Monthly Archives: July 2007

Cattle Update: Staying In Business – Marketing

Cattle Update: Staying In Business – Marketing

The ongoing drought conditions add to the challenges faced on Mississippi beef cattle operations. Two categories of questions from beef producers make up the majority of questions coming in to Extension offices in recent years: marketing questions and nutrition questions. Both of these topics have a major impact on beef cattle operational profitability. Some key points are offered to help Mississippians keep the cattle business going through challenging production conditions.


Cattle producers must market to stay in business. Breeders who take the approach that they do not wish to sell any good animals and only wish to sell a few culls will have difficulty marketing for profitability. Livestock marketing columnist Keith Evans once stated that, “The quickest way to kill a poor quality product is to advertise it heavily.” In other words, it is important to develop a reputation for good quality cattle. A quality product is something worth marketing.


Using Downed or Damaged Corn

Using Downed or Damaged Corn

Bruce Anderson, Extension Forage Specialist, university of Nebraska

While wind, hail, floods and drought may have ruined some corn fields, they may still have value as a source of forage. Before considering any type of harvest, check with both your insurance agent and local FSA office so you don’t disqualify yourself from any supplemental payments.

If your corn is still standing, it can be chopped for silage or cut and baled as hay. It’s really important to get the moisture content right for either harvest option and getting it dry enough for hay may be especially difficult. Tall plants are difficult to mow, stalks need to be run through a conditioner, and windrows need a long time to dry. Remaining ears are especially hard to dry so they tend to spoil inside the bale.


Focus on Basics for Success in Seedstock Business

Focus on Basics for Success in Seedstock Business

by: Eric Grant

Cattle Today

Success in the seedstock business isn’t just about selling cattle anymore. It’s about providing a wide array of products and services – and developing unforeseen value-added opportunities for the people who buy your bulls.

Customer expectations

Most progressive seedstock producers spend a lot of time talking and listening to their bull buying clients. The information they gather – and the connections they make — are very valuable to the success of both parties.

“As a seedstock producer, you need to ask yourself this question every day: Do you know what makes your clients happy and keeps them profitable? You should realize that bull buyers have many options when it comes to buying their bulls. Your job is to constantly find new ways of providing better service to them,” says Dr. John Evans, who is a project manager for California Department of Agriculture and one-time manager of Oklahoma State University’s central bull test station.


Support for farm bill split among livestock groups

Support for farm bill split among livestock groups

by Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

The livestock industry appears to be divided on the House version of the 2007 farm bill. Major pork and dairy groups have unqualified praise for the measure while beef cattle groups have a more two-sided assessment.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is praising the House farm bill, approved by a 40-vote margin Friday, as one that “will help pork producers remain competitive in the global marketplace.” NPPC President Jill Appell said in a release issued Friday her organization wanted a farm bill that, among other things, “protects producers from initiatives that would adversely affect their livelihoods, such as mandates on production practices.” Appell said the farm bill passed the House “achieves those goals.”

Similarly, the National Milk Producers Federation (NFMPF) said in a statement Friday the House farm bill will help keep the dairy industry “vibrant in the future.” According to the NMPF statement, the House farm bill did no less than include “all of the major elements that the National Milk Producers Federation had sought when the process of writing a farm bill in Congress began earlier this year.”


Cattle producers work with agencies to manage grasslands

Cattle producers work with agencies to manage grasslands


Farm and Ranch Guide

There are three tools available for grassland management – burning, haying and grazing.

Several agencies are turning to grazing to help reduce unwanted weeds and improve habitat for flora and fauna in central Minnesota.

Representatives of three agencies – U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and The Nature Conservancy – are working with cattle producers Dan and Linda Jenniges, of rural Glenwood.


COOL for our U.S. beef customers: A reality

COOL for our U.S. beef customers: A reality


Prairie Star

An Open Letter to Cattle Producers:

In 2002 the U.S. Congress mandated country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef, lamb, pork, fish, perishable agriculture commodities and peanuts. The journey to that point was a long and arduous process during which U.S. producers and consumers stood the test, stayed engaged and overcame the many obstacles thrown up by COOL’s opponents.

It was a sweet victory in 2002, but many of us knew the battle was far from over. Passage of the law was but one step. Rule-writing, implementation and funding were the steps yet to come. As time went on, it became obvious that COOL’s opponents would take every opportunity to delay implementation of the law, and they were successful. Funding for implementation was withheld by Congress during the appropriations process.


