Daily Archives: May 22, 2007

Embryo Transfer Becoming More Popular with Producers

Embryo Transfer Becoming More Popular with Producers

by: Stephen B. Blezinger, Ph.D, PAS

Cattle Today

Part 1

Embryo transfer in cattle has recently gained considerable popularity with seedstock dairy and beef producers. While most modern applicable embryo transfer technology was developed in the 1970s and 1980s, the history of the procedure goes back considerably farther. Walter Heape performed the first embryo transfer in Angora rabbits in 1890. Embryo transfer in food animals began in the 1930s with sheep and goats, but it was not until the 1950s that successful embryo transfers were reported in cattle and pigs by Jim Rowson at Cambridge, England.


The “Risks” in High Risk Cattle

The “Risks” in High Risk Cattle

by Marc Roth, M.S. P.A.S.

Feedlot Magazine

The term high risk cattle is nearly as old as the feeding industry itself and yet its definition or components are vague to many. While we could probably get agreement in the general definition that high risk denotes an expectation of an increased animal health challenge, we would find divergence if asking questions such as “Which cattle are high risk?” or “What are the costs associated with high risk cattle?” If we are in the feeding business, then we are also in the business of deciding what animals to put on feed. We look at the relationships between weight, sex, price, futures markets, season, and expected production costs. We likely have a mental adjustment for sale barn vs country origin and perhaps others; but do we have the true value difference? What are our criteria? Is it maximizing profit potential or do certain biases come into the equation – heifers, horns, Holsteins, etc?


Biting flies problem for cattle

Biting flies problem for cattle

By Mike Surbrugg

The Joplin Globe

MOUND VALLEY, Kan. — Fescue may not be the only reason cattle stand in ponds.

They may do so to protect their legs from biting stable flies that have their highest numbers in May and early June, according to Alberto Broce, Kansas State University livestock insect entomologist, who spoke at a beef cattle and forage program on May 3.

Stable flies are a problem not only in dairies and other confined animal feeding operations, but also reduce weight gains in pastured beef cattle, Broce said.

To avoid stable flies, cattle stomp their feet, swish tails, stand in water, rest with their legs tucked under them or bunch at corners of pastures.

Chemical controls can be applied on cattle legs but that brings only temporary relief because it is removed as cattle walk through pastures, he said.


Ethanol, poor winter forage keep U.S. cattle herd static

Ethanol, poor winter forage keep U.S. cattle herd static

by Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

Abundant rains this spring helped pasture and forage conditions improve over much of cattle country. But it came too late to boost the U.S. cattle inventory this year.

That’s according to the latest livestock, dairy and poultry outlook from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). The ERS report says heavy cow and calf slaughter, early placement of cattle in feedlots, probable reduced heifer retention due to poor forage and high grain prices from ethanol, will all combine to, most likely keep the U.S. cattle herd steady this year.

But ERS expects U.S. beef exports to increase in the second half of this year and into 2008. The reason? Expectations for increased access to Asian markets for U.S. beef.

Pre-Harvest Factors Affecting Beef Tenderness in Heifers

Pre-Harvest Factors Affecting Beef Tenderness in Heifers

Prepared for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association By J. D. Tatum, S. L. Gruber, and B. A. Schneider Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University

Although the list of various factors that influence food purchase decisions continues to grow, “taste” remains the primary reason that many consumers make beef their food of choice for a pleasurable dining experience. Experimental market research has shown that beef consumers equate eating quality (tenderness, flavor, juiciness) with value and that superior eating quality not only increases the likelihood that consumers will purchase beef, but also increases the prices they are willing to pay to obtain the level of eating satisfaction they desire.1-4 Consequently, producing beef that consistently delivers a satisfactory eating experience builds consumer demand and adds value to cattle.


American Royal Announces 2007 Livestock Show Dates and Deadlines

American Royal Announces 2007 Livestock Show Dates and Deadlines


KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – Junior and open show livestock exhibitors from around the nation will fill the American Royal complex in Kansas City for six days of exhibitions, sales and camaraderie during the 108th American Royal Livestock Show Oct.17-22.  After a record-breaking event in 2006, where more than 2,200 head of animals were shown by exhibitors from 35 states, the American Royal staff and volunteer committees are gearing up for what promises to be a great event in 2007. 

With summer schedules in full swing, be sure and remember the important DNA and ownership deadlines for this fall’s livestock show. Youth exhibitors interested in exhibiting market hogs, sheep, steers and goats must submit DNA samples to the American Royal office no later than August 1. In addition, all junior market animals and junior heifers must be owned by the exhibitor by August 1 and must remain in that exhibitor’s name until the day of the show. DNA request forms and the 2007 American Royal premium book are available at http://www.americanroyal.com. It is important to remember that submission of DNA does not constitute an entry in the show.

