Daily Archives: October 22, 2007

Maintain Body Condition Between Calving and the Breeding Season

Maintain Body Condition Between Calving and the Breeding Season

 Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University

      Body condition score at calving is the single most important trait determining when a cow resumes heat cycles and therefore when she is likely to re-conceive for the next calf crop.  However, it is also very important to avoid condition loss between calving and the breeding season to maintain excellent rebreeding performance.


Baxter Black: The Powers of Regeneration

Baxter Black:  The Powers of Regeneration

Cattle Today

Every time I see a moose head mounted on somebody’s wall, I marvel at the size of their horns. They must weigh 40 pounds! It would be the equivalent of me wearing a cowboy hat made of cinder blocks. Night and day for months in a row.

What is even more amazing is that they shed these giant racks annually, take a few weeks off and then spend the next year growing them back!

The same thing applies to deer and elk, but for sheer mass of bone, the moose puts them to shame. Why is it that longhorn steers, wildebeest and pronghorn antelope don’t shed their horns? Are they shy? Is it a fashion consideration, a long-term commitment…do they need them year round to fight, dig roots, or write their name in the bark?

If you want to salute the king of regeneration, look at the lizard. He has the ability to lose his tail, have it broken off, and grow a new one back. Talk about commitment. That would be comparable to an elephant shedding his trunk and growing a new one!

October drought beef tips

October drought beef tips

by Rusty Evans

The Leaf Chronicle

The “Drought of ’07” has created extremely dry and hot conditions throughout all areas of the state. On Oct. 2, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed all of Tennessee was still rated from “Severe” to “Exceptional Drought” conditions.

All of east and middle Tennessee were in the “Exceptional Drought” rating. Areas west of the Tennessee River were rated extreme or severe.

Streams and springs that were considered “everlasting” have either “dried up” or are extremely low. The water table is low and the state is extremely behind on rainfall for several years, probably approaching an annual rainfall total.


Age Determination in Beef Cattle

Age Determination in Beef Cattle

Clyde D. Lane, Jr., Professor, Extension Animal Science-Beef, Sheep and Horse

Beef cattle depend on forages as their major source of nutrients. To be able to graze and physically break the roughage down into small particles, the animal’s teeth must be in good condition. The age of a beef animal has a direct effect on the animal’s teeth and subsequent productivity.

Being able to estimate an animal’s age is an important factor in making management decisions. The animal’s teeth are generally used as an indicator of age when actual birth dates are not available.


Extra income, extra worry with ‘value-added’ farms

Extra income, extra worry with ‘value-added’ farms

By Kenneth R. Fletcher

The Daily Times

ANNAPOLIS — Holly Foster spends her days shuttling to Pennsylvania for weekly cheese-making sessions with an Amish expert, then to farmer’s markets throughout Maryland to sell her gourmet cheeses like cave-aged Chapelle. Not bad for a farm mom who just a few years ago would not even venture from the family farm in Easton to the mall in Annapolis.

“It’s a real educational adventure,” said Foster, who traveled to California in 2002 to take a cheese-making course that would allow her family to pursue its dream of running a dairy farm.

The Fosters are among a group of Maryland farmers who have turned to value-added agriculture, a catch-all term includes any method that increases the value of a farm’s harvest. Orchards that make apple butter, vineyards that produce wine and farmers who label their product organic are all value-added operations.


The Rebel Cow Farmer

The Rebel Cow Farmer

Northern Express

Anne Stanton

Greg Niewendorp was a passing blip on the TV news last week, but it’s a blip that will likely balloon. Niewendorp has started a needed conversation about the industrialization of our food supply, and the liberties of people—both farmers and consumers—who don’t want to be part of it.

Last week, in an act of civil disobedience, Niewendorp forced the Michigan Department of Agriculture to obtain a search warrant before coming onto his farm to put radio frequency ID chips on his cattle and to test his cattle for bovine tuberculosis.


What about Grass Fed Beef?

What about Grass Fed Beef?

by John Robbins


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.

Feeding grain to cattle has got to be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization.

Cows, sheep, and other grazing animals are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which those of us who possess only one stomach cannot digest, into food that we can digest. They can do this because they are ruminants, which is to say that they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon (in the case of cows) fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats.

Traditionally, all beef was grassfed beef, but in the United States today what is commercially available is almost all feedlot beef. The reason? It’s faster, and so more profitable. Seventy-five years ago, steers were 4 or 5 years old at slaughter. Today, they are 14 or 16 months. You can’t take a beef calf from a birth weight of 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a little more than a year on grass. It takes enormous quantities of corn, protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.


USDA Purchases Electronic ID Tags To Advance Animal Disease Control Capability

USDA Purchases Electronic ID Tags To Advance Animal Disease Control Capability


WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2007–The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced contracts with three manufacturers to produce 1.5 million radio frequency identification ear tags that are compliant with National Animal Identification System standards. The combined cost of the contracts is $1.7 million. The ear tags will be used specifically for USDA state-federal cooperative disease control and eradication efforts, such as bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis and will be distributed in geographic areas which are determined to be of increased risk for disease outbreak or spread.