Modified human vaccine may protect cattle from TB

Modified human vaccine may protect cattle from TB

Ian Sample

The Guardian

A vaccine to protect cattle against highly infectious bovine tuberculosis is to be tested in national herds within three to five years, following successful trials in laboratory animals.

Government vets plan to use a modified form of the human BCG vaccine to protect cattle from the disease, which was responsible for at least 20,000 animals being sent for slaughter last year.

The disease was almost eradicated from the national herd in the 1980s but there has been a dramatic resurgence since, with cases rising 14% year on year. The disease cost the taxpayer £80m last year in compensation paid to farmers.


Cow comfort critical during these ‘dog days of summer’

Cow comfort critical during these ‘dog days of summer’


Farm & Ranch Guide

LAKOTA, N.D. – For the update on what’s been happening at Dusty Willow Dairy during the past two weeks, we turn to Lee Calderwood, one of the partners in the dairy operation and the herdsman for the dairy.

Lee and his wife, Diane, live near Crary, N.D., and both work full days at the dairy, located about 14 miles due east of their home where Diane works as milking parlor supervisor.


NCBA Gives House-Passed Farm Bill Mixed Reviews

NCBA Gives House-Passed Farm Bill Mixed Reviews


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is giving the House-passed farm legislation mixed reviews. NCBA says the bill contains many improvements for cattlemen – such as increased funding for conservation programs and some modest fixes to the mandatory country-of-origin labeling law – but says flaws remain within the bill. The group says that includes an Adjusted Gross Income cap and payment limitations for conservation. NCBA says the language makes many ranchers ineligible for farm bill conservation programs.


Johanns Says House Version Of COOL Is “Workable”

Johanns Says House Version Of COOL Is “Workable”

A proposal for country-of-origin labeling set to be added to the House version of the 2007 farm bill is more “workable” than the original law, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns told Dow Jones.

“We have only begun to look at this, but I would say…it seems that this is a better approach.”


Parasite Lost

Parasite Lost

Controlling and Eliminating Agricultural Parasites

Agricultural Research Service

People rarely swing wrecking balls at their homes. After all, why would they? And with a few exceptions, parasites have a similar appreciation for maintaining their environments and therefore the lives of their hosts––at least until those lives no longer benefit the parasites.

But even a few exceptions can cause serious problems.

For example, parasites of agricultural animals can impair the ability of their hosts to thrive and grow, a situation that causes physical discomfort for the animals and economic distress for producers. Researchers with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have made significant strides toward addressing these problems.


Seeding Forages into Wheat Stubble

Seeding Forages into Wheat Stubble

University of Nebraska Extension Service

Wheat stubble can be an excellent seedbed for no-till planting alfalfa or grasses. With no-till, soil moisture is conserved, erosion is reduced, weed seeds remain buried and tillage expenses are eliminated. When planting into no-till wheat stubble, using the following practices can help ensure thicker stands and more frequent success.

One of the bigger challenges is heavy residue that might interfere with proper drill operation and seed placement or partly smother new seedlings. Residue can be especially troublesome right behind the combine even when using a good straw chopper. When planting alfalfa the best way to minimize this is to bale the straw and be sure to have a well-functioning drill.

Late summer weeds, such as annual weeds that develop after harvest or volunteer wheat that sprouts later in the summer, provide another challenge. Control weeds that exist prior to planting with herbicides like glyphosate and be ready with post-emerge herbicides like Select or Poast Plus for weeds or volunteer wheat that emerge later.


Biofuel boom echoes in rural areas

Biofuel boom echoes in rural areas


You may not know much about Washington’s Lincoln County. You may not have known that Washington even has a Lincoln County, much less where it is (due west of Spokane), its county seat (Davenport) or its economic base (wheat, second in the state for the number of acres planted).

But you might want to care what’s happening in Lincoln County, and hundreds of places like it around the country, especially if you have a motor vehicle that you would like to function as more than a large and expensive lawn ornament.

It’s in places such as Lincoln County where the alternative-fuel revolution is happening. Stands to reason — those are the places where the feedstock for biodiesel and ethanol plants is grown (or, in the case of port cities such as Aberdeen, where it’s imported).


First cattle anthrax case reported in North Dakota

First cattle anthrax case reported in North Dakota

IN-Farum News

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ A cow in Traill County has tested positive for anthrax, the first case in North Dakota this year.

State Veterinarian Susan Keller said Monday that the dead cow was found in a herd that had 18 animals. The herd has been quarantined and vaccinated, she said.


