Daily Archives: May 21, 2007

Cow Calf: Breeding Soundness Exams Good Investment

Cow Calf: Breeding Soundness Exams Good Investment

Cattlenetwork.com

Bull breeding soundness exams may be an essential piece of the beef cattle producer’s herd fertility puzzle, North Dakota State University Extension Service beef cattle experts say.

“Progressive beef cattle producers focus a great deal of attention on managing their cow herd to improve fertility,” says Lisa Pederson, Extension beef quality assurance specialist.

“While management of the female is essential, concentrating management entirely on the cows and not worrying about the bulls could be a disaster. The importance of the bull in a cattle breeding program is often underestimated.”

A cow is responsible for half of the genetic makeup of one calf per year, while the bull is responsible for half of the genetic make up of 20 to 50 calves per year.

FULL STORY

Moldy Feed and Reproductive Failure in Cows

Moldy Feed and Reproductive Failure in Cows

Ropin’ the Web

 All homegrown feeds contain some fungal spores. When the temperature and humidity are right, these spores will grow and multiply to create mold. Mycotoxins come from these fungal molds and can reduce animal health and productivity.

Many molds found in feeds are not toxic, but some varieties produce substances that can result in disease when they are ingested. Of the thousands of molds that grow on stored grains and forages, only a few will produce mycotoxins.

Background

Forage and cereal contamination often happens in the field (plant-pathogenic), but it can also happen during the processing and storage of harvested products and feed (spoilage). Fortunately, the conditions necessary for mycotoxin production rarely occur in locally produced feeds.

Producers should be aware of these diseases, especially after an unusual year like 2002, and because some feeds imported from other provinces and the United States may contain mycotoxins.

FULL STORY

Timber and Global Warming

Timber and Global Warming

by: Baxter Black, DVM

Cattle Today

Oh, no, just when they were beginning to wear me down, a new study concludes that by 2100, forests in the mid and high latitudes will make some places up to 10 degrees warmer than they would be if the forests did not exist!

Does this bode ill for the salesmen offering to sell you carbon offsets by planting a tree in honor of the luxury appliance in your home? Alas, it merely points out the problem of scientists guessing, speculating, hoping, wishing, and/or projecting answers to questions that remain unproven.

The backbone of accumulating scientific knowledge is the requirement that one must prove his hypothesis. This ¡®body of scientific opinion¡¯ is not proof of anything. Over the years it (the body) has held that the Earth was flat, that Bubonic plague was caused by lepers, that the Earth would soon be in an ice age, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, that the Alaskan oil pipeline would be an environmental disaster, that the Atkins diet was bad for you, and now, that the Atkins diet is good for you!

FULL STORY

Trouble Shooting A Buller Problem

Trouble Shooting A Buller Problem

By Dave Rueber, Beef Enterprise Consultant

Beeflinks.com

The buller syndrome has been an enigma in the cattle feeding industry. There is no single answer to the problem and therefore it can be very disconcerting to the individual feeder involved. However, the buller syndrome may be a manifestation of some underlying problem in the feedyard, that has gone unnoticed for a period of time.

The following aspects of the feedyard may need to be analyzed to determine the cause for an extraordinary increase in buller activity.

FULL STORY

Look back at the calving season and start to make improvements now

Look back at the calving season and start to make improvements now

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

Only 3 to 4 months ago the spring calving cows were calving, the temperature was cold and the calving pastures were muddy. Experience would say that you do not want to ask cow calf operators how calving is then, because the response would be less than objective, reflecting bone-chilling cold and not enough sleep.

If you wait too long, perhaps until this fall, time will have mellowed most of the events and one soon has difficulty matching a calving season with particular problems. Now is perhaps the best time to make a few notes on what to change for next year.

FULL STORY

University Trailblazers

University Trailblazers

Growing up in agriculture sparked a lifelong interest in serving the industry for these five individuals.

by Kindra Gordon

Angus Journal

The beef industry has always been fortunate to have individuals in teaching and research positions who are committed to making a difference. These are the researchers who devote their careers to seeking the answers that will unlock greater potential in the cattle we raise; they are the individuals who are dedicated to helping farmers and ranchers achieve success; and they are the teachers who inspire greatness in the next generation of our industry.

