Daily Archives: October 24, 2007

Cow Numbers, Beef Demand Or Washington D.C.?

Cow Numbers, Beef Demand Or Washington D.C.?

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

In the past, if you asked me which factor is the most important in determining profitability in the cow/calf sector, I would have said supply and demand. If asked the question today, I would probably answer it the same way, but with hesitation. I certainly wouldn’t call it a positive development, but the role of government is becoming increasingly important.


Offset Potential Problems by Knowing and Planning

Offset Potential Problems by Knowing and Planning

by: Stephen B. Blezinger, Ph.D, PAS

Part 2

Solving problems – seems like we all spend a lot of our time in this pursuit. There have been countless books written on the subject. Techniques developed and applied by companies and universities and individuals. There are a lot of good strategies to use but there is only one that is truly effective – yours. In the last issue, we talked about the origins of a lot of the problems we see on the farm and how to begin working through these issues. In the second part of this series we will talk about things that can be done preemptively to prevent some of this from happening or make the solutions easier when problems do arise.


Regulating Grass-Fed Beef: New Labeling and the Rangeland Debate

Regulating Grass-Fed Beef: New Labeling and the Rangeland Debate

By Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel

New West

As Hollywood starlets and organic farmers know all too well, popularity often leads to labeling. Soon grass-fed beef will join the list of labels dotting our food. Starting November 15th, the USDA will require grass-fed beef to be labeled and defined as meat that comes from animals who ate nothing but grass after being weaned.


Grassland conference to feature farmers and how they make money from livestock

Grassland conference to feature farmers and how they make money from livestock

Midwest Messenger

Columbia, Mo. – The annual meeting of the Missouri Forage and Grasslands Council is “not just another plain old meeting,” said Eric Bright, a pasture-based dairy producer from Bucklin, Mo.

 “Farmers come up with alternative ways to do things in a profitable way. It gets people to thinking,” said Bright, president of the council. “There is always something different.”

The group’s conference is Nov. 5-6 at The Resort at Port Arrowhead in Lake Ozark, Mo. The meeting is open to members and non-members.

Designing A Health Program For Early Weaned Calves

Designing A Health Program For Early Weaned Calves


The proper health program for early weaned calves will differ from one ranch or feedlot to the next. Producers should work with their local veterinarian to be sure the health and vaccination program they have in place is adequate for the disease challenges early weaned calves face. In cases where weaning is done at a very young age, the calves still have some immunity from colostrum. The health program should include emphasis on vaccinations, parasite control (internal parasites, external parasites, and coccidia), and a treatment protocol for sick calves.


McDonagh Joins Ultimate Genetics Staff

McDonagh Joins Ultimate Genetics Staff

Cattle Today

A cutting edge bovine reproduction company Ultimate Genetics, LLC. Wheelock, Texas, has recently hired a Director of Research and Technology.

Dr Melissa McDonagh joined Ultimate Genetics staff in October 2007. Dr. McDonagh is charged with the administration of all current and future research projects for Ultimate Genetics.

“The beef and dairy industry are demanding more and more toward stabilizing reproduction technologies. All of the top seed stock producers today utilize artificial insemination and embryo transfer. Ultimate Genetics is committed in staying in the forefront of new technologies regarding bovine reproduction. We are devoting tremendous resources, toward finding breakthroughs in new techniques and procedures geared around improving efficiencies through new reproductive technologies.


Beauty and the Beef

Beauty and the Beef

Sarah Olson


In the spirit of Halloween, it seems only appropriate that the topic of conversation should turn to bones and skeletons. Historically, from as early as ancient Egyptian times, charred bones have been used in many applications – anything from pigmentation to mouthwash. Now, they’ve made their way to the modern day cosmetic industry.

The FDA recently approved the use of “Bone Black,” or D&C Black No. 3, for use in mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner and face powder. “Bone Black” derives its name from its source – namely, carbonized cattle bones.

Before its FDA approval, black iron oxides were the only black pigment available for cosmetic companies. Now, “Bone Black” provides a low oil-absorption, matte finish alternative. Before its inception to the cosmetic industry, it served as pigment for a number of household applications, such as wood stains, colored plastics and paints.


