Daily Archives: May 24, 2007

Mixer Wagon Economics

Mixer Wagon Economics

J.J. Wagner1, D. Peterson2, R. Hanson3 and H.L. Miller4

Departments of Animal and Range Sciences and

Economics and Southeast South Dakota Experiment Farm



Seventy-two Simmental cross and Charolais cross heifers (475 lb.) were utilized in a growing study to estimate the economic value of using a mixer wagon and feed scale to feed light cattle a high roughage diet. Cattle fed the mixed diet gained an additional 22.6 lb on 61.2 lb less dry matter over the 133-day trial than did cattle fed the unmixed diet. Annual ownership and repair costs were assumed to equal $2356. If yearling feeder cattle sold for $80/cwt and if corn, hay and corn silage were worth $90, $80 and $25 per ton, respectively, it would take a minimum of 114 head of feed for 133 days each year to pay annual costs for the wagon. The economic analysis of the data from this trial suggests that even relatively small cattle feeding operations should strongly consider investing in a mixer wagon with a scale.


The Judicious Use of Antimicrobials for Beef Producers

The Judicious Use of Antimicrobials for Beef Producers

Universty of Minnesota


The production of safe and wholesome animal products for human consumption is a primary goal of beef producers. To achieve that goal, producers should be committed to the practice of disease prevention through the use of vaccines, parasite control, stress reduction, environmental management and proper nutritional management. Responsible and timely management practices can reduce the incidence of disease and therefore reduce the need for antimicrobials; however, antimicrobials remain a necessary tool to manage infectious disease in beef herds. Prudent use of antimicrobials is important to reduce livestock pain and suffering as well as minimize losses due to disease. Furthermore responsible antimicrobial use will help minimize antimicrobial resistance in bacteria, which can impact animal health in your operation and the safety of food you produce.


Forage Brassicas

Forage Brassicas


Annual forage brassicas can provide livestock producers with fast-growing, high yielding, quality fall pasture. Brassicas are a group of closely related plants, which include cabbage, cauliflower, kale, rape, radish, turnip, rutabaga and swede. They have been used extensively in Europe as livestock forage, especially by sheep, for at least 600 years. Brassicas tolerate temperatures down to -5 degrees C and are well adapted to the cool, northern parts of Canada. Forage brassicas grow best on well drained soils with a pH of at least 6.


“Preg” Check and Cull Replacement Heifers Early

“Preg” Check and Cull Replacement Heifers Early

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

Many Oklahoma ranchers choose to breed the replacement heifers about a month ahead of the mature cows in the herd.  In addition, they like to use a shortened 45 to 60-day breeding season for the replacement heifers.  The next logical step is to determine which of these heifers failed to conceive in their first breeding season.  This is more important today than ever before.


As the bulls are being removed from the replacement heifers, this would be an ideal time to call and make arrangements with your local veterinarian to have those heifers evaluated for pregnancy in about 60 days.  In two months, experienced palpaters should have no difficulty identifying which heifers are pregnant and which heifers are not pregnant (open).  Those heifers that are determined to be “open” after this breeding season, should be strong candidates for culling.  Culling these heifers immediately after pregnancy checking serves three very economically valuable purposes.


1)      Identifying and culling open heifers early will remove sub-fertile females from the herd.   Lifetime cow studies from Montana indicated that properly developed heifers that were exposed to fertile bulls, but DID NOT become pregnant were often sub-fertile compared to the heifers that did conceive.  In fact, when the heifers that failed to breed in the first breeding season were followed throughout their lifetimes, they averaged a 55% yearly calf crop.  Despite the fact that reproduction is not a highly heritable trait, it also makes sense to remove this genetic material from the herd so as to not proliferate females that are difficult to get bred.


UNL specialist: control pasture weeds now Tell North Platte what you think

UNL specialist: control pasture weeds now  Tell North Platte what you think

by West Central Research and Extension Center – 5/23/2007

North Platte Bulletin

While spring rains have boosted grasses and forages, weeds are also thriving, says a University of Nebraska–Lincoln specialist.

The time to control pasture weeds is now, said Jerry Volesky, range and forage management specialist at the UNL’s West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte.

