Daily Archives: July 6, 2007

Selecting the “Right” Legume

Selecting the “Right” Legume

K.D. Johnson, Extension Forage Specialist, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University

    High yield and quality are the goals of anyone growing hay and pasture crops. Research and experience show that one way these goals can be achieved is with the use of nitrogen-producing legumes, either alone or in combination with grasses.

    A Minnesota study confirms the yield advantages of legumes and legume mixtures over pure grass stands (Table 1). Produced under the same conditions, alfalfa or alfalfa-grass combination was shown to give the best results. Grass alone did not begin to match the legume or mixture yields unless fertilized with 100-200 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Similar results would be expected under Indiana conditions.

    Merely adding a legume to grass does not, however, guarantee better quality and yield. But chances are it will if it’s the highest producing species capable of thriving in a given field.



Harvesting Corn Residue

Harvesting Corn Residue

Ohio State University Extension

In recent years cattlemen have become more interested in harvesting and utilizing corn residue. Factors contributing to this greater interest have included higher hay and feed costs, more acres in row crops and the availability of large balers and stackers that can effectively harvest corn residue.

Now an important new situation exists. Producers who participate in U.S.D.A. programs now must maintain 30% ground residue cover until after the succeeding crop has been planted the following spring. This plant residue helps reduce soil erosion during the winter and through to the establishment of the new crop. If significant corn residue is removed, a fall planted cover crop or modifications in type of spring tillage and planting may be necessary to preserve the needed 30% ground cover. Conservation provisions in the 1985 and 1990 farm bills require compliance in order for growers to participate in Crop Support Payments, Storage Loans, Federal Crop Insurance, FHA loans and other Federal programs.

Cattle grazing of corn residue may still be possible since animals seldom consume more than 20-25% of the stover. A 100 bushel/acre grain yield should result in 6000 lbs. field residue with 9000 lbs. for a 150 bushel grain crop. Sufficient residue should remain over winter to provide necessary spring cover. This is especially true where adequate stands of taller growing corn hybrids are utilized and cattle grazing is limited to consumption of unharvested grain, leaves and husks. These tender plant tissues generally decompose rapidly so they are not present in large quantities the following spring.


Cut this fall, or protect for winter?

Cut this fall, or protect for winter?

Drovers Journal

Depending on summer and early fall rainfall, you may be treated to fields of tall, lush, leafy alfalfa in September and October. Taking a fourth or fifth cutting may be tempting, particularly with high feed prices across the board this year.

But could a late-year windfall this year spell damaged stands come spring? Possibly, says Pennsylvania State University agronomy researcher Marvin Hall.


Cattle Identification: State Premises Registration Stats As Of 7/2/2007

Cattle Identification: State Premises Registration Stats As Of 7/2/2007


Price Insure Or Hedge?

Price Insure Or Hedge?

By Larry Stalcup

Beef Magazine

With the unheard-of volatility in corn prices and a virtual guarantee that high-cost feed won’t go away, cow-calf producers might be wise to consider some sort of price protection to ensure against a wreck waiting to happen.

USDA’s Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) may be the safest form of price protection available. But forward contracting to lock in a price, or cross-hedging calves using feeder-cattle futures, may also work.

Ranchers have to admit they’ve had it pretty good price-wise for calves, at least until corn burst the bubble for all sectors. Now, they must worry about what those calves will be worth in the ethanol frenzy.


Is There Value Added Through Cross-Breeding or is Heterosis Just a Theory?

Is There Value Added Through Cross-Breeding or is Heterosis Just a Theory?

MFA Health Track

Editor’s note: this article appeared yester with the wrong URL. It had been corrected today

I am not here to argue one side of the fence or the other on this issue, but I am going to offer some food for thought to get you started. Scholars say that the advantages gained through cross-breeding, which is termed heterosis, are the result of different alleles pairing up throughout an animal’s genetic sequence. My over-simplified interpretation as a country boy, described in country boy language, is that you get heterosis by mating non-related animals. To take it one step further, the more different the parents the more advantage or heterosis that can be gained.


Cattle Health: Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) Control Procedures

Cattle Health: Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) Control Procedures


1. Implement an effective immunization program

a. Vaccinate heifers initially with a modified-live BVD vaccine

b. Booster in 2-4 weeks with a modified-live or killed BVD product

c. Booster annually (MLV to open animals only), or semi-annually (killed).

d. Depending on vaccination history, all purchased animals should be vaccinated

against BVD at least once, and possibly twice.

e. Store and handle all vaccines according to label recommendations


Beef Ration Rules of Thumb

Beef Ration Rules of Thumb

Ropin’ the Web

With a feed test in front of you, look at the following rules and compare them to the feed test. Remember, these are rules of thumb, which means they hold true most of the time, but variations in management and cow type will affect the end result.

These rules of thumb should not be considered a replacement for balancing rations with proven software, but rather an aid to understand the feed and where it fits in the management.


