Daily Archives: August 28, 2007

Real-Time Ultrasound: Possible Uses in Genetic Prediction

Real-Time Ultrasound: Possible Uses in Genetic Prediction

Ultrasound found its first applications in livestock research in the 1950s.

By William Herring, Department of Animal Science, University of Missouri Extension.


Since that time, the great strides that have been made in ultrasound research have benefited both human medicine and the livestock industry. Most people probably associate ultrasound with human fetal examination. In human medicine, it is most commonly used in routine pregnancy exams and sex determination. This same technology, including identical equipment, is used in the beef cattle industry to evaluate reproductive and carcass characteristics (Figures 1 and 2). However, this publication concentrates on the use of ultrasound to predict carcass merit, specifically genetic prediction for seedstock producers.


A Cowboy Knew How To Choose His Enemies

A Cowboy Knew How To Choose His Enemies

Beef Magazine

Troy Marshall

If you’re like me, you love to read a good western novel. Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, and even Elmer Kelton didn’t write the kind of books that require a whole lot of thought on the reader’s part. Rarely did they even have plots that would have been considered surprising.

But while the western novel may not be considered classic literature, I’ve always enjoyed them because they usually had a cowboy hero, a battle between good and evil, and the like.

One thing I always admired about the heroes in these novels is that, while they rarely ran away from a fight, they rarely went looking for one, either. These heroes almost always avoided making enemies and, just as importantly, showed impeccable judgment when selecting their enemies.


BeefTalk: Animal Identification Slowly Is Becoming a Maze That Goes Nowhere

BeefTalk: Animal Identification Slowly Is Becoming a Maze That Goes Nowhere

Animal Identification – A maze with no end Animal Identification – A maze with no end

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Little did those who established the principle of heterosis and promoted the development of crossbreeding programs realize just how badly they upset the applecart.

At one time, the process of tracking cattle was simple. Cattle did not move far and any transactions that involved swapping cattle were recorded to memory. In fact, prior to the concept of crossbreeding, cattle were moved only between the same types. This was a concept that was put in place by English animal breeder Robert Bakewell during the 18th century.

Of course, there were cattle that were rogues, feral in nature, but these were considered inferior to well-bred cattle. Prominent societies were established to track cattle and record offspring and transfer title as needed.


Livestock industry alive and kicking

Livestock industry alive and kicking

By Dana Herra

Daily Chronicle

After a 30-year decline, the livestock industry in Illinois is starting to bounce back, according to a recent report from the University of Illinois.

Over the last five years, the industry has stabilized, and in some cases it is on the upswing, researchers said.

Both swine and beef herds are expanding, and after years of shrinking, dairy herds also are poised to expand. The report cites an increased ability to meet consumer needs and growing consumption of protein as driving forces behind the growth.


MCA writes in support of COOL

MCA writes in support of COOL

Prairie Star

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Montana Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supporting the proposed rule that requires mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef, lamb, pork, perishable agricultural commodities, and peanuts.  MCA’s comments were submitted as part of USDA’s formal rulemaking process.


Claremore rancher takes reins of Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association

Claremore rancher takes reins of Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association

By Mark Parker

Sapulpa Daily Herald

CLAREMORE, Okla. — The man who will ride herd on the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association for the next year has found that involvement in his industry pays dividends.

 “I originally joined OCA because there were a lot of cattlemen I respected who were members,” said Claremore Limousin breeder Ray Heldermon. “Every time I went to an OCA convention, I learned something that was important to my operation back home. Pretty soon, I found out that the more involved I was, the more I learned and the more I benefitted.”

Heldermon was elected president of OCA at the organization’s recent convention. A member since 1979, he previously served two terms as president-elect. He has the perspective of a lifetime in the beef business.


Family ranchers fight to survive

Family ranchers fight to survive


Great  Falls Tribune

MOVILLE, Iowa — Eric Nelson, a fourth-generation rancher and farmer who operates a feedlot here, isn’t looking for more government cash like many farmers are. But he’s still hoping for a little help when the Senate debates a farm bill this fall.

Nelson and many other family ranchers in the Midwest and West are hoping Congress can help them fight the gradual consolidation of the meat industry, which they say is hurting their business. A handful of large meatpacking companies slaughtered 80 percent of steers and heifers in 2005, up 30 percent from 20 years ago.


Anthrax kills cattle in northeastern Montana

Anthrax kills cattle in northeastern Montana


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Eight cows in Sheridan County died from anthrax last week, and state livestock officials say they won’t be surprised if more cases are reported this year.

Montana Department of Livestock spokeswoman Lisa Schmidt says the dead cows were part of a single herd on a ranch near Raymond, which is between Plentywood and the Canadian border.

Field tests indicate it was naturally occurring anthrax, a disease caused by a soil organism common in the West. Bacillus anthracis develops spores that can be dormant for decades and then become active during changes in climate, especially in very wet or very dry conditions.