Here, we spotlight five of those individuals who represent the next generation of this elite group of professionals. They share the beef industry goals they hope to accomplish, challenges they’ve overcome, and advice for others. Included are Guy Loneragan, West Texas A&M University; Mark Allan, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC); Darrell Mark, University of Nebraska; Duane Wulf, South Dakota State University (SDSU); and Dan Moser, Kansas State University (K-State).

FULL STORY

Cattlemen Applaud Introduction of Interstate Shipping Bill

Cattlemen Applaud Introduction of Interstate Shipping Bill

Legislation Alleviates Bias Against Small, State-Inspected Beef Plants

 

Washington, D.C. (May 16, 2007) – A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday would allow state-inspected processing plants to ship beef across state lines just like federally inspected plants.  Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced H.R. 2315, the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act of 2007, along with 15 other cosponsors.

Federal law requires the USDA to inspect all meat products. In the 1960s Congress created state inspection programs that are mandated to be “at least equal to” the federal inspection program.  Perishable products – including milk and other dairy items, fruit, vegetables, and fish – are freely shipped across state lines after state inspection. But standard meat products, like poultry, beef, and pork, are prohibited from interstate commerce, despite decades of meeting or surpassing the federal inspection standards. This bill would remove that prohibition.

FULL STORY

Organic farming gaining grounds in the area

Organic farming gaining grounds in the area

By Aldrich M. Tan

The Northwestern (WI)

Omro farmer Tom Wrchota’s products could be labeled as organic.

The cattle and lambs at his farm, Cattleana Ranch, are not given hormones or steroids, and are 100 percent grass-fed.

“That is our values,” he said. “We knew what was good for the animals and what was good for the environment…It was the right thing to do and the way that we wanted to do our business.”

But Wrchota won’t say that he has an organic farm — in fact, he can’t. That is because Wrchota is one of many small farm owners in Winnebago County who practice organic farming methods, but are not “certified organic” under National Organic Program standards.

And he doesn’t need to. Wrchota sells his products directly to customers on the ranch, at select small health food stores, and at the Neenah Farmer’s Market where he can tell buyers how he raises his products.

FULL STORY

Study Shows Vaccine Reduces Prevalence Of E. Coli O157 In Cattle

Study Shows Vaccine Reduces Prevalence Of E. Coli O157 In Cattle

Cattlenetwork.com

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State University researchers are conducting a series of studies to test a vaccine, which may reduce the presence of E. coli O157 in feedlot cattle, said T.G. Nagaraja, professor of microbiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

E. coli O157, a pathogen commonly found in the feces of beef cattle, can enter the food chain during harvest and not only cause foodborne illnesses in humans, but can also have economic implications for producers, said Nagaraja.

The researchers, who are part of K-State Research and Extension, recently completed the third study in a series of experiments, which included 60 feedlot calves that all tested positive for E. coli O157, said Daniel Thomson, who is the Jones professor of production medicine and epidemiology for the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine.

FULL STORY

Ban on horse slaughter lacks sense, owners say

Ban on horse slaughter lacks sense, owners say

Old or unwanted animals could end up being shot or suffering neglect

By JERRY PERKINS

DES MOINES REGISTER FARM EDITOR

Stuart, Ia. – Prices of horses have dropped and mistreatment of horses could rise as a result of a move to ban the slaughter of the animals for meat, Iowans say.

Mick and Kitty Sherer, who raise and sell horses near Greenfield, said prices for the 70 colts they sell a year have dropped from an average of $565 to between $50 and $100. Bred mares that sold for an average of $1,400 now bring $200, Kitty Sherer said.

If Congress passes a ban on horse slaughter, owners will have few options in getting rid of old or unwanted horses, opponents of the ban say. Many of those horses will be neglected, they say.

“We’re going to have to shoot them and call the rendering truck and that will cost us $200 for each horse,” Kitty Sherer said.

Animal welfare groups pushing for the ban said there are indications the horse market is turning around.

“Prices won’t stay down at these levels,” said Nancy Perry, vice president of government affairs for the Humane Society in Washington, D.C.

FULL STORY

The growing price of corn

The growing price of corn

Ethanol plants, petroleum and speculation driving corn costs

By GI SMITH

Centralohio.com

COSHOCTON – Like every livestock farmer these days, Larry Stahl is worried about how much it’s going to cost to feed his herd of dairy cows in the near future.

