Daily Archives: November 19, 2007

Purdue Webcast: Getting through the Winter on a tight Forage Supply

Purdue Webcast: Getting through the Winter on a tight Forage Supply

The April freeze in addition to the dry summer left some Indiana pastures in less than ideal condition. However, this creates an opportunity for growers to make improvements, according to Keith Johnson, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service forage expert.

To help livestock owners get through the winter on a short forage supply, Purdue Extension will host an IP-videoconference & Webcast Nov. 20 from 7-9 p.m. EST that may either be viewed online or at locations around Indiana.

To view on the IP Video connection:

Contact your local Indiana Extension office.

To View via the internet:

Participants with a high speed Internet connection, web browser and Microsoft Windows Media Player, can log on and watch the videoconference live from their own computer at mms://video.dis.purdue.edu/agcomm . This link will be made active on the day of the event. Bookmark this page to return to it on Nov. 20.


BeefTalk: A Burden or Opportunity?

BeefTalk: A Burden or Opportunity?

Where are They Now? – Status of 14,432 calves tagged in 2004, 2005 and 2006 Where are They Now? – Status of 14,432 calves tagged in 2004, 2005 and 2006

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

The need for a calving book that records data points along a calf’s life is essential.

For the past six years, North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association producers have been involved with age- and source-verification research with North Dakota State University and numerous partners. This partnership led to a successful application to the USDA to provide third-party verification for age and source by the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association.

The CalfAID program was named an official USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service Process Verified Program in 2006. Data collected is processed through the cow herd appraisal performance software for nearly 400 North Dakota cow-calf producers, with a typical herd size of 190 cows, as well as beef producers in many other parts of the country.


Alternative By-product Commodities for Growing Replacement Heifers

Alternative By-product Commodities for Growing Replacement Heifers

Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University

Because of the limited forage resources, many producers may be planning on growing fewer than usual (if any at all) replacement heifers. Nonetheless, the replacement heifers that are in the future plans for Oklahoma cow herds must be fed adequately to be grown completely and ready for the next breeding season. In most instances, heifers need to gain 1 to 1.5 pounds per day from weaning to the start of the breeding season. Standing forage could be in extremely short supply and harvested hays lacking in both quality and quantity. Therefore, producers may find themselves looking for alternative feeds that can be purchased that will provide both energy and protein and yet be comparatively safe to feed in pasture or drylot situations.


Beware dangers from freeze-damaged grasses

Beware dangers from freeze-damaged grasses

High Plains Journal

Cattlemen should be aware of the dangers certain grasses pose to cattle after a freeze, warns Mark Keaton, Baxter County staff chair with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

“Usually in October, the first killing frost visits Arkansas,” he said. “Crops such as Johnson grass, Sudan grass, sorghum-Sudan grass, grain sorghum and other sorghums are sensitive to temperatures below 32 degrees. Plant cells of these crops are damaged by frost, and hydrocyanic acid, or prussic acid, is formed.”

Keaton said there’s a chance cattle can be killed by eating only a few pounds of forage from these grasses if they’ve been killed by frost.

Hydrocyanic acid is more abundant in sorghum leaves than in stems. Since young shoots and suckers consist mainly of leaves, they’re more hazardous to eat than mature plants that contain large stems. That’s because stems dilute the harmful effects of this potentially lethal compound found in sorghum leaves, Keaton said.


Hundreds of amendments bog down Farm Bill

Hundreds of amendments bog down Farm Bill

North Platte Bulletin

Nothing will happen in Conrgress on a new Farm Bill for at least two more weeks, after supporters fell a five votes short Friday in a move to debate the bill.

Democrats voted together to bring the bill to the Senate floor but didn’t get enough help from Republicans

They needed 60 votes to force the Senate to stop work on other issues. The vote was 55-42, with three senators not voting.

Congress renews the national Farm Bill every five years, which authorizes spending for food stamps as well as farm programs.

There are plenty of suggestions and blame being spread around because of the delay.

Earlier, President Bush threatened to veto both the Senate and House versions of the bill. Several House Republicans blamed the Senate and Democrats and offered to extend current farm law for another year.

Independent cattlemen blame Bush and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the delay.


An organic decision

An organic decision

Anya Lomako

Imprint-University of  Waterloo

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.

As the global warming epidemic looms on the public horizon, a large portion of people take a step back from over-consumption by working to save energy, reduce vehicle emissions and eat naturally. All three actions are directed towards reducing the human ecological footprint on the earth; with the latter being the most intangible in its conservation productivity. However, natural eating is key to environmentally friendly living. Eating naturally represents a tiny human revolution in itself, aimed toward better health of the human demographic and the earth. But as with any revolution, opposing sides are in conflict.


Old McDonald Had a Farm…and He Got Arrested?

Old McDonald Had a Farm…and He Got Arrested?