Biosecurity on the farm takes on more importance

Biosecurity on the farm takes on more importance

By Dr. John Shutske, University of Minnesota Beef Team

Minnesota Farm Guide

Biosecurity and the general practice of “agrosecurity” to protect cattle and other livestock has grown in its level of importance in recent years.

Biosecurity has many definitions, but is being defined here as specific ACTIONS a producer can take to reduce the chances of animal diseases or harm to their herd caused by contamination of water, feed, or facilities whether done intentionally or unintentionally.

A smart biosecurity strategy also includes knowing what to do and doing it quickly if something unusual does occur.


Stocker Cattle Forum: What Are The Treatment Options For Pinkeye?

Stocker Cattle Forum: What Are The Treatment Options For Pinkeye?

First, if you are going to examine the eye for a foxtail or other weed—use disposable latex exam gloves. You can obtain these from your veterinarian, another animal health product source, the pharmacy, or Costco. After you have touched the eye (extracted the foxtail or treated the eye) or nose area, throw the gloves away. They are badly contaminated with the pinkeye bacteria. If you used a halter or nose tongs to restrain the animal, disinfect this equipment. Nolvasan® disinfectant is a good choice for this procedure. For treatment, use disposable needles and syringes and then dispose of them when finished.

The pinkeye agent is a bacterium and therefore, antibiotics are indicated for treatment. The question has been, “Which antibiotic, what dose, and what route?”


A Modest Proposal: Cellulosic Beef

A Modest Proposal: Cellulosic Beef

The Future is Cellulosic

Alt Energy Stocks

It is now widely accepted that the future of ethanol is cellulosic: Rather than distilling corn for ethanol to fuel our cars, accepted wisdom is now that we will be able to replace a large fraction of our current fuel consumption with ethanol distilled from agricultural and forestry waste, as well as dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass and hybrid poplar.  Cellulosic ethanol also has the potential to alleviate the greatest stumbling block of corn ethanol as a potential replacement of gasoline: that there is simply not enough of it.  Corn ethanol will only be able to displace a small percentage of total US gas consumption.  If the entire current US corn crop were converted into ethanol, it could replace less than 20% of current gasoline consumption.  More realistically, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) projects that 4% of gasoline could be replaced without overly affecting corn prices.


Heat Kills SD Cattle

Heat Kills SD Cattle

By: Lisa Hare

Yankton Press & Dakotan (Registration may be needed)

With last week’s heat wave that claimed 1,100 head of South Dakota beef cattle in two days, and more hot weather on the horizon, area producers are being advised to take precautions to ensure livestock don’t overheat.

South Dakota State University extension beef feedlot specialist Erik Loe said sequential days where temperatures are in the 90s or exceeding 100 degrees will take a toll on feedlot cattle performance.

“Situations where heat and humidity are high and there is no breeze create serious heat stress concerns in feedlots,” he said.

Confinement animals and those in feedlots generally are hit hardest in high heat conditions.


Grazing Aldermere ‘belties’ hard to resist, even for locals

Grazing Aldermere ‘belties’ hard to resist, even for locals

By Holly S. Anderson

VillageSoup/Knox County Times

Aldermere Farm’s prized herd of belted Galloway cattle spends its days grazing in lush fields that along one side of Russell Avenue overlook Lilly Pond and on the other overlook mighty Penobscot Bay.

When the herd ventures close to the fence, it is like a magnet for locals and tourists alike who quickly slow down and park alongside the road to get a better look.

Some tote cameras to capture the moment while others just stop to gaze. But no matter how the moment is etched in memory, the sight of those black cattle with the broad white middles brings smiles to everyone’s faces.


Alternative Feeding Programs and Feeds for Drought Stressed Beef Cow Herds

Alternative Feeding Programs and Feeds for Drought Stressed Beef Cow Herds

Ted Perry, Beef Nutritionist

Land O Lakes Purina Feed

Beef cows traditionally graze forages during the spring and summer months. However, during droughts when forage production stops, alternative feeds and feeding programs need to be used to feed the herd until forages are growing again. When deciding on an alternative feeding program there are several options to consider. The goal is to get the cows re-bred, maintain pounds produced per cow, and minimize feed cost per pound of calf sold. Daily feed costs are going to increase during a drought. Options to consider are feed availability, equipment needs and storage. Integrated Resource Management (IRM) data shows that most producers budget pasture costs at around 50 cents per cow/day. The ideal alternative feeding program will meet the cows’ requirements as close to budgeted costs as possible.