Daily Archives: June 4, 2007

Tie A Ribbon Around Those Calves At Marketing Time

Tie A Ribbon Around Those Calves At Marketing Time

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

When I wrap a gift, my wife usually rewraps it. When she informed me that the wrapping is sometimes just as important as the gift, it wasn’t something I easily comprehended. But when it comes to marketing cattle, the principle is a good one to remember.

First of all, we’ve come to the hard realization that our product isn’t irresistible. If it were, order buyers would be stacked two deep at the ranch gate. After you’ve created value in your product by putting in the right genetics and management, it’s important that you put a ribbon around the packaging to give it that finished look.

The wrapping can be as important as the gift itself when it comes to determining value. It’s a principle we see lived out every day in the seedstock business. While not as pronounced, it’s just as applicable to the marketing of “commercial” cattle.



Don’t Forget About the Bulls

Don’t Forget About the Bulls

by Bethany Lovaas, DVM

UM Beef Team, North Central Research and Outreach Center

Grand Rapids, MN

As the breeding season approaches, generally everyone is thinking about getting cows and heifers in shape for the breeding season. A nice, tight breeding season results in a nice tight calving season, which generally is the most economical for producers. However, the cow is only half of the equation. Don’t forget about the bulls!!


Bunk Scoring Really Works

Bunk Scoring Really Works

Clifton L. Willms, Ph.D., PAS

Land O’ Lakes Farmland Beef team has worked with a number of producers to implement good bunk management practices. We have referenced much of the work by Dr. Robbi Pritchard to help producers be more profitable. While many producers know from first hand experience that bunk management is important to bottom line profitability, rarely do we see research trials demonstrating the value.

A trial conducted by Colorado State University and reported in ARPAS 16:182-187 (September 2000) demonstrates the value of good bunk management. Two of the treatment groups in the trial contrasted feeding rations with 7.5% corn silage (DM basis) either ad lib or at restricted (slick bunk management) intake. Whole-shelled corn was the grain source.


Monitor sulfur levels in cattle feed

Monitor sulfur levels in cattle feed

High levels of sulfur in feed can result in thiamine deficiency and possibly even death.

David Burton

Springfield News Leader

 An area cattle herd recently had three yearlings go down in a short period of time.

The veterinarian’s diagnosis was polioencephalomalacia 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.

The symptoms are many and varied: restlessness, diarrhea, muscular twitching, hard breathing, blindness or star gazing and circling. Death may occur if not treated promptly.


Jack Dillard: High technology has made its way into agriculture

Jack Dillard: High technology has made its way into agriculture

Shreveport Times

Like some of us who have been pushed into the use of computers, cell phones and personally the list could go on, so must farmers and ranchers learn and use the future markets and such tools.

Cash markets are seldom used in the cattle business today as we see prices reported on hundreds of head sold while thousands of head have been merchandised. The only livestock markets that are cash today are local livestock auction markets and the farmer’s vegetable markets.

Local level prices are difficult to establish. Is this bad? No. but it sure is different.


Internet use grows on farm

Internet use grows on farm

By Chad Previch

News OK

In the fields of southwestern Oklahoma, he’s called Jimmy. But when he’s doing his research, he’s known as kinderjw.

The hard work of raising cattle and growing wheat is done in those fields, but it’s in his home, on the Internet, where Jimmy Kinder gets an advantage over other farmers.

“It’s kind of like an electronic coffee shop to tell you the truth,” said Kinder of Walters. “It sure does give you an added confidence when you try something new.”


Water use: Biofuel plants’ thirst creates water worries

Water use: Biofuel plants’ thirst creates water worries



State regulators fear some parts of Iowa won’t have enough water to handle the booming biofuels industry.

Plant operators say they have reduced the amount of water needed to produce ethanol, but the facilities still need abundant local water supplies. A single plant producing 100 million gallons of ethanol a year – a capacity quickly becoming the norm – uses as much water as a town of approximately 10,000 people, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports.


Swift plant sale a relief to ranchers

Swift plant sale a relief to ranchers

A worst-case scenario had the plant shutting down. But a Brazilian firm’s purchase could result in better cattle prices.

By Greg Griffin

Denver Post

Colorado cattle producers were relieved last week when a Brazilian concern agreed to buy Swift & Co. and its Greeley beef-packing plant.

The announcement ended months of speculation about the future of the Greeley plant, which has been running at reduced capacity for more than two years.

Under a worst-case scenario, the biggest beef-processing plant in the state might have been shuttered – though company officials say that was never a possibility.

“Some of the rumors were that the plant would be bought, sold off or shut down. That would not have been a good thing for us,” said Rex Beall, president of family-owned Ulrich Farms in Platte ville. “We rely heavily on Swift because they kill 100 percent of the cattle in this area.”

“We know now who we are going to be dealing with,” said Steve Gabel, owner of Magnum Feedyard in Wiggins.

Speculation about the plant began after Swift officials announced in January they were considering a potential sale of the company, among other options.


