Daily Archives: October 15, 2007

BeefTalk: Opportunity Comes with Intensity

BeefTalk: Opportunity Comes with Intensity

Opportunity Comes With Intensity! Opportunity Comes With Intensity!

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

The need to increase management intensity to meet the expected opportunity must be met.

Many opportunities exist within agriculture. Most are driven by the opportunity to make more money, but some are driven by the opportunity to do something different.

In either case, the successful completion of the endeavor is not always positive.

Frank Kutka, sustainable agricultural specialist at the North Dakota State University Dickinson Research Extension Center, attended a conference on goat production. Given my background in small ruminants, primarily sheep, it didn’t take long to engage in a good discussion about the conference and the world of smaller ruminants.

Having taught the key management principles involved in small-ruminant production, the learning curve often was steep and producer success was not always achieved. In the end, neither the sheep nor the goat industries have successfully engaged mainstream production levels capable of sustaining viable production scenarios of scale.


Control & Prevention Of Anaplasmosis

Control & Prevention Of Anaplasmosis


Anaplasmosis is usually thought of as a late summer and early fall problem in the Midwest, but more and more it is causing problems year around.  It is caused by a tiny parasitic organism called Anaplasma marginale that invades the red blood cells.  The animal’s immune system tries to deal with the problem by removing the affected red blood cells from the circulation, but in destroying the organism the red cells are also destroyed.  This results in a series of symptoms associated with anemia and the characteristic yellow or orange coloration of the body tissues, which comes from pigments released as the red cells are broken down.  Because anaplasmosis is a disease of mature cattle and the transmission is more efficient under range conditions, it is usually associated with beef cow herds more than feedlot or dairy animals.


U.S. Red Meat Exports Value Increases through July

U.S. Red Meat Exports Value Increases through July

Cattle Today

U.S. red meat exports posted increases in value through the first seven months of this year compared to the same time last year, according to the latest statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports worldwide increased 27 percent in value to $1.42 billion and 16 percent in volume to 425,394 metric tons (mt) (937.8 million pounds) while U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports were up five percent in value to $1.7 billion, but declined five percent in volume to 704,138 mt (1.55 billion pounds).

Through July, Mexico continued to be the leading market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports with a volume of 202,500 mt (446.3 million pounds) valued at $670.8 million. Mexico, still the second-largest destination for U.S. pork and pork variety meat, posted a 27 percent decline in volume to 154,410 mt (340.4 million pounds) and a 22 percent decline in value to $248.2 million. However, export volume in July was 21,389 mt (47.1 million pounds), a 12 percent increase from the prior month.


Grazing corn residues cuts costs of wintering beef cows

Grazing corn residues cuts costs of wintering beef cows

By NDSU Extension

Prairie Star

Grazing corn residues is one way to reduce the cost of wintering beef cows in the upper Midwest, a North Dakota State University cattle expert says.

 “With the increase in corn acres in North Dakota and the surrounding region this year, availability of corn residue also has increased, making this practice even more attractive,” says Greg Lardy, NDSU Extension Service beef cattle specialist.

Corn residue left behind after harvest includes the stalk, leaf, husk and cob, as well as downed ears. The amount of downed ears varies with the corn variety, but it can be as much as 3 to 5 bushels of corn per acre.

Generally, approximately 50 pounds of residue is left on the field per bushel of corn harvested. For example, if you harvest 120 bushels of corn, you can expect about 6,000 pounds of residue per acre (120 bushels times 50 pounds of residue per bushel).


High dollar a big hindrance to cattle operators

High dollar a big hindrance to cattle operators


Medicine Hat News

With the fallout from the BSE crisis nearly over  — and especially with the U.S. border scheduled to open to live cattle older than 30 months and beef products on Nov. 19 —  you’d think the Canadian cattle industry would be humming along.

Think again. According to a local cattle specialist, this is the worst shape he’s seen the industry in for at least the past 15 years.

