Monthly Archives: September 2007

Genetic Implications For Beef Heifers

Genetic Implications For Beef Heifers

Genetics play a vital role in the successful development, reproductive performance, and future productivity of beef heifers.  As the factory of the beef enterprise, profitable females have the following attributes:

-Reach puberty early, calve at 2 years of age, and then annually thereafter with no calving difficulty

-Wean a calf annually which fits demands of marketplace and meets consumer expectations

-Highly adapted to environmental and managerial resources

-Generate high revenue at low cost over a long, productive life


CAFO’s and People Coexisting

CAFO’s and People Coexisting

MFA Health Track

I just read a press release regarding the Marion County’s Board of Trustees decision to “revoke and rescind” a previously approved health ordinance restricting Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s). It would be an incredible understatement to say that this is a complicated issue. The debate will not be over for some time, but occaisionally something is said that bears repeating.


Cows that Work mean Calves that Grade

Cows that Work mean Calves that Grade

Cattle Today

Many beef producers struggle with priorities when it comes to genetic selection. One part of them knows the market rewards a focus on the end product. After all, consumers are the ultimate customers.

Then their skeptical side kicks in: “Yeah, but the most important thing is to get as many live, healthy calves as possible each year, so the cows can earn their keep.”

Those torn by this conflict of the mind can take heart in an updated research paper by Twig Marston, Kansas State University.

Its long title indicates a comprehensive approach. “The Relationship Between Marbling and Other EPDs with Implications When Making Beef Cowherd Breeding and Management Decisions” discusses how carcass quality is related to reproduction.


Cattle Preconditioning: Prep Calves Before Weaning

Cattle Preconditioning: Prep Calves Before Weaning

Weaning is stressful for calves and producers alike. In cattle, that stress can lead to bacterial infections, bovine respiratory disease (BRD), and extra labor and expense for the producer, says Dr. Joe Dedrickson, Director of Merial Large Animal Veterinary Professional Services. But, he says, by vaccinating for Pasteurella and minimizing stress, producers can help their calves make the transition with a clean bill of health.

Dr. Max Mekus of Mount Ayr Veterinary Clinic, Mount Ayr, Iowa, agrees. He works with many cow/calf producers and calf backgrounding operations, and has seen the toll Pasteurella and BRD can take on calf health and producer profits.

 “Weaning is often the most stressful time in an animal’s life,” Dr. Mekus explains. “Stress weakens the immune system, opening calves to Pasteurella infection.”


Report cattle illnesses to keep disease under control

Report cattle illnesses to keep disease under control

AG Professional

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio producers who suspect their beef or dairy cattle are showing signs of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) should report those symptoms to their local veterinarian.

Bill Shulaw, an Ohio State University Extension veterinarian, said that the recent outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and bluetongue in the United Kingdom should remind producers that reporting signs of illness or unusual behavior is important to keeping foreign animal diseases under control.

“Though EHD is a non-reportable disease in Ohio, and typically causes very mild symptoms in cattle, the disease is very similar to other diseases, such as bluetongue, which is a reportable illness,” said Shulaw, with the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. “Producers are encouraged to report any suspected cases of EHD.”

Symptoms in cattle include lameness, salivation, cloudy nasal discharge, swelling of the coronary band (growth area of the hoof), mouth lesions, conjunctivitis and a decrease in milk production.


Angus Associations to Conduct “Partners in Profit” Meetings

Angus Associations to Conduct “Partners in Profit” Meetings

Angus E-list

The American Angus Association and Missouri Angus Association will sponsor four educational programs, “Partners in Profit,” Oct. 8-11, 2007, in regions throughout the state of Missouri. The program will focus on resources and tools that are beneficial to producers involved in commercial beef production. Each program will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Ty Groshans, director of commercial programs at the American Angus Association, will review the extensive survey report, Priorities First, authored by Tom Field, Colorado State University. Priorities First highlights management priorities to increase profits in the commercial cow-calf sector.

Bill Bowman, the Association’s director of performance programs, will discuss “Selection Tools for Profit” that will include the use of the genetic tools generated by the American Angus Association. Calving ease direct (CED) and birth weight (BW) EPDs and how they are used on virgin heifers and mature cows will be discussed. Bowman will also cover how to make directional change in a cow herd utilizing expected progeny differences (EPDs), dollar value indexes ($Values) and general use of EPDs in the commercial industry.


Make bull choice carefully

Make bull choice carefully


Glasgow Daily Times

When deciding on a new bull for your cattle operation, remember that there is no one-size fits all approach. Buying a bull that fits your needs and operation is very important and decisions will be different for every farm.

Looking at all the traits for each bull you are considering and determining which one best fits your needs is the right approach. Using tools such as Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) will help in the decision-making process. Two traits often mentioned by Kentucky producers among the most important are calving ease and temperament.


