Daily Archives: June 19, 2007

MARC Releases 2007 Across-Breed EPD Calculations

MARC Releases 2007 Across-Breed EPD Calculations

U.S. Meat Animal Research Center

USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) has released its table of adjustment factors to be used to estimate across-breed expected progeny differences (AB-EPDs) for 16 breeds (click on table icon below).

Using the table values, bulls of different breeds can be compared on the same EPD scale by adding the appropriate adjustment factor to the expected EPDs produced in the most recent genetic evaluations for each of the breeds.

These adjustment factors were updated using EPDs from the most recent national cattle evaluations conducted by each of the 16 breed associations. The breed differences used to calculate the factors are based on comparisons of progeny of sires from each of these breeds at MARC in Clay Center, NE. The analyses were conducted by MARC geneticists Larry Kuehn and Mark Thallman, with the assistance of Dale Van Vleck and Larry Cundiff.



Length of breeding season matters

Length of breeding season matters


The length of your breeding season affects your costs and the number of pounds of calf weaned per cow. Analyzing data from 394 ranches from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico that participated in standardized performance analysis (SPA), Oklahoma State University agricultural economists determined that for each day the breeding season was lengthened, the annual cost of producing 100 pounds of weaned calf increased by 4.7 cents, and pounds of calf weaned per cow per year decreased by 0.158 pounds. The range of breeding season in the data set was 11 days to 365 days.

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Prepare for heat stress

Prepare for heat stress

by Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, Kansas State University

Angus Journal

Almost every summer, at least some portion of the U.S. suffers from a period of extreme heat and humidity that can cause problems for cattle. As we move into summer, it is important to be prepared to limit the negative effects of heat stress. Cattle are more susceptible to heat stress than humans and start suffering from heat stress if the temperature-humidity index reported in many weather reports reaches 80° F or higher.


Is it Time to Consider Early Weaning?

Is it Time to Consider Early Weaning?

Dr. Thomas B. Turner, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

For most beef producers with spring calving cow herds, summer is a time to focus on other things. It seems like the one season of the year when we can reduce the hours per week spent with the beef enterprise. Things appear to be okay and they probably are “okay” but are there potential profits being lost? Consider the following:

Beef cow lactation peaks at about six weeks post calving and continues to decline.

July and August pasture growth and moisture are generally limited.

The number of cows most beef producers keep is a function of how many can be carried in July and August.

Dry cows consume significantly less feed than lactating cows. Some studies would suggest as much as fifty percent less, or the difference between 4% of their body weight on a dry matter basis during lactation versus only 2% when dry.

The combination of reduced milk production, decreased pasture and increased calf size may (and probably does) result in calves not receiving adequate energy to maximize growth during this most efficient growth period of their life.

Calves nursing cows are not efficient in converting creep feed to gain. Most studies would show that it takes 8-10 pounds of creep feed to make one pound of gain.

Early weaned calves will convert feed to gain at about a 3.5 to 1 ratio.

Early weaned calves will weigh about 100 pounds more at normal weaning time than calves left on the cow.

Calves can be successfully and relatively easily weaned from 70 to 120 days of age and started on a grain diet.

Calves averaging 100 days of age and 300 pounds take up very little barn or shed space.

If retaining ownership, calves will reach harvest weight earlier and have a higher quality grade.

Dry cows that have had their calves weaned early will enter the winter in better body condition.

Calves born in February, March and early April can be weaned on or about July 1 – the typical start of dry, hot weather in most parts of the country.

In summary, early weaning can increase calf weight significantly and decrease cow input. Therefore one could carry more cows on the same land and wean heavier calves with a smaller amount of feed to the calves.

Cattle Update: New Fast-Acting Pour-on Controls Horn Flies & Lice

Cattle Update: New Fast-Acting Pour-on Controls Horn Flies & Lice

Most potent pyrethroid on the market


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved StandGuard(TM) Pour-on for fast-acting, continuous control of horn flies and lice in beef cattle of all ages. Its active ingredient is gamma-cyhalothrin, the newest technology in the pyrethroid class of insecticides. In addition to demonstrating this new pour-on’s effectiveness through research, Elanco Animal Health is introducing StandGuard with a satisfaction guarantee, providing added reassurance for cattle producers..

“StandGuard Pour-on is the most potent pyrethroid available today,(1) which means that producers will see horn fly and lice control at a low application rate,” says Richard Hack, technical consultant, Elanco. “The best news for producers is that this powerful pour-on enables them to work with their veterinarians to update and strengthen existing integrated pest-management programs.”


Nolan Ryan Exclusive Partner with Super S Foods

Nolan Ryan Exclusive Partner with Super S Foods

Cattle Today

Huntsville, Texas, May 24, 2007 – Banking on consumers’ growing interest in natural and organic foods, San Antonio-based Super S Foods has teamed up with Nolan Ryan’s Guaranteed Tender Meats as the chain’s exclusive supplier of fresh all natural beef converting the entire fresh beef case in 46 stores to the baseball legend’s branded program.

According to a survey conducted by Midian Marketing and released at the Food Marketing Institute Conference this month, more and more consumers are showing interest in natural and organic meat. Supermarkets like Super S Foods are the primary outlet for both conventional and natural meat purchases, representing 70.8 percent of meat purchases and 48.9 percent of natural meat purchases. The reason for the increase in interest in products like Nolan Ryan’s Guaranteed Beef is recognition of better health and treatment of the animal, better nutritional values, better taste and freshness.


