Daily Archives: November 13, 2007

Group Effort Yields Successful Tennessee Hereford Sale

Group Effort Yields Successful Tennessee Hereford Sale

KANSAS CITY, Mo – One thousand and eight head of age, source and health verified Herefords and Hereford-crosses brought $55,000 in premiums for more than 75 consignors to the 9th Annual Tennessee Hereford Marketing Program Sale October 29. The Certified Hereford Beef® (CHB) and Hereford Verified eligible calves from seven states – Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee – were sold at the Tennessee Livestock producers’ Barn in Columbia, TN.

A University of Tennessee analysis revealed that compared to the week’s Tennessee auction average, some consignors earned on average, an additional $69.15 per head by participating in organized marketing efforts, bringing together the numbers and verification that feeders demand.

Headed by the Tennessee Horned and Polled Hereford Associations, and backed by a strong team of representatives from this year’s seven consigning states, the sale has met and far exceeded its initial goal: to obtain the quoted average price of all cattle seeing in auctions across the state of Tennessee.

John Woolfolk, newly elected American Hereford Association (AHA) board member, Hereford breeder and Marketing Specialist for Tennessee Livestock Producers said that these Hereford cattle topped the Tennessee sales for the week because they were part of a program.

“These cattle were feedlot ready. Our producers listened to what the feeders demanded in a health program and weaned the calves and gave the proper shots weeks before the sale. We limited the number of problem cattle like late cuts, poor doers and sick cattle. We sorted the calves into feeding outcome groups and created invaluable uniformity.”

Woolfolk added that a key point to the sales success was a group effort by everybody involved. He said that the producers, Merial Animal Health, The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, The University of Tennessee and the American Hereford Association all exhibited a spirit of cooperation with their minds all focused on the feedlot customer. This year’s sale drew buyers from as far away as Iowa and Kansas.


Coping with the Criminalization of Livestock Production

Coping with the Criminalization of Livestock Production

Mark W. Jenner, Ph.D.,Economist and Commodity Policy Specialist

American Farm Bureau Federation

Commercial livestock facilities have grown in size and concentration, and so has the size of their waste streams. This has created both legitimate and perceived fears about livestock facilities. Environmental concerns revolve around nutrients, pathogens and odors. The common denominator of these environmental concerns is manure. Weaknesses of the current environmental strategies are assessed and a new policy strategy is developed which will move animal agriculture out from under an environmental attack into a revenue-driven, socially-acceptable commercial animal production paradigm.

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes continued improvements in water quality by agriculture, EPA continues to layer program upon program on agriculture. Current EPA initiatives tighten industrial storm water regulations, generate arbitrary Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL’s), implicate livestock in contributing to the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico (without knowing what causes it), implicate livestock in contributing to pfiesteria, (without knowing if nutrients contribute to pfiesteria outbreaks), expand the national non-point source strategy (as they acknowledge improvements are already being made), reinforce Section 401 certification (Clean Water Act), intensify enforcement of confined animal feeding operations, and increase enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water Act.


Edible Covers for Bunker Silos

Edible Covers for Bunker Silos

Larry L. Berger Ph.D, Nathan Pyatt Ph.D., and Jason Sewell M.S.

University of Illinois


Bunker silos and drive-over piles offer several advantages for large dairies and feedlots. Low initial cost, low maintenance, high storage capacity, and rapid filling are common advantages over upright silos or silo bags. However, proper management of these structures is key to optimizing forage preservation and animal productivity.

Covering the bunker or drive-over pile shortly after filling the silo is an essential step to proper preservation. Bolsen et al., (1993) reported that dry matter losses in the top 1 to 3 ft. can exceed 50% when the silo is not properly covered. Plastic film and tires are the most common method of covering most large silos. However, this method has several disadvantages. First, several people are required to cover most large silos with plastic and tires. Labor is also required to remove the plastic and tires. Secondly, proper disposal of the plastic is a real concern in many states. Split tires are often required because whole tires make excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes, thus increasing the risk of West Niles virus. Finally, deer, raccoons, and vermin can tear the plastic allowing air to penetrate increasing localized spoilage. Holthaus et al., (1995) reported that organic matter losses in the top 18 inches of silos covered with plastic and tires averaged approximately 25%.