Cattle Health: Identify & Prevent BVD PI’s

Cattle Health: Identify & Prevent BVD PI’s

Even though you’ve vaccinated your calves, don’t expect that they are going to be 100% protected. You can do everything exactly according to label directions, and follow recommendations to the letter on nutrition and calf health, and the calves may still be vulnerable to a BVD outbreak.

There are a few factors that contribute to this. One factor is that when the calves are on feed, their nutritional stress levels are higher than when they are on pasture. This leads to a propensity for respiratory disease. Also, many calves are commingled with strange calves that could be from a completely different region of the country. This creates a social stress in the pen, but more importantly, it exposes the calves to different strains of the BVD virus. There are significant enough differences between vaccine strains and wild-type strains (and between wild-type strains themselves), that the calves’ immune systems aren’t prepared to deal with them all.


Who are the new giants?

Who are the new giants?

by Terry Stokes

BEEF Magazine

The cattle industry said goodbye to two of its greatest pioneers and champions recently. W.D. Farr, 97, of Greeley, CO, and Fred Johnson, 91, of Summitville, OH, left behind a remarkable legacy of achievement, vision and leadership.

Farr was one of the founders of modern-day cattle feeding. But his contributions to agriculture extended to uniform beef grading, water conservation and management, and banking and finance.

Johnson established Summitcrest Farms in 1949, and its champion breeding cattle developed into a world-recognized brand. In 1978, he helped found Certified Angus Beef® and served as chairman its first six years.


Get Good Tax Advice in Regards to Ranch Activities

Get Good Tax Advice in Regards to Ranch Activities

by: John Alan Cohan, Attorney at Law

Cattle Today

The U.S. Tax Court is a federal court system which hears petitions by taxpayers who wish to contest deficiencies made against them by the IRS. There are about two dozen federal appointed judges, all of them experts in tax law. As the tax law is ambiguous in many areas, especially in the hobby loss area that affects ranchers and farmers, the results of a case may depend on the leanings of the particular judge. Some are more empathetic to the cattle and other ranching industries than others. So to some extent, if you have one of the “more difficult” judges, it is all the more important for your lawyer to present as strong a case as you have, together with good documentary evidence showing the businesslike manner in which you conduct the activity.


K-State research leading to software to help cattle producers with biosecurity and animal health

K-State research leading to software to help cattle producers with biosecurity and animal health

AG Professional

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Cattle producers soon will find that the latest tools to keep their herds healthy and the food supply safe are as close at hand as their desktop or laptop computer.

Research at Kansas State University is leading to the creation of software that will help cattle producers on two fronts. Mike Sanderson, associate professor of production medicine at K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is involved in research that will help producers maintain secure feedlots, as well as research that will help producers understand the impact of specific diseases.

Sanderson is one of more than 150 K-Staters active in the food safety and animal health arenas. The university has dedicated more than $70 million on related research since 1999.

The feed yard security project is funded by the USDA and the Kansas Animal Health Department. Sanderson’s research involved surveying feed yards across the state, from those with about 1,000 head of cattle to those with more than 125,000 head. The research is leading to the development of software to evaluate biosecurity and biocontainment at feed yards.


Several factors to consider when culling cows from herd

Several factors to consider when culling cows from herd

By G. Cliff Lamb and Guilherme Marquezini, U of M Beef Team

Minnesota Farm Guide

Culling cows from beef operations frequently is thought of as a necessary evil for beef producers.

Annually, producers remove 10 to 25 percent of their cow inventory and replace those cows with new breeding stock in the form of pregnant replacement females (raised or purchased) or purchased pregnant cows.

Removing the unhealthy, nonpregnant, old, or poor performing cows from the herd seldom is thought of as a significant financial contributor to a beef operation. However, with some strategic planning producers could enhance the value of their cull cows significantly by understanding numerous management and market factors.

Factors that producers use for culling cows can be broken down into several areas:

Biological factors: When understanding some of the biological selection tools producers should consider the ability of each cow to conceive regularly to ensure that she produces a calf annually. In addition, cows should be evaluated on their ability to calve without assistance and nurse or raise a healthy calf to weaning.


R-CALF: New FTAs detrimental to U.S. food safety

R-CALF: New FTAs detrimental to U.S. food safety

Tri State Neighbor

WASHINGTON, D.C. n Recently negotiated free trade agreements (FTAs) with Peru, Panama and Colombia would limit inspections and safety requirements for food imported into the U.S. from these countries.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard, on Wednesday, participated in a briefing session on the Peru FTA for staff members of the U.S. House of Representatives, which was attended by approximately 35 staffers. Public Citizen and Food and Water Watch representatives also participated in the briefing session.