The 2007 entry deadline for all open and junior shows is Sept. 1. Please direct any questions regarding the livestock show to Chelsea Frost at (816) 569-4054 or chelseaf@americanroyal.com. All of the latest American Royal announcements, including the summer livestock newsletter and a list of judges for the 2007 shows are available online at http://www.americanroyal.com. 

The American Royal, a not-for-profit 501c3 organization that benefits youth and education, is now in its 108th year and celebrates the region’s rich agricultural heritage through competition, education and entertainment.  In 2006, the organization contributed more than $1.3 million in financial support in the form of scholarships, educational awards, educational programs, community donations, competitive awards and prize monies and premiums.

Highlighting the livestock show in 2007 will be the presentation of the Stanley E. Stout Memorial Supreme Heifer Scholarships and the American Royal Junior Premium Auction. The American Royal, one of Kansas City’s premier fall events with annual economic impact of more than $62 million, hosts the world’s largest barbecue contest, one of the Midwest’s largest livestock exhibitions, one of the top five ranked rodeos in the nation and is home of national championship horse competition. For more information visit http://www.americanroyal.com.

Cattle Update: Producers Should Make Natural Beef Decision Now

Cattle Update: Producers Should Make Natural Beef Decision Now


Producers thinking about raising their new calves the natural way need to make that decision now, according to North Dakota State University beef experts.

That’s because what producers feed, implant or apply on their animals could affect the cattle’s eligibility to be sold as naturally raised.

The definition of “natural” primarily is a marketing issue, says Greg Lardy, NDSU Extension Service beef cattle specialist.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t have guidelines on how cattle are raised for beef marketing purposes. Its definition of natural focuses on the meat product. The USDA requires meat to be only minimally processed, which means processing doesn’t fundamentally alter the raw product.


Ethanol by-product feed may be lethal

Ethanol by-product feed may be lethal        

by: d-burton

Joplin Independent (MO)

By-products of the ethanol industry may have caused the deaths of three yearlings in a short period of time in an area cattle herd.

The veterinarian’s diagnosis was polioencepholomalacia or PEM. The condition is also referred to as brainers. PEM is a noninfectious neurological disease that is related to thiamine deficiency.

“The cause of the deficiency is not always clear, but does seem related to abrupt ration changes. High sulfur levels in the feed and water are also implicated,” said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.


What’s your beef, Chances are often-honored Abby Snyder can tell you

What’s your beef, Chances are often-honored Abby Snyder can tell you


Chillicothe Gazette

Abby Snyder knows cattle.

Particularly Highland cattle, the type her family raises on their small farm in Hallsville. She’s put 2,000 hours into her research over the past four years.

The 2007 Zane Trace High School graduate competed at the State Science Day for the sixth time May 12 -something her high school called “unprecedented.”

“Highland cattle is really a niche, so there’s not been a whole lot of research done,” said Snyder, adding she’s done most of her research at The Ohio State University’s main campus. “Very few in Ohio are chosen to go on to the State Science Day.”


Rancher Says Conservation Efforts Make Most Of Rainfall

Rancher Says Conservation Efforts Make Most Of Rainfall


BLOOMING GROVE, Texas (AP) – As Gary Price trudges through lush, thigh-high grasses on his 2,160-acre ranch dotted with bluebonnets and Indian blankets, last year’s devastating drought seems a distant memory.

Much-needed rain the past few months isn’t the only reason for the greener pastures. Price says he’s been able to make the most of the rainfall through conservation efforts that include grazing his cattle on multiple fields, which keeps the grass longer and preserves its roots.


Brucellosis ID’d in lawmaker’s herd

Brucellosis ID’d in lawmaker’s herd

Other cattle tests in progress to verify presence of disease


Billings Gazette

Bruce Malcolm, a rancher and Republican state representative from Emigrant, said Monday that seven of the cows that tested positive for the disease brucellosis came from his herd and that he supplied bulls to the herd under quarantine in Bridger.

More blood was drawn from his herd Monday, he said, and yearlings will be tested this morning. Then it’s all over but the waiting.

“We’ve worked with these cows all our life, it’s like losing a member of our family,” Malcolm said.


Agents test cattle

Agents test cattle


Casper Star Tribune

BILLINGS, Mont. — Federal animal health agents on Monday tested cattle near Yellowstone National Park for a notorious livestock disease to determine if a recent outbreak extends beyond a single herd, federal officials and industry representatives said.

The fate of Montana’s livestock industry hangs in the balance: If blood tests in Paradise Valley, north of the park, reveal a second herd is infected with brucellosis, federal authorities would revoke Montana’s disease-free status, and ranchers could be forced to adopt a costly testing and vaccination program for the state’s 2.5 million cattle.