Premise ID enforcement put on hold

Premise ID enforcement put on hold

by Tim Hundt

Vernon Coutny Broadcaster.

The state of Wisconsin has stopped short, so far, of putting farmers who won’t accept a premise ID numbers, out of business.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) issued a press release Friday saying it would still allow milk transporters and creameries to accept milk from farms that did not have a premise ID.

Wisconsin’s new farm premise ID law went into effect Tuesday.

One De Soto area farmer went so far as to say he may sue the state if it doesn’t back off on its mandatory premise ID program.

“I have informed them that if my milk license is not renewed I will bring legal action,” said Vernon County producer Mark Brothun.


Cattlemen’s group opposes disease lab

Cattlemen’s group opposes disease lab


Columbia Tribune’s

One of the state’s largest farm associations has come out against a plan to build a huge animal disease research lab in Columbia.

The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, which represents 68,000 beef producers, decided late last month to oppose building the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility here.

“As more facts became clear and became available, there were some potential risks that presented themselves,” said Jeff Windett, the cattlemen’s group’s executive vice president. “From a beef industry standpoint here in Missouri, we thought it was too big of a risk.”


Iowa producers continue to register premises

Iowa producers continue to register premises

By Jeff DeYoung, Iowa Farmer Today

Participation in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) might not be voluntary, but Iowa producers continue to register their premises.

Steve White, NAIS coordinator for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says just over 18,000 premises have been registered in Iowa, the sixth-highest total in the United States.

“That gives us about 39 percent of the 48,000 premises we would like to see registered,” he says. “We’re making very good strides with the program.”

Premises identification is part of the nationwide NAIS system. Owners of all types of livestock in Iowa — cattle, hogs, sheep, horses, poultry and several other species — are asked to register their premises with the state.


Animal drug sales boom

Animal drug sales boom

Owners drive growth in specialized medications



Fueled by America’s love affair with its pets, the demand for more specialized medical treatment for animals is propelling Pfizer Animal Health to a growth rate outpacing that of Pfizer Inc.

Revenue for Pfizer’s Animal Health division climbed 5% to $2.3 billion in 2006, while Pfizer’s total revenue grew 2% to $48.4 billion.

“We’re a relatively small percent of” Pfizer, Dr. David McGavin, vice president for Global Regulatory and Market Support for Pfizer Animal Health based in Kalamazoo County, said last week. “Certainly in the last four to five years, we’ve added pennies to the dividend each quarter. But our growth rate is such that the positive impact on Pfizer income will continue to grow.”


Bredesen seeks natural disaster declaration for entire state

Bredesen seeks natural disaster declaration for entire state

By Kevin Castle

Kingsport Times-News

Livestock markets across Tennessee and in the Tri-Cities have been packed to capacity with cattle. Stifling heat and little hay growth have left some stock owners with no choice.

Sporadic rainfall has done little to improve chances of improving herd growth and crop development, leading Gov. Phil Bredesen Thursday to ask for a natural disaster declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for all 95 Tennessee counties.

If Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns approves Tennessee’s request to aid farmers who suffered through a late freeze in the spring and a severe drought this summer, special low-interest loans and other emergency funding could help them compensate for crop damages or early herd sell-offs.


The Bill and Hillary show stars at National Cattle Congress in Waterloo

The Bill and Hillary show stars at National Cattle Congress in Waterloo



WATERLOO — Faithful Democrats, whether curious or already seriously committed, enjoyed a doubleheader Wednesday.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., brought her campaign for the party’s presidential nomination to Waterloo. At her side was what many believe is the candidate’s most potent weapon — her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

“They know how to campaign,” said Steve Rondorf of Waterloo. “They know how to do a good show.”

The joint afternoon appearance at the National Cattle Congress fell on Day 2 of a three-day tour of Iowa for Hillary Clinton. Earlier on the Fourth of July, the Clintons marched in a parade in Clear Lake. They finished the holiday in Cedar Rapids.

Today, Hillary Clinton is scheduled to travel solo to Muscatine, Ottumwa and Fort Dodge.

She told those gathered in Waterloo she hopes the journey ultimately ends in Washington, D.C.


Farmers, ranchers deal with rising production costs

Farmers, ranchers deal with rising production costs


The Sealy News

Agricultural experts continue to see a steady increase in the cost of production, and farmers and ranchers must continue to finds ways to adapt to the rising costs.

“There’s still a big margin between what it costs to produce and what (farmers and ranchers) are getting paid for,” Austin County Texas Cooperative Extension Ag Agent Philip Shackelford said. “You can go back 50 years and look at the cost of production, and it went up tremendously even though commodity prices have stayed the same if not less.”

Farmers and ranchers often find themselves in a situation where they have to keep up with newer and better ways of producing in order to stay in business, but doing so requires investing more money.