Monthly Archives: June 2007

Comparing Value of Byproduct Feeds in Beef Rations

Comparing Value of Byproduct Feeds in Beef Rations

Warren Gill, Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee

Byproduct feeds for animals are made from the “leftovers” from the manufacture of other products, such as grain processing and manufacturing of human foods. The use of byproduct feeds is not new, although it is new to many producers. There are often questions about the relative value of byproduct feeds.

The main factor to consider is cost of nutrients. Check with several suppliers to find the best price before purchasing a commodity feed. A few phone calls could save several hundred dollars over the course of the feeding period.

Byproduct feeds may be purchased in large quantities (typically truckload), bagged in small qualities or as part of total mixed feeds. Bagged feeds are more expensive. Feeds bought in truckload quantities are generally less expensive on “per unit” basis.


Value-based Marketing of Cattle: More Than Just Carcass Quality

Value-based Marketing of Cattle: More Than Just Carcass Quality

Ropin’ the Web

An increasing number of beef producers want the price they receive for their cattle to reflect their use of above average genetics in their cowherds. This is more commonplace as producers, feedlot operators and meat processors become more aware of the importance of genetics and good management practices.

Genetics not only relate to fertility and performance, but also to carcass qualities and the ability to meet the high to premium specifications for beef, as set by retailers and consumers.

A Marketing Tool

Value-based marketing (VBM) is a management and marketing tool that rewards or penalizes cattle, based on carcass merits. It provides an opportunity for producers to capture greater economic rewards for using above average genetics. If a producer raises a superior calf that yields a superior carcass, he receives a premium price. Producers who want to capitalize on premium markets need to evaluate the performance of their cattle, both in the feedlot and on the hook. To do this, producers require more information concerning the entire production process, from conception to consumption.

Producers must know their costs of production to be successful using VBM. Many VBM programs involve leaving cattle on feed longer; sometimes to the point where performance and feed efficiency cost more than what is received from carcass premiums.


Weighing In On Early Weaning

Weighing In On Early Weaning

By Clint Peck

Beef Magazine

Early weaning as a herd-management practice continues to be a viable alternative for cattle ranchers across a big chunk of the U.S. Certainly for producers in drought-prone regions of the West and Great Plains, it’s a tool that can be used to avoid culling cows and maintaining high levels of reproductive performance among young cows.

Penton Media – Beef Magazine, Click Here!

Researchers continue to explore the practicalities and economics of various early-weaning systems. Richard Waterman, range nutritionist, and Tom Geary, reproductive physiologist, both working at USDA’s Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory, Miles City, MT, have been leading an extensive early-weaning research effort.


Life is our greatest teacher, if you pay attention

Life is our greatest teacher, if you pay attention

By Trent Loos

“This is the way America started out” was a direct quote from Kathy Tucker at the 2nd Annual Houston E. Mull Memorial FFA Scholarship Cattle Drive that took place November 5, 2005 at the Mull farm near Marshall, MO. We had 201 people riding horses and 4 wagons trailing cattle just like your favorite John Wayne movie told you we should. Some very interesting and educational occurrences made this event so much more than simply an annual celebration in memory of a special 15-year-old agriculturalist. It has shown us the perfect venue for telling the story of Rural America.

Nearly 600 people, including those that helped trail the cattle, gathered for an evening celebration of fire-grilled steaks and all the trimmings. They generously supported the benefit auction, which generated just short of $5000 for the FFA Scholarship Fund. As remarkable as all of that was, the presence of one young lady from Florida was the most rewarding. Kelly Tucker is a 27-year-old Cystic Fibrosis survivor and the recipient of  Houston Mull’s lungs following his untimely death. Kelly spent the entire weekend visiting with people and learning more about Houston’s life. She now understands why her preferences in life have changed and she is suddenly craving beef instead of chicken.


Cattle Marketing Symposium – Buying & Selling Value-Added Calves, Wayne Edmondson, El Yeso Ranch

Cattle Marketing Symposium – Buying & Selling Value-Added Calves, Wayne Edmondson, El Yeso Ranch

 “What advice would you give sellers and buyers of value-added calves and how do you market value-added calves?”

To a seller or to a buyer, the answer is the same: Unless you can sell your feeder cattle in a sale that gives all the data that value-added calves have received, and also if you’re a buyer and you can buy out of a sale that gives all of the data for value-added feeder cattle, you’re missing the boat on value-added selling or buying.

That’s why we sell our “Northern” outstanding feeder cattle at auction through Northern Video. Northern Video or Sales of this sort where all value added data is presented and the cattle are sold in load lots is the best way to market value added calves.


