Daily Archives: June 12, 2007

A look back – The top 10 of 1997

A look back – The top 10 of 1997

By Sam Gazdziak

Senior Editor, The National Provisioner

The meat industry has gone through plenty of movement in the last decade. A quick glance through the list shows a number of familiar and current names, along with plenty of companies that have long been acquired or simply went out of business.

The 1997 Top 125 report was published in May of that year. At the time, ConAgra was the largest meat processor in the country, with IBP trailing by less than $500 million. Pilgrim’s Pride had not cracked the Top 10 yet — its sales of $1.14 billion put it at #15 — though it would eventually acquire two of the companies in the top 20 — Gold Kist (#11) and WLR Foods (#17).

Hudson Foods, on the other hand, was a leading beef processor (#14 on the list) with more than $1.3 billion in sales. Not long after the 1997 Top 125 Report was published, the company would be involved in what was, at the time, the nation’s largest beef recall. It would be bought by Tyson Foods a year later.


Cattleman of the year is a government watchdog

Cattleman of the year is a government watchdog



A healthy dose of skepticism keeps Gene Jenkins going.

It’s what gets him up at 5 a.m. to pore over thick documents before he puts in a full day at the Longmire Lane cattle ranch he manages in the Wenas Valley.

His skepticism centers on government and government agencies. But rather than sit on the sidelines and complain, Jenkins chose to get involved. The 54-year-old rancher figures he’s in too deep to get out now.


What do I need to know about Johne’s disease in beef cattle?

What do I need to know about Johne’s disease in beef cattle?



Johne’s disease, pronounced YO-knees, was identified more than a century ago, yet remains a common and, sometimes, costly infectious disease of dairy cattle. Johne’s disease has also been documented in beef herds throughout the U.S. Furthermore, Johne’s disease is not limited to cattle, since it has been diagnosed in a variety of domestic and free-ranging animals, such as sheep, goats, deer, llamas, elk, and bison, and other ruminants. The infection is not limited to the U.S. as clinical Johne’s disease has been reported in almost all countries around the world.



Beef-friendly ethanol is possible

Beef-friendly ethanol is possible


Missouri Ruralist

FOUR or five years ago, a small group of people in north Texas and southwest Oklahoma got a crazy idea they could turn mesquite into ethanol. And they did. Only they produced just a little bit of it, and they did it with an unusual conversion technology. Now, all the attention and tax subsidies are rewarding the basic fermentation process that produces corn ethanol and biodiesel.


Balancers Work in the Pasture & the Feedyard

Balancers Work in the Pasture & the Feedyard

By Lori Maude, Gelbvieh World Editor

Eric Ehresman of Mechanicsville, Iowa, has a view of the beef industry from several angles. Whether as a commercial cow-calf producer, a seedstock provider or a cattle feeder, Ehresman has seen Balancer genetics work for his program.

Ehresman was introduced to Gelbvieh genetics through a veterinarian that ran Gelbvieh-influenced cows across the road from one of the Ehresman’s pastures. “We fed those Gelbvieh-influenced calves and their performance really impressed me,” shares Eric. “I bought my first Gelbvieh bull to use in our commercial herd in 1993.”

Eric and his dad, Myron, also run a 2,000-head feedlot on the farm. They raise all of their own feedstuffs and buy calves as well as feeding out their own cattle.

By feeding out their own cattle, Eric figures out what genetics work and which ones don’t in a hurry. “A 75 percent Gelbvieh will gain really well in the feedlot, but not grade as well as we would like,” says Eric. “I like a 50 percent Gelbvieh, 50 percent Angus the best. That animal gains efficiently and still does well with Quality Grade. I’m not totally sold on feeding the 25 percent Gelbvieh, 75 percent Angus cattle. I don’t see as many pounds of performance in those steers.”


National Animal Identification System: How Will it Affect Cattlemen?

National Animal Identification System:  How Will it Affect Cattlemen?

by Heather Smith Thomas

Chianina Journal

Part Four: The Negative Aspects of the NAIS

The great advantage America has over most other countries is personal freedom for citizens and a free market system. Government involvement in free enterprise has always been detrimental, except when it is needed to ensure consumer and workplace safety and fair competition. But the NAIS, created to protect international markets and give unfair advantage to certain players, is being forced upon us in the guise of disease prevention. We were doing a good job of that already. 