Cattle Producers Request COOL Meeting with AMI

Cattle Producers Request COOL Meeting with AMI


Washington, D.C. – Today, R-CALF USA responded to a June 15, 2007, letter from American Meat Institute (AMI) President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle to request a meeting with AMI – if – AMI genuinely “desires to assist its meatpacking members in seeking an effective, efficient and accurate means of verifying the country of origin of live cattle, without the burden of additional paperwork and with the benefit of minimizing errors.”

“AMI recently recommended that its meatpacker members start to ‘demand’ that U.S. cattle producers provide affidavits, access to records, third-party verifications, and indemnification of packer liability in an effort to comply with the 2002 country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law, and R-CALF is requesting that AMI rescind that notice at once,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

Interestingly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – also on June 15, 2007 – announced a new 60-day public comment period on the 2002 COOL law.


Tenn. senator assesses drought toll on parched farm”

Tenn. senator assesses drought toll on parched farm”



U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander walked through a dusty corn field in Loudon County on Monday, stepping over stunted plants that should be taller than him. He came to assess what could be Tennessee’s worst drought in decades.

“I am not here to make a lot of promises,” the Tennessee Republican told about 40 worried farmers, farm agents and other officials gathered at Cherry Brook Farm. But he said he would “try to make sure that whatever we can do, we will do.”


University of Idaho Extension Enhances Drought Website

University of Idaho Extension Enhances Drought Website

Cattle Today

TWIN FALLS, Idaho-With water supplies short, University of Idaho Extension has added 11 new publications to its drought-related Web site, http://www.uidaho.edu/extension/drought.

Howard Neibling, the university’s Extension water management engineer, says grain producers can save two irrigations by selecting the right time to end the season’s water applications. Making well-informed decisions on when to switch water from grains and alfalfa to sugarbeets and potatoes can also make a pocketbook difference for Idaho’s agricultural producers, Neibling says.

“In a year like this, we’re looking at short supplies of both surface and groundwater,” he says. “Growers are asking for more information on how to maintain production with less water.”


Buying beef

Buying beef


Salina Journal

Finding the best beef for customers has been frustrating for Jerry Gutierrez.

The certified Angus beef tenderloin he buys for fajitas at Gutierrez Mexican Restaurant, 640 Westport, has been tough to find. Gutierrez, the restaurant manager, said the price for that cut of beef has gone up 35 percent in the past year — 20 percent in the past six weeks.

“The price is ridiculously high. The cut that we use is unavailable to everybody until next week,” Gutierrez said recently after speaking with his supplier on the phone.

“I’ve found myself scrambling to find a product comparable,” he said.

The effects of shorter supplies — driven by the severe winter and a drought that forced some producers to sell off some of their herd — were evident in the early spring, Kansas Beef Council executive director Todd Johnson said.


Cost prompting more focus on hayfields

Cost prompting more focus on hayfields

By Mike Surbrugg

Joplin Globe

MIAMI, Okla. — After last winter, cattle producers can be expected to pay more attention to how much hay they may need for the coming winter.

Many producers in Northeast Oklahoma came up short and others depleted hay reserves last year in face of drought, according to Stan Fimple, Oklahoma State University Extension agriculture agent, Miami.


State announces new certification program for natural beef

State announces new certification program for natural beef

Sioux Falls Argus Leader

South Dakotans will soon have another choice when purchasing South Dakota Certified Beef. The state has launched the South Dakota Certified Enrolled Cattle Natural Program.

The certified natural beef is produced from cattle raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones in addition to many other strict production protocols, according to a press release from the state department of agriculture.


Cattle vs. Corn

Cattle vs. Corn

Karina Kling


The ethanol boom has meant big business for many corn producers here in Nebraska.

With rising corn prices, farmers are reaping the benefits.

But for their neighbors on the livestock side the high cost of corn is causing some concern.

With 100 cows to feed, Rod Hollman of Martell said keeping his cattle corn-fed puts a bit of a pinch on his pocketbook.

“It certainly adds a lot of cost. We feed both heifers and bulls and the cost this past winter was quite a bit higher because of the corn price,” Hollman said.

That’s why Hollman has decided to cut some of the corn out.


USCA: Reopening Of Comment Period On COOL Rule Good News for Cattlemen

USCA: Reopening Of Comment Period On COOL Rule Good News for Cattlemen


San Lucas, California (June 15, 2007)—The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) is disturbed by reports that the American Meat Institute (AMI) is advising its packer members to require proof of origin for the livestock that they buy for processing.  USCA believes that such heavy-handed tactics are part of a larger strategy that aims to thwart the implementation of mandatory country of origin labeling (M-COOL).  But USCA is confident that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent decision to reopen the comment period on the proposed COOL rule for livestock will eliminate the need for such tactics by opponents of mandatory labeling.

 “AMI is using outdated information to intimidate processors and producers,” says Danni Beer, USCA COOL Committee chairperson and Region X Director.  “Many of the fears that AMI is promulgating regarding the impact of COOL on the cattle industry are derived from concerns about the COOL interim rule written in 2003.  USCA believes that these concerns will be eliminated as the implementation process progresses, and that despite AMI’s claims, the sky will not fall in because of COOL.”


FB: Open Production Systems Not Always Humane

FB: Open Production Systems Not Always Humane

The Voice of Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2007 – Proposed legislation that would restrict the professional judgment of veterinarians and livestock producers by mandating arbitrary “humane” standards for food animal production must not become law, the American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress.

“This legislation assumes that farm animals are not routinely treated humanely, an assumption that is deeply flawed and grossly unfair to America’s family farmers and ranchers,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

In a letter to House members, Stallman noted that every major U.S. livestock and poultry species group has either a professionally developed, science-based quality assurance program or has established specific, science-based animal welfare practices to which their members adhere. The proposed legislation would go beyond these standards and require producers to convert to so-called “open production systems.”