Monthly Archives: October 2007

Foot-and-mouth summit set for Dec. 12

Foot-and-mouth summit set for Dec. 12

Montana State University

BOZEMAN — A six-state summit to address the threat of foot-and-mouth disease will be held Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.

The free, all-day summit is open to anyone from Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Colorado. It will be presented by the Montana Beef Council and the Montana Beef Quality Assurance program at Montana State University.

Foot-and-mouth disease, also called FMD, is a severe, highly communicable viral disease for cattle and swine. It can cause severe losses in meat and milk production. It is characterized by fever and blister-like lesions followed by erosions on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between hooves. The disease can also infect sheep, goats, deer and other animals with cloven hooves, but it is not recognized as a human disease. The United States has been free of foot-and-mouth disease since 1929, but summit organizers said a 2001 outbreak in Great Britain showed that the disease can spread widely and rapidly.

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Cattle genetics have changed and backgrounders may need to react.

Cattle genetics have changed and backgrounders may need to react.

Cattle Today

Frank Brazle, retired Kansas State University Extension beef specialist, has studied the stocker industry for more than 30 years.

“There used to be just acres and acres of light-weight cattle, and they had to be backgrounded,” he says. “The cows didn’t milk as well and the calves didn’t have the growth.”

Now most of those lighter calves are specific to the “fescue belt”—from southeast Kansas to the southern Appalachians—where endophyte fungus can retard milk production. Otherwise, calves are coming off the cow weighing more than ever before, says Brazle.

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Make sure alternative forages contain adequate nutrients

Make sure alternative forages contain adequate nutrients

AG Professional

WOOSTER, Ohio — For livestock producers facing hay shortages this winter, finding alternative forages is not as much of a challenge as providing feed sources with adequate protein and energy for overall ruminant health.

Francis Fluharty, an Ohio State University animal sciences researcher, said that maintaining a high-protein, high-energy combination can be achieved. It just takes a bit of juggling to get the right nutrient balance.

“We have several sources of alternative high-energy feeds such as corn, distillers grains and pelleted soybean hulls. However, the prices of these are going up rapidly. Additionally, many producers do not have the facilities to store distillers grains or soybean hulls,” said Fluharty, with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “This has led many people to turn to corn stover or even soybean stubble bales as a primary source of feed. However, neither is high in protein, so a readily digestible protein source must be supplemented if these feeds will be used.”

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USDA Grass-Fed Beef Label in the Works

USDA Grass-Fed Beef Label in the Works

by Union of Concerned Scientists

Tree Hugger

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.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced new rules for labeling meat from grass-fed livestock. The rules stipulate that meat labeled “grass fed” must come from animals fed solely on grasses, hay and other non-grain vegetation.

This label will help consumers choose meat from ‘smart pasture operations’ that are better for the environment. Unlike massive confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), these farms use sophisticated land management practices to maximize productivity without despoiling our air, water and soil.

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Are rising obesity rates linked to U.S. farm aid?

Are rising obesity rates linked to U.S. farm aid?

Free Republic

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.

WASHINGTON — If you’re feeling fat these days, blame Congress.

That’s just what the nation’s doctors are doing, saying that federal lawmakers are responsible for the fact that a salad costs so much more than a Big Mac.

Hoping to produce thinner waistlines, many doctors — including the American Medical Association — want Congress to stop subsidizing the production of foods that are high in fat and cholesterol and spend more to promote fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains that are not.

Farm Belt lawmakers are on the defensive.

“I agree that obesity and health are serious issues in America today,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “However, blaming the cause on the crops that we grow in Kansas and/or the U.S. farm program is overlooking the personal responsibility we all have in our daily lives and diets.”

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Bush to urge Fukuda to abolish age limit on beef imports: official

Bush to urge Fukuda to abolish age limit on beef imports: official

KYODO NEWS

     U.S. President George W. Bush will urge Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda during their planned talks next month to repeal the age limit on U.S. beef imports, Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner said Monday.

     ”We’re going to continue to press this point,” Conner told reporters after a speech in Washington, stressing that it is taking ”too long” to resolve the bilateral beef trade row stemming from Japanese fears of mad cow disease.

     ”We’re frustrated,” he said.

     Japan limits U.S. beef imports to meat coming from cattle aged 20 months or younger. Since June, the two countries have held talks on easing Japan’s beef import terms for U.S. beef. Tokyo is considering raising the limit to cattle aged 30 months or younger.