Sweet Clover Poisoning – Frequently Asked Questions

Sweet Clover Poisoning – Frequently Asked Questions  

Ropin’ the Web

  What is sweet clover poisoning?

Sweet clover poisoning is caused when feeding moldy sweet-clover hay or silage that contains dicoumarol. Dicoumarol is a toxic compound that is produced through weathering of a normal component of sweet clover called coumarol. It is the dicoumarol that causes the sweet clover poisoning, preventing normal blood clotting and causing extensive hemorrhaging.

What causes sweet clover poisoning?

When sweet clover becomes spoiled or is improperly cured the coumarol is converted to the toxic substance dicoumarol. This toxin interferes with the metabolism and synthesis of vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for liver function, necessary to prevent the seepage of blood from the circulatory system and to establish blood clotting. Without vitamin K, the blood will not clot properly after an injury, and this is why sweet clover poisoning is also called sweet clover bleeding disease.

Is all moldy sweet clover toxic?

Not all moldy sweet clover is toxic, and just because no mold is present or visible does not mean that the sweet clover is not toxic. Poisoning occurs less frequently in silage than in hay, and rarely occurs in animals on pasture.


Nevil Speer, MMP: Ethanol’s Indirect, Long-Term Influence

Nevil Speer, MMP: Ethanol’s Indirect, Long-Term Influence


If it’s action you like the past several weeks have recharged your batteries.  Following an extended $96-7 run the market found itself at a critical juncture in mid-May.  Sellers were forced to make an important strategic decision:  hold out for higher money using surging wholesale prices as leverage or accelerate sales in the face of CME’s steep June discount.  The decision was in favor of the former setting into motion a bargaining standoff which lasted all week; trade developed only after Friday’s (May 18) CME close.   Both sides claimed victory – feedyards upped the ante ($98-98.50) while packers managed to protect a big chunk of available margin.  

That victory for cattle feeders was seemingly short-lived, though.  The following week (ending May 25) cattle traded mostly $3-4 lower with sales at $94-5.   And post-Memorial Day business resulted in another bite out of the market with sales mostly $92-3.   Meanwhile, June began on a softer note with trade being facilitated at $91-91.50.   All said, since the mid-

May rally the fed market has regressed $7 (or $90/head) in just 3 weeks.  

Spring highs are definitively behind us and market participants are now fully in the throes of summer fundamentals.   The inherent question revolves around depth and duration of summer lows.   From a broad historical perspective (10-year average) expectations would outline approximately a 15% decline from spring highs to summer lows; given a $100 benchmark as the spring high, prices would be expected to bottom around $85.  Alternatively, the CME August contract is hovering around $89-90; taking into account the 10-year basis trend provides a similar outlook.   However, forecasts and expectations are always a moving target.   


Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Details To Remember For Fly Control

Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Details To Remember For Fly Control


1. Plan ahead for insecticide and ear tag purchases; fly season will arrive.

2. Consult with your veterinarian regarding active ingredient(s) in these products and their record of effectiveness in your area.


Lack Of Moisture Causing Concerns For The Area’s Cattlemen

Lack Of Moisture Causing Concerns For The Area’s Cattlemen


Dr Pat Reese, A Rangeland Specialist at the Panhandle Research Extension Center says most cattle producers have their cattle out on summer pastures at this time and now is a good time to take inventory on the types and amount of forage that summer pasture will likely producers for the cattle herd.


Former Mich. agriculture official chosen as Montana’s state vet

Former Mich. agriculture official chosen as Montana’s state vet


HELENA, Mont. (AP) – A veterinarian with government experience in Michigan and North Carolina has been hired as Montana’s state veterinarian.

The Montana Department of Livestock expects Martin Zaluski to start work in September.

Zaluski holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Michigan State University.

In 2000 he joined the Michigan Department of Agriculture to work on the problem of tuberculosis in deer and cattle.