The Nation

David E. Gumpert

Just in time for the holidays, four beef carcasses hang from the improvised slaughterhouse at Greg Niewendorp’s 160-acre farm outside East Jordan, in the north of Michigan’s lower peninsula. It should be a happy Thanksgiving because, for the first time in eight months, his farm isn’t under quarantine by Michigan’s Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Niewendorp is free to slaughter cattle from his herd of twenty and fulfill contracts in time for the holidays to the couple dozen friends and neighbors who prize the specially bred grass-fed beef he produces.


Grazing management strategies vary with time and pressure

Grazing management strategies vary with time and pressure

By Doug Rich

High Plains Journal

Grazing sounds simple, turn the cows, calves, goats or sheep out and let them eat grass. But, at the Missouri Forage and Grassland Council annual conference, producers learned there are many different grazing management strategies.

Producers can choose from a variety of grazing strategies ranging from high stock density grazing, grazing for a healthy ecosystem, New Zealand style grazing or patch burn grazing. Each style has its own benefits depending on the individual producer’s available resources, labor and goals.


Cooking up illness

Cooking up illness

You want feces with that?

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.

Lebanon Daily News

It’s not a question you want to hear from the kid behind the fast-food counter. But because of a loophole in the way the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates beef processing, it is, we regret to report, a realistic question.

It seems that the USDA deems it OK for meat suppliers to cook and sell beef that has been found to be contaminated by E. coli bacteria. As long as the tainted beef is put aside in a “cook only” category during processing, then pre-cooked to a temperature that will kill the bacterium, everything’s cool.


TCFA names officers, board

TCFA names officers, board

High Plains Journal

The Texas Cattle Feeders Association, during its 2007 Annual Convention in San Antonio, named its officers and directors for the coming year.

Walter E. Lasley of Stratford is chairman of the board, Monte Cluck of Boerne is chairman-elect, and Mike Engler of Amarillo is vice chairman.

Cattle feeders elected to one-year terms on the board of directors are Michael Bezner of Dalhart; Laphe LaRoe of McLean; Walter E. Lasley of Stratford; Steve Lewis, DVM of Hereford; Lonnie McDonald of Muleshoe; and Bob Tabb of Dimmitt.

Directors chosen for two-year terms are Ben Brophy of Wichita, Kan.; Monte Cluck of Boerne; Lin Cope of Guymon, Okla.; Shuck Donnell of Muleshoe; Tom McDonald of Dalhart; and Jack Scoggins Jr. of Rio Grande City.


12,000 cattle face slaughter over TB

12,000 cattle face slaughter over TB

Santa Fe New Mexican

ALBUQUERQUE — The state will have about 12,000 dairy cattle slaughtered in a Curry County herd from which 150 to 200 head were killed this year after being found to have bovine tuberculosis.

The rest of the herd was free of the disease, but because bovine TB is considered untreatable, both infected and noninfected cattle in a herd must be killed. The cattle will be shipped to slaughterhouses to ensure that bovine tuberculosis does not spread.

The highly contagious pulmonary disease causes severe coughing, fatigue, emaciation and debilitation. The disease, which can be fatal, is commonly spread when an infected cow coughs or snorts and other cattle inhale airborne particles. It can be passed from cattle to humans, but pasteurization kills any tuberculosis-causing bacteria in milk.


Beef performance and carcass quality show coming to state fair

Beef performance and carcass quality show coming to state fair

Coshocton Tribune

COLUMBUS – Ohio youths enrolled in market beef projects will have the opportunity to participate in a program rewarding cattle for traits which determine value of a market beef project.

The Beef Performance and Carcass Quality Show will be held for the third year during the Junior Beef Show at the Ohio State Fair.

The Beef Performance and Carcass Quality (BPCQ) Show focuses on the combination of growth and carcass characteristic that determine carcass value gain per day on test. The BPCQ show will provide youths exhibitors with the opportunity to closely tie their knowledge of beef production with the production of high-quality beef for consumers.


Signup for disaster assistance with Farm Service Agency

Signup for disaster assistance with Farm Service Agency


The Leaf-Chronicle

Area farms and ranches experiencing severe drought conditions may be eligible for cost-share assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program, officials have announced.

This disaster program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, which provides cost-share assistance if the damage is so severe that water available for livestock or orchards and vineyards has been reduced below normal, and to the extent that neither can survive without additional water. A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may not exceed 75 percent of the cost of installing eligible temporary measures or 50 percent cost share for permanent measures.


It’s about making informed choices

It’s about making informed choices

Flagstaff Daily Sun

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.

To the editor:

A letter I wrote recently has sparked a debate about how much water cattle need, and how much dust they create.

I mentioned that researcher David Pimentel has calculated that it takes 12,009 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. This figure has been dismissed by some of my meat-eating critics as beyond belief.

Just to clarify: Cattle do not drink all that water. Most of the water is used to grow the hay and grain that is typically fed to cattle over the course of their lives. Pimentel explained the details in “Ecological Integrity: Integrating Environment, Conservation and Health,” a 2001 book he edited.