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Fall Beef Cattle Nutrition Meetings Set

Fall Beef Cattle Nutrition Meetings Set     

            Tom J Bechman

Indiana Prairie Farmer

The shortage of hay and high hay prices has evolved into a crisis on some Indiana livestock farms, especially those with beef cattle. Feeding $6 plus small square bales hay to mature beef cattle is a no-win proposition, but the real kicker is that there isn’t a lot of hay out there to find anyway. As cattlemen turn to other forages, including low-quality grasses and corn stalks, specialists advise they make sure they understand that extra supplementation with minerals or other feedstuffs may be necessary.

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Drought Hurts Cattle Supply, Beef Prices

Drought Hurts Cattle Supply, Beef Prices

By TIM HUBER AP Business Writer

Houston Chronicle

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An intense drought that scorched the Southeast this year is going to cost Americans at the meat counter.

Weather wiped out hay crops across the region, forcing cattlemen from West Virginia to Alabama and from Maryland to Kentucky to sell large numbers of current and future breeding stock this fall. The region produces some 30 percent of the calves sent to U.S. feedlots and experts predict it will take three years or more for the nation’s beef supply to recover.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t keep regional statistics, market reports for Southeastern states show higher numbers of cattle are going to market this fall.

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Groups sue to block expanded import of Canadian cattle

Groups sue to block expanded import of Canadian cattle

International Herald Tribune

PIERRE, South Dakota: Cattlemen and other groups worried about the risk of mad cow disease have asked a federal judge to stop the U.S. Agriculture Department from relaxing rules on Canadian cattle imports into the United States.

The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in South Dakota, seeks to block an Agriculture Department rule change announced in September that would allow the import of Canadian cattle older than 30 months into the U.S. starting Nov. 19. Live cattle under the age of 30 months have been allowed to move across the border since July 2005.

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Livestock compensation program signup begins

Livestock compensation program signup begins

Chippewa.com

For the Herald – The Agricultural Assistance Act of 2007 authorized the disaster assistance programs of Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Livestock Compensation Program (LCP), Crop Disaster Program (CDP), and the Dairy Disaster Assistance Program (DDAP) which are available to Chippewa County farmers.

The LIP program reimburses livestock producers for commercial livestock mortality that can be directly attributed to natural disasters that occurred from Jan. 1, 2005 and Feb. 28. Eligible livestock for LIP include dairy cattle, beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, catfish, crawfish, equine, sheep, goats, swine, poultry or deer. Payments will be determined based on commercial market value of the livestock on the day before the date of death.

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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.

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Light Frosts May Add Prussic Acid Problems To Nitrate Toxicity Concerns

Light Frosts May Add Prussic Acid Problems To Nitrate Toxicity Concerns

Cattlenetwork.com

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”. 

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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.

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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.

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Creator of Swift value-based grid knows cattle and customers

Creator of Swift value-based grid knows cattle and customers

By SUE ROESLER

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.

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Proper Cow Culling Is Important To Your Business

Proper Cow Culling Is Important To Your Business

Cattlenetwork.com

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.

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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.

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Different hays have different values and purpose

Different hays have different values and purpose

By Joe Benton

News-Star.com

Q:Which Hay Fits Where?

 A:Hay is the single most important source of supplemental energy in cow operations. A well thought out hay program should utilize the strengths of the hay supply in order to match hay resources with cow requirements as requirements change with weather and stage of production. The following discussion will try to categorize hays according to their most logical use during the winter.

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2008 National Beef Ambassadors announced; N.M. candidate 3rd

2008 National Beef Ambassadors announced; N.M. candidate 3rd

The Current-Argus

Leticia Varelas of Hope, New Mexico attended the 2008 National Beef Ambassador Competition held in New Orleans, LA on Oct. 18-20. Varelas received third place and was selected as one of the five National Beef Ambassadors with her presentation titled: An Agri-Carol: The Past, Present and Future of the Beef Industry.

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Which hay fits where? How to best utilize strengths of hay

Which hay fits where? How to best utilize strengths of hay

News-Star.com

Hay is the single most important source of supplemental energy in cow operations. A well thought out hay program should utilize the strengths of the hay supply in order to match hay resources with cow requirements as requirements change with weather and stage of production.

The following discussion will try to categorize hays according to their most logical use during the winter.

FULL STORY