The Advantages of Using Corn Distillers Grains with Solubles in Finishing Beef Cattle Diets

The Advantages of Using Corn Distillers Grains with Solubles in Finishing Beef Cattle Diets

Allen Trenkle, Department of Animal Science

Wet corn distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) is an excellent feed for finishing cattle Research at Iowa State University as well as other universities has shown that WDGS can be added to corn-based rations for finishing cattle at levels ranging from 10 to 40% of total ration dry matter. WDGS is palatable and readily consumed by cattle. Because the concentration of starch is less than corn grain, WDGS is less likely to cause subacute acidosis in cattle fed lowroughage rations. Quality and yield grades of carcasses from cattle fed WDGS are similar to those fed corn grain. Feeding WDGS did not change sensory values of steaks. When added at levels ranging from 10 to 25% of ration dry matter, WDGS has greater apparent energy value than corn grain. When used to replace part of the corn and supplemental protein, WDGS improves feed conversion and reduces feed cost of gain when cost of WDGS (including transportation and storage) is equal to or less than cost of corn on a dry basis. For each $0.25 increase in corn price/bu, the value of WDGS (30% dry matter) as a feed for finishing cattle increases $3.75/ton.


Livestock Risk Protection: Insuring Calves

Livestock Risk Protection: Insuring Calves

Matthew A. Diersen, Risk and Business Management Specialist

South Dakota State University

Historically high cash prices for calves, general price volatility, and concern that prices could move lower may lead producers to insure calf prices. Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) is an insurance program that covers a single peril: lower prices.

LRP is still a pilot program with a small federal subsidy on the premiums. Insurance agents sell the policies. LRP coverage settles to cash prices, so there are no delivery concerns and generally reduced basis risk compared to other tools. When the coverage ends, LRP pays an indemnity if the market price has fallen below the coverage price. The Risk Management Agency (RMA) administers LRP on a fiscal year basis. For example, FY2008 is from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008.


Identify and Prevent BVD PI’s

Identify and Prevent BVD PI’s

By Bethany Lovaas, DVM, University of Minnesota Beef Team.

Even though you’ve vaccinated your calves, don’t expect that they are going to be 100% protected.

You can do everything exactly according to label directions, and follow recommendations to the letter on nutrition and calf health, and the calves may still be vulnerable to a BVD outbreak. There are a few factors that contribute to this. One factor is that when the calves are on feed, their nutritional stress levels are higher than when they are on pasture. This leads to a propensity for respiratory disease. Also, many calves are commingled with strange calves that could be from a completely different region of the country. This creates a social stress in the pen, but more importantly, it exposes the calves to different strains of the BVD virus. There are significant enough differences between vaccine strains and wild-type strains (and between wild-type strains themselves), that the calves’ immune systems aren’t prepared to deal with them all.


Nutrition and Feeding of the Cow-Calf Herd: Digestive System of the Cow

Nutrition and Feeding of the Cow-Calf Herd:  Digestive System of the Cow

John B. Hall and Susan Silver*

Proper nutrition is the foundation for a productive and profitable cow-calf herd. Without good nutrition, cattle cannot express their full genetic potential nor will they be reproductively efficient. Often low reproductive rates, poor growth, and increased illness are a result of a nutritional imbalance or deficiency rather than a disease or genetics. In addition, pasture and feed represent the single largest cost associated with the cowherd.

Cow-calf producers need to understand basic digestive physiology, types of nutrients, and requirements of the cow in order to be competent on-farm nutritionists. By understanding feeds and ration balancing, producers can meet the nutritional needs of their animals in a more cost efficient manner. In addition, a fundamental understanding of feeds and rations will assist producers in evaluating new products, alternative feeds, and supplements. The Nutrition and Feeding of the Cow-Calf Herd series provides the information necessary to become a better nutritional manager.


Horse Traitors

Horse Traitors

Wes Ishmael, Beef Magazine

Horses are free for the asking.

Sometimes they’re even free without asking as unwanted horses turn up in sale barn pens, tied to someone’s corral or are simply turned loose in the dead of night.

Prices for horses that are trading have dropped across the spectrum because there’s no longer a price floor.

There’s still a killer market, close to the borders. But shipping puts more miles on the horses and they end up at facilities in Canada and Mexico where the U.S. has no animal welfare jurisdiction.

That’s what animal rights activists and others presumably concerned about the welfare of unwanted horses effectively accomplished by banning horse slaughter in this country.