Stahl, who works on his family’s Adams Township farm, Rocky Point Farms, has planted about 150 acres of corn this year to help feed his 75-head herd of Holstein, Brown Swiss and Red Holstein dairy cows.

But with the cost of corn per bushel rising higher that it has since 1996, livestock farmers are bracing for the worst.

“It’s definitely going to eat into any profit we’ll have,” Stahl said.

Since the buzz about how much corn would be needed to operate the new ethanol facilities that are under construction, the speculated cost of corn – which is the main component in the making of ethanol – continues to climb. The price of petroleum, which is used to fuel farm machinery and used to make pesticides and fertilizers, is also affecting corn costs.

Dwayne Siekman, executive director of the Ohio Corn Growers Association, estimates that more corn will be planted than any year since 1944.

FULL STORY

Cow Calf: Begin Planning The Breeding Season

Cow Calf: Begin Planning The Breeding Season

Cattlenetwork.com

Now is the ideal time to prepare for the breeding season. Mark on your IRM calendar the dates you will turn in and remove your bulls from the herd. Producers should consider synchronizing estrus. If natural service is to be used, producers can synchronize estrus either by feeding MGA for 7 days prior to the breeding season or by inserting a CIDR device for 7 days before the bulls are turned out. Below is a little article on estrus synchronization with natural service.

Estrus synchronization can greatly improve reproductive efficiency and profitability in cow-calf operations. Estrus synchronization increases profitability by improving pregnancy rate, increasing weaning weights, enhancing calf uniformity, and improving cow productivity. Cow productivity is increased because more early-born heifers are available for use as replacements. Research has demonstrated that early-born heifers become more productive cows because they are more likely to conceive early in their first and subsequent breeding seasons and therefore wean older, heavier calves. Estrus synchronization has been used mainly to enhance the use of artificial insemination. Data from the University of Kentucky illustrates that estrus can be synchronized before a natural service season. In this trial, mature cows and 2-year-old cows approximately 65 days after calving were assigned to one of three treatments. The cows in the first group were not treated (CONT) and were exposed to natural service for 60 days. The cows in the second group (MGA) were fed the orally active progestin melengestrol acetate (MGA, .5 mg/hd/d) for 7 days and were exposed to natural service for 60 days beginning the day after MGA feeding ended. Cows in the third group (CIDR) had a EAZI-BREED CIDR device inserted for 7 days before being exposed to a 60-day natural service season. All bulls used in this experiment were mature and were subjected to breeding soundness exams approximately 30 days before the breeding season.

FULL STORY

Expect corn-derived ethanol to backfire

Expect corn-derived ethanol to backfire

By Colin A. Carter and Henry I. Miller

Los Angeles Times

Policymakers and legislators often fail to consider the law of unintended consequences. The latest example is their attempt to reduce the United States’ dependence on imported oil by shifting a big share of the nation’s largest crop, corn, to the production of ethanol for fueling automobiles.

Good goal, bad policy. In fact, ethanol will do little to reduce the large percentage of our fuel that is imported (more than 60 percent), and the ethanol policy will have widespread and profound ripple effects on other markets. Corn farmers and ethanol refiners are ecstatic about the ethanol boom and are enjoying the windfall of artificially enhanced demand. But it will be an expensive and dangerous experiment for the rest of us.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate is debating legislation that would further expand corn ethanol production. A 2005 law already mandates production of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012, about 5 percent of the projected gasoline use at that time. These biofuel goals are propped up by a generous federal subsidy of 51 cents a gallon for blending ethanol into gasoline, and a tariff of 54 cents a gallon on most imported ethanol to help keep out cheap imports from Brazil. The proposed legislation is a prime example of throwing good money after a bad idea.

President Bush has set a target of replacing 15 percent of domestic gasoline use with biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) over the next 10 years, which would require almost a fivefold increase in mandatory biofuel use, to about 35 billion gallons. With current technology, almost all of this biofuel would have to come from corn because there is no feasible alternative. However, achieving the 15 percent goal would require the entire current U.S. corn crop, which represents a whopping 40 percent of the world’s corn supply. This would do more than create mere market distortions; the irresistible pressure to divert corn from food to fuel would create unprecedented turmoil.