Farm Business Management Update, June – July 2007

Farm Business Management Update, June – July 2007

By Gordon Groover (, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Well, another dry spring for most of the state, not yet a full blown drought. Hopefully, the rain we received from tropical depression Barry will increase soil moisture levels to get crops a good start. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does not predict drought conditions in VA through August (, yet drought conditions exist just over the line in NC. From my view of the New River Valley, we are behind our normal planting and hay harvest schedules.


Choices and options are focus of classes

Choices and options are focus of classes

 Georgia Faces

Workshops help producers deal with dwendling hay supply.

 Georgia’s extreme drought has devastated pastures, and hay supplies are all but gone. Cattlemen are struggling to feed their herds. University of Georgia experts are working to educate them on how to weather the situation better.


Clintons will visit National Cattle Congress on July 4

Clintons will visit National Cattle Congress on July 4

WATERLOO — Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will visit the National Cattle Congress on July 4.

The Clintons will make their Independence Day stop at 2 p.m. Waterloo will be one of three stops for the Clintons on the Fourth.

They will be in Clear Lake followed by stops in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids.

Cause and effect

Cause and effect

Julie Carter

Ruidoso News

If you have not been in the cattle business, owned a cow dog or been married to a team roper, you may not believe this.

You know, however, that I am a basically truthful person and only arrange the facts when it seems appropriate.

Any head-of-household person who has managed to live a cattle-free life should be aware though that if ever anyone in the house would happen to take up team roping, it would encourage better housekeeping.

There is a connection to that train of thought and here it is as told to me.


Mitigate the Downside Risks of Corn Following Corn

Mitigate the Downside Risks of Corn Following Corn

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen, Agronomy (; Bill Johnson, Botany & Plant Pathology (; Christian Krupke, Entomology (; and Greg Shaner, Botany & Plant Pathology (, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

The advent of soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) across the southern U.S. late in 2004 and its discovery in Indiana late in 2006 (Ag Answers, 2006) “adds fuel to the fire” for some Indiana growers who already perceive an economic advantage for switching intended soybean acres to second-year corn acres (Hurt, 2006; Schnitkey, 2006; Schnitkey and Lattz, 2005). The current corn-based ethanol euphoria promises to maintain the current favorable corn to soy grain price ratio for the near future (Hurt, 2006).

From an agronomic perspective, a continuous corn cropping system is fraught with a multitude of negative yield-influencing factors (Butzen, 2006; Lauer et al., 1997; Nafziger, 2004; Vyn, 2004). A recent review of crop rotation research literature (Erickson and Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2005) indicated an average yield loss of 9% for continuous corn, with yield losses ranging from 2 to 23%. Of 26 studies reviewed, only two cited yield advantages to continuous corn.


Major Japanese supermarket chain puts US beef back on its shelves

Major Japanese supermarket chain puts US beef back on its shelves

The China Post

Major Japanese supermarket chain Ito-Yokado Co. brought American beef back to its shelves Friday, about 3 1/2 years after sales were halted in the wake of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, a parent company spokesman said.

U.S. beef went back on sale at 20 Ito-Yokado stores, mostly in the Tokyo area, said Shirotake Henmi, spokesman for giant Japanese retailer Seven & I Holdings Co.

After Japan lifted its latest ban on U.S. beef last July, the company’s buyers conducted on-site checks of meat exporters in Colorado and Nebraska, Ito-Yokado said in a statement.


Stocker Cattle Forum: Beef Checkoff, Nevil Speer

Stocker Cattle Forum: Beef Checkoff, Nevil Speer

The Beef Checkoff’s largest and most notable success has come on the promotional front.  “Beef:  It’s What’s For Dinner” possesses widespread recognition among consumers of all types.   Meanwhile, behind the scenes there’ve been a number of other successful programs which have helped to advance beef’s competitiveness.   For example, a number of states have implemented Beef Training Camps: comprehensive educational programs focused around beef and the beef industry – the program targets retail meat managers so they can better address customer questions and increasingly position product offerings advantageously.  Additionally, development of the Easy Fresh Cooking® program provides customers with recipe ideas and handling suggestions at the point of sale while also assisting retailers with meat case management.   And the Checkoff has also provided for some innovative programs at both the state and local level.  Lastly, and most important to the industry’s bottom-line, the cumulative effects of research and promotion, funded by the Checkoff, have helped to boost value of the chuck and round.  


Nation’s First Closed-loop Ethanol Facility Plant Opens

Nation’s First Closed-loop Ethanol Facility Plant Opens

Posted by John Davis


The nation’s first closed-loop ethanol facility has opened near Mead, Nebraska. Closed-loop means it has a cattle feedlot attached with an ethanol plant. The E3 BioFuels Genesis Plant uses the manure from feedlot’s 28,000 cattle manure and some cellulosic biomass to make a biogas in an anaerobic digester. That biogas powers the ethanol plant, and the ethanol by-product, distillers grain, is fed to the cattle.


Raising Cattle and Lowering Taxes.

