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.