Daily Archives: June 11, 2007

BeefTalk: Mushrooms – Success is in the Details

BeefTalk: Mushrooms – Success is in the Details

In beef production, as in most businesses, the “success is in the details.”

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

It’s a mushroom spring. Nature, for many, can be very broad and often times simply can be stated as brown or green, dry or wet, cold or hot, dead or alive. For those who succumb to such broad brushes, the fine points of nature often are missed and the joy of piecing together the detail simply is brushed aside.

Those thoughts come to mind while reading the recent publication “Priorities First: Identifying Management Priorities in the Commercial Cow-Calf Business.” The report, summarized and authored by Tom Field, Ph.D., Fort Collins, Colo., identified herd nutrition as the No. 1 priority for cow-calf operations.

Beef Team: Focus on cattle feeding returns to Midwest

Beef Team: Focus on cattle feeding returns to Midwest

By Curt Zimmerman, U of M Beef Team

Farm and Ranch Guide

Minnesota is an ideal place for siteing new livestock operations or making improvements to existing cattle feedlots.

Abundant feed and adequate water supplies combined with competitive market outlets provide Minnesota livestock producers a clear advantage over some regions of the country. Red meat production is an economic powerhouse in the state.

Minnesota ranks 10th in the nation in the number of cattle and calves marketed and 6th overall in red meat production. Cattle accounted for $989 million in cash receipts in 2004, accounting for just over 10 percent of Minnesota’s $9.8 billion in total agricultural cash receipts.


Canadian cull cow imports could affect beef industry’s competitiveness

Canadian cull cow imports could affect beef industry’s competitiveness

By SHANNON RUCKMAN, The Prairie Star

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Accepting Canadian cull cow imports may not affect the U.S. cattle markets prices but could affect the industry’s competitiveness in the international arena and consumer confidence, according to a Montana agricultural economist.

“I don’t think the U.S. cull cow price will dive to the Canadian cull cow price because the small markets will follow the big market every time,” said Gary Brester, Montana State University agricultural economist during the Livestock Nutrition Conference in April in Bozeman, Mont. “Big markets set the price, and little markets follow.”


Save Every Calf

Save Every Calf

Clyde Lane, Jr., Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee

The goal of every beef cattle producer should be to save every calf born on the farm. Every calf saved, adds to the profits of the farming operation. By understanding the birth process a producer can provide assistance to cows that are having difficulty.

Cows or heifers approaching calving should be placed in a separate pasture from the rest of the herd. The pasture should have a good stand of grass and be very visible from the road or house. As the female approaches calving, she should be observed at least two to three times per day.

When the female starts segregating herself from the other animals, she is “nesting” and wants a quite place to calve. As the calving process starts, monitor progress from a distance. The use of binoculars is encouraged since the animal does not need to be disturbed.

When the birth process begins a water bag will appear followed by the nose. Look to see if the nose appears. This is an indication that the calf is being delivered correctly (head first). Next the feet should appear. Are the pads of the feet facing up or down? If the pads are facing down, then the calf is properly positioned. If the pads are facing up, then the calf is coming backwards.


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Valley Fair opens to public despite lack of livestock

Valley Fair opens to public despite lack of livestock

Sea lions trump farm animals

BY ALEX DOBUZINSKIS, Santa Clarita Daily News (CA)

SAUGUS – The Valley Fair kicked off Thursday at the Saugus Speedway, featuring exhibits of tortoises, tigers and sea lions but no livestock – angering a group of 4-H members who protested at the entrance.

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarc n joined more than a dozen people in the protest, faulting fair organizers for holding the event outside their agricultural district.

Alarc n also accused them of ignoring the needs of children who exhibit livestock at the fair.

Instead, the livestock exhibition will be held 20 miles away on Sunday at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center.

Organizers of the Valley Fair, formerly known as the San Fernando Valley Fair, decided to move the fair to Santa Clarita this year, where they hope to attract more visitors than the number at Hansen Dam, where it was held the last two years. Organizers are looking for a permanent home for the fair, which has been held in and out of the San Fernando Valley over the past several years.


Cow Calf: Heritability Estimates Of Fertility In Replacement Heifers

Cow Calf: Heritability Estimates Of Fertility In Replacement Heifers


 “Heritability” is that portion of the difference in the performance of cattle that is due to genetics.  The remainder of the differences are presumed to be due to differences in the environment (management).  Previous estimates of the heritability of pregnancy rates in heifers ranged from 0 to .28. Iowa State University scientists studied records of 3144 heifers from 6 herds in 5 states.  In the Iowa State study, the heritability of pregnancy rate was .13.  Pregnancy rate is the percentage of the heifers exposed to artificial or natural breeding that were diagnosed pregnant after their first entire breeding season.  First service conception rate is the likelihood that the heifer became pregnant on the first attempt to breed her.

The heritability of first service conception rate was even lower at .03.  This implies that 97% of the differences in the first service conception rate are due to the management environment in which the heifers were raised. These low heritability estimates suggest that only slow progress could be made by selecting sires that produced heifers with greater pregnancy rates.  This data also reminds us that management is still the key to successful pregnancy rates in replacement heifers.  Source: Minick and co-workers. 2004 Iowa State University Beef Research Report.


Knight continues to re-tool national animal ID

Knight continues to re-tool national animal ID

by Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

U.S. beef trade with South Korea won’t be disrupted long. USDA is re-tooling the national animal ID system (NAIS). And USDA is moving forward on re-opening the U.S. border to older Canadian cattle and will then move swiftly beyond that. Those are three of the highlights from a news conference Friday at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines conducted by USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bruce Knight.

Knight told reporters that South Korea has responded favorably to the information on U.S. beef exports provided by USDA. As a result, he said and beef exports to South Korea won’t be disrupted in the long term.

“We are very optimistic that the last couple of days have been, as Secretary Johanns said, just a speed bump,” Knight said, noting he expect confirmation South Korea would resume U.S. beef imports at any moment. In fact, confirmation South Korea lifted its brief ban on U.S. beef came while Knight was at the World Pork Expo.

Meanwhile, Knight said a new USDA business plan for the NAIS will be out within months. He said the new plan puts many of the goals in USDA’s old strategic plan for USDA “on hold.” The new focus of NAIS, Knight said, will be individual species.

“My intention is to move from one national goal on the number of folks signed up to species-by-species goals,” Knight announced, adding that USDA remains committed to a voluntary system. Knight also pointed out that with around 400,000 livestock premises registered in the U.S., voluntary NAIS participation exceeds the mandatory programs of both Canada and Australia already. But Knight also acknowledged that figure represents just 25% of U.S. livestock premises.