“The pending FTAs establish new committees to speed up implementation of mechanisms to facilitate trade rules, including ‘equivalence determinations,’ that require the United States to permit imports of meat and poultry products that do not meet U.S. safety standards. Once so-called equivalence is achieved, products to be imported into a country must only meet the standards of the exporting country n not those of the importing country,” notes a new report by Public Citizen, titled “The Trade Deficit in Food Safety; Proposed NAFTA Expansions Replicate Limits on U.S. Food Safety Policy that are Contributing to Unsafe Food Imports.”


Are we opening our borders to older Canadian cattle too soon?

Are we opening our borders to older Canadian cattle too soon?

Frm and Ranch Guide

Once again Canadian cattle, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), and imports into the United States are in the news with the decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow older Canadian cattle into this country.

On Sept. 14 the USDA published a final rule that allows for the importation of cattle and bison for any use born on or after March 1, 1999 – the date determined by USDA to be the date of effective enforcement of the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban in Canada. The ruling also lifts a delay imposed in March 2005 on meat and meat products from bovines older than 30 months of age.

Saying the USDA action “harmonized” cattle trade with Canada, USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. John Clifford said their peer reviewers agreed with the risk assessment conclusion that the likelihood of BSE becoming established in the U.S. cattle population by allowing additional commodities from Canada is negligible.


Beef Cattle Vaccinated Against E. coli O157:H7

Beef Cattle Vaccinated Against E. coli O157:H7

      – Top Meadow Farms world’s first commercial adopter of vaccine –

PR News wire

Bioniche LifeSciences Inc. (TSX: BNC), a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company, today announced that its vaccine against E. coliO157:H7 in cattle has been used for the first time by a commercial beef producer. Top Meadow Farms, an Ontario-based producer of premium beef, integrated use of the E. coli O157:H7 vaccine into its Top in Field(TM) cattle rearing standards, under the auspices of Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations governing the sale of the vaccine in Canada.


Beef tour planned to Argentina, Brazil

Beef tour planned to Argentina, Brazil

From MSU News Service

BOZEMAN — Montanans who want to visit beef operations in Argentina and Brazil are invited to join the upcoming Beef Study Tour sponsored by the Montana Institute for Global Beef Studies and BEEF magazine.

“In today’s global marketplace, cattlemen need to know what the competition is up to and how they’re doing it,” said Clint Peck of Billings, Montana’s director of Beef Quality Assurance. “We’ve developed an itinerary that’ll give beef producers around the nation the best possible look at these countries’ beef systems and assess their strengths and weaknesses as competitors in international markets.”


Summit Will Explore Effect Ethanol Co-Products Have On Beef Quality

Summit Will Explore Effect Ethanol Co-Products Have On Beef Quality

Speakers from academia, the meat processing sector and the cattle feeding industry will discuss the effect feeding ethanol co-products has on beef quality during an upcoming meeting in Omaha. The BEEF Quality Summit will take place November 7-8 at Omaha ’s Holiday Inn Centre.

Sponsored by BEEF magazine, the meeting will open with a panel discussing the status of the industry’s effort to improve beef quality. Participants will be Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Vice President of Purchasing Jim Cannon, Certified Angus Beef Vice President Larry Corah, Greater Omaha Packing Executive Vice President Angelo Fili and Texas A&M University Animal Science Regents Professor Jeff Savell.


Agriculture: Open Range

Agriculture: Open Range


Kevin Timberlake digs the toe of his cowboy boot into the caked earth and gives the coffee-colored dirt a scuff. Some 70 acres of scrubby land spread out in front of him under the washed-out blue sky. “See the soil. This is junk,” Timberlake says. Under his breath, he counts a thin herd of cattle hanging their heads over the weeds. Once a horse trainer and breeder in Missouri, Timberlake now spends his days thinking about cows, and this time next year, he and his employer, Western Cattle Company, would like to see about 10,000 more living on this land. “I’d be taking the ground and turning it into something,” he says.


Weaning Options

Weaning options

by Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, Kansas State University

Angus Journal

Weaning is considered a stressful event for calves and can affect health and weight gain. The timing and method of weaning can influence a number of important considerations on a ranch, including calf health, amount of weight sold, amount of purchased forage and feed needed to support the cow herd, pasture management, timing and amount of labor required, postweaning growth performance and efficiency, and carcass characteristics.


Cattle can be Trained for Ease of Handling

Cattle can be Trained for Ease of Handling

by: Heather Smith Thomas

Cattle Today

Cattle can be readily trained for ease of handling, if you understand how they think. They are adaptable, and have excellent memories. They never forget a bad experience, and you can “ruin” a cow or a herd for future ease of handling if you abuse them or destroy their trust. The stockman who handles cattle in a calm and patient manner will have much calmer, more managable cattle than the person who chases and rams them around and gets them excited.

Shaping the cow herd to be quiet and easily handled is like training a horse; introduce new things in a calm, confident and positive way–working with their natural ways of thinking rather than against them. They respond to release of pressure, for instance, and force is always counterproductive.