Chuck MacLean, spokesman for the local Porter & MacLean Livestock Management Inc., puts a large part of the blame squarely on the rapid escalation of the Canadian dollar, feed grain costs and the cost of the increasingly regulatory burden all ranchers are facing.

“Normally, if you just had one thing like an increase in the Canadian dollar, or an increase in feed cost, maybe you’d have had something else to offset it,” MacLean said in an interview Friday.

“We’re saying that all these things coming down the pike at the same time are having a really large impact on us. Right now, from the packers to the cow-calf operators, there’s nobody in that whole chain who’s making any money right now.”


Local Cattle Farmer Imports Hay From Kansas

Local Cattle Farmer Imports Hay From Kansas

Greeneville Sun

Drought-stricken Greene County farmer Kyle Wills unloaded roughly 24 bales of hay on Thursday that he had trucked in from Kansas. His feed-shortage dilemma is a prevalent one among cattle farmers in Greene County.

Wills said he desperately needed the bales, each weighing 1,700-2,000 pounds, because of “an emergency situation” he had in feeding about 300 beef cattle he owns on several farms in the county.

The farmer said that because of the prolonged drought here, his normally grassy pasture fields “are about like a parking lot,” with little or no grazing foliage for his cattle to feed on.

Wills said this was the third load he has had trucked in from outside the area to feed his cattle in the last four-five weeks.


Hereford Tour Goes Form Pasture to Plate

Hereford Tour Goes Form Pasture to Plate

Cattle Today

Kansas City, Mo. — A bus load of seedstock and commercial producers, and farmer feeders spent four days traveling through South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas visiting Hereford seedstock and commercial ranches, feedlots, and packing plants, plus spent hours discussing beef industry topics and sharing knowledge. The group included producers from 16 states with a total of 14,000 cows ranging from a handful to 1,000 head individually.

“An eye-opening experience” summarized most tour participants’ comments about the High Plains Hereford tour, which covered 1,600 miles. The tour started in Rapid City, S.D., Sept. 10 and traveled through Nebraska and Kansas returning to Rapid City Sept. 13.

“The purpose of the tour was to give producers the opportunity to see different segments of the beef industry,” said Jay Elfeldt, American Hereford Association (AHA) fieldman and tour co-chairman. “It was truly a great learning opportunity and exceeded all of our expectations.”


Meat inspectors say workload is overwhelming

Meat inspectors say workload is overwhelming

Staffing complaints follow hamburger recall

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON – As alarms sounded for the second-largest hamburger recall in history, the nation’s top food safety officials were in Miami setting the “course for the next 100 years of food safety.”

The fact that so many U.S. Department of Agriculture executives were in Florida studying the future when New Jersey-based Topps Meats Co. was scrambling to recall 21.7 million pounds of hamburger patties — a full year’s production — has rankled some USDA inspectors and food safety advocates. They see it as indicative of the department’s attitude toward food safety enforcement.


Killer cow emissions

Killer cow emissions

Los Angles Times

Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.

Livestock are a leading source of greenhouse gases. Why isn’t anyone raising a stink?

It’s a silent but deadly source of greenhouse gases that contributes more to global warming than the entire world transportation sector, yet politicians almost never discuss it, and environmental lobbyists and other green activist groups seem unaware of its existence.

That may be because it’s tough to take cow flatulence seriously. But livestock emissions are no joke.

Most of the national debate about global warming centers on carbon dioxide, the world’s most abundant greenhouse gas, and its major sources — fossil fuels. Seldom mentioned is that cows and other ruminants, such as sheep and goats, are walking gas factories that take in fodder and put out methane and nitrous oxide, two greenhouse gases that are far more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Methane, with 21 times the warming potential of CO2, comes from both ends of a cow, but mostly the front. Frat boys have nothing on bovines, as it’s estimated that a single cow can belch out anywhere from 25 to 130 gallons of methane a day.