Nevil Speer – Food Companies, Beef Recalls, E.Coli, Organic

Nevil Speer – Food Companies, Beef Recalls, E.Coli, Organic 


What is the deal with all these food companies and these recalls?  Do I need to worry more now about E. coli then before?  How do you get bad pot pies?   Is this going to become an epidemic?  Are the Chinese involved?  Would it be better if I switched to eating everything organic?

Question from Tom Katsenes, Phoenix, Arizona

The rash of recalls in recent weeks has consumers increasingly concerned about the food products which they purchase.  That’s understandable; it’s disconcerting to learn about potential problems, be it E. coli in hamburger or Salmonella in turkey pot pies.   Even more troubling for the food industry and its customers, those issues come on the heels of several major problems during the past year ranging from peanut butter to lettuce to pet food to children’s toys. 

Those situations have led consumers to become increasingly mindful of their purchases and pressing the food industry to respond accordingly.  Case in point:  a recent Zogby poll (4,508 adults) indicated 85% of respondents desire information about the origin of food products.   Drilling down through the headlines reveals some especially interesting trends: namely, the intentionality among consumers relative to reading labels – nearly half of all respondents indicated they look at product labels either all or most of the time (and an additional third reported checking at least occasionally).    Further evidence of recent shifts in buying habits is revealed by the significant growth trend in organic sales.    FMI/Nielsen data indicates a 25% increase in category sales during the past year (from $2.86 billion to $3.58 billion). 


Westminster resident gives $100,000 to South Carolina 4-H

Westminster resident gives $100,000 to South Carolina 4-H


CLEMSON — A former 4-H’er from Westminster has donated $100,000 to Clemson University to help establish a 4-H leadership camp focused on beef cattle.

Pauline Thrift gave the money to the Clemson University Foundation in memory of her late husband to create the Wayne G. Thrift 4-H Beef Leadership Memorial Endowment. This is the largest private gift ever given for South Carolina 4-H designated for animal and beef related projects.


Columbiana couple raise curious herd

Columbiana couple raise curious herd


Shelby County Reporter

COLUMBIANA – Neighbors might remember the day a man drove his Mule down Highway 70, dangling a white feed bucket behind him. Those stopped in traffic both ways, along with the Columbiana Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and State Highway Patrol, had an up close view of Glynn Durrett Jr. luring a line of buffalo back home.

Curiosity and a desire to fill free time after retiring from the Fairfield Fire Department led Durrett to buy some bison and create his own home sweet home on the range – 32 acres in Columbiana, that is.


CBW Exclusive: U.S. beef exports to S. Korea not likely before 2008

CBW Exclusive: U.S. beef exports to S. Korea not likely before 2008

By Steve Kay, Cattle Buyers Weekly


PETALUMA, CALIF. – U.S. beef is unlikely to regain entry to South Korea until early 2008. Expanded access to the Japanese market is also likely to be delayed until then. That is the reality facing the U.S. industry as negotiations with both countries on new import rules have made little progress.

South Korea will maintain its suspension of quarantine inspection of U.S. beef until it agrees to new protocols, but talks between the two countries have reached another impasse. South Korea is insisting on maintaining an under 30-month age restriction on U.S. beef. No more formal talks are planned until after South Korea’s general election on Dec 19.


Bigger, riskier plants to get more frequent E. coli checks

Bigger, riskier plants to get more frequent E. coli checks

By Julie Schmit,


Federal regulators said Tuesday they’ll inspect meat from bigger and riskier plants more often to try to reverse rising E. coli outbreaks in hamburger.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also reiterated new plans to check that plants have good E. coli controls and to call for some meat recalls more quickly.

The USDA’s efforts follow an increase in meat recalls because of contamination with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria, including the second-biggest recall ever for hamburger in September by Topps Meat, and a rise in E. coli-positive tests from ground beef plants this year.

USDA officials said in a press briefing that Topps had stopped following some safety procedures before the E. coli outbreak and the recall of 21.7 million pounds of hamburger.