Carrying bowling balls

Carrying bowling balls

Salt Lake Tribune

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.

Bovine growth hormone is used by most of our dairy and beef producers. This product is sold to farmers under the name of POSILAC and is increasing the production of milk by 15 to 25 percent as well as increasing the growth and size of the beef cattle.

    It has many hazards. It makes the cows sick and sometimes the milk contains pus. It is chemically and nutritionally different than milk. It does not require labeling for any product in which it is used. It was developed in 1994 about the time the obesity rates began to rise in the United States. It has been proven to cause cancer in rats.


Help available through FSA programs for farmers hurt by drought conditions

Help available through FSA programs for farmers hurt by drought conditions


The Courier Times

There was some rain in Person County and other parts of North Carolina yesterday, but not enough to make a difference in the exceptional drought conditions facing most of the Tar Heel state.

Robert Satterfield of the Person County Farm Service Agency and county Cooperative Extension Service Director Derek Day said this week that farmers are hurting because of the dry conditions and crop losses, but there is some help available through FSA programs.


Observe Bulls Closely As Breeding Season Begins

Observe Bulls Closely As Breeding Season Begins


Breeding seasons for fall-calving herds will begin in late November and early December.  A good manager keeps an eye on his bulls during the breeding season to make sure that they are getting the cows inseminated.  Occasionally a bull that has passed a Breeding Soundness Exam may have difficulty serving cows in heat, especially after heavy service.  Breeding Soundness Exams cannot evaluate bull libido.  Such problems can best be detected by observing bulls while they work.  “Libido” or sex drive refers to the desire to mate and is thought to be a highly heritable trait in cattle. Remember that semen quality and scrotal circumference are not related to libido. Therefore, a bull that passes a Breeding Soundness Evaluation may have poor libido, or a bull with good libido may fail a Breeding Soundness Evaluation.


Seoul not to link rewriting of US beef import rules to FTA: agriculture minister

Seoul not to link rewriting of US beef import rules to FTA: agriculture minister

The Hankyoreh

South Korea’s top agriculture policymaker said Friday that there will be no linkage between plans to rewrite U.S. beef import rules with the ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) that was signed in late June. Agriculture Minister Im Sang-gyu told lawmakers that Seoul remained resolute on safeguarding public heath and determined to employ all scientific data to assess risks associated with American beef consumption. “Seoul has repeatedly made clear that it will approach the U.S


Market good for Clarke County cattle farmers

Market good for Clarke County cattle farmers

The Clarke County Democrat

Barry H. Hendrix

Dunagan of Coffeeville, president of the Clarke County Cattlemen’s Association. “I contribute a lot of it to these new type of dishes (which promote use of beef).”

Assessments under the program, which total about $45 million annually, are used to fund promotional campaigns and to conduct research studies in such areas as heart disease and dietary cholesterol, the role of beef in human diets, and the development of new low-fat, low-cholesterol beef products.


Five Minutes With Dr. James Marsden & That Nasty E. Coli Bug

Five Minutes With Dr. James Marsden & That Nasty E. Coli Bug


Dr. James Marsden is one of the foremost experts on E. coli 0157:H7 and the steps necessary to eradicate it.  He’s Kansas State University’s Regent’s Distinguished Professor of Meat Science and serves as the Associate Director of the school’s National Agriculture Biosecurity Center.

His research focus has been on the safety of meat products and methods to control the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef and other processed beef products. He’s the Senior Science Advisor for the North American Meat Processors Association and has been involved in food safety training for the meat industry. Dr. Marsden is the author of numerous publications and book chapters on food safety and quality and is the recipient of awards for research and teaching.

What all this means is when E. coli reared it’s nasty little head earlier this year, he got very busy.  His knowledge and advice was critical to an industry that thought it had come close to whipping the problem.  His phone rang off the hook.  His email address came close to a melt down.  It was an extremely serious problem and the industry came calling.


Alabama producers celebrate Beef Month

Alabama producers celebrate Beef Month

The Clarke County Democrat

October has been proclaimed Beef Month by Governor Bob Riley as he salutes the 25,000 cattle producers in Alabama. This is the 43rd consecutive year that Alabama’s Governor has made this proclamation for one of the state’s largest agricultural industries.

The beef cattle industry is one of the state’s largest industries, representing 23,000 cattle farms and a $3 billion industry. Alabama has more than 1,320,000 head of cattle and calves on Alabama farms and ranks 9th in the United States among all states in number of farms with beef cows during 2006. The cash receipts from the sale of cattle and calves in 2006 reached $469 million.

“I am a cattle producer and I enjoy serving delicious and nutritious beef meals to my family,” states Max Bozeman, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association president. “Join me in celebrating October Beef Month by serving delicious beef meals to your family,” Bozeman added.