Some farmers and ranchers tolerate a few weeds in pasturelands, but vigorous patches of weeds will compete for soil moisture and space later in the summer. Substantial weed infestations can significantly reduce the production of desirable grasses.

Spraying with herbicides in late May to mid-June will control most common weeds such as ragweed, ironweed, goldenrod, mullen, sunflowers, marestail, kocia, croton, horseweed and even Russian thistle, as well as noxious weeds.


Feeding high-quality forage boosts animal performance

Feeding high-quality forage boosts animal performance

By Bryce Roberts, ag extension agent

The Spencer Magnet

The ultimate test of forage quality is animal performance. Producing high quality forages is vital to improved animal performance, whether your goal is more pounds of milk, a higher rate of gain, increased wool production, or an improved conception rate.

Forages provide a major percentage of the nutrients for beef and dairy cattle, sheep and goats, horses and ruminant wildlife. If the quality isn’t right, you can’t feed animals enough forage to achieve production goals.

Forage quality is defined as “the extent to which a forage, whether pasture, hay or silage, has the ability to produce the desired animal response.”


Ohio Beef Newsletter Available

The May 23, issue # 538, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at: http://fairfield.osu.edu/ag/beef/beefMy23.html

Certainly supplementing calves with additional high quality feed while still on their mammas will boost weaning weights, but will it boost profit? Explore that issue in this week’s letter.

Articles include:
* Do The Math Before Creep Feeding
* The Principle of “Value of Added Gain”
* Banding Vs. Cutting
* Forage Focus: Roundup Ready Alfalfa Update
* Glyphosate Preharvest Options
* The Ohio Heifer Development Program Now Accepting Cooperator Applications
* Weekly Roberts Agricultural Commodity Market Report

Stan Smith
Program Assistant, Agriculture
OSU Extension, Fairfield County
831 College Ave., Suite D
Lancaster, OH 43130

Ethanol Leftover Has Weed-Fighting Potential

  Ethanol Leftover Has Weed-Fighting Potential

By Jan Suszkiw, ARS Public Affairs Specialist

PA Farm News

BELTSVILLE, MD – Distiller’s dried grains (DDGs)—coproducts of converting corn into ethanol—are usually fed to livestock. But a new use could be on tap: fighting weeds and reducing herbicide use.

That’s the hope of plant physiologist Steve Vaughn and colleagues with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Peoria, Ill. There, at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Vaughn is among approximately 100 scientists seeking to identify new, value-added uses for farm-based commodities like DDGs and help bring them to commercial fruition by developing novel processing technologies.

In laboratory, greenhouse and field studies over the past few years, Vaughn has shown that applying DDGs to soil as a surface mulch can not only suppress weeds, but also bolster the growth of tomatoes and some turfgrasses. In one study, for example, Roma tomatoes in DDG-treated plots yielded 226 pounds, versus 149 pounds from untreated control plots.


Animal ID bill proposed by King

Animal ID bill proposed by King

By Kristin Danley-Greiner

Farm News

Iowa’s U.S. Congressman Steve King has spoken out about the need for a mandatory, nationwide animal identification system, but not one that’s operated by the government as has been proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Recently, King introduced H.R. 3170, called the Livestock Identification and Marketing Opportunities (LIMO) Act, which would instead establish a producer-controlled national identification system for the livestock industry that would be run by stakeholders serving on a board whose original duties would be to establish and maintain the livestock identification system.


Ethanol byproduct can hurt pork quality: U.S. experts

Ethanol byproduct can hurt pork quality: U.S. experts

By Jerry Bieszk


Hogs that are fed high amounts of an ethanol byproduct that is a cheap alternative to corn could have excessive fat levels and the quality of certain pork products could be lowered, university scientists said.

Demand for distillers grain as a feed alternative has picked up following the rise in corn prices to 10-year highs this year, which has been fueled by the ethanol industry’s voracious appetite for the grain.

Dry distillers’ grains with solubles, or DDGS, can be used as livestock feed and has been touted as a potentially inexpensive option for producers who are being priced out of the corn market by companies that use corn to make ethanol.