Bull Selection Goals

Bull Selection Goals


Different cow-calf operations have different goals and different resources. Yet bull selection goals for any cow-calf herd should target an acceptable combination of traits that complement the strengths and weaknesses of the cow herd and match target markets. When selecting a bull, consider the needs of the cow herd. Ask questions that will help match a bull to the cow herd. Do weaning weights need to be improved? If so, growth performance is a priority in the selection process. Does calf crop color uniformity need improvement? If so, color pattern inheritance is an important consideration in bull selection. Will the bull be bred to heifers and is limited labor available to assist with calving? If either is the case, calving ease is a priority. Are there plans to retain ownership of calves beyond the feedlot and market them on a value-based pricing grid? If so, attention needs to focus on yearling weights and carcass traits in selecting breeding animals.


GAO Letter Report on USDA / NAIS:

GAO Letter Report on USDA / NAIS:

90-page “Letter Report” receives analysis

Magic City Morning Star

I’ve carefully analyzed the 90-page GAO report: “Report to the Chairman, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, U.S. Senate: NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM – USDA Needs to Resolve Several Key Implementation Issues to Achieve Rapid and Effective Disease Traceback.”

The following should be of substantial interest to all that own animals and/or property. Like “voluntary compliance,” “voluntary until mandatory” is the agenda.

There is no “opt out.”

Premises registration equates to giving up one’s ability to allow or deny access to private property. Premises registration effectively reduces property owners to tenants, with the USDA and its partners as the landlords, landlords that may enter any part of your property to “inspect” with no advance notice.


Cattle Industry assessment referendum vote will be Nov. 14

Cattle Industry assessment referendum vote will be Nov. 14


The North Carolina Cattle Industry assessment referendum vote will be Nov. 14. The county extension offices will serve as polling places across the state.

All N.C. cattle owners over the age of 18, as of Nov. 14, 2007, are eligible to vote during the regular business hours of their local county office of the Cooperative Extension Service.

Bundy Plyler, executive director of the N.C. Cattlemen’s Association, said that the referendum language will be to assess all cattle $1 per head for the purposes of promoting the cattle industry in North Carolina.


Beef cattle production sale set for Nov. 15

Beef cattle production sale set for Nov. 15

Delta Farm Press

Top quality beef animals will move through the auction ring Nov. 15 as Mississippi State University plans to market 84 lots of bulls and heifers from the research cattle herds to the highest bidders.

The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences will host the 25th annual Livestock Production Sale at the Mississippi Horse Park, which is located on Poorhouse Road south of Starkville, Miss.

Interactive video bidding during the sale will take place at the Forrest County Extension office in Hattiesburg, Miss., and the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, Miss.

Lunch will be served at noon, and the sale will begin at 1 p.m.

Four select females from the purebred Angus and Charolais herds as well as 44 bred, commercial heifers from the MAFES research farms in Starkville, Raymond, Newton and Prairie will be sold with calving dates beginning in February. In addition to the heifers, 36 coming 2-year-old and yearling angus, charolais and hereford bulls will be marketed.


Al Gore Nobel Peace Prize Winner!

Al Gore Nobel Peace Prize Winner!

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

If you ever needed proof of the public relations campaign being waged over global warming and the environment, all you have to do is look at the recent list of awards garnered by Al Gore.

Some political pundits dismiss the attempts to make Gore’s efforts look heroic despite the lack of scientific foundation as merely left-wing activism. They point out that two major criteria to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in recent years is to be anti-Bush or anti-American and liberal in one’s political leanings. Recent winners have far less to do with peace than they do in representing a certain ideology and worldview. I would argue this goes far deeper than just political correctness run amok.


The American Way of Beef

The American Way of Beef

by Nathan Deuel

The Atlantic

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.

These days, the thought of ingesting hamburger gives many people pause. Massive beef recalls and books like Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation have impressed upon readers’ minds the image of the modern beef cow, packed tightly in an enormous feedlot, standing in a cesspool of its brethren’s manure as it gorges itself on an excessively medicated mix of corn and rendered animal protein. Although livestock diseases have devastated farms in Europe, American factory farming has earned an especially bad name for its carelessness and inhumanity. As B. R. Myers wrote in his May 2005 Atlantic piece “If Pigs Could Swim,” “Livestock are treated better in Europe because Europeans want them treated better. They are treated worse here because we hardly think of them at all. It’s as simple as that.”