FULL STORY

Hidden costs of corn-based ethanol

Hidden costs of corn-based ethanol

Diverting corn from food to fuel could create unprecedented turmoil.

By Colin A. Carter and Henry I. Miller

Christian Science Monitor

Page 1 of 2

Policymakers and legislators often fail to consider the law of unintended consequences. The latest example is their attempt to reduce the United States’ dependence on imported oil by shifting a big share of the nation’s largest crop – corn – to the production of ethanol for fueling automobiles.

Good goal, bad policy. In fact, ethanol will do little to reduce the large percentage of our fuel that is imported (more than 60 percent), and the ethanol policy will have ripple effects on other markets. Corn farmers and ethanol refiners are ecstatic about the ethanol boom and are enjoying the windfall of artificially enhanced demand. But it will be an expensive and dangerous experiment for the rest of us.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate is debating legislation that would further expand corn ethanol production. A 2005 law already mandates production of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012, about 5 percent of the projected gasoline use at that time. These biofuel goals are propped up by a generous federal subsidy of 51 cents a gallon for blending ethanol into gasoline and a tariff of 54 cents a gallon on most imported ethanol to help keep out cheap imports from Brazil.

FULL STORY

Livestock should be disaster ready

Livestock should be disaster ready

By Vershal Hogan

The Natchez Democrat

Natchez — Owners worried about losing their livestock in the wake a natural catastrophe have at least one step they can take to prevent it.

The Mississippi Board of Animal Health is starting the Animal Disease and Disaster Preparedness Program to register livestock in case of disease outbreak or natural disaster, Adams County Extension Service Director David Carter said.

When Hurricane Katrina came through, most communications were wiped out, which hampered livestock rescue efforts, Carter said.

“Cattle were being fed hay by helicopter, but some starved to death because no one knew where they were,” he said.

FULL STORY

Bovine implants bring efficient beef production

Bovine implants bring efficient beef production

News Leader (MO)

Beef cow-calf and stocker operators can increase the daily gain of steers 10 to 15 percent, on average, by using growth-promoting implants.

In actual practice this percentage translates to between 0.18 and 0.27 pounds per head, per day, for 100 to 120 days. The extra boost in gain amounts to 20 to 25 pounds per head.

“The way to achieve this bonus weight is to implant steers with a growth-promoting implant,” said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

“The payback on the implant investment is one of the most economical practices beef producers can do.”

FULL STORY

Lunch and Learn Program

Lunch and Learn Program

Moberly Monitor Index (MO)

MACON, Mo. – The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) recently cosponsored an educational event with the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) and the Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC) emphasizing the importance of the beef cattle industry to Missouri agriculture. The Lunch and Learn Program was held at the Lolli Brothers Livestock Market facility in Macon, Mo.

Leaders of the local community, elected officials from Macon County and surrounding areas, as well as friends of Lolli Brothers Livestock Market were in attendance at the event. Participants learned more about Missouri’s animal agriculture and the important connection that exists between the beef cattle and row crop industries.

FULL STORY

The Truth About the Animal ID Plan

The Truth About the Animal ID Plan

By Jack Kittredge

Mother Earth News

The federal National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is promoted as pro-health, but actually threatens healthy farming practices.

If you’ve visited your local feed dealer or veterinarian recently, or read any of the dozens of livestock or poultry magazines targeted at small farmers, you probably already know what “NAIS” stands for. The National Animal Identification System is arguably the most hated federal program in rural America. The plan, released in draft form in April 2005 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), proposed sweeping changes in the way animals are managed on small farms and homesteads. It called for registration of livestock “premises” and individual animals in national databases, and for tracking animal movements.

FULL STORY

44th annual Farm and Ranch Tour Attracts Crowds

44th annual Farm and Ranch Tour Attracts Crowds

Rich Flowers

Athens Review (TX)

The 44th annual Henderson County Farm and Ranch Tour rolled through the eastern part of the county with a caravan of five buses and numerous private vehicles making the three scheduled stops along the way.

After visits to J.D. Herrington Farms, Echo Springs Blueberry Farm and R.B. Richardson Cattle Company, all in the Murchison/Brownsboro area, the crowd returned to Cain Center at noon for a barbecue meal and a program. The day culminated with the naming of Danny Davis as the 2007 recipient of the Joe B. Fulgham Agriculturalist of the Year award.

FULL STORY