Daily Archives: October 29, 2007

BeefTalk: Buy a Scale

BeefTalk: Buy a Scale

Preweaning Benchmarks Preweaning Benchmarks

Now is a good time to think through just what generates dollars in the beef business.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

The beef industry has been producing beef since the first two cows were domesticated. We hope one cow produced a heifer to be kept as a replacement and the other cow produced a bull calf suitable for harvest.

In the early days, calf size would have been noticed, if for nothing else, because of the number of people who could be invited over for pot roast. Through the years, weight and frame still remain critical to the success of a commercial beef operation.

Through time, calves and cows got bigger in weight, muscle and frame. The current benchmarks for those who use the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association CHAPS program would suggest that a typical cow would weigh 1,413 pounds and have a 5.5 frame score.


Light Frosts May Add Prussic Acid Problems To Nitrate Toxicity Concerns

Light Frosts May Add Prussic Acid Problems To Nitrate Toxicity Concerns


Prussic acid when ingested by cattle, is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, and blocks the animal’s cells from utilizing oxygen.  Thus the animal dies from asphyxiation at the cellular level.  Animals affected by prussic acid poisoning exhibit a characteristic bright red blood just prior to and during death.  Lush young regrowth of sorghum plants are prone to accumulate prussic acid especially when the plants are stressed such as drought or freeze damage.  Several nights have recently reached the freezing mark.  Light frosts, that stress the plant but do not kill it, are often associated with prussic acid poisonings.  Producers should avoid grazing fields with sorghum type plants following a light frost.  The risk of prussic acid poisoning will be reduced, if grazing is delayed until at least one week after a “killing freeze”. 


Abortions in beef cattle: Checking out those open cows

Abortions in beef cattle: Checking out those open cows

By CARL DAHLEN, U of M Beef Team

Minnesota Farm Guide

This time of year many exciting events are happening in the cow-calf world; bringing cows back from pasture, weaning, bunk-breaking, marketing calves, breaking into the winter feed supplies, and preg checking.

A question that remains in the minds of many producers after a pregnancy diagnosis is, “What happened to those open cows; why did they not become pregnant?” While 6-12 percent of cows will normally be open at this time, the reason for greater numbers of open cows needs to be closely examined.

Once bull fertility, nutrition, environment, and other obvious answers to infertility have been ruled out, it may be time to explore the possibility of abortions.


Livestock group opinions vary on proposed packer ban

Livestock group opinions vary on proposed packer ban

by Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

So is the proposed packer ban included in the farm bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee Thursday good bad or ugly? It depends on just who you ask.

The Senate Ag Committee’s ban would prohibit packer ownership of livestock more than 14 days before slaughter. The National Pork Producers Council in a press release called that provision “ugly.”

Nebraska Cattlemen Executive Vice President Mike Kelsey won’t go that far. But Kelsey pointed out cattlemen are increasingly producing beef for the natural and organic markets, and under contracts that could be seen as conferring ownership to cattle. Kelsey told Brownfield that’s why Nebraska Cattlemen are concerned about the packer ban language.


Creator of Swift value-based grid knows cattle and customers

Creator of Swift value-based grid knows cattle and customers


The Prairie Star

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tim Schiefelbein is one of the few livestock operators in the country who are able to bridge the communication gap between packer and producer.

He not only works as a Swift value-based procurement manager in Greeley, Colo., he was formerly the head live cattle buyer. With a viewpoint of an insider, he knows what the packers want and also knows what do-mestic and international customers are looking for when they buy beef.

In fact, Schiefelbein was the creator of the Swift value-based grid that formed the blueprint for the grids widely used today throughout the packing industry.


Proper Cow Culling Is Important To Your Business

Proper Cow Culling Is Important To Your Business


Cull cows represent approximately 20% of the gross income of any commercial cow operation.  Cull beef cows represent 10% of the beef that is consumed in the United States.  Therefore Oklahoma ranchers need to make certain that cow culling is done properly and profitably.  Selling cull cows when they will return the most income to the rancher requires knowledge about cull cow health and body condition.  Proper cow culling will reduce the chance that a cow carcass is condemned at the packing plant and becomes a money drain for the entire beef industry.


Livestock slaughter – Veal production sets all time record low

Livestock slaughter – Veal production sets all time record low

North Texas e-news

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 3.86 billion pounds in September, down 2 percent from the 3.95 billion pounds produced in September 2006.

Beef production, at 2.09 billion pounds, was 3 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.67 million head, down 4 percent from September 2006. The average live weight was up 5 pounds from the previous year, at 1,290 pounds.