Use of Better Carcass Data Will Improve Beef
Carcass data is one key to making upward change within a cow herd.
by Miranda Reiman
Certified Angus Beef
As the beef industry moves closer to grid marketing, it’s economically important to focus on the end product, said Larry Corah, vice president of Certifi ed Angus Beef LLC (CAB). The Choice-Select spread averaged more than $13 per hundredweight (cwt.) last year, he said. That should make carcass data collection and use a top priority for cattlemen this year.
Glen Dolezal of Cargill Meat Solutions spoke at a seminar that CAB co-sponsored last fall, and said the company sees value in sharing information with producers. There are ways to make it more relevant, however.
“We understand fully that it’s important to make progress,” Dolezal said. “We strongly prefer that if you ask for data, the cattle be individually identifi ed — then the data can be meaningful.”
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Ranchers Leaving Cull-Cow Money On The Table
Jeff Carter, University of Florida-Marianna
Generally, ranchers leave dollars on the table when it comes to marketing their cull cows, says Jeff Carter, an assistant professor in the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna. On average, cull cows can produce 10-20% of the total revenue in a beef cow-calf enterprise. Increasing that value by just a third can improve overall ranch revenue by as much as nearly 6%. And as little as a 10% increase in net income from the sales of cull cows would nearly double the overall ranch profit margin.
Thanks to the availability of economical and plentiful byproduct feeds, feeding cull cows can add value to an animal that has otherwise held only salvage value. Cows with a higher body condition score, and more weight, optimize economic returns by delivering both a higher carcass value and a higher live value. Research shows cows on full feed for 28-56 days had higher carcass weights, which were due to an increase in carcass soft tissue, or lean, as well as carcass fat and not just gut fill.
Co-Products from the Steer’s View
Evan Vermeer, Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc.
Co-product is a relatively new term to the cattle feeding industry. This class of feeds includes the products left over from the production of ethanol or other products for human use from corn or other grains. Co-products are breaking on the cattle-feeding scene in the upper Midwest in a big way recently. For many years, the industry has been using corn gluten feed and steep water from ethanol production plants. These are classed as wet mill plants as the corn is soaked before grinding and processing. These plants have the ability to make several edible human products as well as ethanol such as starch, sweetners, oils, etc. The gluten and steep products are very different from the output from dry mill plants. These dry mill plants grind the grain before soaking, hence the name. Dry mill plants are cheaper to build but are geared for strict quality control for the ethanol with everything else produced being the byproducts. These by-products are called co-products and consist of wet distillers grains and CCDS or solubles or syrup.
BVD: Why Biotype Matters
When veterinarians discuss bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus with producers, they often talk about the two different genotypes – BVD Type 1 and BVD Type 2. The two BVD biotypes – noncytopathic (NCP) and cytopathic (CP) – are seldom mentioned. Yet, the NCP biotype causes greater than 90 percent of BVD outbreaks.
“According to research, NCP BVD is always the cause of persistently infected (PI) animals,” says Gary Bosch, DVM, director of research and development at Novartis Animal Health US, Inc. “NCP is not something that we can ignore.”
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Feeding of Young Beef Bulls Can Influence their Reproductive Capacity
Ropin’ the web
Research conducted at the Agriculture Canada Research Station, Lethbridge, over an eight-year interval indicates that the feeding of high versus medium energy diets to young British breed beef bulls is detrimental to their reproductive capacity. Experiments have been carried out in which the feeding of high versus medium energy diets to strains of Hereford and Angus bulls was compared. High energy diets consisted of 80 percent concentrate (barley, 60%; oats, 10%; beet pulp, 10%) and 20 percent forage (alfalfa or alfalfa-straw (70:30) cubes), while the medium energy diet was forage alone. Bulls were fed either high or medium energy diets from weaning until slaughter at 12, 15 or 24 months of age.
At slaughter, sperm production by the bulls was estimated by epididymal sperm reserves. In most cases, regardless of age, bulls fed high energy diets had substantially reduced reproductive potential compared to bulls fed medium energy diets. For example, feeding medium versus high energy diets to Angus and Hereford bulls from weaning to 15 months of age increased paired testes weight by 6 percent, efficiency of sperm production by 13 percent, daily sperm production 19 percent and epididymal sperm reserves by 52 percent. Table 1 summarizes the results for epididymal sperm reserves in four experiments. It should be noted that, with the exception of 24-month-old Hereford bulls in 1983, at the end of these experiments the average bull fed the high energy diet was carrying less backfat than bulls of comparable age and breed being marketed by the beef industry today. Along with a reduction in sperm reserves, quality of semen and the libido of bulls fed high energy diets were reduced. For example, in 24-month-old Hereford bulls slaughtered in 1983, bulls fed the high energy diet had one half the motility and one third as many normal sperm as bulls fed the medium energy diet. Also, fat bulls had eleven times fewer services during libido testing than did lean bulls. To be fair, this is an extreme case as the bulls in question were obese, but it shows what can happen.
NIAA Announces Dates, Location, Theme for ID•INFO EXPO 2007
BOWLING GREEN, KY—The National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) annual ID•INFO EXPO 2007 will be held in Kansas City, Missouri August 28-30th at the Westin Crown Center.
“Based upon the input we received from last years attendees, we are expanding the scope of the event as reflected in this year’s theme, ID•INFO EXPO 2007—Where Traceability Needs Intersect: Animal Health, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), Food Safety and Consumer Demand,” explains Robert Fourdraine, chair of the NIAA Animal Identification and Information Systems Committee.
“While progress on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Identification System (NAIS) will be discussed at this year’s event, we recognized that producers and animal agriculture are eager to consider other aspects of livestock identification and food traceability. As producers and industry look at creating greater value for their product, industry driven programs such as source verification, quality assurance and branding of products have increased in importance,” points out Fourdraine.
New CIDR Based Synchronization System Gives Fixed Time AI Option
Last year we reported on a Fixed Time AI system (CO-Synch+CIDR) that has become widely recommended in the industry for AI breeding of postpartum cows on a single day. (See October 2006 Cow Calf Manager). Our work in Virginia indicates this program results in pregnancy rates of 55 % to 65% to fixed-time AI (FTAI). In field studies in Missouri, the CO-Synch+CIDR system averaged 65% pregnancy rate in over 3000 cows in 35 herds. The range in their studies was 57% to 72% AI pregnancy rate. It should be noted that all herds were well managed with cows in good body condition.