Daily Archives: August 15, 2007

Central Iowa Producer Shares Tips for Grazing Standing Corn

Central Iowa Producer Shares Tips for Grazing Standing Corn

Iowa Beef Center

Winters have gotten a whole lot easier for Fred Abels. The Grundy County farmer recently implemented a strip grazing standing-corn system for his fall calving herd, and eliminated cold-weather chores like hay feeding and moving manure, all while saving feed costs.

It all started when Abels expanded his cow herd from 20 to 50 cows. “I knew I couldn’t produce enough hay for 50 cows, and I wanted to find an on-farm feed source to keep money from going off-farm.” After some conversations with specialists at Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and pioneering herdsmen who were already reaping the rewards of grazing standing corn, Abels decided to give it a try.

Abels’ biggest investment was fencing materials, which included 100 posts and 6 reels of wire, totaling $638. Starting December 5, his cows began strip grazing approximately .08 acres of standing corn and .04 acres of harvested stalks each day. Abels spent about fifteen minutes every day moving the fence. “A big advantage for me was that while I was only spending about fifteen minutes every day moving the fence.


Nitrate Poisoning and Feeding Nitrate Feeds to Livestock

Nitrate Poisoning and Feeding Nitrate Feeds to Livestock

Ropin’ the Web


While nitrates (N03) are not very toxic, nitrites (N02) are toxic. In ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep and goats, nitrate is converted to nitrite by bacteria in the rumen. This nitrite is then changed to ammonia. Excess ammonia is absorbed by the blood and passed in the urine as urea. This occurs when the nitrate breakdown system is in balance and no surplus of nitrites accumulate.

In contrast, monogastric animals such as horses and pigs, convert nitrate to nitrite in the intestine, closer to the end of the digestive tract, where there is less opportunity for the nitrites to be absorbed by the blood. It is this difference in the site of conversion that makes nitrate poisoning of much less concern for monogastric animals than it is with ruminants.


Animal Rights Activities Still A Concern

Animal Rights Activities Still A Concern

Burt Rutherford

Beef Magazine

Animal rights activists are completely committed to putting you out of business, says Kay Johnson, and they are working on many fronts to achieve their goal.

Johnson, with the Animal Agriculture Alliance, says animal rights activists use four battlegrounds to advance their agenda — public perception, farms and businesses, the legal system, and the legislative and regulatory world.

“Some farmers and ranchers are being drug into court on false accusations,” she says. “Not only does that create legal fees, but it creates doubt in your community about how you care for your animals.”


Four-State Consortium Plan Conference

Four-State Consortium Plan Conference

Cow/Calf Weekly

“Corn, Cattle and Energy” is the theme of a rotating-conference compiled by Extension personnel from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Geared for producers who want to manage their business in light of increasing corn demand, the meeting is set for the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn in Rapid City, SD, on Aug. 21, and the Days Inn Grand Lakota Lodge in Dickinson, ND, on Aug. 23.


Matching Cow Size To Ranch Resources

Matching Cow Size To Ranch Resources


Cow size varies tremendously across and even within beef cattle operations.

Size is routinely described in terms of both weight and frame. Frame size describes the skeletal size of cattle. Terms like large frame, moderate frame, and small frame are frequently used to indicate cattle size. While frame size is often a useful selection consideration and is sometimes used in predicting expected mature body weight, it should be noted that cattle that are similar in frame size are not always similar in body weight. Body weight takes into account muscling and condition (fat cover) in addition to skeletal and organ mass. Cow body weight and body condition score are useful records for nutritional program planning.


Iowa Limousin Junior Wins Wulf Scholarship

Iowa Limousin Junior Wins Wulf Scholarship

Cattle Today

Alissa Johnson, Ashton, Iowa, received the third annual Leonard and Vi Wulf Scholarship at the National Junior Limousin Show and Congress (NJLSC) in West Monroe, La. Kent Andersen, Ph.D., executive vice president for the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF), made the presentation during the awards banquet July 27.

Johnson, 19, has been a member of both the North American Limousin Junior Association (NALJA) and Iowa Junior Limousin Association for 10 years. She will use the $500 Wulf scholarship to continue her studies in agricultural business at South Dakota State University (SDSU). After graduation, she plans to become an agricultural loan officer at a rural bank.


USDA Cracking Down on ‘Organic’ Factory-Farms

USDA Cracking Down on ‘Organic’ Factory-Farms

    Country’s Largest Dairy Likely to Lose Certification


The Cornucopia Institute has learned that the USDA appears about to revoke the organic certification of the nation’s largest industrial dairy operator, Aurora Organic Dairy, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.    

Aurora operates several giant factory dairies milking thousands of cows each in semi-arid areas of Colorado and Texas. The company has been the subject of a series of formal legal complaints filed with the USDA by The Cornucopia Institute. The complaints from the Wisconsin-based farm policy group filed in 2005 and 2006, called for a USDA investigation into allegations of numerous organic livestock management improprieties.


