Daily Archives: June 27, 2007

BeefTalk: Grass is Not Free

BeefTalk: Grass is Not Free

BeefTalk: Costs per AUM BeefTalk: Costs per AUM

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

The assignment of a value to pasture is important and relevant to the analysis of the total operation.

Summer in the beef business is turn out time. If we are not careful, some would conclude that it is the time of year when we don’t need to feed the cows.

Summer would seem to be the time when cash costs are less and the pocketbook is not being called upon as frequently to pay the bills. The summer focus is the processing, hauling and storage of next winter’s feed.

However, summer can be expensive. The costs of raising crops and forage are working their way into the system. The cow still is eating and those bites of grass in the pasture are not free.


Packers, Retailers Stoke The Heat On COOL

Packers, Retailers Stoke The Heat On COOL

Beef Stocker Trends

Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) isn’t supposed to go into effect until September 2008, but one of the nation’s largest trade organizations representing meat processors — American Meat Institute (AMI) — sent letters last week to 97 producer organizations advising them that their members may soon hear from meatpackers about what they will require of their suppliers as part of mandatory COOL.

“Although we adamantly oppose mandatory COOL, it is the law and it is our job as the meat industry’s trade association to help companies prepare for full implementation,” explains Mark Dopp, AMI cenior vice president of regulatory affairs and general counsel. “Given the fact that animals born now will be subject to mandatory COOL, we thought it was wise to begin preparing.”

In its letter to producer groups, AMI told its members that, in order to comply with the law and satisfy retail customers, packers should demand a number of things from livestock producers. This includes verified documentation of where the livestock purchased were born and raised, and an affidavit or declaration with each load of livestock purchases stating that there’s a verifiable audit trail in place that identifies where the livestock in each load were born and raised.


Hot weather to put freeze on cattle prices?

Hot weather to put freeze on cattle prices?

Illinois Farm Bureau

Cattle prices this summer could start to cool down as the weather heats up, according to one market analyst.

Chris Hurt, Purdue University ag economist, believes live cattle prices this summer could dip into the high-$80 range.

USDA reported on Friday in its monthly cattle on feed report that the cattle inventory, at 11.3 million head, was up 1 percent last month while placements in May were up 13 percent at 2.16 million head.


USDA offers hay, pasture relief

USDA offers hay, pasture relief


The Leaf-Chronicle (TN)

As a long-term rainfall deficit continues to affect Tennessee farms, officials with the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) remind producers enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that opportunities for managed haying and grazing exist.

With a modification to producers’ conservation plans, certain CRP stands established for permanent grasses (cool-season and native warm-season grasses) are eligible to be cut for hay or grazed by livestock.

Beginning July 2, CRP participants who have received written permission can hay or graze these grass stands.

“Native grasses will be an excellent source of hay during this drought,” said Gregg Brann, NRCS grazing lands specialist.

“Due to deep rooting of natives they will be more vegetative and higher-quality than other forages that have dried up.

“It is important to harvest native grasses as soon as possible after the July 2 date,” Brann said. “The ideal height to harvest natives for hay is 30 inches tall or when the first seedhead appears.

“My calculations show if CRP yields four tons per acre and half of the hay is given to the contract harvester for cutting, raking and rolling the hay, the producer would still have four rolls of hay for a cost of only $4 per roll,” he said.


Cattle Health: What Is Trichomonosis & How Is It Transmitted?

Cattle Health: What Is Trichomonosis & How Is It Transmitted?


Bovine trichomonosis (a.k.a. trichomoniasis) is an important cause of economic loss in cattle operations that use natural service. Surveys in California beef cattle operations have shown that more than 15 percent of herds had at least one infected bull.

This disease is caused by a protozoan organism called Tritrichomonas foetus. This organism lives in the folds of the bull’s penis and internal sheath. In cows this organism colonizes the vagina, cervix, uterus and oviducts.


Hundred Percent Grass-Fed-Beef

Hundred Percent Grass-Fed-Beef

Tim Stark


Here’s a picture of Patrick Robinette’s Senepol cows in a North Carolina meadow, pausing from a round of grass chewing. The baby up front was born two nights earlier. The one on the left, now 17 years old, has had 16 calves. I have never encountered such curious cows. When I went into the field with them, they took turns approaching me and sniffing at me, tentatively, the way an inquisitive cat might sniff at a stranger. After tinkering with all kinds of cattle breeds, Patrick is partial to the Senepol. With origins on the island of St. Croix, Senepol cattle can tolerate the hot, humid North Carolina summers. “Your Black Angus will spend the whole summer day standing in the shade of a tree,” says Patrick. The Black Angus is also bred to eat corn, which is something Patrick never feeds his cattle, not even in the last months. From cradle to grave, Patrick’s cattle indulge their one great pleasure: munching fescue, rye, clover, orchard grass, and millet. But Patrick has more than just humane reasons for preferring Senepol cattle in his southern meadows. “I want my cattle to fatten up on all that lush grass,” he says. “When they’re standing in the shade just to survive, they’re not eating anything. And happy, unstressed cattle also produce more tender, flavorful meat.”


COOL battle heats up

COOL battle heats up

by George Lauby

North Platte Bulletin

A smoldering battle over food labels that specify the country of origin is heating up again.

The so-called COOL law (country of origin labeling) was signed in 2002, but never has taken effect, due largely to vehement objections from meat packers and processors.

Over the years, meat handlers have gathered opposition to COOL and are now advertising nationally against it.

COOL would require the origin of meats and other foods to be placed on the label. The law for beef labels was never funded. Meat processors say it is too cumbersome.

Cattle ranchers generally like the law, saying it would boost sales of USA beef, or at least give consumers a chance to select a homegrown product.

In the latest arguments, the rancher’s group R-CALF USA alleges meat processors are circulating misleading anti-COOL letters to Congress – making it seem as though an actual livestock producer had authored the letters.