Daily Archives: March 19, 2007

Preventing calving difficulty

Preventing calving difficulty

 by Meredyth Jones and Bob Larson
Angus Journal

An acceptable level of difficult birth (dystocia) is typically set around 10% for first-calf heifers and 2% for mature cows. While it would seem logical to aim for 0% difficult births, this is usually not possible or even desirable because of the relationship between birth weights and other traits such as calf growth and weaning weight.


Phosphorus placement for forages

Phosphorus placement for forages

 By Dr. Adrian M. Johnston, Saskatoon, Sask.
Farm and Ranch Guide

Forage crops have a big demand for phosphorus. This ranges from almost 10 pounds of P2O5 per ton of grass to 15 pounds per ton of alfalfa. Forages need phosphorus for photosynthesis, energy, cell division, carbohydrate production, protein synthesis, root development and early growth, winter hardiness, and nitrogen fixation in the case of legumes.


Spreadsheet calculates costs of ‘natural’ beef

Spreadsheet calculates costs of ‘natural’ beef

 By SDSU Extension
Minnesota Farm Guide 

BROOKINGS, S.D. – A new spreadsheet from South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension can help cattle producers make the decision on whether to feed beef cattle for the “natural” market.

“The fastest growing sector of the beef industry is the natural and organic sector,” Marshall County Extension Livestock Educator Tyler Melroe said. “This spreadsheet was developed to help feeders of natural cattle better understand all the costs associated with feeding cattle without the assistance of growth implants and ionophores.”


Selling Beef Not Cattle

Selling Beef Not Cattle

 By Norm Herdrich
Beef Magazine

What’s a small eastern Washington rancher to do if he’s not satisfied with what he gets for his calves? Some keep doing what they’ve been doing, and complain about it. Others, like Gary Fetter in the North Basin of Washington’s Colville Valley, figure out a better way.

Fetter, who does business as T-Diamond-T Meats, his ranch brand, now markets all his steers, and his heifer culls, direct to consumers. He began the program 10 years ago with 7 head.FULL STORY

For Sale or Lease: Indiana

For Sale or Lease: Indiana

 Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.

The Star Press (IN)

It all seemed to start with privatizing our prisons, then our toll road was leased, some of our social services was privatized, and now our lottery. It seems strange to me that private enterprise can make a profit from these services when the state, who has been in this business for years can not.

It is also disturbing that Indiana is seen as being wide open to CAFO’s or “factory farms.” Irregardiess of what safeguards are on paper, once these factory farms are in place it is almost impossible to regulate and/or control them. Property values of homes within a few miles of these CAFO’s will plummet. Air and water quality will suffer — forget about enjoying the out-of-doors.


Bull data can ensure future ease in calving

Bull data can ensure future ease in calving

 David Burton
Springfield News-Leader (MO)

Over the years, methods for evaluating the genetic merit of a bull have changed dramatically according to Eldon Cole, a University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist.

“At one time, emphasis was placed on the pedigree, then placements in the show ring and eye appeal took center stage,” said Cole.

The performance movement was introduced in the 1950’s. Weaning and yearling weights were then stressed along with frame (height) as producers sought a larger type of bull for cow herds.


Prolonged Labor Affects Post-calving Fertility

Prolonged Labor Affects Post-calving Fertility

 Dr. Glen Selk, Oklahoma State University

 In addition to being the greatest cause of baby calf mortality, calving difficulty markedly reduces reproductive performance during the next breeding season.

        Cattle suffering from calving difficulty have been reported to have pregnancy rates decreased by 16% and to calve 13 days later at the next calving.  Results from a recent study (Doornbos, et al., 1984; Montana) showed that heifers receiving assistance in early stage 2 of parturition returned to heat earlier in the post-calving period and had higher pregnancy rates than heifers receiving traditionally accepted obstetric assistance.  In this study heifers were either assisted when the fetal membranes (water bag) appeared (EARLY) or were allowed to progress normally and assisted only if calving was not completed within two hours of the appearance of the water bag (LATE). 


Last big slaughterhouse in Chicago is moving on

Last big slaughterhouse in Chicago is moving on

 BY Don Babwin Associated Press
couriernewsonline.com (IL)

CHICAGO — Traffic came to a standstill as cowboys on horseback herded livestock through the streets.

Generations of workers walked to jobs at dozens of slaughterhouses and packing plants concentrated in an area that, at about 500 acres, was the largest meatpacking district in the world.

But more than 100 years after Upton Sinclair delivered a scathing critique of Chicago’s slaughterhouse industry in his 1906 novel The Jungle , the city’s last major slaughterhouse — Chiappetti Veal and Lamb — is looking for a new home.

When it finds one, it could mark the final chapter in the South Side Bridgeport neighborhood’s storied history.


