Daily Archives: November 23, 2007

What a Feed Tag Really Tells You

What a Feed Tag Really Tells You

Kate Jackson, PhD

Land O’Lakes Farmland Feed, LLC/Beeflinks.com

Feed tags are a mystery to many people, including the people who sell the feed. In the United States, at least, feed tags or labels are not put together like labels seen on food products intended for human consumption. “People food” labels sate a serving size, calories per serving, how well that serving meets an adult’s nutritional needs (i.e., 50% of RDA for calcium) and exactly what ingredients are used. Animal labels, on the other had, state the chemical composition of a feed, how much is recommended to be fed and either exactly what ingredients it contains or the “class” of ingredients it contains.


Protect your calves against BRD

Protect your calves against BRD

by Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, Kansas State University

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD), or pneumonia, is a leading cause of disease loss in beef cattle. Although cattle can get BRD at any time in their life, the greatest risk occurs when calves are near weaning age and are mixed with cattle from other herds.


Black Ink-A Share of Data

Black Ink-A Share of Data

by: Miranda Reiman

Cattle Today

Anyone with siblings can recall all the ways they were taught to share. With bunk beds and half the closet space, maybe you had double-occupancy bedrooms.

As children, you had to let cousins or friends play with your favorite truck, Barbie or basketball. Remember having to divvy up your Halloween candy so each family member got the same amount?

If you didn’t learn it in your younger years, growing up and getting married certainly teaches some lessons in sharing. There are the joint bank accounts, household chores and personal memories.

Maturity helps you discover the many benefits that come from sharing, the good feeling, the chance for another to reciprocate the favor, and the list goes on and on. Yet when it comes to information, many farmers and ranches have a hard time with the concept.


Managing The Cold Weather

Managing The Cold Weather


The major effect of cold on nutrient requirement of cows is increased need for energy.  To determine magnitude of cold, lower critical temperature for beef cows must first be estimated.  For cows with a dry winter hair coat the lower critical temperature is considered to be 32 degrees F.  In general, researchers have used the rule of thumb that cows’ energy requirements increase 1% for each degree the wind chill is below the 32 degree lower critical temperature. 


Health Programs Compliment Genetic Improvement

Health Programs Compliment Genetic Improvement

by: Clifford Mitchell

Cattle Today

Competition has its own method of culling the herd. In the corporate world, many businesses that seem to be thriving, all of a sudden, are gobbled up by competitors. One improvement in efficiency, a cost saving procedure or, most importantly, a product that is viewed as better by the buying public often catapults a firm to the “head of its class”.

Many things have changed for the purebred breeder. Some have embraced change, believing Expected Progeny Difference profiles that read like a laundry list, ultrasound and DNA testing have made their job easier when it comes to producing livestock. Others tend to stay more in the middle of the road, reluctant to add these additional costs to help satisfy customers. It has often been said, “This is a marathon and not a sprint” and seedstock producers looking to maintain slim profit margins over higher costs of production are finding ways to differentiate their product.


Regulatory bottleneck limits ethanol

Regulatory bottleneck limits ethanol

Western Livestock Journal

In a video produced by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), scientists from the Lake Area Technical Institute in South Dakota disassemble the engine of a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe.

Part by part, they compare what a year’s worth of driving on E85 has done to a standard engine—and part by part, the technicians show that the engine is in better shape than a comparable engine run on regular unleaded gasoline.

Despite the positive results, ACE officials say they would not recommend burning E85 in standard vehicles. But the test demonstrates what could be a pivotal point in ethanol’s future: Maybe, just maybe, standard vehicles will be able to run on higher ethanol blends (though not as high as E85) without ruin.


Beef Cattlemen from Pierce City and Neosho Recognized for Genetic Improvement of Herds

Beef Cattlemen from Pierce City and Neosho Recognized for Genetic Improvement of Herds

The Monett Times

Recognition extended at Southwest Missouri Beef Cattle Improvement Association meeting

During their annual meeting, the Southwest Missouri Beef Cattle Improvement Association recognized Harold Francis of Pierce City and Mack Carter of Neosho for their efforts in beef cattle genetic improvement.

They each received the Seedstock and Commercial Producers of the Year Award which has been given annually since 1976.

Francis is a Gelbvieh breeder that became involved in the University of Missouri Extension’s on-farm beef evaluation program in 1992.


Tight supplies to support alfalfa prices through 2010

Tight supplies to support alfalfa prices through 2010

Tim Hoskins,

Iowa Farmer Today

Alfalfa prices likely will continue to be strong heading into 2009 and 2010.

Matt Diersen, South Dakota State University ag economist, says he expects tight alfalfa supplies and strong demand to keep alfalfa prices strong for the next couple years.