Farmer Families Selling Out

Farmer Families Selling Out

Leigh Forrester  

Bedford Co., VA – In Central Virginia, farmland is disappearing.  In Bedford County alone, they’ve lost more than 8,000 acres of it in the past 10 years.  Part of the problem, many families are getting out.  The younger generations are selling their farms, rather than working them.

In the county, the average age for a farmer is 60 years old.  All this means you aren’t seeing as much fresh, locally grown food.  But farmers in Bedford County are making a move to keep the county “growing.”


Farmers Sell Cattle To Handle Heat

Farmers Sell Cattle To Handle Heat          


Forrest Sanders

The summer’s taken its toll on Warren County farmers and they’ve taken some drastic measures to handle the heat.

Hundreds arrived at the Barren River Livestock Center to sell their cattle on Aug. 14.

And the center says they came in numbers they’ve never seen before.

“We have to do something. We can’t afford to feed them,” said livestock owner Bruce Aupdegraff.

He and his wife Teresa have been in line for nearly two hours.

It’s a long wait on a hot day at the Barren River Livestock Center.


We don’t need another cartel

We don’t need another cartel


Colorado is a cattle state.  Even ranchers who are Republicans should be able to agree on this: A ban on meat packers ownership of livestock?

MyDD.com has this on the issue and John Edwards stand:

    “DesmoinesDem’s post about John Edwards below highlighted his rural strategy, which includes something that most people’s eyes would slide right over: A ban on meat packer ownership of livestock.”


Ranchers could start getting drought aid this fall; southwestern S.D. still parched

Ranchers could start getting drought aid this fall; southwestern S.D. still parched

By Steve Miller

Rapid City Journal staff

South Dakota ranchers who lost grass and hay to drought over the last two years could be getting federal checks sometime this fall to help offset their losses.

Congress passed a $3 billion disaster aid package in May, and President Bush on Monday signed a bill by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., that corrected language in the original package that would have excluded most ranchers from the aid.


Couple provides free-range beef at farmers market

Couple provides free-range beef at farmers market


Lincoln Journal Star

She was a fashion merchandising major. He studied accounting.  Twelve years ago, Marcy and J.R. Hollenbeck were set to be your average, city-dwelling couple.

But things weren’t meant to work out that way.

In fact, since he was child, J.R. has known that he’d come back to the family farm and start up his own business.


Biofuels incentive withers in Texas

Biofuels incentive withers in Texas

At month’s end, state will stop funding its lure for companies to come here to produce alternative energy


Houston Chronicle

The loss of a short-lived incentive for Texas biofuel producers is threatening to tip some producers into the red and may put Texas at a disadvantage with states that offer sweeteners to attract ethanol and biodiesel plants, biofuel producers said.

At month’s end, the state will halt the 20-cent-per-gallon payments because this year’s state Legislature didn’t renew funding for the Texas Biofuel Incentive Program.

In place since May 2006, the program was designed to jump-start the production of biofuels in a state known more for producing crude oil.


Virginia Cow/Calf Management Course Will be Offered This Fall/Winter

Virginia Cow/Calf Management Course Will be Offered This Fall/Winter

Dr. John B. Hall Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

The Virginia Cow/Calf Management Course is a basic course for cow/calf producers in the Mid-Atlantic region and surrounding areas.  The course provides information and skill building in cowherd nutrition, genetics, health, reproduction and marketing.  Extension Beef Cattle Specialists, Extension agents, veterinarians, and experienced beef producers serve as instructors for the course.

The 2007-2008 Cow/Calf Management course will combine at-home learning with an intensive two and one half-day hands-on session.  The at-home portion of the course can be received through mailings or over the internet.  Each month from October through March beef producers will receive a section of the course complete with study questions.  The course consists of almost 30 lessons grouped into 5 different topic areas. Producers will be able to ask questions of instructors through an electronic bulletin board or via telephone.


Several downsides to ethanol

Several downsides to ethanol


Medicine Hat News

While ethanol is being touted as a green alternative to fossil fuels, awareness of the liquid fuel’s limitations are growing.

The federal government and some provinces have mandated the inclusion of ethanol in automotive gasoline, the feds demanding that gas contain at least five per cent ethanol on average across the country, by 2010.

While decreasing human reliance on fossil fuels is to be desired, some studies suggest that the consumption of ethanol fuel produces virtually the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as does the consumption of gasoline. Another issue being examined is whether the fuel contains more energy than was used to produce it. Some critics say it takes 10 times as much energy to produce ethanol as the ethanol itself will provide.

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Len Mitzel agrees there are problems with ethanol production. He said farmers in his constituency are growing different grades of wheat and barley to supply ethanol producers and are also raising canola to supply biodiesel plants.