Vet’s Advice: The value of calf health
By Mike Apley, DVM, BEEF Magazine contributing editor
We’ve all misread a few trends in life, some of which evolved into forces that drastically changed lives and entire industries.
Thirty years ago, who would have thought that the roughest, most mismanaged, cedar-infested grassland in the Flint Hills of Kansas would bring as much or more at auction than well-managed parcels? A lot of this market pressure results from the spillover of disposable income from urbanites looking for recreational ground, combined with some pretty reasonable interest rates.
Poll Shows More Americans Checking COOL Labels
More Americans are checking product and food labels after the proliferation of scares associated with Chinese imports, according to a survey conducted by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute.
Nearly 69 percent of the 1,000 Americans polled indicated they check labels for nation of origin, up from 53 percent a year ago, the institute said.
Furthermore, 86 percent agreed with a statement calling for suspension of Chinese imports until China meets U.S. product and food-safety standards.
Meantime, 87 percent indicated they have confidence in American-made and distributed products and food.
But fewer than half of Americans surveyed (47 percent) agreed that the United States is doing a good job ensuring imports meet set safety and quality standards.
Headed in the Right Direction
Mother Nature affects most everything tied to agriculture. Weather can ruin a hay crop, branding day or feedlot performance. It can also have a positive influence on everything from calf health to calf prices.
For James Washburn and his son Tony, a wet spring accelerated plans to increase the number of cows in their herd near King City, Mo.
Before Tony came back to the farm in 1992, the cattle operation took a back seat to hogs and crops. The team had already decided to phase out the pork enterprise when an unusually wet year in 1995 hastened its dispersal.
Residual Feed Intake (Net Feed Efficiency) in Beef Cattle
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Benefits | Residual feed intake | Research | Results | Value of residual feed intake | Selecting for residual feed intake
Improving the feed efficiency of a beef cattle herd can mean big savings for producers. One way to achieve this goal is to select breeding bulls that are naturally feed-efficient, since 80 to 90 per cent of the genetic improvement in a herd comes through the sires.
On average, it costs $50 less over 112 days to feed an efficient bull compared to an inefficient one. An efficient bull will pass on superior genetics for feed efficiency to his progeny, which will be realized as feed savings for calves in the feedlot and for replacement heifers entering the cowherd.
Feed is a major expense for cattle producers, second only to fixed costs. With 75 per cent of the total feed cost used for maintenance in breeding cows, improving feed efficiency can have a big economic effect.
A 5 per cent improvement in feed efficiency could have an economic effect four times greater than a 5 per cent improvement in average daily gain. Improving feed efficiency will have an effect on the unit costs of production and the value of breeding stock, embryos, semen and feeder animals.
New technology may mean diseases can’t hide
By JEFF NESMITH
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Washington — Scientists have glimpsed a near future when infectious diseases will be diagnosed almost instantly, and possibly even anticipated before they exist.
New instruments can race through a sample of blood, sputum, tissue or other biological specimen and spell out the genetic code of virtually everything present, including new diseases.
The new technology is comparable to the invention of the microscope and will cause a fundamental change in the way disease is identified and diagnosed, some scientists believe.
“It’s a whole new world,” said Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University epidemiologist and pathologist. “If we’d had this, we could have anticipated HIV. We could have had a blood test ready. Think about the millions of people whose lives would have been saved.”
Lipkin was part of a team of government and university scientists who recently used the new technology — called metagenomics, or sometimes “shotgun genomics” — to link an unusual virus to the massive die-off of honeybees last winter.
Beef Checkoff Program is Key to Export Efforts
Centennial, Colo., Aug. 20, 2007 — Exports of U.S. beef continue to increase, thanks in part to promotions funded by U.S. beef producers through the Beef Checkoff Program. These efforts are coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and state beef councils by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
For the Beef Board’s fiscal year ending Sept. 30, more than $4.8 million in national checkoff funds is budgeted for foreign marketing. This national money was combined with checkoff funds from state beef councils and further supplemented with funds from the Market Access Program (MAP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, leveraging the value of producer dollars to the greatest extent possible. In fact, a $6.3 million checkoff investment by beef producers in 2006 purchased $15.5 million in total international promotions, when USDA MAP funds and contributions by grain and soybean producers were included.
Acting U.S. farm chief asks Japan to raise age limit on beef imports
By Tom Wray
National Provisioner Online
WASHINGTON – Acting U.S. Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner asked Japan on Monday to raise the age limit on American beef imports.
“The international standards for beef trade into Japan would allow us to ship all our beef products of all ages into that country given our safety measures that we have in place in this country,” Conner said in a teleconference monitored by Japan Economic Newswire.
It was the first news conference held by Conner since assuming the post after Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns’ resignation last Thursday, the news service reported.