The Family That Rounds Up Together…

The Family That Rounds Up Together…

All Things Considered, National Public Radio

A big part of the ranching ethic is the yearly cattle roundup, when ranchers gather the herd, separate the calves, and inoculate and brand the animals. Some families have picnics or play softball at the reunions. One family has been getting together for roundups in South Dakota for five generations.


Vet’s Corner: Now is the time to examine herd records, plan for next year

Vet’s Corner: Now is the time to examine herd records, plan for next year

By David Barz, D.V.M., Northwest Vet Supply

Finally the tractors are rolling in the fields. Most of the corn is planted and the beans are started. I have even seen some of the first cutting of alfalfa coming down.

Most of us have moved our cows and calves to pasture so we no longer need to think about them. Wrong! Now is the time to examine herd records and make plans for improvement next year.


Prime Beef Fetches Premium

Prime Beef Fetches Premium

Corn, Fuel Costs Keep Quality Beef Prices High

DES MOINES, Iowa — Steak lovers should be prepared to pay more for their beef.

High demand and costs for producing the best cuts of beef mean that the product is hot, especially with the holiday weekend coming up.

Amend’s Packing Co. on Des Moines’ southeast side produces choice and prime grade beef.

“Yes, to a great extent, that’s the kind of beef we buy,” said Dick Amend of Amend Packing Co.

With demand skyrocketing, some cattle producers are reeling from the high cost of fuel and feed.


ND animal health board orders restrictions on Montana cattle

ND animal health board orders restrictions on Montana cattle


BISMARCK, N.D. – State officials have announced more testing and entry requirements for Montana cattle after an outbreak of brucellosis in that state.

The North Dakota Board of Animal Health issued an order Wednesday, calling it a precaution after seven cows from a ranch near Bozeman were diagnosed with brucellosis.


Forage Focus: Roundup Ready Alfalfa Update

Forage Focus: Roundup Ready Alfalfa Update


I have been working with Forage Genetics and Monsanto regarding the Judge’s ruling concerning Roundup Ready alfalfa. We won’t know the details of restrictions for a couple weeks but I think that the following two paragraphs are significant and should be publicized.

The injunction of Judge Charles Breyer on sale of Roundup Ready Alfalfa allows that existing Roundup Ready alfalfa (planted before March 30, 2007) can continue to be grown, harvested and sold. But he imposed several conditions and required that USDA-APHIS draft regulations to put the conditions into effect. APHIS is required to notify growers individually of the restrictions within 45 days of the order (May 3, 2007).


USCA: Opposes Mandatory 4-H & FFA Premises Registratio

USCA: Opposes Mandatory 4-H & FFA Premises Registration


San Lucas, Calif. (May 23, 2007) The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association’s (USCA) board of directors adopted policy on May 21 opposing mandatory premises registration for 4-H and FFA youth, and affirmed their commitment to the spirit of both programs.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has redesigned its national animal identification system (NAIS) as voluntary, the Colorado Extension Service is implementing mandatory premises registration for 4-H youth enrolled in animal projects. In a directive issued to all 4-H agents in Colorado in March 2007, the State 4-H Program Director Jeff Goodwin also stated that mandatory animal identification will be implemented the following year.


Ethanol’s Effect On Agriculture Larger Than Its Role In The Gasoline Market

Ethanol’s Effect On Agriculture Larger Than Its Role In The Gasoline Market


Most ethanol production in the United States uses corn as the feedstock.

Although cellulosic-based production of renewable fuels holds some promise in the long term, much research is needed to make it commercially viable and expand beyond the 250-million-gallon minimum mandated for 2013 in the Energy Policy Act.

Ethanol’s share in the overall gasoline market is relatively small, but its importance to the corn market is comparatively large. In 2006, ethanol (by volume) represented about 3.5 percent of motor vehicle gasoline supplies in the United States. However, about 14 percent of corn use went to ethanol production in the 2005/06 crop year. While carryover stocks of corn represented about 17.5 percent of use at the end of 2005/06, expanded use of corn to produce ethanol in the 2006/07 crop year will leave the ending stocks-touse ratio at 7.5 percent (USDA, April 2007).