when a product is labeled as Natural it is has been cared for in a much different way. In fact that there has never been antibiotics or hormones administered. If we continue to allow products to be labeled as something they are not it may jeopardize this opportunity. Clarity and standards are needed and are in short supply.


Forage Focus: Pasture Rental Rate

Forage Focus: Pasture Rental Rate

 I’m getting a few phone calls on pasture rental rates, and, in fact, a couple of weeks ago got myself in the middle of a pasture rental disagreement between two parties based on an answer I gave. This has caused me to go back and review some of the various methods that can be used to calculate a pasture rental rate. Let’s begin this discussion by laying down a few ground rules:

* Pasture rental rates should be determined and agreed on by both parties before any animals are placed on pasture. The best situation is to have the agreement in writing signed by both parties.

* Rental rates will vary depending upon the method and factors used in calculating a rental rate. There is not one correct answer. The method used may depend upon the quality of pasture available, time of year the pasture is rented and the type of livestock that will be grazed on the pasture.


The Ethanol Question? The Long Term Impacts on AG Remain to be Seen

The Ethanol Question? The Long Term Impacts on AG Remain to be Seen

 by: Eric Grant
Cattle Today

Part one of two

Colorado’s South Platte River pushes its way from Denver, across the high plains, before it spills into Nebraska. Its path anchors the western edge of one of the world’s largest corn-producing regions, which stretches from the Ohio prairie to the edge of the Rocky Mountains.

At one time, most of the corn produced here was fed to livestock. Now, much of it will be used to produce ethanol for an increasingly energy-hungry planet.

For Mike Konkel of Evans, Colo.-based Great Western Ethanol, it’s a good thing for both America and its livestock producers that ethanol production has finally gotten traction.