The average national price for a ton of hay in October was $133 per ton, the Economic Research Service reported in its Feed Yearbook for conditions as of Nov. 1. The low for 2007 was $131/ton in June and July.

That compares to a $110/ton average for 2006. The only other time U.S. prices topped $100/ton was in 1997, when they averaged $100.


Time to pony up checkoff dollars

Time to pony up checkoff dollars

Western Livestock Journal

It is time we raise the beef checkoff—and I said raise the checkoff, as in, pay at least an additional dollar, if not more, per head—not raze the checkoff!

Of course, we wouldn’t need to actually raze the checkoff program, would we? If we simply continue as we are, squabbling with one another over the relative value of the program, complaining still about the measly dollar that we currently pay, then the beef checkoff will just dwindle into a state of useless disrepair. Kind of like a lot of the cattle industry’s infrastructure.

Before I go further, I must admit that I am a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), representative from Nevada, but I will also avow that no checkoff funds were spent in the penning of this column. It is solely the opinion of a lifelong rancher and longtime participant in the activities of my state and national cattlemen’s associations.


“Make Or Buy” Heifer Economics

“Make Or Buy” Heifer Economics


After 10 consecutive years of cow/calf profits, and coming up on the fifth year above $100 per head, will producers begin expanding herd sizes? History tells us “yes”; the real question is “when?”

A key factor working against expansion has been the high value of heifer calves. Should a $600-675 heifer calf be kept as a replacement as compared to buying bred heifers at $1,050 to $1,200 per head?

The best strategy has been to buy more heifers when calf prices are low. However, we haven’t seen price cycle lows for 10 years and are currently in the highs.


Texas ranchers are looking south, They hope Mexico will lift beef import limit

Texas ranchers are looking south, They hope Mexico will lift beef import limit


Houston Chronicle

Texas ranchers say they believe this week’s lifting of a ban on U.S. imports of older cows from Canada could open the gates to more exports of Texas cattle.

That’s largely because ranchers hope Mexico will follow suit, abolishing a similar ban against imports of U.S. cattle over 30 months of age that has been in place since a North American mad cow scare erupted in 2003, cratering the export markets for U.S. live cattle and beef products.


High cost of Farming

High cost of Farming


As you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, you may notice that it cost more to put the food on your table as rising energy costs are driving up food prices. But, those cost are also squeezing the farmers who produce the food.

It’s feed time for the beef cattle on the Spears-Wilkerson farm. Lovelle Wilkerson says the land has been in the same family for more than 100 years.

“This land has always been used for cows and pasture.”

The Wilkersons have 30 head of cattle here; another 100 on two other farms. A cow is usually ready to go to market in 7 to 9 months and it can fetch 575 dollars at auction.

Rising energy costs are driving up the cost of fertilizer and that means it costs more to feed the cattle. The fertilizer the family uses is nitrogen based. Bob Wilkerson told us it’s price is expected to jump by a third next year.


Registration open for new livestock disaster programs

Registration open for new livestock disaster programs

The Times

Illinois Farm Service Agency Executive Director William Graff issued a press release stating registration for the new Livestock Compensation Program and Livestock Indemnity Program are under way.

Eligible ranchers and livestock producers are urged to contact their county FSA office to apply for benefits.

LCP compensates livestock producers for feed losses resulting from natural disasters occurring between Jan. 1, 2005 and Feb. 28, 2007. Producers who suffered losses resulting from blizzards that started in 2006 and continued into 2007 are eligible.


Beef Quality Assurance For Cow Operators

Beef Quality Assurance For Cow Operators


Much has been said about Beef Quality Assurance in recent years, but how many of us really know what it is and why it is important to all beef producers?  Simply put, BQA is the effort to instruct beef producers, and their workers, as to ways that they can produce a high quality and wholesome product that keeps the consumer coming back for more.          

While great strides have been made with fed cattle, cow operators have a ways to go.  In feedlots a few people are handling large numbers of cattle, and feedback from the processor is fairly simple.  In cow country, many more people are handling smaller numbers of cattle, and the feedback, while real, is not so obvious.  Injection site lesions in the sirloin are one measure of the care with which cattle are processed and medicated.


Seoul Not to Discriminate Canadian, US Beef

Seoul Not to Discriminate Canadian, US Beef

By Ryu Jin

Korean Times

South Korea will not discriminate between Canadian and U.S. beef in ongoing talks for the resumption of imports, according to government officials Thursday. Canada is calling for a full resumption of beef imports, regardless of age or part of the cattle.

Officials from South Korea and Canada began their two-day negotiations in Seoul Thursday to set up new import sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) conditions between the two countries.

On the first day of the talks, the negotiators from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry made it clear that Seoul will be even-handed in beef import issues in the separate talks with Canada and the United States.