Taste test examines difference in cattle feeding

Taste test examines difference in cattle feeding

Springfield News Leader

Members of the Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association were willing participants in a taste test at a September meeting in Mount Vernon.

The test was between grass-finished beef and conventional Choice beef.

The strip loins used in the taste test were cut to one-inch thickness, then cut in half so each person would have one-half steak from each source.

Grilling of the steaks was handled by Jim and Jason McCann of Miller and Rod Lewis of Stotts City.

Identification of which steaks came from which source was not known by any of the taste test participants, and cooking and seasoning was the same on each.


Analyze hay to reduce feeding costs

Analyze hay to reduce feeding costs

High Plains Journal

Feed cost is the major expense in beef cattle production. Overfeeding or underfeeding results in inefficient beef production and reduced profit, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

“The goal of all beef production systems should be to meet nutrient needs of all classes of animals at a level which optimizes performance at the lowest cost,” said Mark Keaton, Baxter County Extension staff chair.

Properly identifying energy and protein needs of a particular class of livestock is the first step. For example, requirements of a dry cow are considerably less than those of a nursing cow. Likewise, those of growing replacement heifers are different from those of a bull in the off season.

Since the requirements vary so much, it only makes good “cents” to group cattle according to nutrient needs, Keaton said. Any extra time spent separating cattle during the hay-feeding season will more than offset economic benefits realized next spring. The next step is to determine the nutrient content of hay to see if any supplementation will be required. Keaton advised producers not to estimate the quality of hay from book or visual evaluation since this will lead to errors in feeding.


Consider yeast culture as a feed additive for growing and finishing beef cattle

Consider yeast culture as a feed additive for growing and finishing beef cattle

By Craig R. Belknap, Diamond V Mills, Inc. & Grant Crawford, U of M Beef Team

Over the last 60 years, many things have changed in the way we feed cattle.

Cattle have changed, facilities have changed, management has changed, and of course, diets have changed.

Cattle feeders learned early on that getting cattle started right is essential to keep them out of the sick pen and to get them to gain and convert efficiently.

One of the tools that has been a resource for cattle feeders over the last 60+ years is yeast culture. In particular, Diamond V Yeast Culture is an all-natural feed ingredient manufactured solely for the purpose of adding value to animal nutrition.


Vermont Beef Producers Hold Auction

Vermont Beef Producers Hold Auction


Vermont is developing a robust meat industry, especially with a new emphasis on buying local products.

The Vermont Beef Producers Association held its fall auction at the Champlain Valley fairgrounds. The cattle are mostly Herefords and Angus. The animals are graded by a USDA inspector and sold by lots. Many beef producers are former dairy farmers who got out of that business and found a new way to utilize their grazing land.


USCA launches initiative to amend beef checkoff

USCA launches initiative to amend beef checkoff


The Prairie Star

LEWISTOWN, Mont. – The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) launched an initiative last week, urging Congress to amend the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 to allow checkoff funds to be used to promote U.S. beef.

More specifically, the initiative is seeking an amendment to earmark the checkoff dollars collected from U.S. cattle producers to be used in the promotion of products derived specifically from cattle born, raised and slaughtered in the United States, said Leo McDonnell, USCA director emeritus and Columbus, Mont., rancher during a meeting in Lewistown, Mont., on Sept. 25.


A Hay Grower At Heart

A Hay Grower At Heart

Hay and Forage Grower

In the North American hay industry, Stan Steffen is best known for the baling equipment he’s designed over the last 30 years. Asian dairy and beef farmers know him for the compressed straw shipped to them each week.

But neither new equipment nor the intricacies of exporting straw captivate the 62-year-old farmer as much as alfalfa.

 “Alfalfa has always been my first love,” says Steffen. “It’s clean and green — I never get tired of alfalfa.

 “It’s also a stable commodity that’s going to be wanted for a long, long time. Alfalfa is used for horses, dairy and exports. And it’s sustainable; you don’t wear the ground out growing it.”

What keeps this grower challenged, he says, is not the growing, but the handling of the crop.