Fight rises on conservation money

Fight rises on conservation money

Senate, House versions of farm bill provide different spending priorities


DesMoines Register

Washington, D.C. – Making a farm more environmentally friendly comes with a cost. Just ask cattle producer John Hall, who plans to spend about $360,000 to replace his open feedlots in Iowa with a set of hoop barns.

Keeping cattle in the fabric-covered structures, rather than out in the open, should prevent manure from washing off his property. The barns will have a bedding of cornstalks to trap manure. The mixture then will be spread on fields for fertilizer.

Hall hopes taxpayers will foot up to half of the hoop barn cost through one of the most popular U.S. Agriculture Department subsidy plans, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. “It’s a good environmental program. It’s probably a pretty good economic development program,” says Hall, an agricultural adviser to Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Ia. “It will stimulate investment out here in the country.”

The program, which helps farms pay the cost of pollution controls, precision irrigation equipment and other measures that conserve soil and water, will be the focus of a struggle over spending in the new farm bill Congress is writing.


The NAIS Suite at the Hotel California

The NAIS Suite at the Hotel California

By Julie Kay Smithson

Magic City Morning Star

You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave, says a song from the seventies sung by the Eagles. Could those words also be true for the National Animal Identification System, or NAIS?

NAIS is being promoted and encouraged by an agency that has had to recall millions of pounds of ground beef tainted with eColi bacteria.

The same agency has pried open the Canadian border to allow cattle to “moove” south into America’s food supply, complete with the proven risk of disease.

The same agency tells the public that NAIS will provide “traceback” and protection against disease in our meat supply. America already has laws in place and inspection facilities to stem the threat of disease and trace back to the animal’s origin, without NAIS.

If the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or USDA-APHIS, were not so flush with taxpayer dollars to “award” to the extension offices of various universities, perhaps NAIS would not be viewed as the golden goose. As long as dollars are greasing the skids, NAIS will look like the neatest thing since sliced bread, but don’t look too closely or the view will change.


Lenny Russo: Tainted food calls for changes in farm practices for contamination

Lenny Russo: Tainted food calls for changes in farm practices for contamination

Minneapolis Star Tribune

To fight E. coli contamination, start by looking at the environment of animals.

Lenny Russo

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.

An article published on Nov. 10, “Questions swirl around recent rise in E. coli cases,” by reporter Matt McKinney, draws attention to the increase in the number of ground beef recalls and occurrences of food-borne illnesses across the country.

In the article, McKinney attempts to clarify some potential reasons for this dramatic rise. He notes that over 30 million pounds of ground beef in 18 separate recalls have been necessary this year alone, with the majority of them occurring since June. He compares that with only eight recalls in all of 2006. In so doing, McKinney quotes, among others, former Minnesota state epidemiologist Michael Osterholm and USDA Undersecretary Richard Raymond.


Block and Bridle holds annual Aksarben showmanship competition

Block and Bridle holds annual Aksarben showmanship competition

Jamie Klein

Daily Nebraskan

About 30 student and community members gathered Friday evening for the annual Little Aksarben showmanship competition held by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Block and Bridle Club.

“It is a livestock showmanship contest for college kids,” said Clyde Naber, livestock operations manager for UNL.

The competition, held by the animal science club, is an evaluation of how a competitor shows an animal, he said.

Throughout the evening, students showed cattle, sheep, hogs and horses. Students had the opportunity to compete in two different categories: expert and novice. Those in the expert category have shown animals before coming to college, while those in the novice category have had little or no experience showing, Naber said.


Canadian producers welcome U.S. border reopening Monday to older cattle, meat

Canadian producers welcome U.S. border reopening Monday to older cattle, meat

Canadian Press

REGINA – After more than four years of restricted trade following a mad-cow disease scare and an estimated loss of more than $1.7 billion, Canadian producers are looking forward to Monday’s reopening of the U.S. border to older live Canadian cattle and their meat products.

The move comes after the U.S. Department of Agriculture ruled that the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canadian cattle is “negligible.”

“The border opening is going to be tremendous for all purebred breeders and all breeds because the U.S. has been a fairly substantial marketplace for us,” said Helge By, of By Livestock, who co-manages the Regina Bull Sale.

“Historically before May of ’03 when it closed, we would be selling 10 to 15 per cent of the bulls out of that sale to the U.S. every year. Of course, we’ve lost that market until now.”


State farm bureau asking for caution with Canadian cattle imports

State farm bureau asking for caution with Canadian cattle imports

Hays Daily News

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Farm Bureau is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to follow a number of steps to caution against mad cow disease as it prepares to allow Canadian cattle imports into the United States.

The United States will allow cattle over 30 months of age into the country from Canada, the latest step in a long disruption of trade caused by the discovery of mad cow disease there in 2003.