Daily Archives: April 16, 2007

Solving the corn supply problem

Solving the corn supply problem

As corn prices swell, a livestock feed and ethanol by-product could help farmers who are feeding their livestock less.

By Jeff Cox,

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — What’s left behind from the ethanol-making process could be what saves the livestock industry from the high price of corn.

Ethanol, touted as the superfuel to rescue the United States from its dependence on foreign oil, has been playing havoc on the agriculture industry lately, sending corn prices to record highs – and causing some cost-conscious farmers to feed their livestock less.

CNN’s Bill Tucker reports on the potential risks of imported foods. (April 10)

Economists worry that the cycle could affect the nation’s meat supply, with smaller livestock yielding less beef, pork and poultry – and sending grocery bills higher.


Realistic expectations from estrous synchronization and AI programs

Realistic expectations from estrous synchronization and AI programs

Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University

Producers that are wanting to improve the genetic makeup of their beef herds very often turn to artificial insemination as a tool to accomplish that goal.  Many times, these producers have very high expectations as they begin the first season of artificial breeding.  Perhaps they have heard other producers tell of situations where “near-perfect” pregnancy rates resulted from THEIR artificial insemination program.  Everyone wants to get every cow or heifer bred as they start the labor and expense of an AI program.  However, the rules of biology do not allow for 100% pregnancy rates in most situations.


Competition means winners and losers

Competition means winners and losers

Wes Ishmael
Beef Magazine

Remember that bumper sticker from the mid 1970s, when agricultural economics became so disastrous that there were farmers crashing tractors into the local bank in protest? It said: “Don’t cuss the farmer with your mouth full.”

For those who believe in free markets, it may be time to roll out a new one along the lines of: “Don’t talk competition with your hand out.”

“Outlawing packer ownership of livestock would make sure the forces of the marketplace would work for the benefit of the farmer just as much as it does for the slaughterhouse. You could even say that packer ownership of livestock frustrates and compromises the marketplace so the farmer doesn’t get a fair price,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said recently.


Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Neonatal Calf Scours & Fluid Therapy

Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Neonatal Calf Scours & Fluid Therapy


The newborn calf has many challenges to face as it begins live on its own. The first of these challenges is a change in environment. If a calf can get beyond the challenge of finding its feet and finding mom’s teat, there is a good chance it will be able to handle life. However, some challenges won’t manifest themselves until later in the calf’s life. The first of these is enteric disease (scours).


A Great Start for a Great Finish.

A Great Start for a Great Finish.

Jeff Pastoor, Senior Cattle Consultant, Land O’Lakes

Fall feeder cattle are moving into the state, and there are a lot more to come yet. What we do in the first 14-21 days on feed has a tremendous impact on performance through out the feeding period.

In closeouts I see pens of cattle that quickly get up to 2.5 – 2.75% of their body weight as dry matter intake; typically they gain quickly and efficiently for the rest of the feeding period. Conversely, cattle that have low dry matter intake up front almost always have a difficult time reaching our dry matter intake goals for the rest of the feeding period. This gap in intake is reduced gain and efficiency.


Ethanol Subsidies – Seen and Unseen Effects

Ethanol Subsidies – Seen and Unseen Effects

Market Power

A direct effect of ethanol subsidies are the lower prices consumers pay for ethanol-based automobile fuels.  But there are also unseen effects.  There are the distortions from taxes from which revenue for subsidies are raised.  There are the deadweight losses from the subsidies themselves (why give an incentive for people to trade something they otherwise wouldn’t?).  Then there are the prices of ag products like beef and pork that are rising as the price of feed is going up – a direct result of the ethanol subsidies.


Tub grinders worth the expense in healthy feeding

Tub grinders worth the expense in healthy feeding

Western Livestock Journal

Cattlemen have long been plagued with the chore of handling heavy, small square bales or trying to flake off pieces of large round bales while balancing precariously on a moving truck bed in an effort to feed cows. Well, producers may have a different option in using tub grinders. The reduction in labor is significant, but there are many other beneficial factors associated with using this kind of equipment as well.

Cattlemen always try to adhere to the old adage, “waste not, want not,” and especially as it applies to hay usage. Roughage is an essential part of the cattle’s diet and in some years, like the current one, the price of hay is a huge economic factor and can significantly influence the operation’s bottom line. Roughages can present quite a challenge as cattlemen are always looking for new and innovative ways to feed less expensive forages while decreasing the amount wasted.


Country of origin labeling still main goal of R-CALF

Country of origin labeling still main goal of R-CALF

By Andrea J. Cook
Rapid City Journal

If a cantaloupe from Costa Rica, Chinese sardines and fruit grown in the United States can be labeled to identify where they came from, it should be simple to label meat with its country of origin, U.S. livestock producers say.

Members of R-CALF USA, or Ranchers-Cattlemen’s Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America, who are committed to country-of-origin labeling say it is vital to protecting the nation’s food supply.

They are equally determined to protect consumers from the potential risk of allowing Canadian cattle older than 30 months of age back into the U.S. food supply.