Temple’s Top Animal Handling Tips

Temple’s Top Animal Handling Tips

By Kindra Gordon

American Cowman

Animal behaviorist and Colorado State University professor Temple Grandin has built a career on sensing how livestock react when being handled. Here’s her quick list of do’s and don’ts for you and your crew when you are rounding up the herd:

Do calm down. Temple advocates that her number one rule around livestock is to remain quiet. She reports that research has shown loud voices and yelling scares animals more than clanging gates and chains. Along with that, cattle that become agitated have been shown to have lower weight gains and marbling scores – because they end up putting energy into recovering instead of into performance.


Get Bull Management Problems Under Control

Get Bull Management Problems Under Control

by: John Winder, Noble Foundation

Cattle Today

We often think about the bull as the means of introducing new genetics into a beef herd. However, management of the bull (or lack of it) after purchase is often the “Achilles Heel” of cattle production. Failure to pay attention to important management practices affecting the bull often results in reduced calving rates, increased calf mortality, and loss of uniformity and marketability. Poor bull management practices result in three critical pitfalls. Let’s examine each of these and consider ways that these problems can be avoided.

Uncontrolled Calving – Controlled calving, of course, means that you have to remove your bull or bulls from the cowherd for most of the year. Often small producers with limited pastures have a difficult time housing the bull when not breeding. Also when the bull is held behind traditional fences, he often escapes and breeds cows out of season. Perhaps the easiest way to keep the bull away from cows is with electric fencing.


Rain helped, but didn’t end drought

Rain helped, but didn’t end drought

South Hill Enterprise

WILMINGTON, N.C. -A nice downfall at the end of October seemingly helped ease drought conditions a little bit, but this year’s drought is far from over. And, overall, a couple of inches of rain delivered at the end of October didn’t do enough to belay concerns about water reserves or the droughts impact on Virginia agriculture.

The National Weather Service reported that previous to Oct. 25, nowhere in Virginia had there been rain of an inch or more since late August.

Without widespread significant rainfall, the Climatology Office of the University of Virginia reports that October was one of the driest reporting periods in 113-years of meteorological reporting.


Corn Stalk Grazing Calculator Now Available

Corn Stalk Grazing Calculator Now Available


NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A University of Nebraska-Lincoln spreadsheet allows farmers and ranchers to make better informed decisions about cattle grazing corn stalks. The Excel spreadsheet, titled The Corn Stalk Grazing Calculator, can be accessed at http://www.agmanagerstools.com. The spreadsheet, designed by UNL agricultural economists Matt Stockton and Roger Wilson and animal nutritionist Aaron Stalker all at the West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte, not only estimates the number of animals that can be supported on a given field of corn stalks with a specified yield, but also has an economic evaluation including the cost to transport the livestock and check their care and conditions. “With corn harvest nearing completion and weaning time for many producers happening this month, farmers and ranchers are likely to be negotiating the terms of agreements with landowners to graze their corn stalk residues,” Stockton said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cattle inventory report counted more than 1.9 million beef cows that calved in Nebraska.


High dollar, costs: Beef producers urged to switch breeds

High dollar, costs: Beef producers urged to switch breeds

ABC News (AU)

Beef producers are being urged to start breeding less expensive cattle because of the strength of Australian dollar and rising fuel prices.

The president of the Beef Cattle Breeders Association in South Australia, Jamie Withers, says the high value of the dollar is making it harder for exporters to compete.

He says fuel costs are also cutting profits.

Mr Withers says because beef producers cannot raise their prices so must reduce costs.


Resources available for raising cattle for international beef markets

Resources available for raising cattle for international beef markets


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Help is available from several Nebraska sources for producers who want to find out more about raising cattle for overseas beef markets.

For U.S. beef to qualify for export to countries such as Japan or South Korea, production must be done as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beef Export Verification.

Livestock marketing specialist Darrell Mark says marketing opportunities and program information is available at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln beef cattle production Web site.


Cold Weather Adjustments for Cows – Frequently Asked Questions

Cold Weather Adjustments for Cows – Frequently Asked Questions

Ropin’ the Web

            Proper feeding during cold weather is an important management consideration in the prairies. Severe weather during the winter months can make previously “balanced rations” unsuitable for the nutritional needs of the cattle. This can lead to weight loss and reduced performance. Animals exposed to cold weather require more energy to maintain rate of gain, body condition, and to maintain body temperatures.