USDA Ready To Issue Voluntary Grass-Fed Standards, Making Progress On Others

USDA Ready To Issue Voluntary Grass-Fed Standards, Making Progress On Others


USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will issue voluntary standards for grass-fed livestock in the next few weeks, AMS Assistant Deputy Administrator Bill Sessions told Meatingplace.com.

“We’re talking within a month or so,” he said of the standard that would verify that livestock has been 99 percent fed on a grass and forage diet.

Once AMS issues its voluntary standard, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would recognize producers who meet the standard and grant them the right to use the grass-fed label claim on meat from those animals. Currently, FSIS approves such labeling on a case-by-case basis.

Sessions said meeting the grass-fed standard would include putting a system in place that substantiates how the animals were fed and being subject to periodic USDA audits.


Cornstalks and soybean hay from east may provide help for farmers

Cornstalks and soybean hay from east may provide help for farmers

News 9 (NC)

Eastern North Carolina farmers are lending a hand to their western counterparts as they try to cope with a hay shortage.

The solution may be replacing the hay with soybean hay and cornstalks.

About 150 growers gathered Friday morning at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville to hear a N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services presentation on alternatives to hay.


US vows better compliance with S. Korea beef pact

US vows better compliance with S. Korea beef pact


WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) – The United States has vowed to tighten compliance with a South Korea beef trade agreement, prompting Seoul to announce on Friday it would resume imports of U.S. beef, the U.S. Agriculture Department said.

South Korea blocked U.S. beef imports earlier this month after finding a prohibited spinal column in a beef shipment. The decision to resume imports came after South Korea received assurances from the United States that it will improve its export procedures.

“We adequately answered their questions about how that nonconforming product was shipped, and we provided measures that we think can help prevent a reoccurrence,” Chuck Lambert, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, told Reuters.


Why Aren’t More Calves Preconditioned?

Why Aren’t More Calves Preconditioned?


That’s somewhat of a chicken and egg question.   Despite documented benefits of preconditioning programs, the cattle industry has been relatively slow to adopt such management on a widespread basis.   That reluctance is the result of several factors.   Overwhelmingly, though, it stems from the need for relatively intensive management at the farm/ranch level.   And in many cases, producers don’t possess the facilities, feed resources, time or experience to successfully manage calves 45-60 days following weaning.

Moreover, economics surrounding preconditioning are always conducive to implement such management.    While cow/calf producers are encouraged to add “value” or “relative worth” to their cattle through health programs, doing so is not always equivalent to adding profit.  There are instances in which the costs associated with additional management inputs may not be fully rewarded by premiums through the market.  And in years in which market prices are relatively low producers are especially hesitant about incurring additional costs.  


Hereford cow was full of surprises

Hereford cow was full of surprises

By Diane Saunders

Eastern Arizona Courier

Honey Jean, a Hereford cow, was full of surprises last Sunday.

She shocked her owner, William “Smitty” Smith of Safford, when she gave birth to two heifer calves — an event that doesn’t happen very often in the cattle business and has never happened at Smith’s ranch.

 “I had no idea she was going to have twins,” Smith said as he looked proudly at Honey Jean and her two calves, Lily and Lola. “She carried them all the way through (the pregnancy), and they’re perfect.”

Smith said Lily and Lola were born around 9 a.m. on Aug. 19. This was Honey Jean’s second pregnancy and the first time Smith’s bull, Delmas, sired a calf — or in this case, calves.


Japan to Take Further Steps to Relax U.S. Beef Curbs

Japan to Take Further Steps to Relax U.S. Beef Curbs

By Aya Takada

Bloomberg News Service

Japan, once the largest buyer of U.S. beef, will take further steps to relax curbs on American imports of the commodity first imposed in 2003 after the discovery of mad-cow disease in Washington State, a government official said.

The Japanese government will hold negotiations with the U.S. to decide how to revise import conditions, said the official, who attended a meeting between the two countries this month. The talks will focus on cattle age limits, he said in an interview, declining to be identified as the talks are confidential.


New Forage Legume Could Ease Nitrogen Cost-Shock

New Forage Legume Could Ease Nitrogen Cost-Shock


OVERTON – Rio Verde lablab, a recently released forage legume by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, could provide some relief to nitrogen fertilizer cost-shock.

Not only does it not require nitrogen fertilizer, Rio Verde lablab is found palatable by both cattle and wildlife, said its developer, Dr. Ray Smith, Experiment Station plant breeder based at Overton.

Natural gas is used to produce nitrogen fertilizer, and its rise in cost raised fertilizer prices. High nitrogen prices hammer row crop producers and livestock producers too. Today’s highly productive, improved pasture grasses require large amounts of nitrogen, Smith said. However, Rio Verde, as do other legumes, fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere.