Daily Archives: November 2, 2007

Grassley & Harkin expect challenges to proposed packer ownership ban

Grassley & Harkin expect challenges to proposed packer ownership ban

by Julie Harker

Brownfield Network

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley expects a serious effort on the Senate floor to strip the packer ownership ban from the ag committee’s farm bill. Grassley supports the ban but his major constituents in the livestock industry do not. He says a higher percentage of farmers now have contracts with certain packers, unlike five years ago, but the provision only affects ownership.

“I think that the packers may lead these farmers that have these contracts to believe that we’re affecting them. Even though it’s wrong, it could still make an impact in the Senate on peoples’ votes.”

Fellow Iowan and Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin says he’s not sure how the proposed packer ban will fare but he’ll fight to keep it.


Physiology of the Normal Estrous Cycle

Physiology of the Normal Estrous Cycle

Ropin’ the Web

This section describes the series of hormonal and physiological changes which occur during the cow’s normal estrous cycle. The estrous cycle in the cow averages 21 days in length, but can vary between 17 and 24 days and still be considered normal. The length of the estrous cycle is measured as the time between two consecutive estrus or heat periods. The physiological and hormonal changes which occur in the female over the estrous cycle prepare the reproductive tract for estrus (the period of sexual receptivity), ovulation (release of the egg) and implantation (attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterus).


Cure more dangerous than the disease

Cure more dangerous than the disease


Rutland Herald

I recently attended a meeting in Sheldon called “Planning to Survive an Agricultural Bio-Disaster.” It featured Dr. Steve van Wie, a retired veterinarian who had been sent to England during the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak, to help kill livestock.

We learned that if one infected animal is found in a herd, then all cows, goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas and pigs within a 6.2-mile radius (the “hot zone”) are automatically killed, even if they are healthy and disease-free. We were shown a film taken while Dr. van Wie was over there, documenting the horrors of this response to the disease: livestock were killed and left dead, in barns or in outside barnyards, for “two or three weeks” until disposal crews could reach them. Barns and outbuildings were burned to the ground, to kill the virus. Six and a half million animals were killed, and over 80 farmers committed suicide.


Texas A&M Researcher Honored by President Bush

Texas A&M Researcher Honored by President Bush

Cattle Today

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2007 – Texas A&M University researcher Sarah Brooks, whose research was funded by USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), received the 2006 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

“We congratulate Dr. Brooks for her accomplishments in agricultural research, which have helped agricultural producers understand and control atmospheric emissions,” said Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner. “She sets a good example not only through her research work, but also through her dedication to training and mentoring the next generation of scientists.”

Bale processing: Does it impact feed quality?

Bale processing: Does it impact feed quality?

Peace Country Sun

A recent study by Alberta Agriculture and Food indicates processing can impact both dry hay and silage bales.

“Round-bale processors are a commonly used as a feed deliver system in winter-feeding programs,” says Gordon Hutton, provincial forage industry specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Food, Airdrie.

“During bale processing, fines are generated. Feeds with a high portion of fines may be more susceptible to both high dry matter and nutrient losses when used in conjunction with ground-feeding systems.”


Scarcity of hay bales leading to concerns over cattle

Scarcity of hay bales leading to concerns over cattle

Jim Suhr

Springfield News-Leader

St. Louis — On his southern Illinois spread where some 450 cows and calves look to him for food, Dale Moreland finds disappointment the only thing that seems to be growing these days.

And his headaches are over hay.

The 55-year-old cattleman, like so many others in the Midwest and elsewhere, lament that the one-two punch of a spring freeze and months of drought has savaged his hay crops and kept pastures from greening, forcing producers to tap hay stockpiles months earlier than usual.


Cattle deaths illustrate importance of care when making feed changes

Cattle deaths illustrate importance of care when making feed changes

Susan A. Steeves

Purdue News Service/Rushville Republican

WEST LAFAYETTE — Twelve cattle on a southern Indiana farm died of a condition called grain overload, which caused acute rumen acidosis, according preliminary findings of Purdue University veterinarians.

Tests were run on one of the 12 animals that died last week after they consumed an excessive amount of soybeans, a feed which they didn’t normally eat, said Duane Murphy, co-director of the Heeke Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the Southern Indiana-Purdue Agricultural Center. Further tests were being run at another facility, and the final report is expected in several weeks.


Baxter Black: Selling the Show Steer

Baxter Black:  Selling the Show Steer

by: Baxter Black, DVM

In the month before our county fair, our mail box is filled with letters from 4-H kids inviting us to the fair and to take a look at their show animals, i.e., “I’m in the 6th grade, my second year in 4-H in the beef project, and I love it! My steer’s name is Chipper, come take a look at him. Sincerely,…”

Coincidentally, I received a copy of a Letter to the Editor, in another town that said, and I paraphrase, “…desensitizing children (emotional manipulation) to betray the animal’s trust by raising it, then sending it for slaughter is animal cruelty and a sad commentary that we encourage that dichotomy of thought in young people.”


Bull Selection Indices

Bull Selection Indices


Selection indices are based on multiple traits weighted for economic importance, heritability (the proportion of the differences among cattle that is transmitted to their offspring), and genetic associations among traits. In other words, a selection index is a selection tool that accounts for both biological production levels and economics.

Selection indices are expressed in dollars per head. A selection index may provide a balanced selection approach when selecting for more than one trait at a time. Yet, when using a selection index, it is valuable to know the traits comprising the selection index and the relative emphasis placed on these traits within the index calculation. Definitions of specific selection indices are available from the respective breed associations.


National Stocker Survey is underway

National Stocker Survey is underway

Joe Roybal, Beef Magazine

BEEF editors are excited about the magazine’s latest venture into better serving the stocker/backgrounder segment of the U.S. beef industry. In cooperation with 12 land-grant universities, BEEF magazine is conducting the first-of-its-kind National Stocker Survey.

The results from the survey will be used by universities, industry leaders and allied industry to guide their activities and investments in programs, products and research focused on the needs and concerns of stockers and backgrounders, says Dale Blasi, the Kansas State University (KSU) stocker specialist who is coordinating the effort with other universities.


Agriculture: Where’s the beef?

Agriculture: Where’s the beef?

Technology deployed to help track cattle

By Wilson P. Dizard III

Government Computer News

The Agriculture Department is paving the way for a national communications network that would monitor the flow of beef from field to supermarket and register cattle facilities online via existing commercial tools.

The campaign to convince cattlemen, feedlot owners, meat packers, veterinarians and other organizations in the supply chain to register their premises is operated by a federally selected nonprofit group Agriculture has funded to choose and pay a prime contractor to run the project.

The prime contractor, Integrated Management Information, also known as IMI Global, is an established vendor of online services to the cattle industry. Under the agreement announced today, IMI Global will become the prime contractor for the National Animal Identification System, a program designed to register premises as well as identify and trace animals in the event of disease outbreak.


The Cow-Calf Manager: Water – Amount and Quality Critical for Cattle

The Cow-Calf Manager: Water – Amount and Quality Critical for Cattle

Dr. John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

As the drought continues in Virginia, our attention has turn from feed to water.  Many counties are reporting at least some of their producers hauling water to cattle.  Hauling water is an expensive and laborious chore.  Be careful that you are not spending more money on hauling water than the value of the cow warrants.

Quantity of Water

Water is the most essential nutrient for life.  Cattle can live for many days or a few weeks without food, but will die within a few days without water.  Water needs to be fresh, clean and plentiful to ensure maximum intake.  Temperature of the water does not seem to affect cattle very much. Research indicates that cattle readily drink water that is 40 – 90° F.  Water intake will vary with environmental temperature and dryness of the feed.  Cows eating lush grass on a cool spring day will drink much less water than cows grazing the same field in the middle of summer. Water requirements for cattle are given in Table 1.  A good rule of thumb is cattle need 1.5 gallon for every 100 lbs of body weight.


Matching Your Cattle To A System

Matching Your Cattle To A System


Most ranches, because of differences in calving date and genetic capability of each calf, have three or more groups of calves which probably should be placed in different systems following weaning. Typically, the heavier, larger-framed steers are best suited for systems such as growing or fast track. Medium-framed steer calves fit well in growing systems which allow steer to grow while not becoming fleshy.


Ol’ McDonald had a Farm (Bill)

Ol’ McDonald had a Farm (Bill)

Triple Pundit

For most of this year, Congress has been debating what to include in the 2007 Farm Bill, but there is still time for you to contact your legislators and have an influence. This opportunity to shape what food is grown, how it is grown, who grows it, and who can afford to eat it only comes around once every 5 years! Farm Bill policy is controversial and it helps to understand why. Food & Water Watch’s Farm Bill 101 provides an easy-to-read 1-page history of the development of farm bill policy.

It is important to understand the difference between “commodity” crops (corn, wheat, oats, rice, cotton, soybeans) and “specialty” crops (fruits and vegetables). For many years, the farm bill has provided loans and subsidies for commodity crops that are not available for specialty crops. These commodity crop subsidies are the source of many years of farm bill controversy.


Midwest cattlemen battling hay shortages

Midwest cattlemen battling hay shortages


The Wichita Eagle

ST. LOUIS – On his southern Illinois spread, where some 450 cows look to him for food, the only thing that seems to be growing these days are Dale Moreland’s headaches over hay.

The 55-year-old cattleman, like others in the Midwest and beyond, has been hurt by a one-two punch of a spring freeze and months of drought. They have savaged hay crops and kept pastures from greening, forcing producers to tap hay stockpiles months earlier than usual.


Beef industry seminar set for Nov. 27 in Rapid City

Beef industry seminar set for Nov. 27 in Rapid City

The Daily Republic

The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service will host a beef industry seminar Nov. 27 in Rapid City.

The one-day program was originally planned for August but was rescheduled.

The project is entitled “Corn, Cattle and Energy: Developing Successful Strategies for Managing Your Beef Cattle Operation in an Ethanol World,” and will begin at 10 a.m. at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn, 505 N. Fifth St., Rapid City.