New twist in tale of BSE’s beginnings

New twist in tale of BSE’s beginnings

Debora MacKenzie

The discovery that a rare brain disease in cows can mutate into BSE has given new life to the theory that mad cow disease started out in cattle, rather than crossing over from sheep.

When BSE emerged in British cattle in the mid-1980s, the leading theory was that they had initially contracted the disease by eating feed containing the remains of sheep infected with scrapie. Both BSE and scrapie are caused by infectious prions, misshapen forms of a normal brain protein. Having made this species jump, BSE would have spread as cattle carcasses were processed into animal fodder and fed back to cows.


Early Weaning for the Beef Herd

Early Weaning for the Beef Herd

 Dr. Glen Selk, Oklahoma State University



      This section could probably be titled “What to Do If All Else Fails”.  Certainly no one ever plans to find himself with a group of cows too thin to breed.  It does happen, however, and early weaning of calves at six to eight weeks of age is an effective way to get high rebreeding rates, even in very thin cows.  Although early weaning is certainly not advocated for all producers all of the time, it can provide an attractive alternative in certain situations such as drought, when large amounts of purchased forage would be necessary to maintain a cow herd through to normal weaning time or when cows are already too thin to rebreed.  Studies at OSU show that early-weaned calves can be efficiently raised to a normal weaning weight with minimal labor and facilities.  The procedure used at OSU is outlined here. 


Tyson Foods Optimistic Despite Plunging Cattle Margins

Tyson Foods Optimistic Despite Plunging Cattle Margins

 By Kim Souza
The Morning News (AR)

If Tyson Foods Inc. can hold on just two more weeks amid volatile cattle prices and shrinking beef margins, Tyson Foods CEO Dick Bond said there is a chance all four of the company’s segments could post profits in its second quarter ending March 31.

“It would be the first time since July 2005 the company has accomplished positive gains across all four business segments,” Bond said, during a recent Web cast from Citigroup’s Small and Mid-Cap Conference in Las Vegas.


SDSU specialist: Tips for managing spring grazing

SDSU specialist: Tips for managing spring grazing

 By SDSU Extension
Farm and Ranch Guide 

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Tight supplies for hay and by-product feeds and high-priced corn will have many ranchers eager to put cows out on grass as soon as possible this spring.

But SDSU Extension Range Livestock Production Specialist Eric Mousel cautioned that early spring grazing typically has negative effects on season-long forage yields unless managed carefully.

Mousel said research from North Dakota suggests that grazing native range before the third leaf stage can reduce carrying capacity by up to 50 percent in some situations.


eMerge Cattle Update: Bankruptcy Court Approves Sales of CattleLog and VerifEYE

eMerge Cattle Update: Bankruptcy Court Approves Sales of CattleLog and VerifEYE


 eMerge Interactive, Inc. (the “Company”) today announced that on March 15, 2007, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach division (the “Bankruptcy Court”) entered two sales orders (the “Orders”) approving the sales of substantially all of the assets of the Company’s CattleLog and VerifEYE business units.

 Pursuant to the Orders, Origin Micro Systems, LLC was the successful bidder in a competitive auction pursuant to Section 363 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and will purchase the Company’s CattleLog, or “Animal Information Solutions,” assets for approximately $1,600,000. Chad, Inc. will purchase the Company’s VerifEYE assets for approximately $370,000. The Company will seek to close both sales transactions as soon as practicable, and the closings of these sales transactions will be subject to customary closing conditions.


Tips for feeding distillers’ grains to beef cows

Tips for feeding distillers’ grains to beef cows

 By A. DiCostanzo and G.C. Crawford,
University of Minnesota Beef Team
Minnesota Farm Guide

Distillers’ grains is one of the main co-products of the dry milling process in which corn starch is extracted to produce ethanol. Because starch makes up approximately 67 percent of the kernel, the remaining nutrients: corn bran, oil and protein, and minerals, are concentrated at three times the amount found in corn.

Therefore, distillers’grains is an excellent source of protein and energy (Table 1), although phosphorus, and other elements such as sulfur, are also concentrated.

Depending on the region of the country where the ethanol plant is located, nearness to cattle feeding or dairy operations, plants typically offer one of two types of distillers’ grains: dry distillers’ grains which result from the process of drying the combined streams of distillers’ grains and thin stillage to 10 percent moisture content, and wet distillers’ grains, which results either from not drying the combined streams (distillers’ grains and thin stillage) or drying these streams, and adding back additional thin stillage.FULL STORY

Cattle die of nitrogen poisoning

Cattle die of nitrogen poisoning


 NORMAN, Okla. Authorities say 15 cattle that were found dead in Cleveland County earlier this week died from nitrogen poisoning.

Vana Conway of Moore’s animal control department says officials believe the source of the poisoning was hay.

 Conway says because last year was so dry, the nitrogen used to fertilize the hay didn’t leach into the ground and stayed in the hay. Cattle die of nitrogen poisoning