How long is the interval from calving to return to heat in 2 year-olds?

How long is the interval from calving to return to heat in 2 year-olds?

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

 Research data sets have shown conclusively that cows that calve in thin body condition but regain weight and condition going into the breeding season do not rebreed at the same rate as those that calve in good condition and maintain that condition into the breeding season.  The following table from Missouri researchers illustrates the number of days between calving to the return to heat cycles depending on body condition at calving and body condition change after calving.  


Cattle Feeding: Water Quality Can Affect Livestock Weight Gain

Cattle Feeding: Water Quality Can Affect Livestock Weight Gain   


The quality of the water that livestock drink can have a major impact on their water intake and weight gain, according to a North Dakota State University water quality expert.

“Canadian studies have shown the quality of water accessible to livestock is directly tied to the amount of forage they consume,” says Roxanne Johnson, Extension Service water quality associate. “Improved water palatability increases water and feed consumption, which is demonstrated as an increased rate of gain.”

These studies also show that while cattle will drink contaminated water, it has been associated with decreased forage intake.

Dugouts are the main source of water for cattle in some pastures, but water quality may be a problem. Because rate of gain in livestock is a priority for producers, looking at some options to improve water quality makes sense, Johnson says. One Canadian study could offer producers some insights.


BeefTalk: Herd Nutrition is the Foundation of the Cow Herd

BeefTalk: Herd Nutrition is the Foundation of the Cow Herd

It is important to understand that just having feed doesn’t mean success.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

There are images that really never leave the mind. They can be good or bad, but they leave a nonerasable spot and, given the appropriate stimulus, return immediately.

These images are stored within us and cannot be shared, sent or deleted as we are used to doing in this modern computer age. I was reminded of this phenomenon when I saw a young cow standing under a mesquite tree on a hot summer day in Texas.

The cow was so thin that today’s condition scores could not account for the almost total absence of flesh. She was just standing quietly under the shade of the mesquite tree, allowing her newborn calf a chance to suckle.


Real-Time Ultrasound for Beef Quality Improvement

Real-Time Ultrasound for Beef Quality Improvement

Dr. Doug Parrett, Extension Beef Specialist, University Of Illinois

Improving the quality and consistency of beef is still a high priority for beef producers. Traditionally, cattle of varying breeds and from many diverse production backgrounds have been fed high-energy diets in feedlots to develop a tender, flavorable beef product. Producers have done a good job in marketing “choice” quality cattle that meet consumer preferences for taste. However, future markets require beef to be marketed at a more consistent level and to be produced with greater efficiency (less fat waste). Also developing are more market opportunities for beef of higher quality grades.


State Reaches Out with Livestock Summit

State Reaches Out with Livestock Summit

by Gary Truitt

Hoosier Ag Today

Almost from the beginning, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) has had as one of its goals to grow the Hoosier livestock industry. Over the past two years, however, they have discovered many Hoosiers are not supportive of growth in the livestock sector, especially when that growth means a new livestock farm in their community. In an effort to educate local officials and ordinary citizens ISDA will hold a Livestock Summit in early June in Scottsburg IN. Assistant Director of ISDA Beth Bechdol told HAT the purpose of this summit is to present an accurate picture of livestock production in the state, “We want to get information out there about the economic value of a livestock operation to a community as well as details on the regulatory structure that govern livestock production.” She said the summit will dispel some of the misinformation and negativity that surrounds this issue.


Cattle Health: BVD Prevention Is Treatment

Cattle Health: BVD Prevention Is Treatment


Although BVD vaccines exist and can reduce infection — as indicated in the study cited earlier — many animal health professionals agree the most effective way to treat infection is to avoid exposure to begin with. That has everything to do with bio-security, those practices employed to reduce disease exposure between animals and between humans and animals.

Although compiling a comprehensive list of biosecurity strategies is akin to identifying all of the  reasons America is great, these bear more than passing thought:

1. SANITATION IS THE FOUNDATION — Basic as it sounds, is the environment cattle are placed in conducive to bacterial and viral growth run amok? Is handling equipment kept clean and are  the tools such as needles and syringes adequatelycleaned and sanitized according to strategic processing protocols?


Other crops, byproducts eyed for ethanol

Other crops, byproducts eyed for ethanol


Country World (TX)

With gasoline and diesel prices over $3-per-gallon across the nation, everyone is looking for other potential sources of fuel, including the agriculture community.

Dr. Dan D. Fromme, Texas Cooperative Extension agronomy specialist in Uvalde, spoke to a barn full of people at the Luling Foundation 80th Field Day on May 17, concerning the impact of bio-fuels on agriculture.

While most people have heard of turning corn and/or soybeans into fuel, there are several other crops that Fromme believes might have the same success, and … perhaps … with less effort.

Fromme explained there are several areas to explore, including ethanol, bio-diesel, and cellulose alcohol. Each of these products should be able to use agricultural crops or products already available.