Stocker Cattle Forum: High Cattle Growth Performance

Stocker Cattle Forum: High Cattle Growth Performance


Pastures must provide acceptable rates of gain to be economically viable for stocker forage systems. Cool-season forages as compared with warm-season forages and legumes when compared with most grasses will typically support higher rates of gain in growing cattle. In general, warm-season perennial grasses such as bermudagrass and bahiagrass provide stocker calf average daily gains that are below acceptable levels without additional supplementation. Furthermore, many improved forage cultivars havebeen documented to exhibit characteristics that ultimately make them more profitable investments in stocker operations. It cannot be stressed enough that claims of improved forage traits be substantiated by sound research. Otherwise, the producer who establishes an “unproven” forage technology assumes the role of testing the forage.


Minicows bring in big bucks

Minicows bring in big bucks

The Seattle Times

By DeAnn Rossetti

Gradwohl and his wife, Arlene, pet their pregnant cow named Easter in the pasture next to their house. Their smallest cow, Little Abner, right, stands 24 inches tall. “The smaller they are the better,” Gradwohl said.

Richard Gradwohl, owner of Happy Mountain Miniature Cattle Farm in Covington, has created and trademarked more than 18 kinds of miniature cattle in the past 37 years.

He’s taken his business from a $5,000 operation to a $3 million family-run farm that breeds many of the cows as pets.

“Our business has been growing 20 to 25 percent every year for the last 10 years,” Gradwohl said. “The biggest niche is the pet market.”

Gradwohl got into the minicattle business somewhat out of necessity.


Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Fly Control

Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Fly Control


The necessity for a fly control program for beef herds is inevitable and now is the time to plan your’s for this year. The two major species of flies that cause the most serious decreases in beef production and require the most control efforts are the horn fly and face fly. The horn fly alone is estimated to cause animal losses to the U.S. beef industry of $700 million. Tests have shown that the annoyance, irritation and blood loss caused by flies can reduce weaning weights of calves nursing fly infested mother cows by 12 to 14 pounds; average daily gain of grazing yearly steers may be reduced 12 to 14 percent, or as much as 30 pounds during the grazing season. Both face flies and horn flies annoy cattle, resulting in reduced grazing time and increased energy expenditure.


Coalition Urges Congress to Fund Country-of-Origin Labeling

Coalition Urges Congress to Fund Country-of-Origin Labeling

Washington, D.C. – R-CALF USA has joined dozens of other organizations to request that Congress include in the FY2008 appropriations bill sufficient funds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately implement mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

Today, the coalition sent a formal letter that includes this request to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, and to Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. The letter also provides documentation to show food imports have more than doubled since 2000, with the percentage of inspections falling by nearly 40 percent.

“The integrity and safety of the nation’s food supply is in serious jeopardy with our citizens eating an amalgam of food produced elsewhere, with no idea of its source,” the letter states. “It is critically important that our food consumers be provided with information on the source of the food because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA have not established a food safety inspection system sufficient to deal adequately with the tidal wave of food imports included in our food supply…

 “Mothers and fathers in the U.S. want to feed their children wholesome and safe food, but cannot do so when the food industry fights origin information,” the letter continues. “Our domestic food safety system, with all its flaws, exceeds that of virtually all other countries…The industry’s claim that labeling is irrelevant to food safety has now become absurd. Many other countries simply do not have our food production and processing regulatory standards, nor do they have the regulatory capacity to enforce even those laws that do exist…

 “Consumers do not want to, and cannot, rely entirely on the government,” the letter states. “A meaningful first step is to immediately implement mandatory country of origin labeling for meat and produce. Consumer choice is irrevocably connected with consumer safety.

 “Mandatory country of origin labeling was approved by Congress in 2002, has been implemented successfully for seafood, and should no longer be delayed by special interests,” the letter concludes. “Now is clearly the time to fully implement this measure to provide U.S. consumers with critically important information about the integrity and safety of their food choices.”

R-CALF USA members have repeatedly voted to support mandatory country-of-origin labeling so consumers can be informed of the origin of their food.

Note: To view the letter to DeLauro and Kohl, visit the “Country-of-Origin Labeling” link at http://www.r-calfusa.com.

Price Is Major Factor In Growing Barley

Price Is Major Factor In Growing Barley


Barley growers in North Dakota, Idaho and Montana say price is the major factor influencing their decision to plant barley. The finding was part of a 12-question survey of barley growers in the three states.

The survey was conducted by the Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences (IBMS) at North Dakota State University. The survey was produced by the Idaho Barley Commission, North Dakota Barley Council, Montana Wheat and Barley Committee and IBMS. The survey was sent to 5,000 barley growers in the three states with the help of the North Dakota field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NDASS).

The 12 questions on the survey covered topics such as yield, acreage, transportation, information sources, farming practices, grower support system effectiveness, grower satisfaction levels and factors influencing the decision to produce barley.