Raising Cattle and Lowering Taxes.

Across the Great Divide

Norwegianity quotes a New York Times Select column by Timothy Egan that decries how farm subsidies give disproportionate payments to corporate farmers and rancher-investors who think tack is something you do on a sailboat.

But government checks aren’t the only feed in the trough for the Wall Street Cowboys.


Stocker Cattle Forum: Beef Checkoff, Dale Blasi

Stocker Cattle Forum: Beef Checkoff, Dale Blasi

Over the past 20 years since its inception as part of the 1985 farm bill, monies generated from the Beef Checkoff have been invested to achieve a variety of accomplishments that have helped to ensure that beef is portrayed as an essential component in the American diet.

I take great personal pride hearing the actor Sam Elliott extol the virtues of beef on  radio and TV as well as seeing advertisements on beef  provided by the Beef Checkoff  in my monthly subscription to Men’s Health magazine. However, there are several other areas that are not as readily apparent to the casual observer where Checkoff monies are invested to increase demand for beef and beef products. Some of these areas include work with the retail segment, foodservice, research, public relations, education, food safety, producer communications and last but not least, nutrition. In short, work in these areas benefit consumers by providing them with product information to help make informed choices and research to create new and improved products that meet consumer quality, safety and nutritional expectations.


Ohio Beef Newsletter Available

The June 27, issue # 543, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at:

96c84bc.jpgTypically in a pasture situation, livestock won’t eat poisonous weeds like the Jimsonweed pictured above. However, when a poisonous weed may be the only green thing remaining in the pasture, livestock sometimes do extraordinary things to their detriment. This week, Steve Boyles discusses weeds and toxins.

Articles include:
* Forage Focus: Weeds and Toxins
* Why Oats, and Not Cereal Rye or Wheat?
* Haying or Grazing CRP Acres
* Is it Bedding or is it Feed?
* Early Weaning for the Beef Herd
Stan Smith
Program Assistant, Agriculture
OSU Extension, Fairfield County
831 College Ave., Suite D
Lancaster, OH 43130

Things to Consider as You Walk the Pasture

Things to Consider as You Walk the Pasture

Ed Heckman, Wayne County Indiana – Extension Educator

Indiana has one million acres of permanent pasture. The productive potential on many of these acres has not been reached. There are many factors that play a role in pasture productivity. The grazier can control many factors and some cannot be controlled. Considerable improvement could be made in the state’s permanent pasture, if sound management practices were implemented. Below are some considerations that each grazier should evaluate as good pasture management decisions are made.



Effects of Age and Method of Castration on Performance and Stress Response of Beef Cattle

Effects of Age and Method of Castration on Performance and Stress Response of Beef Cattle

Ropin’ the Web

Why is it so important to evaluate the effects of age and method of castration?

The main reasons calves are castrated are to reduce meat toughness, remove aggressive behavior and dark cutters. The process of castration is very stressful on beef cattle and leads also to a weight loss. Effect of castration on performance is independent of the breed and feeding systems. However, the age and method of castration have an important impact on growth performance and stress response of beef cattle. So, it is important to be aware of those consequences in order to choose the right age and the safer method.


Backgrounding Opportunities

Backgrounding Opportunities

Jeff Heldt, Ph.D., PAS, Land O Lakes/Harvest States Beef Feeds


The term backgrounding is often used loosely, however it should be described as a process that adds value to both farm/ranch raised feeds as well as the cattle by “marketing” the feeds through the cattle. With that said, the profitability of backgrounding is determined by feed costs, feed efficiency, and marketing, just like any other phase of the beef feeding industry. Backgrounding can be incorporated into most any beef operation if they have the ability to confine cattle in manageable group sizes and if they have adequate on farm/ranch feed storage (hays, silages, grains, and supplements).

Calves that have been through a backgrounding program (commonly 45-90 days) are appealing to buyers because: 1) they know how to eat dry feed out of a bunk, 2) they know what a waterer is and how to use it, 3) their immune systems are “primed” if the correct rations are formulated and the proper vaccination protocols have been implemented. However, the calves should not be too “fleshy”. This typically concerns cattle buyers because too much compensatory gain has been taken out of the calves. Therefore, calves should be fed to gain about 1.5-2.5 lbs/hd/d to avoid an over fleshy problem.

Backgrounding calves may be a viable option during summer drought periods as well. When forage quality and quantity are dramatically reduced and cannot support cows and calves at a desired level of performance, then an early weaning/backgrounding program can be initiated. This will allow the cows to pick up body condition throughout the summer and allow the producer to grow calves at a pace that will allow them to market calves when the time is right. Additionally, there can be a demand from the feedyards for these lightweight warmed up calves.


Cattle Identification: State Premises Registration Stats As Of 6/25/2007

Cattle Identification: State Premises Registration Stats As Of 6/25/2007