It’s roundup time

It’s roundup time

By Richard C. Snell
High Plains Journal
Barton County Extension Agent–Agriculture

It’s Roundup time! Now that expression can mean many things. My high school buddies and I will remember it as the battle cry by a crazy fisherman one night close to high school graduation. These drunk fishermen wrongly tried to round us up for stealing their fish under a bridge on the Arkansas River. It can also mean the time in the fall or spring when we gather beef cattle for moving to new quarters and/or processing (doing the necessary shots and medical procedures). Today it refers to the annual Hays Roundup of beef cattle research at the Kansas State University Research Center located there.


Lewistown family ranch receives Simmental Golden Book award

Lewistown family ranch receives Simmental Golden Book award

The Prairie Star

The Butcher family ranch, Gateway Simmental Ranch of Lewistown, Mont., received the prestigious Simmental Golden Book award.   

LEWISTOWN, Mont. – Three generations of hard work and dedication paid off this year when the Gateway Simmental Ranch of Lewistown, Mont., received the prestigious 2007 World Simmental Fleck-vieh Federation Golden Book award.


The award, according to executive assistant Paulette Cochenour of the American Simmental Association in Bozeman, Mont., is given to a maximum of three breeders within the United States whom have contributed to the significance of the breed throughout the U.S. and the world.


Ethanol jacking up cost of fertilizer

Ethanol jacking up cost of fertilizer

Reading Eagle

READING, Pa. –Alternative fuels are helping to turn cornfields into golden cash cows for many American farmers, but for Pennsylvania agriculture it’s causing bushels-full of trouble, industry experts say.

With more than 90 million acres of farmland devoted to the profit-rich crop nationwide, the rush to grow corn for ethanol is squeezing Pennsylvania’s agricultural life blood, Dennis C. Wolff, Pennsylvania secretary of agriculture, said.

Instead of enjoying profits from record corn prices, the states predominantly dairy and livestock farmers are being hit with huge increases in production costs and relatively stagnant product payments, he said.

Wolff said there is a cruel irony in agriculture booming while also facing some of its toughest challenges in decades.


Ranchers find increased profits with natural beef

Ranchers find increased profits with natural beef

Bismarck Tribune

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – Wyoming ranchers are increasingly marketing natural beef – meaning cattle raised on family ranches instead of corporate feedlots – and happy customers around the country are eating it up.

“I’m a little guy raising 80 head,” said John Sutherland, a Laramie County rancher whose family came to Wyoming in the 1860s. “We’re too small to really compete with the big guys, so we need a niche market.”

Sutherland’s family is among a growing number of Wyoming ranchers who are turning to marketing natural beef. The Sutherlands entered the natural beef market two years ago and last year sold 16 of the 74 cattle they raised as natural beef.


Livestock vet incentive takes bull by the horns

Livestock vet incentive takes bull by the horns

Columbia Tribune

MILLER (AP) – It was a routine morning for Charles Dake: He drove an hour round trip to give a horse a quick vaccine, then he was off to castrate and de-horn a herd of cattle and on to yet another farm to sedate and castrate a horse – all before lunch.

 With a shortage of veterinarians, Dake’s business is booming – so much so that he would like a little competition. Lawmakers are trying to help out, proposing incentives for more veterinary students to focus on cattle, horses and other large livestock.


Biofuels bill snubs key mineral, Thomas says

Biofuels bill snubs key mineral, Thomas says


Casper Star-Tribune Washington

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill promoting biofuels would snub coal-based liquids and also could drive up the price of corn and food worldwide, Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., said Thursday.

A Bush administration official agreed that the bill should include coal-to-liquids, but senators indicated during a Senate Energy Committee hearing that the issue would be one of the main sticking points of the measure.


Weather upends grazing

Weather upends grazing

The Wichita Eagle

Today marks the beginning of an annual rite of spring in the Flint Hills, the official start of the cattle grazing season.

Normally by April 15, rich green grass is rising out of the fire-blackened pastures and bawling calves fill the pens along the highways at places such as Matfield Green, Cassoday, Strong City and Bizarre.

This is not a normal year.

A sign in Greenwood County, the heart of grazing country, says it all:

‘Who made Mother Nature mad? Apologize, NOW!’

Only a sliver of the normal pasture burning has occurred this year, thanks to a package of adverse weather conditions.


Alex Dees Honored with Brangus Pioneer Award

Alex Dees Honored with Brangus Pioneer Award

Cattle Today

Alex Dees, Yuma, Texas was given the 2007 International Brangus® Breeders Association’s (IBBA) Pioneer Award during their annual convention activities in Houston, Texas March 2nd. He currently maintains 500 head of Brangus on his ranch and consults, as well as judges shows across the nation.     

In 1960 Dees was hired as a herdsman, for Yuma area cattle breeder Floyd Newcomer, who owned the Yuma Valley Cattle Company. As herdsman Dees showed Newcomer’s Brangus cattle at every major show for over seven years. He also attended A.I. and palpation school in 1962 and joined the IBBA. He became more involved in breeding decisions, and was instrumental in developing the famous “Yuvalle Black Duke Bloodline” Dees credits Newcomer with launching his successful career.