PETA pushes for excise tax on meat

PETA pushes for excise tax on meat

Pittsburgh Tribune Review Tribune-Review

Should hunters — or anyone who enjoys a steak or a hamburger — have to pay extra for that little indulgence?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals thinks so. One of the nation’s largest anti-hunting organizations, the group has kicked off a “Tax Meat” Campaign, proposing a 10-cent-per-pound excise tax on meat. Animal activists have also asked federal lawmakers to give tax breaks to those who have sworn off the consumption of animals.


Avoid overgrazing a pasture during dry periods

Avoid overgrazing a pasture during dry periods

By Mark Mechling, OSU Extension Agent

Coshocton Tribune

Dry weather continues in the area. It is easy to quickly overgraze a pasture during these dry periods of time. Jeff McCutcheon, extension educator in Knox County, shares his thoughts of managing pastures during these dry times.

The recent weather translates into grass growth slowing and even stopping, right in the peak production period for our cool season pastures. What is a grazier to do? Relax. Remember, we have been here before – dry periods are expected, but not enjoyed. Of course, if you just started managing grazing in the last two wet years, consider this a crucial part of your education. Many experienced graziers refer to it as the school of hard knocks.


Brothers follow familiar path in beef industry

Brothers follow familiar path in beef industry

By Hannah Fletcher

Iowa Farmer Today

NASHUA — Scott McGregor’s emphasis on quality makes for a well-rounded beef operation.

His quality concerns come full circle, beginning in his cow-calf herd, extending through his feedlot and eventually reaching consumers through his promotion work.

 “It’s really important for us to monitor quality,” says McGregor, who farms with his brothers, David and Allan.

“We have a good animal quality-assurance program and are certified BQA through the Iowa Beef Council.”

The McGregors follow in the footsteps of several generations of beef producers in their family. Today, the brothers finish about 2,300 head per year and manage an artificially inseminated, Angus cow-calf herd.

The herd’s heifers are retained as replacements, allowing them to select for preferred disposition.


TBC arming producers with beef quality knowledge

TBC arming producers with beef quality knowledge

East Texas News

The Texas Beef Council (TBC), in partnership with Texas Cooperative Extension and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, will host a Texas Beef Quality Producer (TBQP) program in Luling, Texas on Friday, June 1.

The TBQP program is designed to ensure cattle producers have the knowledge and information to make quality herd management decisions following the principals of Beef Quality Assurance (BQA). All trainings are funded in part through the beef checkoff program and are free to cattle producers. The industry’s top goal is to deliver a product that meets consumer’s needs.

Beef quality is a high priority on both the national and state levels. On the national level, the 2005 National Beef Quality Audit was released providing insight on the progress of the cattle industry. The audit, which is funded in part by checkoff dollars, showed that cattle producers are making significant improvement, but still have some challenges ahead.


Livestock transport a moo-ving experience

Livestock transport a moo-ving experience

Visalia Times-Delta

They don’t have mobile homes, but it doesn’t keep them from being mobile. Dairy and beef cattle, sheep and pigs are transported by the thousands each year in California’s vital livestock industry.

However, finding specific information about the number of cattle-haulers and the volume of livestock they handle is next to impossible. And the cattle, sheep and pigs aren’t talking.

Most of the transport takes place in large semi-trailers, often with a second trailer behind, identified by the typical porous aluminum sides and tops. Many of the truck-trailer combinations are double-decked, and a few that specialize in sheep hauling are triple- or even quadruple-decked.

A single-level trailer 48 feet long can accommodate three or four dozen cows, depending on their size. Double that for a double-decker, and quadruple the number if a second trailer is hitched up. The number of animals per load gets a lot bigger for sheep and pigs.\


Local Cattle Farmer Talks About Beef Recall

Local Cattle Farmer Talks About Beef Recall


Reporter: Sarah Goebel

Another food recall has consumers shopping with caution. So far, there have been more than 30 and the latest recall is on e.Coli contaminated beef.

United Food Group recalled nearly six million pounds of fresh and frozen beef.

Tyson Fresh Meats recalled more than 40,000 pounds of ground beef that was sold in Wal-Mart stores in 12 states including Kentucky.

There have been no stores locally known to have sold the contaminated meat.

“This affects our market somewhat,” said Mark Hughes, with Hughes Cattle Company.

Hughes has been raising beef cattle all his life.

“I’m a fourth generation beef cattle farmer,” Hughes said.

He said a recall like this is bad for business.